"For artists, merchandising is today's record store signings": Bravado CEO on The Rolling Stones @ Selfridges

It’s at the launch event for Selfridges’ The Rolling Stones pop-up store in London that Bravado CEO, Matt Vlasic explains that today, ‘artists are becoming more engaged in the licensing process than ever before.’
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The Rolling Stones

As more and more music is consumed via mobile phones and technology, artists and bands are looking towards licensing to drive listener and fan engagement.

As music starts to lose its tactile nature, finding new platforms upon the likes of iTunes or Spotify, the rise in artists’ appreciation of merchandising has been heralded as the modern day equivalent of record store signings.

It’s at the launch event for Selfridges’ The Rolling Stones pop-up store in London that Bravado CEO, Matt Vlasic explains that today, ‘artists are becoming more engaged in the licensing process than ever before.’

“Bands and artists are realising that music is consumed through technology at an ever growing rate. The majority of it is through mobile phones which means there are fewer and fewer touch points for fans to engage with the artist,” Vlasik told Licensing.biz.

The days of purchasing CDs may not be dead, but are certainly on the wane, he said, and along with it all the other processes involved – unfolding the cover sleeve, taking in the artwork and band imagery.

“So it’s no real surprise that these guys are finding new avenues through which to engage with their fans, whether it’s through the clothes they wear, the drinks they drink or the experiences they have.”

The Rolling Stones @ Selfridges Corner Shop is a three-week exhibition and retail experience aimed at not only fans of the band, but fashion, tapping into the brand’s heritage of costumes and cat walk fashion and bringing it to the retail outlet.

Launched on Monday, May 14, the exhibition will be replicated at select Selfridges stores across the UK, including Manchester and Birmingham ahead of the band’s UK No Filter Tour opening on May 17.

A museum-retail outlet hybrid, the exhibition space offers a look back on the history of The Rolling Stones with a showcase of a number of the band members’ most iconic stage costumes, Keith Richards’ guitar collection and of course plenty of opportunity to purchase ‘a part of The Rolling Stones.’

Whether it’s with the £7,000 The Rolling Stones pool table or the far less costly Rolling Stones Moleskin Notebook, there’s a breadth of product to cater all tastes and wallets.

The Rolling Stones emblazoned London Crystal glasses appear to be a popular number, alongside the branded London Gin.

The exhibition itself is the brainchild of The Rolling Stones, the brand’s licensing agency Bravado and of course Selfridges. It’s the latest in a growing portfolio of fan engagement experiential events that follows the likes of the Justin Beiber pop-up shop in New York City or the recent collaboration with The Wknd.

Despite the spectrum of products on offer, Bravado’s Vlasik is keen to note that collaboration is key to the success of partnerships such as these.

“The Rolling Stones, the guys from the band – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in particular – are very involved with the whole process from start to finish,” he explained.

“Approvals take forever, but you know that what you are getting is bonafide, from the heart of the band. They want to protect their brand, the image and the heritage of The Rolling Stones and then allow consumers to engage with it on an authentic level.

“This is today’s equivalent of the record store signing, this is the band representing themselves to the audience and you couldn’t get a much more iconic retailer to do that with than Selfridges.”


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