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Stakes in Alice in Chains catalog sold to publishing firms Primary Wave and Round Hill

Alice in Chains
(Image credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

Alice In Chains have become the latest established act to sell off rights to their back catalog, with two firms making rights and royalties acquisitions in recent days.

Independent publisher Primary Wave announced yesterday that it had acquired music rights from the estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr, the band’s late frontman and bassist.

According to Primary Wave, the deal bought the firm a stake in Staley and Starr’s publishing catalogue and master royalty income from hits like Would?, Man In The Box and Rooster.

Staley passed away in 2002 and was followed by Starr in 2011.

David Weitzman of Primary Wave had this to say :“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. These projects represent the greatest works from one of the best artists of the iconic ’90’s Seattle based grunge era.”

Meanwhile, in a separate deal, the band’s current members (including Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, Mike Inez and William DuVall) have sold their own shares in the band’s back catalogue to a different publisher, Round Hill Music. 

The deal, which Variety reports to be worth $50 million, is for a 100% interest in masters, publishing and neighboring rights from the four remaining band members, including all of Cantrell’s compositions for the group. This entitles the firm to a share of to the rights for all of the above songs, plus all of the music made since the band's early-00s revival. Cantrell’s solo work is not included in the deal.

“If you look at the grunge category, there was Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden,” says Round Hill CEO, Josh Gruss. “There’s such a loyalty with the fan base and such quality to the music. Alice in Chains music still holds up really, really well, and there’s just nothing else like it.”

As a result, fans might reasonably expect an uptick in licensing and increased appearances/profile for the band’s music across various media formats. 

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Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.