Primary Wave Gets $1.7B From Brookfield Asset Management for Song Catalogs

Primary Wave Music said on Thursday it received $1.7 billion from Canadian investment company Brookfield Asset Management Inc to fund song catalog acquisitions, according to a joint statement.

Brookfield, known for its portfolio of high-end commercial real estate and infrastructure assets, becomes a minority shareholder in Primary Wave as a result of the deal, which is valued at more than $2 billion in total, the statement said.

The move will likely reignite the market for song catalogs after a several-month-stretch when it appeared fewer deals were being completed than over the past several frenzied years.

While it may have appeared calm on the surface, Primary Wave has remained extremely active. The company has so far finalized $300 million worth of deals in 2022, including purchasing music rights from members of Def Leppard, Alice in Chains, and America, as well as Henry Mancini, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free, and a stake in the estate of Prince.

Primary Wave has another $600 million in pending transactions, according to the firm that bids itself as a music company with marketing, branding, digital strategy and licensing infrastructure. Some current projects include the upcoming Whitney Houston Biopic ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and a four-part James Brown documentary series for the A&E Network, produced by Mick Jagger and Questlove. Primary wave announced last year that it bought much of the soul legend’s rights for $90 million.

Brookfield has not previously invested in song catalogs or music assets, but the Toronto-based firm said in September it had a “record $111 billion USD of cash and capital available for investment.”

“Brookfield is among the most intelligent and well financed deal-makers in the world,” Primary Wave’s chief executive and founder Larry Mestel said in the statement. “What separates them from every other financially oriented investor of their size is their creativity, long-term horizon and ability to help scale unique businesses with operational expertise in addition to capital.”

Mestel and the rest of Primary Wave’s management team will remain in charge and will invest the majority of Brookfield’s funds into a permanent capital vehicle intended to serve as a long-term way to invest in publishing and recording rights, the statement said.

“We are thrilled to deliver a comprehensive capital solution to Larry and the team at Primary Wave to support their continued acquisition of the world’s most iconic music IP,” said Angelo Rufino, managing partner, Brookfield. “Strong secular growth trends, scarcity value of assets and the continued penetration of music in new forms of content delivery underpin this significant commitment to the asset class.”

The entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency also joins as a minority shareholder, the statement said.