Influence Media Partners, the music and entertainment investment company backed by BlackRock and the Warner Music Group, has acquired the music publishing catalog of hip-hop superstar Future in a deal that encompasses some 612 songs from 2004 to 2020.
The catalog includes such titles as Future’s Hot 100 Top 10 hit “Mask Off” and his collaborations with Drake on songs like “Jumpman” and “Life Is Good,” the latter peaking at No. 2 on the Jan. 25, 2020 Hot 100 chart. Other standouts include “Low Life, featuring The Weeknd, and “King’s Dead,” a collaboration with Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar and James Blake.
Other than to say the deal represented an eight-figure acquisition (meaning $10 million or more), Influence Media Partners did not disclose terms of the deal. But Billboard estimates that Future’s publishing catalog could have fetched somewhere in the range of $65-$75 million. That’s based on estimates that Future’s own master recording catalog generated an average of about $9.6 million in publishing annually over the last three years for all the writers on the recordings. When his songwriting collaborations with Drake, Juice WRLD, Young Thug are added to it, Billboard estimates Future’s total share for his portion of the songwriting comes in at $4.4 million. While it’s unclear what net publishers’ share (gross profit or NPS) the catalog traded at, if it traded in the range of 15-17 times NPS — multiples typically associated nowadays for superstar rap catalogs — then Future’s estimated $4.4 million in publishing royalties comes out to about $65 million to $75 million.
In total, Future songs and his collaborations with others have hit the top 10 of the Hot 100 nine times in his career so far, including two No. 1s — “Way 2 Sexy,” from Drake and also featuring Young Thug; and “Wait For U” from Future, featuring Drake and Tem.
“Future is a cultural icon,” Influence Media partner and founding advisor Rene McLean said in a statement. “He continues to be a blueprint for impact and success in the music industry and has reinvented music in ways that no one has ever expected. It is rare to find someone who moves music and culture at the same speed with his distinct vocal and melodic style. His prolific career and continued popularity more than 15 years into the game is a testament to his undeniable influence on the contemporary music and culture landscape.”
Future has had a prolific 16 years, recording eight studio albums, four collaborative albums, one reissued album, one soundtrack, 4 and four commercial mixtapes. Of those titles, eight of them have reached the No. 1 spot of the Billboard 200.
“I put everything into my music, and I wanted to make sure these were in good hands as I thought about the next chapter of these songs,” Future said in a statement. “I’m proud to partner up with Rene and the team at Influence Media and send a signal that this music has timeless value. My music is my art, and these songs represent some of the most precious artwork of my career.”
Influence Media co-managing partner Lynn Hazen added, “We consider Future an artist of the ages. He resonates across a spectrum of demographics. We’re so excited about this partnership, it’s a fitting addition to our growing repertoire of top-tier talent and promotes our forward-thinking mission.” Hazen, who worked with Future while she was general manager and CFO at his label Epic Records, added that with Influence Media controlling the artists publishing catalog, “it feels like fate to be able to collaborate with him again alongside my dynamic partners to protect his legacy and works.”
Since launching in 2019, Influence Media Partners have amassed what appears to be at least $1 billion in funding including debt financing from institutional investors like the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan; and the $750 million partnership with BlackRock and WMG that was announced in February 2022. At the time of the latter announcement, the company said it had deployed $300 million in music asset acquisitions; and sources say that Influence Media’s spending for assets has now topped the $500 million mark.
Along the way, the company says it has acquired song publishing and/or future compositions rights from such songwriters as Tainy (involved in songs for Bad Bunny, J Balvin and others); the Stereotypes production and songwriting team (involved in songs for Bruno Mars and others); Jessie Reyez (who has co-writes on songs for Dua Lipa and others); and Skyler Stonestreet (co-writes with songs for Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande).
As for Future, the impressive catalog marks Influence Media’s latest eight-figure acquisition and builds on the company’s commitment to investing in modern evergreens and cementing hip-hop and R&B’s high value in the music rights marketplace, the company said in a statement.
In closing the deal, Future was represented by Jeffrey Smith and Robert Finan of Greenberg Traurig, LLP; while Influence Media Partners were represented by Katie Baron and Jaclyn Felber of Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP.