Primary Wave strikes deal with Village People for publishing, recorded music, name and likeness rights

Via YouTube
A still from the Y.M.C.A video, released in 1978

Primary Wave Music has announced a partnership with Y.M.C.A hitmakers Village People.

The agreement covers the group’s brand, as well as name & likeness rights, plus master recordings and publishing assets. A price for the transaction has not been disclosed.

Founded in 1977, Village People have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Y.M.C.A has sold more than 12 million copies, and has racked up around 450 million plays on Spotify to date.

Village People’s second single, Macho Man, is also included in the deal with Primary Wave, in addition to multi-platinum hits like Go West and In The Navy.

Go West was covered by Pet Shop Boys in 1993 for a performance at an AIDS charity event and hit No.1 in several countries around the world including topping Billboard’s Dance Music/Club Play singles chart in the U.S.

In a joint statement, Jonathan and Anthony Belolo of Village People said about the Primary Wave deal: “As we were picking up the mantle following our father’s passing in 2019, we soon realized that – to achieve his dreams of bringing the Village People ideal into the 21st century the right way is a very bold endeavor.

“Our partnership with the amazing team at Primary Wave now brings us the backup and expertise that will ensure we can rise to the task together. With multiple projects in development, the future looks bright as ever for the Village People!”

Lexi Todd, Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs at Primary Wave Music, commented: “The Village People have brought so much joy to listeners around the world for decades. With disco-inspired music all over the contemporary charts, now is the perfect time to launch our new partnership. We look forward to working alongside Jonathan and Anthony to reinvigorate the Village People brand.”

The current Village People lineup is comprised of: Victor Willis (Cop/Admiral), Angel Morales (Native American), James Kwong (Construction Worker), Chad Freeman (Cowboy), James Lee (G.I.), and James J.J. Lippold (Leatherman).

Earlier this month, Primary Wave moved into Brazil via the acquisition of a 50% stake in Nas Nuvens Catalog (NNC). That transaction valued the Sao Paulo-headquartered company at around USD $100 million.

In January, Primary Wave announced a rights partnership deal with the estate of Stone Temple Pilots Singer Scott Weiland.

Primary Wave’s repertoire includes hits by icons such as Bob Marley, Prince, Stevie Nicks, James Brown, The Doors, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Smokey Robinson, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach, Bing Crosby, Luther Vandross, Olivia Newton-John, Isaac Hayes, Andre 3000, Steven Van Zandt, and Aerosmith.Music Business Worldwide