Joey Ramone’s Music Catalog Sold for $10 Million to Primary Wave Publishing

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Late punk rock legend Joey Ramone has joined the ranks of stars whose music catalogs have sold, with a group led by Primary Wave Publishing reportedly dropping around $10 million for the rights to songs like “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go” and “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.”

It’s not clear yet if “I Wanna Be Sedated” will be used to promote sleeping pills, but the deal reflects a widespread movement in recent years among classic rockers to a surge in the value of their catalogs.

The price tag was far below the $500 million Bruce Springsteen banked from selling his catalog to Sony last year and the $300 million Universal Music paid for Bob Dylan’s catalog in 2020, but may be the first such deal for a punk rocker. Estates and musicians from The Beach Boys to Michael Jackson have sold catalogs in recent years.

The deal was reportedly struck by Primary Wave in a new partnership with Canadian mega-investment firm Brookfield Asset Management, an outgrowth of the fortune built by the Seagram Company that is best known for its massive real estate holdings, The Wall Street Journal reported. The partnership was born during the spring when the two companies began talks centered on creating a company that could hold music assets in perpetuity, the report said.

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“Increasing demand for content from streaming services and social media make iconic music IP a scarce and irreplaceable asset,” Angelo Rufino, a managing partner at Brookfield, told the Journal, with a nod toward licensing for services from Peloton to TikTok. “One of the cheapest forms of entertainment is going to keep finding ways to weave itself into our everyday consciousness and that just means more revenue.”

Primary Wave’s most notable holding is with Whitney Houston’s music, which it took a 50% stake in three years ago. The Journal said the company has quadrupled its income through commercials and other deals like Kygo’s “Higher Love” hit that uses Houston’s 1990 vocals recording.

Joey Ramone, who was born Jeffrey Ross Hyman, was the first of the four founding members of groundbreaking group The Ramones to die, succumbing to lymphoma in 2001 at age 49. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

“I’m happy to welcome Primary Wave as partners in my brother’s interests in Ramones,” Joey’s brother and heir Mitchel Hyman told Variety. “I’m thoroughly convinced of their eagerness to perpetuate his legacy, and their sincerity about doing it in a way that will never compromise his credibility. I, very much, am looking forward to working with them.”

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