by Jem Aswad, Variety.com, January 12, 2022
Primary Wave Music announced deals on Wednesday that see the company striking partnerships and acquiring stakes in the catalogs of two artists whose music was all over U.S. radio in the 1970s, Bad Company and Free singer-songwriter Paul Rodgers as well as the band America. The moves continue the company’s campaign of acquiring and popularizing catalogs from proven hitmakers such as Bob Marley, Prince, Stevie Nicks, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Burt Bacharach, Ray Charles, Aerosmith and others.
In the partnership with Rodgers — long recognized as one of the greatest singers of the rock era — Primary Wave has acquired a stake in his music publishing catalog for Free and Bad Company, as well as master recording income streams for both bands. Terms of the deal will also see Paul create an imprint to be distributed by Sun Records where he will not only co-sign new artists, but also curate compilations for the legendary record label. Additional deal terms give Rodgers access to Primary Wave’s entire marketing team, digital team, branding team and publishing infrastructure which includes licensing and synch opportunities.
While best known as the singer of arena rockers Bad Company, who had a string of his like “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Shooting Star,” Rodgers’ work with his previous band, Free, was arguably more influential, with songs like “Wishing Well,” “Fire and Water,” “Mr. Big” and especially “All Right Now,” one of the classic songs of 1970s rock, which topped the charts in multiple countries and was written by Rodgers and late bassist Andy Fraser when they were teenagers. After Bad Company’s initial split, Rodgers formed the Firm with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and later worked with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen.
Of the partnership, Paul Rodgers says “Innovative, hardworking, cutting edge and courageous are just some of the adjectives that define Primary Wave. Given their deep knowledge of my catalogue, joining forces with them seems a natural progression, to ensure that the messages and the music live on for the fans.” Lisa Alter of Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP negotiated the deal on behalf of Rodgers.
The company has also acquired songwriters Gerry Beckley’s and Dewey Bunnell’s rights in the band America’s music publishing catalogs. The multi-million-dollar deal also includes several re-records that encompass some of the critically acclaimed band’s biggest hits, as well as certain name and likeness rights. Songs included are a number of the band’s U.S. Top 10 hits, written by Beckley and Bunnell, such as “Sister Golden Hair,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Tin Man” as well as the No. 1 hit “A Horse With No Name.” The group won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1972.
“We are pleased that our catalogue is now in the able hands of the good folks at Primary Wave, where the music we have created over the last 50 years will be given new attention and exposure,” says Bunnell. “We are proud of the music we produced across these decades, and look forward to watching the catalogue continue to enhance listeners’ lives for generations to come through the vision and actions of Primary Wave. Meanwhile, we continue to actively pursue our careers as songwriters and performers into the 21st Century.”
America was represented by Jim Morey of Morey Management Group, Howard Grossman of WG&S a division of Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman LLC, and Michael O. Crain of Crain Law Group.