James Brown $90 Million Estate Finally Settled After 15 Years

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul,” passed away 15 years ago, yet his estate is just now being settled. The singer planned to leave the majority of his estate to fund scholarships for children in need, but this action has been delayed due to a wave of litigation.

“It was complicated,” John Branca said of the deal, “because James Brown was complicated.”

Branca, who was Michael Jackson’s longtime lawyer, was brought into the fold to help negotiate the selling of Brown’s estate. His estate was recently acquired by Primary Wave, an independent music publisher out of New York, for an estimated $90 million.

Founder of Primary Wave, Larry Mestel, stated in an interview that “James Brown was one of the greatest musical entertainers of all time, and one of the greatest legends of the music business. That fits what we do like a glove.”

Primary Wave will now own the rights to Brown’s music, “real estate and the control over Brown’s name and likeness,” according to The New York Times. Outside of Primary Wave, two trusts will be set up with the money from Brown’s estate: one for the grandchildren of James Brown and the second for the needy children of Brown’s home state, South Carolina.


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