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HarbourView: Meet the Company Spending Big on Nelly & Wiz Khalifa’s Music Catalogs

The rappers became the most recent artists to secure the bag through the sale of portions of their catalogs — Boardroom breaks down the deals as HarbourView makes big moves in the music business.

With increasing frequency, there’s a headline out there about another recording artist selling their music catalog rights for a premium price. This week, Nelly and Wiz Khalifa are the latest entertainers to cash in.

Following TMZ’s report that Nelly had secured a $50 million investment for a portion of his formidable collection of bangers, Wiz is following closely behind — and the checkbook behind both sales belongs to HarbourView Equity Partners.

A private equity firm led by Sherrese Clarke Soares, HarbouView was founded in 2021 and boasts over $1 billion in capital. Let’s break down the available details on these major acquisitions and explore the business behind them.

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Details emerged on the specifics of the Nelly catalog deal, as HarbourView put out an official press release. While the financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, Clarke Soares confirmed that the deal included the following hits:

  • “Dilemma” feat. Kelly Rowland (711.8 million Spotify streams)
  • “Ride Wit Me” (485.6 million Spotify streams)
  • “Hot in Herre” (429.7 million Spotify streams)

As the St. Louis superstar said his decision to sell off a portion of his catalog rights:

“As artists, we put our heart and soul into each track and there comes a time when you consider preservation of that artistry. My music is my legacy which I want to last beyond me, continuing to make my existing fans happy while reaching new generations and new audiences. I am excited to partner with HarbourView to create opportunities for discovery of my music decades from now.”

Clarke Soares zeroed in on the significance of Nelly’s music, specifically pointing to his unique ability to cross genres.

“This catalog has made an incredible impact on generations of fans,” he said. “Works such as, ‘Hot in Herre’ and ‘Shake Ya Tailfeather’ defined an era of music of a unique blend of hip-hop, R&B, and country music that is undeniable. We are thrilled to add these influential pieces to our repertoire and work with the team to continue supporting the artistry within our ecosystem.”

Wiz Khalifa also joined the party, with insiders confirming that the collection includes both “Black and Yellow” (542.6 million Spotify streams) and “See You Again” (1.6 billion Spotify streams). As with the Nelly deal, the specifics of the arrangement are not public at this time. Questions remain as to whether HarbourView purchased the masters or the rights to future streaming royalties.

However, both acquisitions track with HarbourView’s expanding footprint in the catalog game, where it has positioned itself as a difference-maker.

The HarbourView Vision

Founded in 2021, HarbourView seeks to build a portfolio of assets that reflect its company mission of:  “focus[ing] on opportunities to support the purveyors of premium content across the entertainment, sports, and media sectors.”

Notably, this is not HarbourView’s first foray into purchasing a portion of an artist’s catalog. Since its inception, it has brokered over 20 deals with a diverse array of artists, including:

  • Luis Fonsi, including his breakout hit with Daddy Yankee — and subsequent remix with Justin Bieber — “Despacito,” which have a combined 3 billion streams on Spotify
  • Deryck Whibley of Sum41
  • Incubus
  • Brad Paisley
  • Lady A

However, Clarke Soares and HarbourView are notorious in the industry for keeping their cards close to the vest. While making waves over the last several years, they have only publicized a portion of their deals. The company has positioned itself as a unique player in the catalog game, too. Unlike its competitors, HarbourView identifies potential acquisitions by conducting complex analyses of musical appeal to wide audiences.

This diversified approach has given a distinct flavor to its public acquisitions, but it isn’t just about numbers and futures — this strategy harkens all the way back to HarbourView’s roots, as its name is inspired by Clarke Soares’ relatives who came of age in Jamaica as ska and reggae took over the world.

From the dancehalls to packed arenas and stadiums around the world, expect this company’s acquisition rhythm to rock steady.

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About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.