The music business’ latest attempt to create new revenue streams comes from a division of Universal Music Group, which, in an attempt to ape Sammy Hagar’s tequila success, has enlisted a beverage company to market drinks emblazoned with the likenesses of its artists:
Drinks Americas Holdings Ltd., the company behind a Donald Trump vodka, Willie Nelson’s “Old Whiskey River” bourbon and a line of Paul Newman-branded juice drinks, is set to announce today an agreement with Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M label group. Universal Music Group is owned by French media conglomerate Vivendi SA.
The idea of the deal, executives of both companies said, is to come up with brands of drinks — both alcoholic and nonalcoholic — that bear the imprimatur of artists on Interscope’s roster, which includes Eminem, producer Dr. Dre and Sting.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the deal is that record labels, including Interscope, nearly never control the rights to name and likeness rights like those needed to slap a celebrity’s face or name on a bottle. One exception is the Pussycat Dolls, a female pop group; in that case, from the group’s inception Interscope has been a participant in all kinds of licensing and merchandising deals.
The companies specified that it is Interscope’s obligation to negotiate drinks deals with artists. Drinks Americas, of Wilton, Conn., will then create the beverages, while Interscope will kick in marketing support for both the newly minted products and its partner’s existing line of drinks.
We’re not sure if she’s covered in the deal, but the one Universal artist who seems like a natural fit for this bit of cross-promotion is Amy Winehouse, who has single-handedly brought the Rickstasy out of oblivion. We can see a pre-mixed “Not Going To Rehab” bottle of the stuff slotting in right next to the Friday’s-branded mudslides at our local liquor outlet, even if the drink itself does sound like the type of beverage that you’d have to be drunk to quaff. (Honestly–Bailey’s and banana liqueur? Talk about a recipe for inducing vomit.)