Legendary music industry, concert merchandising, and brand management executive Dell Furano has died, aged 71.
He passed away peacefully on Saturday (September 4, 2021) after a battle with cancer.
With 50 years’ experience in the music, entertainment and sports merchandising, branding and licensing business, Furano worked closely with talent and their management in developing merchandising and licensing programs for bands and artists throughout his career including AC/DC, Aerosmith, Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Coldplay, David Bowie, Def Leppard, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon, KISS, Led Zepplin, Madonna, Michael Jackson, NKOTB, Ozzy Osbourne, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, The Who, U2 and ZZ Top among many others.
After graduating from Stanford University in 1972, Furano partnered with his brother, Dave Furano, and the legendary concert promoter Bill Graham to co-found Winterland Productions, the merchandising and licensing company in the early days of the concert industry. Winterland Productions was acquired by CBS Records in 1985 and subsequently sold to MCA/Universal in 1988.
In 1993, Furano became the founding CEO of Sony Signatures, Sony Corporation’s powerhouse entertainment, merchandising, licensing and consumer products division. He directed the licensing for Columbia and Tri-Star Pictures and Television, as well as the highly successful licensing program for the France-based World Cup Soccer Tournament.
In 1999, Furano founded Signatures Network and expanded into the official artists’ websites, social media, VIP Ticketing/Fan Club and e-commerce business. Live Nation acquired Signatures Network in January 2008. Dell oversaw the Live Nation Merchandise division until the end of 2012.
Furano was a Board Member of the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the primary trade organization for the worldwide licensing industry.
In 2017, he was inducted into the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association Hall of Fame.
“I, together with the whole Epic family, am going to miss him dearly.”
Phil Cussen, Epic Rights
Phil Cussen, President/COO, Epic Rights, said: “I have been honored to work for Dell for the better part of thirty years. He was a true visionary – constantly re-inventing our business for changing times while embracing evolving technologies.
“Through all the changes, he never lost sight of the artist, their representatives, the fans, our partners and our employees.
“He had a profound and positive impact on so many lives and careers – he was a very special guy, a true giant. I, together with the whole Epic family, am going to miss him dearly. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Kym and the entire Furano family.”
“Dell was a true entrepreneur, and he leaves an enduring legacy.”
In a statement, Universal Music Group, said: “We mourn the loss of our friend and partner, Dell Furano, a trailblazer who helped to guide the formation and development of the music merchandise business.
“Dell was a true entrepreneur, and he leaves an enduring legacy. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
“He took an embryonic business and made it part of the infrastructure of Live Music.”
Rob Light, CAA
In an Instagram post, Rob Light, Head of Music at CAA, described Furano as “the true king of rock and roll merch”.
Added Light: “He took an embryonic business and made it part of the infrastructure of Live Music. He always found a way to get a deal done. And always made the artist money. All while being a decent, good person, who always had a smile and lived live music. RIP”
“He was a legend in the merchandising business, a great friend and above all, a true gentleman.”
Writing in tweet, Ozzy Osbourne said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Dell Furano. He was a legend in the merchandising business, a great friend and above all, a true gentleman. Much love and respect to his wife and family.”
“An irreplaceable original. Rest in peace and never to be forgotten.”
KISS tweeted: “Our dear friend, collaborator and partner Dell Furano has passed away after a relentless fight against cancer and ill health. He was the pioneer in T-shirts and merchandise going way back The 1960s. An irreplaceable original. Rest in peace and never to be forgotten.”Music Business Worldwide