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Sony Music to acquire merch company Probity

The Thread Shop, Sony Music’s merchandise division, is to acquire Probity Europe, a leading independent music merchandising company offering worldwide tour, retail, ecommerce and licensing services.

Probity’s roster of artists includes Metallica, Noel Gallagher, Oasis, Paloma Faith, Rage Against the Machine, Robert Plant and Van Morrison.

Following the acquisition, London-based Probity will become a new division of The Thread Shop, with the existing Probity team serving under company founder Mark Stredwick. Stredwick will report to Thread Shop head Howard Lau.

The takeover of Probity is the third merch-related acquisition by Sony Music since last summer, following similar deals with the US-based Araca Group and the UK’s Kontraband last year. The label’s in-house merchandising business is now home to the likes of the Beatles, Camila Cabello, Jimi Hendrix, Maluma, Led Zeppelin, Lil Nas X, Pink and Rosalia.

“Probity is an established independent leader in the European merch market”

“We are delighted to fully cement the organic relationship we had already developed with Howard and Sony Thread Shop,” comments Stredwick.

“The deal with Sony allows our growing roster to tap into more opportunities globally and benefit from innovative and creatively driven merchandising programs that The Thread Shop deliver with such passion.”

Adds Lau: “We are very pleased to be further enhancing the reach and competitive capabilities of The Thread Shop around the world with the welcome additions of Mark Stredwick and the Probity team.

“Probity is an established independent leader in the European merch market, representing some of the world’s most iconic music artists. Together we can offer our artist clients and the music community an even more robust set of merchandising opportunities to complement their music revenues, branding and marketing.”

 


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Sony expands merch presence with Kontraband deal

Sony Music UK has acquired London-based, full service merchandise company Kontraband, as the company continues to strengthen its foothold in the music merch world.

Kontraband has operated in the merchandising industry for almost twenty years, under the leadership of Paul Entwistle and Justin Smith.

The company works with clients including Iggy Pop, Kylie Minogue, Bombay Bicycle Club, Maximo Park, the Streets, Enter Shikari and Broadwick Live-promoted festival Field Day.

“We’re hugely excited about joining the Sony Music family,” says Entwistle. “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.

“Kontraband’s reputation was made by approaching merchandise in an innovative and creative manner and we’re looking forward to continuing to deliver this for artists on the Sony Music roster,” adds the Kontraband director.

“Kontraband’s reputation was made by approaching merchandise in an innovative and creative manner and we’re looking forward to deliver[ing] this for artists on the Sony Music roster”

“We are continuously looking for ways to diversify our business and the acquisition of Kontraband allows us to help our artists enhance their brand and deliver new and exciting commercial opportunities,” comments Sony Music UK and Ireland chief operating officer Nicola Tuer.

The move is Sony’s second in as many months in the merchandise sector, following the acquisition of the music division of US entertainment merchandising company the Araca Group.

The music merchandising sector has boomed in recent years, with sales totalling almost US$3.5 billion in 2018. Sony’s major-label rivals Warner and Universal have also their staked their claim in the merchandise space, in the form of EMP Merchandising and Bravado/ Epic Rights respectively.

Kontraband will relocate from its office in Finsbury Park, north London, to the Sony Music headquarters in Kensington.

 


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