Bravado: 'Merch isn't just about T-shirts and mugs anymore'

Bravado: 'Merch isn't just about T-shirts and mugs anymore'

Music merchandising has changed almost beyond recognition over the past 15 years, with the market now reaching far beyond the world of T-shirts and mugs, says Bravado managing director David Boyne.

Where once it would have been unthinkable to find band T-shirts for sale on the high street (HMV apart), it’s now par for the course, with retailers from River Island to Primark boarding the merch gravy train.

UMG-owned market leader Bravado, which reaches 44 countries and territories around the world, says its business is now split roughly 50-50 between live events and retail/online sales. The 40-year-old firm has direct deals with more than 150 artists. Best sellers include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber, Queen, Bob Marley, Take That and The Stone Roses.

“To rewind, 15 years ago we were just in a field, or at a gig, and all of a sudden retail opened up lots of opportunities,” Boyne told Music Week.

“Our growth strategy over the last four to five years has been through retail, originally through HMV, Play.com and the like, and now through fashion retail. We sell to shops such as ASOS, Primark, Top Man and River Island.

“It’s not just about T-shirts anymore, or mugs and key rings,” he adds. “We will explore opportunities with anything that has a merchandisable value - whether that’s in pop-up stores, which are really on our radar this year, or exhibitions, galleries etc. We’re now doing wine, fruit machines, Monopoly sets, health and beauty, cosmetics and hair products.”

You can read the interview in full here.

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