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Hipgnosis forecasts higher streaming earnings after strong year

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FILE PHOTO: Headset seen in front of displayed Hipgnosis logo in this illustration
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(Reuters) - Hipgnosis Songs Fund, the owner of the rights to artists including Neil Young and Shakira, raised its dividend on Monday and said it expects higher streaming earnings in the future as the pandemic sped up the move to online listening.

The company, which earns royalties every time a song it owns is streamed, said annual pretax profit rose 7% to $44.5 million and net asset value jumped 11.3% to $1.68 per share.

"Going forward this accelerated streaming will be enhanced as revenues from TikTok, Peloton, Triller, Roblox, and other rapidly emerging digital platforms start to be paid through," Chief Executive Officer Merck Mercuriadis said.

"We are entering an era where now, for the first time ever, almost all consumption of music is paid for."

The company has spent hundreds of millions of pounds in buying the rights to classics as well as newer hits amid a shutdown in live concerts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hipgnosis raised its annual dividend target by 5% to 5.25 pence per a share and said its portfolio of 138 catalogues worth about $2 billion saw a 10.4% jump in like-for-like valuation during the year ended March.

(Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)