The agreement marks the latest in a series of initiatives under EMI Music Publishing's Lyric brand, which helped create art posters, greeting cards and board games in the last few years. The deal was brokered by cutting-edge licensing agency Corporate Creative Licensing in conjunction with EMI Music Publishing's Head of Media Licensing Steve Hills and Tu Childrenswear Buying Manager John Carolan. Michael Gottlieb, corporate creative head of licensing, said, "I am thrilled to have helped bring together a leading British retailer with the leading British music publisher. The EMI catalogue contains the world's greatest lyrics, and now Sainsbury's customers will be able to wear inspirational clothing featuring some of the most famous words ever written."
As artists look to replace dwindling revenue streams from recorded music, we are going to see more of these types of innovative and creative deals that take the "brand equity" of the artist and their songs and extend that into new forms of licensing, collaborations with brands and businesses. This particular deal by EMI is such a "no brainer" that I'm surprised it's not being done by every music publisher. Lyric Culture, in West Hollywood, has a similar business plan, but their t-shirts are high-priced, boutique items, not mainstream-consumer-friendly and not widely available at a nationwide retail chain. But that's the great thing about "no brainers" like EMI's deal with Sainsbury's. They only become that way when someone makes them actually happen!
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Mike Tunnicliffe owns Tuna Music LLC, a New York- and London-based management company. Find out more at miketunnicliffe.com.