Primary Wave (company)

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Primary Wave Music
IndustryEntertainment and music
Founded2006; 14 years ago (2006)
FounderLawrence Mestel
Area served
Key people
Lawrence Mestel (Founder & Co-CEO
Justin Shukat (President, Primary Wave Music Publishing)
Adam Lowenberg (CMO & General Manager, Primary Wave Talent Management)
Ramon Villa (COO & CFO)
Robert Dippold (President, Digital Strategy)
Jeff Straughn - Branding, Brand Synergy Group

Primary Wave is a full-service entertainment company with expertise in Music Publishing, Talent Management, Film & TV Production, Digital Marketing, and Branding based in the United States.


The company was founded in January 2006 by music executive Larry Mestel, and is one of the largest independent entertainment companies in the U.S. with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and London. Since its origin as a music publishing company, Primary Wave has grown its business into a full service music and entertainment company with additional in-house resources such as a Talent Management division, digital marketing agency, branding agency, and a film/TV production division.


Primary Wave Music Publishing was founded in 2006 after the purchase of 50% of Kurt Cobain’s portion of the Nirvana (band) catalog, as well as the MGM Records catalog.[1] Currently, one of the largest indie music publishers in the US, the company markets the copyrights of over 15,000 songs from the catalogs of legendary and contemporary artists and songwriters, including Bo Diddley, Paul Anka,[2] Alice Cooper,[3] Hall & Oates, Def Leppard, Chicago, John Lennon, Saving Abel, Sly & The Family Stone,[4] Kenny Loggins, Count Basie, Pete Waterman,[5] Roccstar, Smokey Robinson,[6] L.P. (singer), Steven Tyler, Steve Earle, Daniel Johnston, and many more.

In addition to landing sync placements in film, TV, advertising, video games, and new media, Primary Wave has also spearheaded creative licensing deals for their publishing clients. Examples include brokering a deal with Converse in 2008 to create a limited edition run of Kurt Cobain sneakers, which included graphic designs, his signature, and song lyrics on the sneakers.[7] In 2009, Primary Wave executed an Aerosmith marketing campaign with the 1st-ever artist branded scratch-off lottery ticket, which featured Aerosmith’s likeness and was also promoted by a TV campaign featuring the band’s iconic rock anthem, “Dream On”, in 11 states across the US. Part of the campaign allowed fans to scratch off prizes such as free concert tickets, backstage passes, and even a private performance by the band.[8] That same year, Primary Wave also created an animated cartoon J-stache, based on John Oates of Hall & Oates' signature moustache, which debuted on Funny or Die.[9] In 2012, Primary Wave partnered with Boom! Studios and Wieden+Kennedy Entertainment to release underground musician and artist Daniel Johnston debut graphic novel, Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness.[10] BMG Rights Management joined forces with Primary Wave in 2013 to create a new shop for artists looking to switch labels and those who aren’t signed to a traditional business; BMG acquired two thirds of Primary Wave's catalogue for $150 million.[11] In August 2017, Primary Wave acquired the music rights of classical pianist Glenn Gould.[12]

On January 13, 2017, Primary Wave acquired an 80 percent share in Chris Blackwell's Blue Mountain Music publisher, which included the rights to Bob Marley, for $50 million. While U2 is published by Blue Mountain, that catalogue is exempt from the Primary Wave deal.[13]

Talent Management[edit]

Launched in 2010, Primary Wave Talent Management currently has managers based in New York, Los Angeles and London[14]


  1. ^ Reuters Editorial (13 April 2007). "Julian Lennon sells stake in Beatles songs: report". Reuters.
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  7. ^ "The Daily Swarm". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  8. ^ "Aerosmith collaborates with lottery ticket company for Aerosmith themed scratch off games. Prizes include money, backstage tickets and merchandise. - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone.
  9. ^ "John Oates' 'J-Stache' Cartoon Debuts Online". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Daniel Johnston's "Space Ducks" Hits in April from BOOM! Town". Comic Book Resources.
  11. ^ Atkinson, Claire (2013-10-06). "BMG injects $150M into NYC talent shop". New York Post. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  12. ^ "Primary Wave acquires rights to music of pianist Glenn Gould". Music Business Worldwide. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  13. ^
  14. ^ SFGate, 1 November 2010

External links[edit]