Sony Music UK Acquires Kontraband Merchandise Company


Sony Music UK has acquired the full-service merchandise company Kontraband, it was announced Wednesday (Sept. 4). The deal will see Kontraband collaborating with all of Sony Music’s labels and artist rosters as well as its U.S. merchandise operation, The Thread Shop.

“We are continuously looking for ways to diversify our business and the acquisition of Kontraband allows us to help our artists enhance their brand and deliver new and exciting commercial opportunities,” said Sony Music UK and Ireland COO Nicola Tuer in a statement.

Kontraband is led by Paul Entwistle and Justin Smith, who boast over 20 years of experience covering merchandise sales, production and distribution worldwide. Their artist clients have included Bjork, Camila Cabello, PJ Harvey, 50 Cent, Kylie Minogue, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Iggy Pop, The Streets and Pixies.

“We're hugely excited about joining the Sony Music family,” said Entwistle. “From the very start of our conversations, there was a very clear vision about the role merchandise would play alongside their other services, so it’s a massive opportunity for us to be able to integrate as part of this. Kontraband's reputation was made by approaching merchandise in an innovative and creative manner and we're looking forward to continuing to deliver this for artists on the Sony Music roster.”

As a result of the deal, Kontraband will relocate from its office in London’s Finsbury Park to Sony Music’s headquarters in the Kensington district.

Back in August, Sony’s The Thread Shop acquired the music merch department of New York-based theatrical production company The Araca Group. In a press release announcing that deal, Sony Music Entertainment president, commercial group Richard Story noted that Sony Music Group had turned its focus on "significantly expanding its presence" in the growing area of music merchandise. Warner Music Group made a similar move last September when it acquired the leading European online retailer EMP Merchandising Handelsgesellschaft mbH.