Primary Wave Acquires Music Rights to Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley, Mike Starr Estates

Primary Wave Music has acquired music rights from the estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr of the band Alice In Chains.

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Under the deal, Primary Wave acquired a stake in the music publishing catalog of late AIC singer Layne Staley, who passed away in 2002, and bassist Mike Starr, who died in 2011. The company also acquired a master royalty income stream.

Some of the royalties acquired include several Grammy-nominated singles, No. 1 hits, and other platinum and multi-platinum Alice in Chains songs. Some of these tracks include “Man In the Box,” “Rooster,” “No Excuses,” and “Would?.” The latter track, off the band’s second album Dirt, was featured in the 1992 movie Singles.

The second single from Dirt, “Them Bones,” was the band’s first single to hit the Billboard Alternative Rock chart. The album later earned platinum certification 1993 and 1995, with a fourth and final certification in 2000.

By 1994, Alice In Chains’ Jar of Flies became the first EP to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts with the single “No Excuses,” which reached No. 1 on the mainstream rock chart and No. 3 on Billboard’s alternative chart. 

Staley was writer or co-writer for eight of the twelve tracks on the band’s self-titled third album, produced by Toby Wright. Released in 1995, the album debuted at No. 1 with singles “Grind” and “Heaven Beside You” reaching the Top 10 on the rock charts.

The Alice in Chains news follows the recent acquisition by Primary Wave of an additional stake in Def Leppard’s music publishing catalog, as well as the band’s master royalties. The company also bought a stake in Paul Rodgers’s music publishing catalog for Free and Bad Company, and rights to Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell’s music catalog for British soft rock band, America.

Within the past year, Primary Wave has acquired rights to music by the likes of James Brown, Prince, Bing Crosby, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass, and more.

“Primary Wave is pleased to partner with the estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr to honor their musical legacies as part of the classic era lineup of Alice In Chains, who created the amazing songs and records that comprise the albums ‘Dirt’ and ‘Facelift,’ and the acoustic EPs ‘Jar of Flies’ and ‘Sap,’” said David Weitzman, a partner at Primary Wave, in a statement. “These projects represent the greatest works from one of the best artists of the iconic ’90’s Seattle-based grunge era.”

Additionally, members from both AIC estates will have access to the Primary Wave marketing team, digital team, branding team, and publishing and licensing platform.

Photo Credit: Al Seib / Getty Images

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