Merchandise is big business again for the big music companies.
According to its financial records, Universal Music Group made €363 million ($429 million) from “Merch and Other” in 2021, up 45.4% Year for year.
That rebound reflected a flattering year-on-year comparison to pandemic-hit 2020, but it also reflected Universal’s heavy investments in the merch sector in recent years.
One of UMG’s biggest investments in this regard came in January 2019, when it spent an undisclosed sum to buy LA-based Epic Rights and integrated it as a subsidiary brand with former rival Bravado.
Sadly, following that deal, Epic Rights co-founder and music merch pioneer Dell Furano passed away last year at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer.
But the legacy of Epic Rights will surely live on at Bravado, not least with a significant new leadership change at the company.
Jesper Poulsen, veteran industry executive and Furano’s co-founder of Epic Rights, was named general manager of Bravado this week and as such joins the merch company’s management team.
Based in Los Angeles, Poulsen will oversee the day-to-day operations of Bravado and Epic Rights and will report to Bravado President Matt Young.
UMG says Poulsen will “maintain the individual brand identities of both Epic Rights and Bravado and oversee the teams of experts from both divisions.”
Poulsen will “play an integral role in advancing Bravado’s global merchandise strategy in the ever-changing landscape of the music and fashion industries,” adds UMG.
Commenting on Poulsen’s appointment, Matt Young said, “As we continue to execute on our global branding strategy, aligning the strength of Epic Rights more closely with Bravado exponentially enhances the reach, capability and depth of our services to our artists and their fans around the world.”
“Jesper brings a wealth of experience and his leadership in the Bravado ecosystem will only enhance our capabilities.”
“Aligning the power of Epic Rights more closely with Bravado exponentially enhances the reach, capability and depth of our services to our artists and their fans around the world.”
Matt Young, Bravado
Poulsen said: “I would like to thank Richelle Parham and UMG leadership team Matt Young and of course the team at Epic Rights for this opportunity.
“Having been mentored by Dell Furano, I am proud to continue developing what we started with Kym Furano and Phil Cussen almost 10 years ago.
“It’s an honor to work with so many incredible artists and their teams to reach their fans around the world. It’s an exciting time to be working in the artist services business and looking forward to what lies ahead.”
“Having been mentored by Dell Furano, I am proud to continue developing what we started with Kym Furano and Phil Cussen almost 10 years ago.”
Jesper Poulsen, Bravado / Epic Rights
Poulsen’s career in artist brand development, consumer products and fan experiences began at Signatures Network supporting the company’s growing wholesale business and digital strategy.
In 2008, he joined Live Nation Merchandise through an acquisition where he held the position of Brand Manager and helped oversee relationships such as KISS, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top.
In 2014, Poulsen founded the merchandise and branding company Epic Rights with Dell Furano, Kym Furano and Phil Cussen.
Bravado acquired Epic Rights in 2019 with a roster that includes KISS, AC/DC, Def Leppard, David Bowie, John Lennon, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan and the Woodstock Festival, among others.
Matt Young took over as President of Bravado in the fourth quarter of last year after previously spending 13 years with Warner Music Group/WEA.music business worldwide
https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/universal-merch-company-bravado-appoints-epic-rights-co-founder-jesper-poulsen-general-manager/ Bravado, Universal’s merch business, has named Epic Rights co-founder Jesper Poulsen as general manager