Sony Music UK Bought Its Own Music Merchandise Company
Though record sales are what people often use to measure a band's or artist's success, everyone knows that its the touring and merchandise sales that really generate money. It's such a vital part of the job, and knowing that it's the most direct way of supporting artists you love financially is usually enough to ignore steep prices for T-shirts at concerts.
(As I write this, I am wearing an overpriced Vampire Weekend shirt I got last night. The show was great, thanks for asking!)
Sony Music U.K.'s latest financial venture might muddy that path between your wallet and your favorite artist's bank account, though, after it purchased merchandising company Kontraband.
Sony Music U.K. has acquired the full-service merchandise company Kontraband https://t.co/5mJZJ43RSX
— billboard (@billboard) September 5, 2019
According to Billboard, Kontraband will work with Sony's stable of artists along with its U.S. branch, The Thread Shop.
"We are continuously looking for ways to diversify our business, and the acquisition of Kontraband allows us to help our artists enhance their brand and deliver new and exciting commercial opportunities," said Nicola Tuer, chief operating officer for Sony Music U.K. and Ireland.
This is sort of a double-decker acquisition (that's a U.K. joke), since last month The Thread Shop acquired the music merchandise department The Araca Group, a New York City theater production company.
The whole operation is part of Sony's effort to "significantly [expand] its presence" in the music merchandise space.
Music and entertainment merchandise has really become confusing recently. In some ways, these artists are cutting out middle men by creating ways for fans to buy merchandise directly, sometimes even without going to the shows at all. Then you have labels, like Sony, getting into bed with the merchandise companies to make it so when you support the artist by getting a T-shirt or a hat, you're actually supporting the label just as much as the artist, if not possibly more.
It's a smart move by Sony, especially in an age where streaming continues to cut into album sales. Merchandise isn't going anywhere, and Sony knows it. Now the label can get a larger slice of the pie.