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Music

Julian Casablancas sells a stake in his Strokes catalogue

Julian Casablancas has sold a stake in his Strokes catalogue to Primary Wave. He joins a swell of major artists who have been selling off the rights to their artistic material in the recently bustling song acquisition market.

Primary Wave declined to specify exactly how much of a stake in the catalogue they had purchased or how much they paid in the deal. Still, the sale gives the company access to some of The Strokes’ best-loved tracks, including ‘Last Nite’, ‘Someday’ and ‘Reptilia’.

It’s been reported that the company bought a stake in Casablancas’s publishing rights and the songs’ master rights. A representative for Primary Wave said the deal only includes Casablancas’s rights from The Strokes and does not include his external projects and collaborations.

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While Casablancas has also pursued a solo career and released two albums with the Voidz, he is best known as the frontman, and main songwriter, for The Strokes. The New Yorkers became one of the most influential artists of their generation following the release of their seminal debut album Is This It in 2001. 

The Strokes have released five albums since Is This It, and while none of them have enjoyed the same critical or commercial success as their first, they’ve remained a strong force in the global indie rock scene. In 2021, they also earned their first Grammy Award and nomination with The New Abnormal, which won Best Rock Album.

Casablancas is the latest in a long line of high-profile musicians who’ve sold off rights to their catalogues in recent years. Companies like Primary Wave and Hipgnosis Song Management have played a key role in the growing trend, offering musicians irresistible deals for their work. 

At 43 years old, Casablancas is relatively young compared with most of the high-profile artists who have sold the rights to their back-catalogues in recent years. The older artists are able to leave their legacies in the hands of music companies who will be able to use their work for many years to come. Meanwhile, the artists are rewarded with a hefty payout to leave for their families. 

Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks are among the legendary names to have made similar deals in the past couple of years. However, in the space of just two weeks, Justin Timberlake (aged 41) and Julian Casablancas seem to have countered this trend after receiving attractive offers for their creative property from Hipgnosis and Primary Wave, respectively. 

These companies hope to capitalise on these deals by having the songs placed in movies and television shows and introducing old hits to new audiences through viral marketing on social media platforms like TikTok.

Primary Wave is thrilled to partner with Julian Casablancas for his works in The Strokes,” David Weitzman of Primary Wave said in a statement. “Julian’s extraordinary talents as a songwriter, singer, and leader infuse the magic that is The Strokes. The Strokes are one of the most important bands of this century and are beloved by a multi-generational audience who have made them a global festival headliner.”