Primary Wave and Brookfield acquire catalogs of songwriters Whitney Houston, Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill


About five weeks after selling a “significant minority stake” to Brookfield Asset Management as part of a broader $2 billion partnership, Primary Wave acquired a stake in two popular Whitney Houston tracks.

This latest buyout of the song rights from Brookfield and Primary Wave, which revealed a deal for Joey Ramon’s catalog after the announcement of their merger, became known in a Financial Times report. At the time of writing, Primary Wave, headquartered in New York, does not seem to have considered a purchase in the official release.

But today’s agreement is said to cover “about 60 songs” written by 71-year-old Shannon Rubicam and 66-year-old George Merrill, the duo behind “Boy Meets Girl” and “Waiting for a Star to Fall” (1988). a track that has racked up almost 69 million listens on Spotify.

In addition, Rubicam and Merrill wrote two of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits, 1985’s “How Will I Know” and 1987’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, and are the sole songwriters for the latter. “How Will I Know” has garnered over 300 million listens on Spotify, compared to over 875 million listens for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”.

It is reported that the investments cost Brookfield and Primary Wave in the amount of $ 50 to $ 100 million, although the organizations have not publicly disclosed the exact cost of acquiring musical intellectual property. However, the head of Primary Wave, Larry Mestel, whose company facilitated the sale of Whitney Houston NFT towards the end of 2021, indicated that this purchase is “one of the largest acquisitions we have made.”

And on this front, Primary Wave made it clear in October that it intends to complete “pending transactions” worth $ 600 million before the end of 2022, in addition to already completed deals with “Danger Zone” songwriter Tom Whitlock, The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, Bob Dylan (talks about his work with The Traveling Wilburys), country singer-songwriter Martina McBride, the estate of Lane Staley and Mike Starr from Alice in Chains, as well as Def Leppard and many others.

Since the deal for the rights to Huey Lewis and The News songs was only made public in early November, it seems that Primary Wave is ready to detail several investments in music and intellectual property in the next six or so weeks, depending on the exact cost. plays into the hand.

Earlier this week, BMG acquired interest in Harry Nilsson’s catalog, while Reservoir Media ended October by acquiring a share in the rights to Louis Prima’s recordings and publications.


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