The kingpin of Grammy parties may have some friendly competition on the eve of music’s biggest night.
Larry Mestel — CEO of Primary Wave, the publishing company that owns rights to tunes by Prince, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston and more — is hosting a pre-Grammy party to rival Clive Davis’ annual star-studded bash, Page Six has learned.
On Feb. 1, Primary Wave is hosting a party “celebrating Billboard No. 1s” at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, a stone’s throw from Davis’ party at the nearby Beverly Hilton.
While it’s not the first time the music publishing and management firm has hosted a party on the same night, “it has raised eyebrows that they’re having it pretty much across the street this year,” an industry source told Page Six.
Davis has been hosting his pre-Grammy gala since 1973, and started hosting the shindig in partnership with the Recording Academy in 2009.
The crème de la crème of the music biz has graced the stage at his bashes for over 50 years — including Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, whom Davis introduced to the world at the gala in more than three decades ago.
Tragically, Houston was found dead in her hotel room at the same venue on the day of the gala in 2012.
Davis’ gala is Grammy weekend, one industry source put it. “There’s no comparison,” the insider said.
Another person scoffed at describing Primary’s Wave party as a “rival” to Davis’ annual gathering.
“They’re not remotely close,” the source said.
Davis’ party is a much larger affair.
Said a source, “[The Beverly Hilton] hosts the Golden Globes. It’s 16,000-square feet. The Waldorf is like 5,600. There are legendary performers at Clives’ [party].”
The insider said of the smaller Primary Wave fete, “Their party is almost like an overflow party for people who didn’t get on the list for other events. It’s like for the plus-ones.”
Primary Wave’s spokesperson, Catie Monck, told us of any comparison, “it’s silly this is even a thing.”
Monck added, “Primary Wave has been hosting parties on the Saturday before [the Grammys] for 15 years, and everyone loves attending both.”
Billboard is co-hosting Primary Wave’s bash, and we hear the music mag’s owner, Jay Penske, will be making a stop at Davis’ party, too.
We’re also told Davis is expecting A-listers like Jay-Z and Beyoncé, along with industry giants like Sylvia Rhone, Ron Perry and Republic Records’ Monte and Avery Lipman.
Sony Music Publishing CEO Jon Platt will be honored with the Industry Icons Award at the gala.
A rep for Davis did not comment.