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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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MVT welcomes financial backing from Sony Music UK

Recorded music business giant Sony Music UK has become the first major industry player to commit to financially supporting Music Venue Trust (MVT) and its mission protect, preserve and improve Britain’s grassroots music venues.

The announcement, which comes after MVT’s recent Venues Day 2017 event in London, attended by more than 500 delegates, will be welcome news for the organisation following the controversial rejection of its request for funding by Arts Council England.

UK industry lambasts Arts Council over venue funding

Jason Iley, chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK, says: “Sony is committed to supporting and developing artists from grassroots to festival headliners. We recognise the vital role that grassroots music venues play in that journey, providing an essential platform for artists to be able to take their first steps and develop their audiences.

“These venues are the heart of our music communities, and we support the work of Music Venue Trust to protect, secure and improve them.”

MVT says it hopes the commitment from Sony – and the involvement of eight of the UK’s top booking agencies in the Sandbox at Venues Day – will encourage further financial support from key players in the British music industry.

“Post-Venues Day, MVT will be focusing on strengthening music industry relationships and working with our network of venues, the Music Venues Alliance, to fundraise to take forward priorities identified at the event,” comments Venues Day producer Bev Whitrick.

 


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