Reggae Sumfest 2018

Chris Blackwell signs US$50-million deal for Bob Marley's catalogue

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bob-marley-photo-7.jpgBillboard Magazine is reporting that he revitalized Primary Wave, backed by institutional investors including BlackRock, has acquired a share of reggae legend Bob Marley's music publishing catalog.

The New York Times reports that Blackwell signed a $50 million deal that gives Primary Wave an 80 percent share of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell's share of two publishing catalogs, Marley's songs and Blue Mountain Music.

Blue Mountain's catalog includes songs from Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Free, U2 and the Waterboys, among others, according to the company's website. An 80 percent stake costing $50 million implies a $62 million valuation for Blackwell's entire publishing assets involved in the sale.

According to sources, Blackwell's Blue Mountain has a co-publishing stake in the Marley catalog, which means that Marley estate also still retains a stake in the publishing. Typical publishing deals comprise 50 percent publishing and 50 percent writer share, while a co-publishing deal might give the writer with any where from an additional 10 percent to 25 percent slice. So, if the Marley estate had a typical co-publishing deal (half the publishing, that means it still has a 75 percent stake while Blackwell's share would be a 25 percent stake in the catalog's revenue, with Primary Wave owning 80 percent of the latter.

Blackwell, according to sources, has been willing to sell his Blue Mountain catalog for almost the last decade, but would only agree to do so for a high multiple of net publishers' share -- i.e. gross profit, or what's left for the publisher after paying writer's share, co-publishing, and administrative fees for sub-publishers, etcetera.

Reggae Sumfest 2018

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Reggae Sumfest 2018