Red Light Management founder and CEO Coran Capshaw is back in the e-commerce business after reacquiring a majority interest in Musictoday, the company he founded in 2000 and sold to Live Nation in 2006.
Capshaw confirmed to Billboard that he has reacquired the company, which sells merchandise — and bundles it with CDs and vinyl albums — directly to fans of hundreds of musical artists, festivals and concert events, as well as comedy and sports stars.
Among the artists it mer sells for are Dave Matthews, Chris Stapleton and Chicano Batman, as well as the Jerry Garcia Official store. (Musictoday operates its own website but also builds web stores for artists’ sites.)
“Given e-commerce’s effect on retail in general, it’s an important space to be in,” Capshaw said of his decision to buy back the company he created. (He declined to discuss the specifics of the deal or the price of the acquisition.) “And it’s an opportunity for artists to be in business for themselves with their own store platforms and to create better revenue streams—and data-gathering—for themselves while dealing directly with their fans.”
Even before Capshaw established Musictoday in 2000 to take advantage of the Internet’s retailing potential, he had been printing and inserting mini-merch catalogs into the jewel cases of his first management client Dave Matthews in the early-90s.
The company, which is based in Crozet, Va., quickly grew to employ approximately 140 (as it does now) and, in addition to bundling merch with CDs, worked with artist fan clubs to bundle concert tickets with merch for pre-sales.
In 2006, Live Nation acquired a majority stake in Musictoday and eventually bought the company outright. Then, in 2014, after making Musictoday’s ticket-sales operation a division of its Ticketmaster sales operation, Live Nation sold the remainder of the company to ?The Delivery Agent, an interactive-commerce company that specialized in digital transaction platforms for such TV networks and sports partners as NBC Universal, Fox, the Super Bowl and the U.S. Open. (Live Nation Merchandise remains a Musictoday client.)
Although Musictoday handles merch sales for a number of Red Light acts—for instance, it’s currently bundling t-shirts with CDs and vinyl albums of Chris Stapleton’s upcoming LP, From A Room: Vol. 1—the e-commerce company will operate independently of the artist management giant.
Capshaw says he’ll continue to work with the e-commerce company’s existing team, and that Del Wood, who functioned as Musictoday’s COO when it was owned by Live Nation and returned to the company late last year, will lead the operation.
I think e-commerce will grow in the music industry and in other business sectors,” says Capshaw who added that Musictoday potentially could start working with fan clubs again. “There are movements out there at the label, management and merchandising levels to maximize opportunities in the direct-to-consumer space. And it will become even more important as e-commerce continues to transform traditional retail.”