Publishing

Stevie Nicks Sells Publishing Stake to Primary Wave Music

Stevie Nicks
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 21, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Fleetwood Mac songwriter struck a deal for a majority share of her publishing copyrights, forming a new joint venture.

Legendary singer-songwriter and Fleetwood Mac frontwoman Stevie Nicks has struck a new and far-reaching partnership with Primary Wave Music Publishing, which spans a joint venture, majority stake in her copyrights and more, the company announced Friday (Dec. 4).

Under the deal, Primary Wave will acquire a majority stake in Nicks' publishing copyrights, as well as her name and likeness, partnering with Kobalt on administration for the catalog. That includes solo hits like "Edge of Seventeen" and "Stand Back," along with Fleetwood Mac classics such as "Landslide" and "Dreams" -- the last of which recently enjoyed a TikTok-fueled resurgence, landing Nicks atop Billboard's Hot 100 Songwriters chart.

Additionally, Primary Wave will represent Nicks in brand alliance and brand marketing opportunities, and offer the artist access to its marketing, branding, Broadway, film and television, digital strategy, licensing and synch teams. Finally, the deal also calls for a strategic publishing alliance that will allow Nicks to sign new songwriters to a joint venture.

"To say we’re excited to welcome the incredible Stevie Nicks to the Primary Wave family would be a dramatic understatement," said Primary Wave founder/CEO Larry Mestel in a statement. "If Primary Wave were starting our company today, Stevie Nicks would be one of the shining pillars, a true legend among legends."

"She is a groundbreaking artist," he continued, "and the longevity of her iconic career comes from writing songs, instantly recognizable and critically acclaimed, that stand the test of time."

Over the course of her career, the 72-year-old Nicks has earned five Grammy Award nominations and a win for album of the year (Rumours) as part of Fleetwood Mac, as well as another eight Grammy nominations as a solo artist. She is the only woman to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: First in 1998 as a member of Fleetwood Mac, and again last year as a solo artist.

Nicks' longtime manager Sheryl Louis and attorney Jamie Young negotiated the deal.

The announcement comes as Joe Biden's win in the U.S. presidential election has some songwriters scrambling to sell their publishing rights. Biden has proposed increasing the top federal tax rate on capital gains from 20% to 40%, and such a change would raise tax bills for songwriters selling major catalogs considerably. Meanwhile, this year has seen unprecedented publishing deal prices -- as songwriters look for another source of revenue amid the pandemic and investors view publishing as a stable investment at an uncertain time.

Indeed, 2020 has seen a surge in sales of major catalogs. Calvin Harris sold his publishing catalog to Vine Alternative Investments for an estimated more than $90 million; The Killers sold their pre-2020 song catalog to holding company Eldridge; and Primary Wave spent multiple millions to acquire a majority stake in Ray Charles' pre-1964 publishing catalog, while Hipgnosis Songs Fund has been behind upwards of 15 major publishing deals this year, including the catalogs of Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora, Mark Ronson, RedOne and Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and its $322 million acquisition last month of 33,000 songs from Kobalt Music Copyrights Fund 1.

Billboard Pro subscribers can learn more about this year's publishing deal binge in the new "Songs For Sale" Deep Dive here and corresponding Spotlight virtual event here.

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