The Beatles’ recordings became the property of Universal Music Group last year, thanks to the label group’s acquisition of EMI’s recorded assets, but today UMG added a key additional piece to the puzzle. UMG’s merchandising arm, Bravado, has reached an agreement with Apple Corps. to handle the Beatles’ North American merchandising rights, the label group announced June 12.
While the lion’s share of the Fab Four’s publishing catalog remains at Sony/ATV, the agreement brings two huge Beatles revenue-drivers under the same UMG umbrella. The group’s merch had previously been controlled by Live Nation.
Earlier this year, Bravado acquired worldwide apparel rights for Bob Marley, adding to its collection of evergreen merch-movers such as the Rolling Stones, Metallica and Michael Jackson, as well as contempo UMG artists like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. According to a source, Bravado generates $400 million in annual revenue.
UMG chairman Lucian Grainge said in a statement: “All of us at Universal Music Group are very excited about extending our relationship with the Beatles’ iconic brand to include both merchandise and their legendary recordings, and about the potential for innovative marketing of creative new products.”
The first wave of Bravado-produced Beatles swag is slated to hit stores next month.