Another $50m+ music deal, as Primary Wave buys stake in Bing Crosby estate

Last week, MBW estimated that a major industry catalog deal – BMG‘s purchase of a stake in Tina Turner’s assets – would have cost the music company in excess of $50 million.

Today (October 11), we learn of yet another $50 million-plus deal in music… and this time it’s Primary Wave doing the buying.

Primary Wave has acquired a stake in the assets owned by HLC Properties Ltd, the company owned by the estate of the legendary Bing Crosby.

This includes the Bing Crosby Archives, featuring thousands of recordings by Bing Crosby and other artists, many of which have never been released.

Terms of the deal, which AP News reports is ‘estimated in excess of $50 million’, include artist royalties from master recordings featuring Crosby’s performances, writer royalties from songs written by Bing Crosby, his rights in the film White Christmas, as well as other film, radio, and television productions.

In addition, Primary Wave has acquired a stake in his name, likeness, and rights of publicity.

Primary Wave says that the Estate will now have access to its entire marketing team, digital team, publicity department, branding team, and publishing infrastructure which includes licensing and synch opportunities.

Bing Crosby began his career in the mid-1920s and would become a household name just a decade later when he launched his solo radio show in 1931.

His radio program became a huge success, attracting as many as 50 million listeners and lasting nearly 30 years.

Shortly after launching his radio show, Bing Crosby also signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and began making about three films a year. In 1941, Bing Crosby signed on to appear in the film Holiday Inn.

The movie included several Irving Berlin songs including what would become Bing’s biggest hit, his cover of the classic song White Christmas.

Released on October 3, 1942, White Christmas would reach No.1 and stayed there for 11 weeks.

White Christmas would continue to chart years later and remains one of the best-selling songs of all time with over 50 million copies being sold around the world.

Bing Crosby was the voice of 13 Oscar-nominated songs, four of which won the Academy Award for Best Song.

Crosby had approximately 41 No.1 hits, charting singles every single year between 1931 and 1954.

To date, he has sold close to one billion records worldwide – a feat only rivaled by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership with Primary Wave.”

Family of Bing Crosby

“We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership with Primary Wave,” said the family of Bing Crosby in a joint statement.

“Going into our first meeting, our goal was to find a partner who believed in the vast life that he led, and we know Primary Wave will continue to sustain the legacy of dad.”

“Our team can’t wait to dive into our partnership with Harry Crosby, Robert Bader and the Crosby family to help reintroduce Bing’s music and legacy to the world.”

Larry Mestel, Primary Wave Music

Larry Mestel, CEO & Founder of Primary Wave Music said: “Bing Crosby was one of the most influential stars of the 20th century and few could match his success over four decades beginning in the 1930s.

“Our team can’t wait to dive into our partnership with Harry Crosby, Robert Bader and the Crosby family to help reintroduce Bing’s music and legacy to the world.”

Primary Wave says that Bing Crosby is considered to be “an architect of 20th century entertainment”, with over 70 feature films on his resume and over 1,600 songs recorded.

Because of his influence in motion pictures, in music, and on radio he is one of only 33 people to have three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Over the course of his career, Crosby would work with a number of iconic entertainers. He had a close friendship with Louis Armstrong that flourished as they worked together in movies, on radio and television for nearly 50 years.

He was among the top acts in box office sales and his film partners included the likes of Fred Astaire, Pete Sellers, Grace Kelly, Joan Collins, Ingrid Bergman and so many others.

He was nominated for two Academy Awards for his work in The Bells of St. Mary and The Country Girl and won in 1945 for his role in Going My Way.

His role in Here Comes The Groom earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in 1952 and in 1960 he would be awarded with the Cecil B. Demille Award. Two years later, Crosby was given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Primary Wave’s latest deal follows a substantial stake acquired in the Prince estate back in August.

In June, Primary Wave announced that it had finalized what it calls a “strategic relationship” with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Oaktree Capital has committed to invest up to $375 million into Primary Wave Music in exchange for a minority interest in the music company.

Primary Wave has raised over $800m in the past four years via two IP funds: a $300m fund in 2016, backed by Black Rock, and a further $500m-plus fund launched last year.

Primary Wave also owns substantial interests in the song catalogs of icons such as Ray CharlesBob MarleyWhitney Houston, Burt Bacharach, Smokey Robinson and the Four Seasons.

The company bought a $80 million majority stake in the publishing catalog of Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks in December 2020.Music Business Worldwide