Estates of Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and Mike Starr Sell Music Rights to Primary Wave

Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains live at the Marquee Club. London, March 8th, 1991 | usage worldwide Photo by: Rudi Keuntje/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Rudi Keuntje/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Primary Wave Music announced that it has acquired the music rights from the estates of Layne Staley and Mike Starr of the Grammy-nominated Seattle band Alice In Chains.

The deal will see the publisher acquire a stake in the Layne Staley’s and Mike Starr’s music publishing catalog, as well as master royalty income stream; terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The work of the band’s main songwriter, Jerry Cantrell, was not included, nor drummer Sean Kinney or later members Mike Inez and William DuVall. However, the deal does encompass shares in some of the band’s biggest hits, such as “Man in the Box,” “Rooster” and “No Excuses,” as well as their biggest hit, “Would?” The latter song, released in 1992, and not only appeared in the era-defining Cameron Crowe film “Singles” but was also included on the hit soundtrack.

Two days after this deal was announced, Cantrell, Kinney, Inez and DuVall sold their catalogs with the band to Round Hill Music. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources tell Variety the deal was for $50 million.

Additional deal terms will now see members of both estates gain access to Primary Wave’s entire marketing team, digital team, branding team and publishing infrastructure which includes licensing and synch opportunities.

Of the deal, Primary Wave Music’s David Weitzman said “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.”