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Warner launches new artist services division

By | Published on Tuesday 21 June 2016

Warner Music

Ah, ancillary rights. What’s not to like? “Can I have some ancillary rights?” I like to say. “Go on, I’ll print you up a shitty t-shirt in return”, I add. “Oh, alright then, here, have all my ancillary rights”, they reply. That’s how easy it is to negotiate record deals these days, people. Those new popstars, they’ll do anything for you. Except sign a letter dissing YouTube. They’re not so keen on that.

Anyway, Warner Music has launched a new global division called Warner Music Artist Services bringing together all of the mini-major’s ancillary rights operations.

For record companies, ‘ancillary rights’ are the extra bits n pieces that have been added to record deals in recent years beyond sound recordings, which give the label a revenue share from and/or control over some of the artist’s other revenue streams like t-shirts, tickets, fan clubs and other direct-to-fan gubbins.

The fact that many labels still basically refer to these rights as ‘subordinate’ suggests they often see these elements of the deal as just little extra pots of cash, rather than a big fat opportunity – as a key investor in a new artist – to get involved in a part of the business that might have way more potential than selling records and servicing streams.

Nevertheless, most of the majors have set up teams and bought in merch businesses to manage and exploit these ancillary rights, and with its new division Warner Music is seeking to combine those operations – including the fan club business if took control of back in 2010, Artist Arena – into one division, with a view to expanding its service offering, to both artists signed to Warner labels, and beyond.

The new division will be run by Matt Young, who’s been with Warner since 2008, but before that worked in the merch domain. Confirming his new gig, Young said: “We’re evolving what it means to run an integrated artist branding campaign. We’re a one stop solution made up of the best tour and VIP experts, branding specialists, web designers, CRM marketers, analytics teams and merchandise staff in the business. I’m so excited to work with the artists and all the folks on this new team”.

His new boss, WEA President Matt Signore, added: “We are committed to constantly improving the services we provide to artists and I believe in this current environment, our newly unified structure will enable us to move faster and experiment more. It’s no secret how amazing Matt Young is, I know he’s going to bring the teams together and drive this growing part of our business forward”.