Hipgnosis Songs founder Merck Mercuriadis has spoken to Music Week about his relationship with Kanye West.
The rap star is currently No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic with Donda (Def Jam/EMI).
Last year, Kanye West praised Merck Mercuriadis on Twitter. At that point, the Hignosis founder was spending big money on catalogues and promising to revolutionise the industry on behalf of songwriters.
Hipgnosis acquired the catalogue of Kanye West collaborator No ID in 2020, which includes shares in tracks by the rap star.
GOOD MORNING MUSIC WORLD ... THESE ARE 2 OF THE MOST POWERFUL AND KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE IN MUSIC ... ALL NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE TRANSPARENT... ARTIST WILL OWN OWN OWN MASTERS pic.twitter.com/Y5H7h8Gvd2— ye (@kanyewest) September 18, 2020
In his Music Week Interview, Mercuriadis opened up about the mutual admiration between him and Kanye West.
“To be acknowledged by somebody that I consider to be arguably the greatest creator of his time is very meaningful,” he said. "I think it says a lot about Hipgnosis’ ethos and the way that we do things. This is a guy that knows no compromise; he’s making music at the top of his game at all times and is constantly reinventing himself.
“He’s a soft target for people because he’s very public in what he says and does sometimes, and people don’t necessarily always understand his motivation. But the most important thing is that there literally is not an artist or an executive in the world that would not want to work with Kanye West, and there are very, very few people you can say that about. I have a great relationship with Kanye and it’s one of respect, as opposed to professional interest. I’ll help him whenever he needs my help and he’ll help me whenever I need his help.”
To be acknowledged by somebody that I consider to be arguably the greatest creator of his time is very meaningful
Mercuriadis said that he expects modern catalogues from artists such as West to have the same longevity as classic works.
“We only buy extraordinarily successful songs and what I consider to be songs of cultural importance,” he told Music Week. “So with the greatest respect, we’re not going to buy Lit or Collective Soul, we’re going to buy Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You. Round Hill, who are one of our competitors, are keen on the fact that they only buy things that are 10 years [old] or more and that somehow gives them protection, if you like, in terms of earnings. But the truth is that no one’s going to be listening to Collective Soul or Lit 10 years from now.
“I’m certain that Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, which is only four years old and is the biggest streaming song ever, is going to be listened to 50 years from now. We own 40-odd Beyoncé songs, dozens of Rihanna songs, Justin Bieber songs, Ariana Grande songs, Jay-Z, Kanye and so on. I’m pretty sure we’ll be talking about those artists at the end of this century.”
To read the full interview, subscribers can click here.