In October, Warner Music Group (WMG) completed its $180 million acquisition of EMP Merchandising, a German music merchandise producer and online retailer. The acquisition will help WMB to better compete in the market, generate valuable fan data and continue to grow revenue.

“In today’s streaming world, merchandise is still one of the best ways that fans can express their passions and personalities,” says 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.”

Danny Rosin, CAS, co-owner of Brand Fuel and a founder of the Band Together music festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, notes, “One week, Fast Company releases a generalized story mostly bashing our industry in regards to ‘cheap, disposable trade show swag,’ and the next week, Warner Music Group (WMG) gets headline news by purchasing band merchandising powerhouse, EMP. In my opinion, this news is like putting a megaphone up to our industry’s mouth, helping the world realize the power of promo.”

Data from the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association shows that in 2016, global music merchandise sales grew 9.4 percent over 2015 to $3.1 billion. Capitalizing on that trend, EMP will become a standalone business, selling directly to fans, within WMG’s WEA global artist and label services division.

Rosin adds, “When promotional products are high quality, well-designed and connect with a loyal audience, margins can expand versus contract. Granted, that $45 Taylor Swift concert shirt you bought your daughter might never reach the same retail value for a corporate brand, but just imagine if we could coach our clients to fuel the power of their brands just like a band does—through beautiful design and packaging, aligned with event experiences and on high-quality products that do not end up in the landfill? We should all take a page from the big band merchandising playbook. The opportunities for aligning our goods and services with quality that will help with margin integrity are ripe for our industry.”