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Canadian music investment firm buys publishing rights from Drake producer Murda Beatz

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TORONTO — Drake and Migos producer Murda Beatz is selling off publishing rights to hundreds of his songs to an upstart Canadian music investment fund.

Kilometre Music Group tells The Canadian Press it has purchased 285 songs that the 27-year-old helped create up until 2020, including Drake's No. 1 single "Nice For What," and other tracks from the Toronto rapper's library, among them "Elevate," "Portland" and "With You."

The fund also grabbed Murda Beatz's rights to Travis Scott's "Butterfly Effect," Nipsey Hussle's "Grindin' All My Life" and stakes in 42 songs by rap trio Migos, most notably their 2017 hit "Motorsport," featuring Nicki Minaj and Cardi B.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The Murda Beatz agreement does not cover the producer's stake in each song's master recordings.

What Kilometre gets are royalty payments each time the lyrics or music is used in a variety of circumstances, including if the composition is recreated in another song, printed as sheet music, performed by another artist in concert or placed in a film or TV series.

Murda Beatz, who was born Shane Lindstrom and grew up in Fort Erie, Ont., rose to fame in the mid-2010s, in part thanks to artist shoutouts on tracks that often opened with the phrase "Murda on da beat."

He's nominated at this year's Grammy Awards for his work on Ariana Grande's 2020 album "Positions."

In another deal, Kilometre acquired 78 songs in the catalogue of Louisville, Ky. rapper Bryson Tiller, whose 2015 debut album "Trapsoul" featured hits "Don't" and "Exchange."

The transactions are the latest in a flurry of acquisitions by music rights management companies and record labels hoping to buy song rights from the world's most successful music acts and juice more revenues through streaming, ad placement and other sources.

Earlier this week, Sony Music Entertainment announced it acquired Bob Dylan's catalogue of music, including recordings of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and "Blowin' in the Wind."

Hipgnosis Songs Fund, another player in music rights operated by Middleton, N.S. native Merck Mercuriadis, struck a number of major deals last year.

The fund bought a 50 per cent stake in 1,180 of Neil Young's songs, as well as royalty rights to some of Winnipeg-born producer Bob Rock's work on Michael Buble's Christmas hits and Metallica's "Enter Sandman.''

Since launching last spring, Kilometre has focused on Canadian artists willing to sell their ownership for an upfront payment.

Several of their marquee purchases have been in Canada's vibrant hip hop and rap community.

The fund secured a 50 per cent stake in 180 songs from Ottawa rapper Belly's catalogue, including rights for his co-writing work on the Weeknd's "Blinding Lights," "Save Your Tears" and "In Your Eyes."

Last October, the fund purchased the rights for 72 songs by Toronto songwriter Nasri Atweh, including the smash hit "Rude" from his band Magic!, and his ownership stake in Justin Bieber's early hits "As Long As You Love Me" and "Never Say Never."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2022.

David Friend, The Canadian Press