Primary Wave Ruffles the Michael Jackson Estate After Acquiring a Stake in Sly Stone’s Catalog

So, who does the Sly and The Family Stone catalog really belong to?

Earlier this year, Larry Mestel, Founder and CEO of Primary Wave Publishing, confirmed his company had around $400 million to invest in music rights.

Primary Wave then acquired a controlling stake in Bob Marley’s publishing catalog.  Mestel paid Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, $50 million.  Bob Marley’s estate earned $23 million alone last year in sales of speakers, coffee, and branded cannabis.

Mestel’s company already owns the copyrights to songs from Kurt Cobain, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Hall & Oates, and Def Leppard, among others.  Currently, Primary Wave owns the rights to over 15,000 songs.

Then, two months ago, Mestel made several strategic moves.

The publishing company signed singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins and acquired the catalogs of Count Basie.  Primary Wave also entered into a long-term partnership with British producer/songwriter Pete Waterman.

Last month, Mestel acquired the rights to Tom Hamilton’s publishing catalog.  This includes Aerosmith hits like ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Janie’s Got A Gun.’

Now, the company has acquired another important catalog.

Earlier today, Mestel and Primary Wave confirmed they had acquired an interest in Sly & The Family Stone’s music catalog.

Under the deal, the publishing company will acquire Even St. Production’s music assets.  This includes all royalty streams of song written by Sly Stone – real name Sylvester Stewart.  He wrote every song in the band’s catalog.

Notable hits include ‘Everyday People,’ ‘Dance to the Music,’ and ‘Family Affair.’  Additional songs include ‘Stand!’, ‘Hot Fun In The Summertime,’ ‘Running Away,’ and ‘If You Want Me To Stay.’

After Mestel’s company confirmed the acquisition, the Michael Jackson Estate swiftly responded.

The Sly & The Family Stone’s classic song copyrights are owned by Mijac Music, which is part of the Estate of Michael Jackson, and is administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which handles all licensing requests.”

This forced Primary Wave to issue a clarification.

Mestel and his publishing company have acquired 100% of the passive writer income stream of Sly and the Family Stone.


Featured image by Sly and The Family Stone.