Primary Wave Buys Lynyrd Skynyrd Founder’s Royalties for ‘Free Bird’ and Other Early Hits

Primary Wave Music has acquired the artist royalties of late Lynyrd Skynyrd founding member and drummer Bob Burns, whose credits include recordings on the band’s first two albums, 1973’s (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) and 1974’s Second Helping, plus subsequent compilations that those tracks appear on. While exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, the company said it was a multi-million deal.

In the U.S., the Southern rock band’s entire catalog has averaged 666,000 album consumption units over the last three years, according to Luminate. Of that, the band’s Second Helping album accounted for almost 182,000 units over that time period, while the historical data for the first album was unavailable from Luminate at press time. Those albums include many of their signature songs, namely “Free Bird,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimme Three Steps,” and “Simple Man.”

“Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first two albums are timeless and are celebrated to this day,” Primary Wave Music’s svp of business & legal affairs Samantha Rhulen said in a statement. She goes on: “To have Bob Burns’ contribution to this iconic music as part of our catalog is an incredible honor and the team at Primary Wave will ensure that his legacy is recognized by generations to come.” 

Burns died in a car accident on April 3, 2015 in Cartersville, Ga. at the age of 64. The band’s last surviving original member, Gary Rossington, died earlier this month at 71.

According to Luminate, Skynyrd has garnered 27.1 million album consumption units in the U.S. According to the Primary Wave announcement, the band has been ranked on several best-of lists, including Rolling Stone‘s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” — and in 2006, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Primary Wave continues to be a leading buyer of legacy rock and R&B. In the last six months, it has acquired entirely or an interest in the publishing and/or recording artist royalty income streams in the catalogs of Doors members Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek, punk icon Joey Ramone, songwriter and E Street Band member Stevie Van Zandt, and Huey Lewis and The News.