Primary Wave strikes ‘multi-million-dollar’ catalog deal with estate of iconic songwriter P.F. Sloan

Image courtesy of Primary Wave Music
P.F. Sloan

Primary Wave Music, one of the most prominent players in the music rights acquisition space, has acquired a catalog of music from legendary songwriter and musician P.F. Sloan.

Described by Primary Wave as a “multi-million-dollar deal”, the transaction will see the company acquire Sloan’s publishing and writer’s share in his works, as well his master royalty income.

Sloan, who died in 2015, wrote numerous hit songs as part of the 1960s music scene in Los Angeles. He wrote for various genres, often collaborating with his songwriting partner, Steve Barri.

Sloan and Barri’s songs were performed by numerous popular musicians, including the Searchers, Jan & Dean, Herman’s Hermits, Johnny Rivers, the Grass Roots, the Turtles and the Mamas and the Papas.

Sloan’s anti-war song Eve of Destruction became a number-one Billboard hit for Barry McGuire in 1965.

For movie fans, his most famous composition may be Secret Agent Man, originally recorded by Johnny Rivers and used as the theme song for the 1960s US TV show Secret Agent. The song has been covered by numerous musicians including Blues Traveler, Devo and even Bruce Willis. The song has had notable sync success, appearing in two box-office-topping movies, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

“Everyone has heard a P.F. Sloan song whether they know it or not,” Samantha Rhulen, Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs at Primary Wave, said in a statement. “His songs are timeless, and we’re honored to continue his legacy and ensure that his incredible catalog is recognized by generations to come.”

“Phil didn’t go to parties, he wrote songs. He was in every shop in town and all at once,” said Jeremy Rosen, Stephen Feinberg and Jered Carman, who represent the P.F. Sloan estate, in a joint statement.

“That’s Phil’s opening on California Dreamin.  That’s Phil’s falsetto on Little Old Lady From Pasadena. From Eve of Destruction to Secret Agent Man, his songs will live forever. Some say he was a genius. We do.”

As part of the agreement with Primary Wave, according to the press statement, Sloan’s estate will gain access to Primary Wave’s marketing team and publishing infrastructure, including sync opportunities, digital strategy, licensing, and film and TV production.

“Everyone has heard a P.F. Sloan song whether they know it or not… His songs are timeless, and we’re honored to continue his legacy and ensure that his incredible catalog is recognized by generations to come.”

Samantha Rhulen, Primary Wave

Over the past several years, Primary Wave has built itself into one of the largest music rights owners in the world, and is now home to the music of numerous iconic songwriters, artists and labels, including 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, Steven Van Zandt, Aerosmith and Def Leppard – to name just a few.

In just the past year, Primary Wave acquired a number of Whitney Houston hits, as part of a deal with songwriters Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill; struck a “multi-million dollar” deal with rock band Skillet, which includes the acquisition of their music publishing, as well as the record royalties from five of their albums; bought a portion of the music publishing catalog of Europe frontman Joey Tempest that includes the iconic track The Final Countdown; and struck another “multi-million-dollar deal” with Kool & The Gang’s founding member George Brown.

There was also a rights deal with songwriter Russ Ballard, a stake in the music publishing catalog of singer-songwriter Eddie Rabbit, and a USD $100-million investment into Indian record label and music publisher Times Music, a subsidiary of media giant Times of India Group.

In late 2021, Primary Wave’s founder and CEO, Larry Mestel, told MBW that his company had around $1 billion in spending power at its disposal, and that most of that money was already spoken for by deals in the pipeline.

In H2 2022, Primary Wave struck a $2-billion deal with Brookfield Asset Management, which – according to news reports – gave Brookfield a significant minority stake in the music rights firm.

“I believe our vision over the last 15 years – of striving to be a great, honest partner to legendary artists that adds value through its marketing and brand platform – has resonated with artists that care about their songs and their legacy,” Mestel said in an interview with MBW in 2021.

“Our artists are our best references to other artists, which in turn creates more partnership opportunities for us.”

He added: “We like to partner with our artists and create a real creative environment that allows our family of artists opportunities to enhance their legacy… Our financial competitors are buying catalogs and putting them in drawers. That only hurts an artist’s legacy….

“The key is to maximize the value of our music.”Music Business Worldwide

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