Friday, October 15, 2021
HomeU.S.Bing Crosby's Family Sells Rights to Music Catalog in Effort to Reach...

Bing Crosby’s Family Sells Rights to Music Catalog in Effort to Reach Newer Generations

In an estimated $50 million-plus deal announced Monday, Bing Crosby’s family sold an equal stake in the rights to his estate to Primary Wave Music in an effort for a younger audience to hear his music, the Associated Press reported.

Harry Crosby said people associate his father with Christmas, but in the 1940s and ’50s, they didn’t.

“They associated dad tons of things, and that’s what I want to bring back,” Crosby said. “There were things that became absolutely top hits in the ’30s and ’40s, for a sustained period of time, and they just went away.”

Catalog right sales has become quite a booming business, but most involving rock artists who write their own music, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Stevie Nicks.

“We want to be in business and partner with the greatest of the greats, regardless of the genre, regardless of the era,” Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel said.

Primary Wave also works with the estates of Count Basie and Ray Charles.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Bing Crosby’s family sold an equal stake in the rights to his estate to Primary Wave Music in an effort for a younger audience to hear his music. Above, Crosby appears in Los Angeles on September 20, 1959. Crosby, who died in 1977, won an Academy Award for best actor for playing a priest in the 1945 film “Going My Way,” and made seven “road” movies with his friend, comic Bob Hope.
Don Brinn/AP Photo

A generation knows Crosby best through “White Christmas” and the duet with David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy” made-for-television special shortly before his death. Fewer people remember Crosby’s days as a major recording artist and movie star.

Some of his hit songs include “Pennies From Heaven,” “It’s Been a Long, Long Time,” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Accentuate the Positive.”

Crosby, who died in 1977, won an Academy Award for best actor for playing a priest in the 1945 film “Going My Way,” and made seven “road” movies with his friend, comic Bob Hope. His association with golf is also remembered, as he created the first pro-am tournament and was reportedly a member of 75 golf clubs.

Crosby’s family, which includes his widow and two of Harry’s siblings, has been interested in a documentary series to tell Bing’s story.

Primary Wave’s first priority is to increase Crosby’s digital footprint, to boost his profile on Spotify and get his music added to playlists for a generation unfamiliar with it, Mestel said.

The challenge lies in infiltrating a new youth culture with the work of a mature artist, he said. Unlike many of the rock-era artists involved in such deals, Crosby obviously isn’t around to perform or promote his work.

But while song publishing is at the heart of many such deals, Mestel said Primary Wave takes a broader look at ways to get an artist’s name out there and, of course, make money off his likeness or work. He sees enormous potential in Crosby’s film properties.

“The way I view dad is not just through the prism of music and film,” Crosby said. “He was a pioneer in all the different mediums and all the things that came out of that — technology and music and golf, sportsmanship and hunting. There are a lot of different things that describe the human being.”

The times that he hears “White Christmas” while out in public brings a smile to Crosby.

“I miss him a lot,” he said. “It’s a time of reflection. It’s not painful, it’s inspiring. It’s reassuring that with all of the things he did and as hard as he worked, that he’s being recognized again and again.”

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Most Recent