Bravado partners with Alibaba to bring its artists’ merchandise to Chinese consumers

Bravado, the merchandising and brand management arm of Universal Music Group, has partnered with Alibaba Group today to launch a new means of bringing music artists’ merchandise and collaborations to Chinese consumers.

Under the new partnership, Bravado will launch its own store on Tmall Global, the largest cross-border business-to-consumer marketplace in China, where it will showcase merchandise from a portfolio of international recording artists, ranging from Tupac and Guns N’ Roses, to The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Taylor Swift.

Swift will be the store’s first featured artist, while other collections and collaborations will be added each month.

The store launch will be the first time that merchandise from Taylor Swift’s most recent album, folklore, will be available in China. In addition, Swift will debut her newest collection exclusively on Tmall Global during Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, giving Chinese shoppers access to it for two full weeks before anyone else in the world.

The collections will also be offered through Alibaba Group’s Hey Box, one of the most powerful marketing channels for new products.

In addition to this, the store will showcase a different featured artist each month, offering a specially curated range of products inspired and influenced by each featured act. These will include new and exclusive products and seasonal ranges, to coincide with album releases, tours, classic catalogues and other product innovations.

Universal Music China together with Bravado will work closely within Tmall Global and Alibaba’s ecosystem to help expand fan reach and interactivity through its technology and entertainment channels.

In recent years, Bravado has successfully leveraged merchandise as a platform to elevate artists’ individual brands and helped nurture new relationships with fans. The company’s partnership with Tmall Global will enable artists to share their full lifestyle experience, including collaborations into fashion, art and design alongside music projects.

“We’re extremely pleased to partner with Bravado to give fans in China the opportunity to connect with these remarkable musicians,” said Emma Lee, head of fashion for Tmall Global and Kaola, Alibaba Group.

“Through this partnership, Chinese consumers will be able to access exclusive merchandise from their favorite international recording artists that we know they will enjoy.”

John Habbouch, GM and CFO, Bravado, added: “At Bravado our mission is to amplify artist initiatives and create moments and experiences beyond music. This partnership with Tmall Global, in conjunction with our colleagues at Universal Music China, will provide both international and domestic artists with opportunities to engage more deeply with fans in China, and to continue to reach new consumers and audiences around the world.”

The Smiley Co., Alibaba, and Authentic Brands Group revealed as first keynotes for Festival of Licensing

The world’s largest retailer, Alibaba is joining the iconic Smiley brand, and the global brand management company, Authentic Brands Group as the first keynotes to be revealed for this year’s Festival of Licensing Live Stage agenda.

A month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry running from October 6th to 29th, Festival of Licensing incorporates three regional events linked to the world’s biggest markets – Europe, Asia and the Americas – and culminates with the global C-suite and executive-level virtual conference, Licensing Leadership Summit.

The Smiley Company, the French brand that has been on the scene since the 1970s, will open the festival and kick off the event’s Europe content with its slot at 9am on October 6th. 

Alibaba will take centre stage for the first day of the Asia week, while ABG will headline day one of the Americas week. Live Stage sponsor, Crunchyroll will keynote the America’s second day of content with a discussion around anime.

Festival of Licensing will also include educational content from event sponsor Licensing International, the leading trade association for the global licensing industry, working to foster the growth and expansion of licensing around the world.

“To have businesses of this stature, who are globally known and respected throughout licensing and beyond, headlining on the Festival of Licensing Live Stage is phenomenal. We couldn’t have asked for more,” said Anna Knight, vice president, licensing, Informa Markets.

“We have amazing regional sessions confirmed, as well, including fantastic panels. This is just the start. We have another four weeks to go and a tonne more keynotes and content yet to announce. It’s going to be an incredible line up with some truly inspirational sessions and can’t-miss educational content.”

Week 1: 6-8 October – Europe, powered by Brand Licensing Europe
Tuesday 6 October, 9am BST
Keynote presentation: Putting Purpose into your Licensing Programme
Nicolas Loufrani, Founder and CEO, The Smiley Company. Additional special guests to be announced.
Wednesday 7 October, 9am BST
Keynote panel: How the Sports Industry Swerved the Biggest Brand Disruption of Recent History
Joan Carrera Lopez, Senior Manager, Retail & CPG Licensing, Formula 1®; Tim Ellerton, Commercial Director, Team GB; + more panellists to be announced
On-demand sessions available from Tuesday, 6 October, 9am BST, including:
 What do Gamers Want?
Dan Amos, Head of Esports, Difuzed. Additional panellists to be announced.
Moderator: Ben Roberts, Content Editor, EMEA, License Global
Building a Long-Term Programme: What do Licensors Need to Do?
Nikki Samuels, CEO, factory; Ruth Golightly, Head of Buying, Children’s Clothing, Asda/George; Ashley Holman, Managing Director, Riverside Brands; Gabrielle Sims, Licensing Director, Fatface
Moderator: Richard Pink, Managing Director, Pink Key Licensing
Richard Pink said: “More than anything else, a brand will want to develop a licensing programme that has longevity. The licensing industry is littered with programmes that ran out of steam and fell by the wayside; our panel, with experts from each of the core components of a programme – brand, agent, licensee and retailer – will give you their view on what a licensor needs to put in place to ensure their licensing programme not only has legs but also, crucially, has the stamina to last the course.”
Week 2: 14-15 October – Asia, powered by Licensing Expo China and Licensing Expo Japan
 Wednesday, 14 October, 2pm CST
Keynote presentation : How Alibaba, China’s eCommerce Giant, Embraces Licensing
Alex Tsai, Head Of Partnerships And Licensing, Americas And Europe, Alibaba/Alifish

On-demand sessions available from Wednesday 14 October, 2pm CST


Understanding China’s eCommerce Ecosystem for Licensing
Moderator: Sky Canaves, Editor, Content Commerce Insider. Additional panellists to be announced.
Week 3: 20-22 October – Americas, powered by Licensing Expo
Tuesday, 20 October, 9am PST
Keynote presentation
Jarrod Weber, Chief Business Officer and President, Lifestyle, Authentic Brands Group
Wednesday, 21 October, 9am PST
Keynote presentationAnime 101: Breaking Down the Hottest Pop Culture Medium
John Leonhardt, Head of Consumer Products, Crunchyroll
Moderator: Amanda Cioletti, Event and Content Director, Licensing, Informa Markets
On-demand sessions available from Tuesday, 20 October, 9am PST, including:
What do Licensees Want?
A broad look at the licensing landscape and unique business terms in light of COVID-19, unpredictable entertainment calendars, the current retail climate and the growth of e-commerce.
Moderator: Steven Heller, Founder, The Brand Liaison. Additional panellists to be announced.
Doing Business in Latin America: Trade Promotion and Export Assistance to U.S. Brands
Sandra Tinajero, Economic and Commercial Section, U.S. Embassy to Quito
 What do Retailers Want in Latin America?
Hear from some major retailers in Latin America about what they look for when it comes to licensing.
Moderator : Dalia Benbassett, Vice President, Corporate Relations and Acquisitions, Tycoon Enterprises. Additional panellists to be announced.
Lightning on a Canvas: How Bob Ross Became an Icon of the New Generation
Cynthia Modders, President and Founder, Firefly Brand Management
Weeks 1-3 – On-demand session available from Tuesday, 6 October, 9am BST
A series of sessions curated by industry trade association Licensing International will also be available to view on demand during all three regional weeks.
What you Need to Know to do Business in… (Series)
This series will include 15- to 20-minute on-demand sessions covering information on market size, local licensing and retail trends, business practices and much more, for the following regions:
  • Europe: France, Russia and Germany
  • Asia: Japan, China and India
  • Americas: Brazil and Mexico
Basics of Licensing (Series)
Licensing 101 on-demand sessions will be available to view in local languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Spanish.
 Maura Regan, president, Licensing International, said: “We are again delighted to partner with the Global Licensing Group to provide best-in-class information and educational resources advancing the business of licensing for professionals in every market. Through our network of global representatives and associates, we’re preparing a slate of regionally focused content that will help executives new to the industry, as well as those looking to expand their business to new parts of the world. There truly will be something for everyone.”