Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Blondie’s Debbie Harry & Chris Stein sell 100% of their catalogs’ writers share and neighboring rights royalties to Hipgnosis | Music Business Worldwide

Another day, another huge Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquisition. The second this week, to be exact.

On Monday (August 3), the UK-based firm announced that is has bought 100% of adult-contemporary hitmaker Barry Manilow’s worldwide recording royalties (excluding Sound Exchange royalties) in his catalog, comprising 917 songs.

Today (August 5), the company has revealed that it has acquired 100% of the Writer’s Share and Neighbouring Rights (Sound Exchange) royalties from the catalogs belonging to Debbie Harry and Chris Stein – co-founders of legendary New York punk band Blondie. The deal comprises 197 songs.

As pioneers of the American punk and new wave scene of the mid-70s in New York, Blondie are considered one of the most influential bands of all time.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Blondie introduced punk music into the US mainstream charts in 1976 with hits like In The Flesh, Rip Her To Shreds and X Offender and with their 1980 hit Rapture, which was the first US No.1 single to feature rap vocals.

Blondie have released six UK and four US No.1 singles and have sold over 40 million records worldwide.

Their songs have achieved 25 No.1 and 73 Top 10 chart positions globally.

Call Me, Heart of Glass and One Way or Another’have each been streamed over 200 million times globally.

Co-founded by Harry and Stein in 1974, Blondie’s self-titled first album achieved commercial success in the UK, where it was certified gold.

Their follow up, Plastic Letters, continued their success, becoming certified platinum in the UK.

The album featured their hit single Denis which broke into the Top 20 in most European countries, peaking at No. 2 in the UK.

“We are so happy to be working with a progressive company.”

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein

In 1978, Blondie released the seminal album Parallel Lines, which not only achieved mainstream recognition and success worldwide but introduced punk music into the US mainstream charts.

The album, which reached No.1 on the UK and No.6 on the US album charts respectively, has sold over 20 million copies worldwide making it one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

After its first two singles Picture This and Hanging on the Telephone broke into the Top 20 of the UK singles chart, the genre defying third single Heart of Glass reached No.1 in eight countries, including the US and UK, turning Blondie into bona fide superstars.

Heart of Glass remains the 56th bestselling single of all time in the UK with over 1.6 million copies sold and was recognised for its importance with its induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame as a song of cultural and historical significance.

Their follow up single Sunday Girl also reached No.1 in the UK whilst One Way or Another broke into the Top 25 in the US.

Blondie’s next album Eat to the Beat was named by Billboard in its Top 10 Albums of 1980, reaching No.1 in the UK and becoming platinum certified in both the US and UK.

Atomic, the album’s third single, was a major success in both the UK, where it topped the singles chart, and the US, where it topped Billboard’s “Dance Club Songs” chart.

In 1979, Blondie released their biggest selling single Call Me, which spent six consecutive weeks at No1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as topping the UK and Canadian singles charts.

Call Me was named as No.57 on Billboard’s “All Time Top 100” and was nominated for both a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe as the theme song to the 1980 film “American Gigolo”.

Also in 1980 Blondie released their fifth album Autoamerican, which was certified platinum and reached the Top 10 in both the US and UK.

The album included Blondie’s UK and US No.1 The Tide is High and the highly influential ‘Rapture’ featuring an extended rap verse making it the first US Number 1 to include rap vocals.

After re-uniting in 1999, Blondie released their UK No.3 album No Exit with its lead single Maria debuting at No.1 in the UK singles chart.

This made Blondie the first act to have UK No.1s in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Blondie have continued to release new music with their 10th studio album Pollinator, released in 2017, reaching No.4 in the UK and No.1 on the UK Independent Albums chart.

“I am delighted to welcome Debbie, Chris and Allen to the Hipgnosis Family and look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Merck Mercuriadis

Blondie have released three UK or US platinum certified compilation albums including their 1981 Best of Blondie, which is 2x platinum certified in both the US and UK and charted at No.4 in the UK.

Debbie Harry has also had a successful career as a solo artist releasing five studio albums. Her first solo album Koo Koo, which was co-produced by Hipgnosis Advisory Board member Nile Rodgers, reached No.6 in the UK while Rockbird included the UK Top 10 single French Kissin in the U.S.A.

In 2019 Debbie Harry became a bestselling author with the release of her memoir FACE IT.

Chris Stein is also an acclaimed photographer who has been documenting New York City since the late 1960’s.

He has published two distinguished books with publisher Rizzoli; Negative: Me, Blondie And The Advent Of Punk in 2014 and Point Of View: Me, New York And The Punk Scene in 2018.

He also founded Animal Records, signing Iggy Pop and The Gun Club, and produced the soundtrack to the seminal early Hip Hop movie Wild Style.

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein were represented by longtime manager Allen Kovac at 10th Street Management and lawyer Tim Mandelbaum at Fox Rothschild.

Merck Mercuriadis, Founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited and The Family (Music) Limited, said: “I have followed every move that Debbie and Chris have made since day one.

“Their singles have been not only massively successful but era and genre defining.

“Equally well they have made cultural albums of the greatest importance. No one should ever go anywhere without Blondie, Plastic Letters, Parallel Lines, my favourite Eat To The Beat or Autoamerican with them at all times.

“I am delighted to welcome Debbie, Chris and Allen to the Hipgnosis Family and look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Debbie Harry and Chris Stein added: “We are so happy to be working with a progressive company.

“We are looking  forward to the future with Hipgnosis’ forward thinking team.”Music Business Worldwide


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