RZA has certainly amassed a lengthy catalog over the past two decades and more, with a career that began before the global impact of The Wu-Tang Clan where he found fame. The Abbot of the Shaolin Swordsmen sold half of his classic catalog to Hipgnosis Records, joining other artists and producers by placing their catalog into the hands of the British music publishing company.
Variety reports that RZA, born Robert Diggs, sold half of his copyright interest and writers share to Hipgnosis, which specializes in protecting and promoting the value of popular music as the industry pivots primarily towards the streaming market. Given that physical copies are largely niche items among collectors, monetizing music in the near future will have to find new pathways to sustain revenue.
The outlet adds that Hipgnosis now oversees 814 songs in RZA’s catalog, and press statements from the WTC mastermind highlight that the union is a potentially lucrative one.
“I wear various hats in my artistic expressions but the one that has been so deeply reflective of my life’s journey is my songwriting. I’m honored to partner up with Merck and the Hipgnosis team to usher my songs into an exciting future,” RZA said.
Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis adds, “RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan did not invent hip-hop but they took it from being fun to something that represented a true reflection of what the streets, and being black in America was really like. They were and are the most authentic band and brand in Hip Hop and it all starts with RZA’s vision, his songs and his struggle, manifested in music, that could show the entire world what was really going on. He is now globally recognized as a true renaissance man of hip-hop and most would argue that he is the G.O.A.T.”
Hipgnosis was co-founded by songwriter and musician Nile Rodgers, who also sits on the advisory committee The Family (Music) Limited Advisory Board with The-Dream, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, and several other notable songwriters and producers.
Earlier this year, No I.D., best known for creating some of Chicago star Common’s early works and has worked with a bevy of stars, sold his entire catalog to Hipgnosis Songs. The-Dream also sold his catalog for $23 million to Hipgnosos in 2018 according to past reports. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, Jon Bellion, Barry Manilow, Benny Blanco, Poo Bear, and more make up part of the Hipgnosis portfolio.
The price that RZA’s catalog was purchased for didn’t get listed in the report.