A private equity firm founded by a Black woman now owns the rights to part of Justin Bieber’s music catalog — thanks to Usher.
Usher has been a longtime mentor of Bieber and signed the singer in 2008 to the label he and veteran talent agent Scooter Braun founded, RBMG. Usher has now sold his shares in RBMG to HarbourView for an estimated $40 million, Billboard reports.
HarbourView Equity Partners is a New Jersey-based private equity firm founded by Sherrese Clarke Soares, the founder of and focused on investing in the entertainment and media industries, Billboard reported. Soares is a former investment banker.
Usher and Bieber Timeline
Prior to signing his first record deal at the age of 14, Bieber was taken under the wing of Usher, who became his mentor very early on in his career.
RBMG Records (aka Raymond Braun Media Group), is a joint venture between Usher, whose full name is Usher Raymond IV, and Braun. The label is part of Def Jam Recordings, which is owned by Universal Music Group. It was founded in 2008, the same year they signed Bieber.
It was Braun who discovered Bieber’s 2007 YouTube performance videos, and after locating him in Ontario, Canada, Braun invited 13-year-old Bieber to Atlanta, Georgia, to record demo tapes for Usher.
Usher was impressed, and the two established a mentorship between a former child singer and an emerging star. Some of Bieber’s earlier songs like “Somebody to Love” were demoed for Usher’s his sixth studio album, “Raymond v. Raymond” (2010).
Bieber got signed to Island Records in October 2008 through RBMG, and Braun became Bieber’s manager.
Bieber now has a net worth of $285 million, while Usher’s net worth is pegged at $180 million, and Braun’s is $500 million.
HarbourView is a fairly new company, having been founded in 2021. It claims to have $1 billion of investable capital and more than 50 years of collective experience in the game, according to its website.
The company has recently acquired the music catalog of Luis Fonsi, the Puerto Rican singer best known for his 2017 smash hit “Despacito,” featuring rapper Daddy Yankee, for an estimated $100 million, according to The Financial Times.
The Fonsi acquisition was a partnership between private equity giant Apollo Global Management and HarbourView, both said to be chasing lucrative music catalogs, as it is trendy to own the copyrights of famed musicians for sturdy long-term returns.
“[HarbourView is] focused on niche markets and esoteric investment opportunities in the media and entertainment space,” the company states on its website.