Remember when the big music companies were on an acquisition spree in the world of merchandise?
The Covid pandemic – and the resulting global halt to touring – has largely put a stop to that over the past couple of years.
Now, however, those wheels are in motion again: today (January 19), Sony Music Entertainment confirmed that it has made a strategic investment in Ceremony of Roses (CoR), a “boutique” merchandising company founded by an entrepreneur from music and fashion. Brad Scoffern.
In doing so, SME is launching a new global media, branding, design and events company, which will maintain the Ceremony of Roses brand.
Sony merchandising activities around the world will now be part of the new Rose Ceremony.
SME’s New York-based Thread Shop division, which represents artists such as The Beatles, Camila Cabello, Jimi Hendrix, Maluma, Led Zeppelin, Lil Nas X, P!nk, Rosalia and more, will remain 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 generate new business opportunities around the world.”
Obviously, given that Sony Music is set to rebrand and revamp its entire global merch operations under the Ceremony Of Roses identity… MBW is leaning towards assuming the major has acquired a majority stake. (A Sony Music spokesperson declined to comment on this detail.)
Founded in 2016 by Scoffern, Rose Ceremony Already working with superstars like Adele, Olivia Rodrigo, A$AP Rocky, Baby Keem, Rex Orange County, Dominic Fike, Cordae, AG Club and more.
SME’s new flagship global merchandising arm will be led by Scoffern and his partner/chief business officer Mary Healy.
Sony says the new company will focus on a wide range of merch and artist-making 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 Golden Voice & Live Nation festival partners and maintain a management client list.
Before Covid halted the momentum of major record company takeovers in the trade, there were a series of acquisitions made by Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group.
In late 2018, Warner Music Group spent $180 million to buy merchandise maker (and e-commerce store) EMP in Europe.
In 2019, Sony Music bought British merch company Kontraband, as well as the Araca Group’s music merch division, while Universal Music Group picked up one of the main American independent merch companies, Epic Rights, and l integrated into Bravado.
Then, in 2020, Sony Music’s The Thread Shop announced another acquisition in this area, buying UK-based merchandising company Probity.
Prior to founding Ceremony of Roses, Scoffern was Managing Director of 4Strikes Management, reporting to Christian and Kelly Clancy on their leadership team for Odd Future, Tyler, the Creator and Mac Miller.
Additionally, while at 4Strikes, he was one of Camp Flog Gnaw’s Carnival Directors and General Manager of Tyler’s Golf Wang clothing brand, a position he still holds.
Prior to joining CoR, Healy served as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Growth at Scooter Braun Projects (SBP) where she led SBP’s Consumer Ventures team; a group tasked with developing talent-backed brands, including Justin Bieber’s Drewhouse.
Prior to SBP, Healy spent 10 years at Google and YouTube across a range of roles in the media and branded content space.
“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 of 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 have been huge fans of his work with Golf Wang and what Ceremony of Roses has developed for its cutting edge roster of frontline talent.
“I look forward to joining forces to bring innovative ideas and concepts to our artists as extensions of their musical talent.”
“Joining Ceremony of Roses’ merchandising expertise with SME’s global reach, roster and resources, we are poised for an exciting new chapter of growth.”
Brad Scoffern added: “I am beyond excited and truly honored to be working with Rob Stringer and the entire Sony music team. I’m thrilled to work with a team that shares our artist-centric approach to supporting creative talent.
“By joining Ceremony of Roses’ merchandising expertise with SME’s global reach, roster and resources, we are set for an exciting new chapter of growth.
“CoR was founded with the goal of enabling and expanding authentic fan-artist relationships beyond a touring t-shirt, and working with amazing artists and mentors, especially Tyler, the creator and Christian Clancy, I learned the value of fan engagement and the unique role of merchandise and branding in that relationship.
“I look forward to helping the artists we work with leverage the incredible advancements happening in space today to deliver amazing experiences and products across all touchpoints with their fan base, no matter where they are or how they buy.”
In May 2021, speaking at Sony Corporation’s Investor Relations (IR), Rob Stringer said that Sony had spent $1.4 billion on music acquisitions in the previous six months and planned to spend more.
“We bought merchandising companies in every market in the world,” Stringer said. “We recently bought management companies in Germany and Mexico. Our eyes are on the world… wherever we think there is a deal that improves our ecosystem, we will be there.The music industry around the world