On Monday (7th) it was reported that the estates of Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley and bassist Mike Starr sold their stakes in the publishing rights and master recordings of the band’s music. Independent music publisher Primary Wave purchased those rights for an undisclosed sum of money.
“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,“ said Primary Wave publishing partner David Weitzman in a statement. “These projects represent the greatest works from one of the best artists of the iconic Nineties Seattle-based grunge era.”
The most lucrative track Primary Wave acquired in the deal is “Man In The Box,” which was solely written by Staley. Most of the songwriting for the band was credited to both Staley and vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell. Primary wave will now receive Staley and Starr’s piece of the royalties for those songs.
Staley and Starr are the latest in a growing list of artists who have recently sold all or most of their catalog and publishing rights. Other big-name artists to do so in the last couple of years include Bob Dylan, Neil Young, David Bowie’s estate, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Stevie Nicks.
Alice in Chains was formed in 1987 by Staley, Starr, Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney. The band released two albums, Facelift (1990) and Dirt (1992), before parting ways with Starr in 1993. They released one more album, Alice In Chains (1995), prior to Staley’s passing in 2002 from an accidental drug overdose. Starr passed away in 2011 due to a prescription drug overdose.
Since 2005, the Alice In Chains line-up includes Cantrell, Kinney, bassist Mike Inez and singer William DuVall. Their latest album, ‘Rainier Fog,’ was released in 2018. This line-up of the band and it’s albums are not involved in the Staley/Starr sale.