by Laurie Hahn
LICENSING KEEPS + NUSIC m THE b ALIVE., -*
I L~~ b9a F
/ J> .k;
one are the days of a simple band T.shirt purchased at a concert. These days, it's all about extending the fan's connection with the music, musician, and music property in any and every way imaginable. If a consumer wants shoes with Kurt Cobain lyrics on them, he can go and buy a pair. If a Britney Spears fan wants to smell just like the singer, there are multiple fragrances for that. In today's world of music licensing, fans want more than just a shirt. But musicians want more, too. Album sales continue to decline as more and more music fans purchase-and sometimes steal-music online. For the artists, that means there needs to be another way to make money. Touring offers one revenue stream, but when a band isn't on tour, Licensed merchandise at retail fills that void. "What is true is that the physical CD is declining as a format," says Jeanne Meyer, senior vice-president, corporate communications, EMI North America, "so there's more interest among brands to affiliate with music and musicians than ever before." And there are more ways to do this than ever before.
MAKING BRAND THE
Before a licensing program based on a musician can get off the ground, the sell-ability of the artist must be established. Truly successful ones will be bigger name stars, not just one-off artists. "They have to be successful in their recording career for a while," says Michael Stone, CEO at The Beanstalk Group. "Licensees and retailers are going to want a sense of comfort that this recording artist is not going to hit the bottom of the charts or be gone
in a year." Putting together a fashion line or producing other consumer products can take up to a year or more. In that year, the musician still needs to be relevant and popular in order for consumers to buy the products. If a musician has a specific look, this can also help bring about a licensing program. Maggie Dumais, agent at Creative Artists Motown celebrates its 50th anniversary (his year Agency (CAA), says that singer Katy Peny with a variety of licensed products. could command a major brand within the next year because of her "definite look, defiA 1-5~1~7 nite style, and diverse fan base. You can't just The simplest way for fans to express their be a good performer. You have to have a very love of music is still through licensed Tspecific kind of look, such as Madonna's shirts. But these days, T-shirts aren't relegatclothing in the '80s." ed to a table at the back of a concert venue. For these reasons, classic and deceased Consumers can find their favorite bands on musicians make good transitions into licensing shirts in mass-market stores and specialty programs. There are some bands that transcend boutiques. Whether a complete fashion line all generations, such as The Beatles. "The or a collection of shirts, licensees must bring music of LennonMcCartney is timeless and the spirit of the artist to the apparel. meaningful to everyone," says Robert Kaplan, For The Walt Disney Music Group, that senior vice-president, global marketing at means bringing the music to the T-shirts. This SonyIATV Music Publishing. Mighty Fine put year, the company will introduce musical Ttogether a variety of shirts using The Beatles shirts that feature a waterproof music chip lyrics while Lyric Culture designed a scarf sewn into the shirt. The chip will play songs based on the song "Across the Universe." from High School Musical, Hannah The same can be said for record labels, such Montana, and Camp Rock. "You have to as Motown, which celebrates its 50th anniver- make sure that you give them the experience sary this year. "Motown is an all-American of what they're seeing on the pisney] chanbrand," says Jill Ettinger, director of marketing nel," says Dominic Griffin, vice-president of and product management at Universal Music licensing for The Walt Disney Music Group. Group. "We all know the lyrics to these songs. Even without the use of music chip technolYou go to a wedding and 'Brick House' gets ogy, T-shirts can still stand out at retail for fans played and everybody, no matter how old they and non-fans. A Duran D m T-shirt f o rm are, seems to know these songs." Reliving these Mighty F i e might resonate with older fans of classic bands and songs can be brought to life the '80s band but the contemporary graphics and retro appeal will attract younger consumem, through a variety of licensed products.
Nor Jusr SIMPLE
widening the band's fan base. ' you make the I f T s i tlook cool, the 17-year-old girl or boy -hr wiU buy it and, lo and behold, they will go home, pop onto i W , and end up downloading a song or two h m the had:' says Patrick Other forms of kceasing treatment. Network signed a deal
Black Sabbath, and The ~ h o .,. . ~ compa& ny also w@ed with Pnmary Wave W c to create Kurt Cobain ahas. Cobain'tt lyda were music they've heard in the game, use a cell used on the shoes, as well as . phone device in the game to tag the music, Justin Shukat, general manager and then purchase the song from Amazon. Primary Wave Music, says that it'^ for his company to get Cobain's ' AND ,.L 1 , sumers in more creative ways because % Just as music is important to video games, and teenagen are learning about muds in i-idt'so the internet is to music. The intemet, once ' ! of different ways than they would have &$' "many NO. 1 of the music industry, has been 10 years ago when radio was more B& to music in general over the past few -., . and [music] video play still existed." - yam. Sure, bands and artists aren't selling as One of these creative ways is. l , &by a s because of consumers buying sin- . out the music itself. These days, sngs d i n e , but most of the time consors are licensing out music for use in vi* s~mers out about new songs and bands find games, TV shows, movies, and cmmexcids. gn the internet.iTunes and similar sites, such "Music supervisors of film and TV and v i h ' Wapaody, are where consumers will go to games view themselves as t$e neav radio? <lg\3zchase rhese songs. Shukat says. Thrwgh fha t&.$&v- H m and h a k i n g how influentid iTunes was with R O and video gmm ~ w m s r 'tcxiay1s conamen, -tie~ d partrrered d a Mu&, ' h r i c a nIdol with the online music store last as CoM Case aud There rn in-show integrations t a ht '&awed the contestants using i W to pick their m s c Full-length recordings of all the ui. Songs pefonned by each contestant were made available exclusively on i k e s . "The day that
A screencap from ivdia's online American Idol game
Z N ~ ~ H STUNK
iTunes and pwhase both the video &sap ance as well as a full-length audio perfamance:' says David Lamer, senior v h p i d e n t , interactive and consumer products at m t l e . ~t prro timq i m 8*;;'+ yet .-. corned as a spfor s a e& of . American Idol, which debuts J& 13, hut Fremantle is making sure that &a ghow hrrs plenty o online components. f &ensee Ludia, a new online video game w$l let players cx&e their own American Idol pkbmauce using oniine avatars and share the pmlbmmce videos in a denvironment. T h i s i n ~ v i t y i s ~ ~ h a t ,c o ~ , especially kids, are looking for."wds want t o be active in tb% music sp:' says W s *f;*t lib scmk star"toys ad wda w t ls internet. 'Kids c n upl& m k , dawnlapi a music, share fh&mmk lb$mcze&a&;'~d W t h e i l @ m e t , m ~ ~ d r n L m inhib&iugthc~ofthemusic~,~b dmstx e it." I Whereas the internet is e n the ka& licensing category does haw a sa-w pint, and the catepry rimy l do8e to m reaching it. Slumps in physical GD galed , mean that more musiciaw and are entering into licensing 'loo \ forms of revenue, but not all of t& l @ are able to carry a successfd The economic downthis oategory needs, howem, start to go after enly the brands. With so many falling into that arena,