The Santa Monica-based company announced the strategic initiative Nov. 16. The deal will pair Universal’s artist management pedigree with New York City-based ABG’s robust portfolio of celebrity brands to market artist names and likenesses across a variety of consumer-facing businesses, including merchandising, memorabilia, licensing, media and entertainment.
“UMG and ABG have strong track records as powerful stewards of artist and celebrity brands,” Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, said in a statement. “Through this initiative, we will invest in name and likeness rights to create unique opportunities for artists with the goal of greatly expanding their cultural and commercial impact.”
The news comes one day after ABG, which owns celebrity brands such as those of Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley, acquired London-based photo agency Iconic Images, which owns millions of images of celebrities from the worlds of fashion, music and pop culture.
ABG’s partnership with Universal Music brings the music rights to an artist’s catalog underneath the same umbrella as that artist’s name and likeness, effectively amplifying opportunities to generate revenue across products and media, including film and TV.