Buying a Piece of Bob Marley’s Song Catalog, and His Enduring Legacy

Primary Wave, a boutique New York company that aggressively markets “icons and legends”, bought the rights to Marley’s songs in a $50 million deal.

When Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, first met a journeyman musician named Bob Marley in 1972, he had a feeling that the young man might find success.“He had a kind of aura about him,” Mr. Blackwell, now 80, recalled in a recent interview. “I had an idea that he could have an impact.”But Mr. Blackwell said he did not imagine the kind of pop-culture sainthood that Marley would ultimately achieve: tens of millions of albums sold, instant name-and-dreadlock recognition around the...