Bravado, the global merchandising arm of Universal Music Group, has announced a deal with Apple Corps., the management boutique founded by the Beatles in 1967, covering rights to Beatles merchandise in North America, making UMG, for all intents and purposes, the home of the Beatles in North America. As today's statement put it, the deal "[enables] Universal Music Group to provide a unified marketing strategy for the music and associated products of the most influential and beloved band in the history of music."
UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge wrote in a statement that “all of us at Universal Music Group are very excited about extending our relationship with the Beatles’ iconic brand to include both merchandise and their legendary recordings, and about the potential for innovative marketing of creative new products.”
Bravado began handling merchandising for the Rolling Stones in 2008 for licensing, retail, Internet and, with the 50th anniversary shows. While touring is, of course, a moot point, with the Beatles one could expect a similar approach in terms of creativity, a diverse range of products, and a broad array of retail partners. Bennett told Billboard in an earlier interview on pitching the Stones “about how we thought we could grow the retail part of the business, as well as online and licensing, by marrying the music and the merchandising together so we could go and offer retailers all over the world a more complete package. By tying into the enormous reach of Universal in 44 countries, it just revolutionized our business to the fact that they’re the most successful and first real example of how well music and merch work together. What it has enabled us to do with a worldwide product like the Rolling Stones and a worldwide company like Bravado/UME, we’ve been able to go into markets where they weren’t as well served in the past because the people [the Stones] worked with in the past just weren’t in all these markets. We’ve really treated them like a premier music brand, we’re making sure we only do great things with them with great products in great stores at great prices, and it’s astounding how well it’s working.”
Bravado handles merchandising for hundreds of artists (roughly 798, according to their web shop), among them Black Sabbath, New Kids on the Block, Lady Gaga, Guns 'N Roses, Justin Bieber, Bob Marley.