Meet Warner Music Artist Services, The Division Doing Commerce and Marketing for Artists

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 25: Warner Music Group branding is displayed during the Warner Music Group Pre-Grammy Party in association with V Magazine on January 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images for Warner Music Group)

NEW YORK, NY – JANUARY 25: Warner Music Group branding is displayed during the Warner Music Group Pre-Grammy Party in association with V Magazine on January 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images for Warner Music Group)

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Existing in some form but formally being founded a few years ago, Warner Music Artist Services is the division of the company that seeks out opportunities for artists that move beyond the short-term brand partnership plays and more on the long-term wealth generating deals. With team members in NYC, Los Angeles, Nashville, Hamburg, London, Sydney, Toronto, and Tokyo, the division is healthily staffed at approximately 100 employees working in sub-departments like live, e-commerce, marketing and operations, product and global brand licensing and retail.
Matt Young, EVP of Warner Music Artist Services, comments on how the company operates in several verticals adjusting to the trend of artist development today. “We are the only company doing both the commerce and marketing aspects of our artist business. Gone are the days of stand alone merchandise,VIP or digital marketing companies. Our clients demand more. We strive to engage fans on all levels with a robust commercial and marketing approach that allows our artists fans to feel closer to music.”
One partnership that the division planned and executed was a fragrance line development and launch for artist Melanie Martinez. Sourcing the manufacturer and distribution channels for the fragrance, the division also helped set up Martinez pre-order on her website. Within the short pre-order window, 10,000 units were sold. Alix Kram, VP of Global Brand Licensing and Retail, remarks that Martinez came up with the initial idea and the team was there to execute. ” she was highly engaged with her fanbase and she saw they were asking for it and therefore wanted to deliver for her fans.”
Melanie Martinez's Fragrance Cry Baby

Melanie Martinez’s Fragrance Cry Baby

WARNER MUSIC ARTIST SERVICES

Other campaigns have involved working with Warner affiliated artists like Wiz Khalifa who the division developed and launched a successful mobile app game, Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm, with over 10 million downloads. Dan Goldberg, SVP, noted how WMAS worked alongside Ed Sheeran to provide a more pleasant merchandise buying experience for his fans while he toured. He notes, “we set out to achieve two goals: Give the fans the ability to purchase merchandise without waiting in line, and understand who the actuals fans were in the venue.  We built a bespoke experience that did just this.  Fans could purchase merchandise and “skip the line” at any booth in the venue, or have it shipped to their house. The program was a success in driving incremental revenue and engagement.”

Aside from working with Warner artists, the division also works with other artists and even other brands in the industry. Jason Barrett, VP, explains how the division’s relationship with WWE. “We have a unique partnership with WWE, having curated and managed WWE’s VIP Experience program since 2014 and generating north of $15M in Gross Revenue in that time period.” Barrett continues by mentioning how the division also works in the area of theater. ” Broadway? Sure, we do that to. We are very excited to continue to build out merchandising solutions (in venue, e-commerce, retail and VIP) for Broadways latest critically acclaimed production ‘Be More Chill’.”

Wiz playing Wiz Khalifa's Weed Farm on his phone.

Wiz playing Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm on his phone.

WARNER MUSIC ARTIST SERVICES

The department also works with Def Jam artist, Logic, on different projects. Kram notes, ” We partnered with Zumiez on a Direct-to-Retail basis to launch an exclusive “Bobby Tarantino” by Logic collection that released over 4 drops from Fall’18 into Sp’19 that included front store window takeovers, digital marketing and helped expand Logic’s brand into apparel beyond basic merchandise.” Goldberg adds by saying, “We continue to elevate and grow Logic’s brand, last week we launched and instantly sold out of a line to accompany his recent NY Times best seller, Supermarket.”
When asked whats next for the widely successful division, Kram answers by saying, “We will continue to disrupt the industry by challenging the concept of what is traditional artist merchandise. It’s not just apparel. You will see us continue to engage fans on behalf of artists as you start to see more of an entry into the Beauty, Spirits and Tech industries as well as the wild west of the fast growing “Cannabusiness.” Goldberg adds, ” The norm is boring, and we’re not slowing down.  We’re already developing new tools to better understand our artist’s fans, and new ways to engage them.  We live at the intersection of fan engagement, art and commerce. That won’t change.”
"Bobby Tarantino by Logic T-Shirt at Zumiez

“Bobby Tarantino by Logic T-Shirt at Zumiez

WARNER MUSIC ARTIST SERVICES

Summing up the sentiment of working with an agile and talented team of individuals   who advance creatives and companies in a major way, Matt Carroll, VP, states, “It is unique to me to be working with artists at every stage of their career.  To be connected specifically to Warner Bros. Records and all of the new exciting music they are bringing in as well as a roster that contains legendary artists such as Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Neil YoungEric ClaptonMichael Buble and so many more.”  He ends by saying, ” Everyone in our organization understands the expectations of giving our artists and their fans 110% every day.  We take care of that and the rest takes care of itself.”
[“source=forbes”]