Jackson, Labels Focused On Merchandising
July 9, 2009 at 4:53 AM (PT)
From his rented mansion on Carolwood Drive, MICHAEL JACKSON sketched out ideas for the merchandise he planned to sell in conjunction with his "This Is It" concert series at LONDON's O2 Arena, reports the L.A. TIMES, "including a varsity jacket and a red handbag with a diagonal black stripe that evoked his costumes from the 'Thriller' music video.
"The MAY brainstorming session resulted in designs for more than 300 items, including jigsaw puzzles and games for children and rhinestone dog tags. The collection will go on sale as soon as this week at such retailers as HOT TOPIC, TARGET, JCPENNEY and SPENCER's.
"That a veteran performer would be intimately involved in the development of such concert-related items is not unusual. What is notable is that UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP -- not JACKSON's label, SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT -- developed the product line and marketing plan through its merchandise division, BRAVADO. As CD sales decline, all the major labels are seeking nontraditional sources of revenue.
"SONY retains rights to most of JACKSON's recordings and music videos, while UNIVERSAL owns the MOTOWN catalog, including music from the star's childhood career as part of the JACKSON 5 and as a soloist.
"The merchandising plan enables UNIVERSAL to capitalize on the resurgent popularity of the KING OF POP beyond the sale of such CD compilations as "JACKSON 5 the Ultimate Collection' or "The Millennium Collection: The Best of the JACKSON 5.'
Merchandising ... Where The Real Money Is
"Other major music companies, including WARNER MUSIC GROUP and EMI, are pursuing a similar strategy. EMI reached a landmark deal with British pop singer ROBBIE WILLIAMS in 2002 in which it participated in revenues from touring, merchandise sales, endorsements, book publishing and DVDs. Over the last 12 months, more than 90% of the new artists signed to EMI have reached contracts that extend beyond recorded music. WARNER MUSIC also has struck similar so-called 360 deals with its artists.
"UNIVERSAL MUSIC took control of BRAVADO with the purchase of SANCTUARY GROUP in 2007, as part of the company's strategy to expand its business beyond the ailing compact disc. BRAVADO has offices on virtually every continent, and it is developing a range of products for popular artists, including a line of sunglasses for KANYE WEST, handbags for BEYONCE and intimate apparel for KATY PERRY."