Warner Music Group continues to diversify beyond recorded music with the acquisition of EMP Merchandising, a major European specialty music and entertainment merchandise e-tailer. Details of the deal were not shared. EMP is currently owned by Sycamore Partners, a NYC private equity firm.
The deal follows recent WMG acquisitions, including Sodatone, the data driven A&R insight tool; youth media brand UPROXX, Spinnin’ Records, an independent electronic music company; and Songkick, the live music and ticketing destination.
EMP will become a stand-alone, direct-to-fan business unit within WEA, WMG’s global artist and label services division headed by Tony Harlow. EMP is led by CEO Ernst Trapp and CFO Jan Fischer, who will continue to manage the company. Founded in Germany in 1986, EMP offers fans merchandise from such top artists as Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, Metallica, Motörhead, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Doors and others.
EMP is also a lifestyle e-tailer, offering merchandise from major entertainment brands including Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Harry Potter; gaming brands such as Nintendo and PlayStation; sporting franchises including the NFL and alternative fashion brands like Vans. The company operates a network of websites serving 18 European countries, with a community of millions of customers.
“EMP has built a powerful lifestyle destination that will be a perfect complement to our global artist development and marketing strategies,” said Stu Bergen, CEO of International & Global Commercial Services, Recorded Music, WMG. “Their music-led expertise will give us great insight into what audiences love and what they want, and at the same time open up exciting new opportunities for our artists. We look forward to bringing Ernst, Jan, and everyone at EMP into WMG’s growing family of brands.”
“In today’s streaming world, merchandise is still one of the best ways that fans can express their passions and personalities,” said Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music, WMG. “It’s also a big part of how music has visible and physical impact on global culture and fashion. Welcoming EMP will be our latest move to expand our relationships with influencers across the globe.”
“It’s always been our goal to create the most authentic, exclusive products,” said Ernst Trapp. “Our team is made up of devoted fans who are curating the music, themes, and lifestyle brands that they know fellow fans will embrace. By joining WMG, we will be able to expand our international reach, explore new genres, reach new audiences, and take fan experience to a whole new level.”