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Primary Wave Announces Village People Partnership, Aims to ‘Reinvigorate’ the Group’s Brand

village people primary wave deal

The Village People, including current lead singer Victor Willis (fourth from left), in 1978. Photo Credit: Mario Casciano

Primary Wave has officially inked a far-reaching partnership deal centering on the Village People’s publishing, masters, and name and likeness.

New York City-headquartered Primary Wave unveiled the tie-up, finalized specifically with Jonathan and Anthony Belolo, via a formal release today. The sons of Village People co-founder Henri Belolo, who passed away in 2019, the brothers own and operate Scorpio Music (the nearly half-century-old publisher behind the disco act’s catalog) as well as Can’t Stop Productions (which is said to possess the Village People’s masters and trademarks).

(During the past decade and change, ample litigation has surrounded the Village People’s catalog, name and likeness rights, and more. Said litigation encompasses but isn’t limited to a copyright-termination legal action from lead singer Victor Willis and his seemingly successful effort to remove Henri Belolo’s songwriting credits from a number of Village People works.)

While Primary Wave opted against divulging the agreement’s precise details, it did note that the pact extends to “the Village People brand, the group’s master recordings, as well as publishing assets,” as mentioned. That includes hits such as “Y.M.C.A.” (349 million Spotify streams), “Macho Man” (52 million), Pet Shop Boys-covered “Go West” (18 million), and “In the Navy” (4 million).

Moreover, Jonathan (the founder of metaverse startup Stage11) and Anthony (who heads Scorpio Music) in a statement emphasized their desire to bring “the Village People ideal into the 21st century the right way.”

“As we were picking up the mantle following our father’s passing in 2019,” they said, “we soon realized that – to achieve his dreams of bringing the Village People ideal into the 21st century the right way is a very bold endeavor. Our partnership with the amazing team at Primary Wave now brings us the backup and expertise that will ensure we can rise to the task together. With multiple projects in development, the future looks bright as ever for the Village People!”

Building upon the points, Primary Wave VP of business and legal affairs Lexi Todd acknowledged her company’s plans “to reinvigorate the Village People brand.”

“The Village People have brought so much joy to listeners around the world for decades,” communicated the Primary Wave exec of about eight years. “With disco-inspired music all over the contemporary charts, now is the perfect time to launch our new partnership. We look forward to working alongside Jonathan and Anthony to reinvigorate the Village People brand.”

With the plans behind this reinvigoration undertaking in motion at present, it should be highlighted in conclusion that the Village People are continuing to perform live. The group’s lineup has, of course, changed substantially during the past five or so decades, with current members including the aforesaid Victor Willis (who rejoined on the heels of his legal battle), Angel Morales, James Kwong, Chad Freeman, James Lee, and James J.J. Lippold, according to Primary Wave.

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