Seven years after Whitney Houston’s untimely death at the age of 48, her estate has struck a deal to create a number of money-making opportunities, including a hologram tour and a new album of previously unreleased material.
That’s what Houston’s sister-in-law and former manager, Pat Houston, is telling the New York Times, which reports that the estate entered into an agreement last week with Primary Wave Music Publishing “to rebuild Houston’s business.”
Houston said that the years since Whitney’s death have been “emotional,” and that now was the right time to make this deal.
“Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn’t about the music anymore,” Houston told the Times. “People had forgotten how great she was. They let all the personal things about her life outweigh why they fell in love with her in the first place.”
Those “personal things” included Whitney Houston’s public battle with drug addiction as well as a volatile marriage to Bobby Brown. Then, only three short years after Houston’s death, Houston and Brown’s only child, 22-year-old Bobbi Kristina, died in a way that was eerily similar to her mother’s.
In her heyday, Houston had a singing voice of such power and beauty, few could match it.
With the estate’s deal with Primary Wave, “the idea now,” Primary Wave founder Larry Mestel told the Times, “is to remind people that that is what her legacy is.”
As the Times reports regarding the deal:
Last week, the estate signed a deal with Primary Wave Music Publishing, a boutique music and marketing company in New York, to rebuild Whitney Houston’s business. As part of the agreement, Primary Wave will acquire 50 percent of the estate’s assets, which include the singer’s royalties from music and film, merchandising, and the right to exploit her name and likeness. The deal values the estate at $14 million, according to two people familiar with the arrangement.
The estate, of which Pat Houston is the executor, benefits Whitney Houston’s mother, gospel great Cissy Houston, and her two brothers, Gary and Michael.
Despite Whitney’s troubles, Pat Houston told the Times she wants to put to rest rumors that Whitney was broke when she died: “It wasn’t multimillions, like everyone thought, but she wasn’t broke.”
But “now it’s about being strategic,” she said regarding the business deal, saying, “The hologram has taken precedence over everything.”
According to the Times, the hologram will be the estate’s first project, having Whitney Houston’s name join the ranks of other deceased greats whose holograms have toured, including Maria Callas, Roy Orbison and Frank Zappa. Holograms have also been created for legends like Tupac and Biggie.
Primary Wave is also looking into a Broadway musical, a Las Vegas show and a new album that would probably feature unused tracks from Houston’s 1985 debut album, Whitney Houston, the Times reports.