He once managed Elton John. Now Merck Mercuriadis buys songs and squeezes every penny out of them.

Merck Mercuriadis with his business partner Nile Rodgers, famous for a string of hits including disco favourite Le Freak

Merck Mercuriadis with his business partner Nile Rodgers, famous for a string of hits including disco favourite Le FreakTOM STOCKILL

Traffic near Abbey Road studios in northwest London grinds to a halt as tourists pose for pictures on the world’s most famous zebra crossing. Van drivers beep impatiently, but nothing moves. There is much more action inside the studios — no day-trippers allowed.

That suits Merck Mercuriadis, the former manager of Beyoncé, Sir Elton John and Guns n’ Roses, who has an office there. He is busy trying to build a company he reckons will revolutionise the music industry.

Mercuriadis founded the Hipgnosis Songs Fund two years ago to buy up the back catalogues of songwriters for stars such as Kanye West, Jay Z and Rihanna.

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