Primary Wave Acquires Stake in Catalog of Whitney Houston Songwriters Boy Meets Girl
On the heels of their recent Billboard cover story, in which they detailed their acquisition of much of the Whitney Houston estate and catalog, Primary Wave Music has added to their collection of Whitney-related rights by acquiring an interest in much of the publishing catalog for Houston co-writers Boy Meets Girl. The duo, made up of Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill, played a hand in penning “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” and “How Will I Know,” both of which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Included in the deal are the writer’s share of royalties from the two Houston cuts, as well as the duo’s successful self-released songs, including “Oh Girl” and “Waiting for A Star to Fall.” Under the agreement, Merrill and Rubicam will have access to Primary Wave’s marketing and branding teams, along with the company’s publishing infrastructure that includes licensing and synch opportunities.
The timing of the acquisition comes just ahead of the Dec. 21 release of the Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody, a major part of Primary Wave’s campaign to revitalize the Houston catalog. The company purchased a 50% stake in the singer’s publishing, master recording revenue, name, likeness and brand for an estimated $14 million in May 2019 and has been working on efforts to introduce or remind the public of Houston’s venerable legacy ever since, including with two new photo books, Funko! Pop dolls, Whitney-themed Peloton classes, a perfume line, a MAC makeup collection and more.
Rubicam and Merrill have worked as musical partners since the mid-1980s when both were hired to perform at a wedding. They subsequently formed Boy Meets Girl and released their first album in 1985, featuring the song “Oh Girl.” Soon after, the duo kickstarted their songwriting career by penning two of Houston’s biggest hits, earning them Grammys for song of the year in the process. The duo continued to release their own music as well, achieving top 5 success on the Hot 100 with “Waiting for a Star to Fall” in 1988 (a song originally written for Houston). By the 1990s, however, the duo was more focused on writing for others than for themselves, working on songs for OTT and Girlthing, among others. Since then, they have returned to releasing their own work as Boy Meets Girl, including the albums Wonderground (2003) and Five (2021).
“We are so pleased to have placed our songs into the capable and creative hands of the team at Primary Wave. If ever there was a perfect home for our songs at this time, without a doubt this is it. We are excited and honored to be a part of the Primary Wave family and look forward to seeing what else we might cook up together,” says Merrill and Rubicam in a statement.
“When Shannon’s and George’s songs are played – anywhere around the world – people will sing along the minute they begin,” added Justin Shukat, president of publishing at Primary Wave Music. “It’s rare for songwriters to not only see that type of response, but to write #1 hits for both themselves and for other artists. That’s what makes the two of them true songwriting legends. Their catalog of songs fit right at home at Primary Wave, the home of legends.”