Remember when the major music companies were on an acquisition spree in the world of merchandise?
The Covid pandemic – and the consequent global cessation of touring – largely put a stop to that over the past two years.
Now, though, these wheels are very much in motion again: Today (January 19), Sony Music Entertainment has confirmed that it’s made a strategic investment in Ceremony of Roses (CoR), a “boutique” merchandising company founded by music and fashion entrepreneur Brad Scoffern.
In doing so, SME launches a new global media, branding, design and events company, which will maintain the Ceremony of Roses brand.
Sony’s merch businesses around the globe will now become part of the new Ceremony of Roses.
SME’s New York-based Thread Shop division, which represents artists including The Beatles, Camila Cabello, Jimi Hendrix, Maluma, Led Zeppelin, Lil Nas X, P!nk, Rosalia and more, will remain as a brand under the Ceremony of Roses banner.
According to SME, “together, the Ceremony of Roses and Thread Shop teams will jointly leverage their capabilities to drive new business opportunities around the world”.
Obviously, considering that Sony Music is willing to rebrand and re-organize its entire global merch operation under the Ceremony Of Roses identity… MBW is leaning towards assuming that the major has acquired a controlling stake. (A Sony Music spokesperson declined to comment on this detail.)
SME’s new flagship global merchandising arm will be led by Scoffern and partner/Chief Business Officer Mary Healy.
Sony says that the new company will focus on a broad range of artist merch and manufacturing efforts including the management and development of artist-backed brands such as Macklemore’s Bogey Boys and Kehlani’s TSNMI.
Ceremony of Roses will also continue to support festival partners Golden Voice & Live Nation and maintain a roster of management clients.
In late 2018, Warner Music Group spent $180 million buying merch maker (and e-commerce store) EMP in Europe.
In 2019, Sony Music bought UK merch company Kontraband, plus the music merch division of The Araca Group, while Universal Music Group swooped for one of the leading US indie merch firms, Epic Rights, and folded it into Bravado.
Then, in 2020, Sony Music’s The Thread Shop announced another acquisition in this realm, buying UK-based merch firm Probity.
Prior to founding Ceremony of Roses, Scoffern was General Manager at 4Strikes management working under Christian and Kelly Clancy as part of their management team for Odd Future, Tyler, the Creator, and Mac Miller.
In addition, while at 4Strikes he operated as one of the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival Directors and General Manager of Tyler’s Golf Wang apparel brand, a position he still holds.
Before joining CoR, Healy served as the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Growth at Scooter Braun Projects (SBP) where she led SBP’s Consumer Ventures team; a group responsible for developing talent-backed brands, including Justin Bieber’s Drewhouse.
“Brad and his team at Ceremony of Roses have proven to be an incredibly creative force in developing futuristic branding and merchandising services for artists.”
Rob Stringer, Sony Music Group
Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group, said: “Brad and his team at Ceremony of Roses have proven to be an incredibly creative force in developing futuristic branding and merchandising services for artists.
“We’ve been huge fans of his work with Golf Wang and what Ceremony of Roses has developed for its cutting edge roster of front-line talent.
‘I look forward to joining forces to bring innovative ideas and concepts to our artists as extensions of their music talent.”
“By joining Ceremony of Roses’ expertise in merchandising with SME’s global reach, roster and resources, we are set up for an exciting new chapter of growth.”
Brad Scoffern added: “I’m beyond excited and truly honored to be working with Rob Stringer and the entire Sony Music Team. I’m delighted to be working with a team that shares our artist-first approach in supporting creative talent.
“By joining Ceremony of Roses’ expertise in merchandising with SME’s global reach, roster and resources, we are set up for an exciting new chapter of growth.
“CoR was founded with the goal of enabling and expanding authentic fan/artist connections beyond a tour tee, and through working with incredible artists and mentors, especially Tyler, the Creator & Christian Clancy, I have learned the value of fan engagement and the unique role merchandise and branding plays in this relationship.
“I look forward to helping the artists we work with build on the amazing advancements happening in the space today to deliver incredible experiences and products across all touchpoints with their fan base, regardless of where they are or how they buy.”
“We have bought merchandising companies in every market in the world,” said Stringer. “We have bought management companies recently in Germany and Mexico. Our eyes are on the world… anywhere where we think there is a deal that enhances our ecosystem, we will be there.”Music Business Worldwide