Major labels buying merchandise companies is an established trend now, from Universal Music’s Bravado division acquiring rival Epic Rights in January, and Warner Music paying $180m for German merch firm EMP in October 2018. The latest example was announced this morning: Sony Music UK is acquiring merchandise firm Kontraband for an undisclosed amount.
The deal will see Kontraband “working collaboratively with each of Sony Music’s labels and their extensive artist rosters; as well as working closely with The Thread Shop – Sony Music’s US merchandise operation”. Note: The Thread Shop had its own consolidation announcement in August this year, when it acquired the merchandise division of The Araca Group.
Kontraband looks a good acquisition for Sony, having worked with a wide range of artists: Camila Cabello, Kylie Minogue, Bring Me The Horizon, PJ Harvey, The Streets and more. “From the very start of our conversations, there was a very clear vision about the role merchandise would play alongside their other services, so it’s a massive opportunity for us to be able to integrate as part of this,” said Kontraband director Paul Entwistle.