Friday, March 13, 2009

Bob Marley Merchandise Expansion

I just read an article in the recent Rolling Stone issue called "Marley Estate Plans Aggressive Expansion." Being a Bob Marley fan, I was interested to see what it said. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

Basically, Marley's estate is going to start expanding the amount of merchandise they sell around the world. Marley memorabilia is all over the place to begin with, especially at exotic vacation spots. How could they even sell more than they are right now...?

Oh, it can be done.

They're planning on selling the following types of items: Marley Coffee (slogan being "Stir It Up"), soccer balls, bedsheets, a Grand Theft Auto type video game, skis, pillowcases.

Isn't that just a bit too far?

Marley's family (children and other members) met up with the CEO of Hilco to make Marley an official retail business. So many companies bootleg Bob Marley stuff for profit. The bootleg businesses (vacation spots that sell Marley merchandise without the authority of the Marley family) combined has a business ten times the size of Marley's family. They would like to conceal that profit for their own gain. Do we blame them?

Bob Marley merchandise is so easy to come by. Ash trays, t-shirts, beer coozies, bandanas--you name it--they're everwhere. I mean, maybe there IS a demand, but I wouldn't be as apt to buy a Bob Marley t-shirt than if I came across another band or star that didn't sell their merchandise as much. It would be a hotter comodity. Rarer. It's just a giant already. How can they make a giant even bigger?

I can understand the motivations of the Marley family (I would probably do the same thing if I had a super-famous deceased rock-star father), but it just seems over-the-top. Marley coffee? Come on. Pillow cases? Too much. It's making him less cool by having his face posted all over EVERYTHING.

Right now, Marley's estate has pulled in $3 million as of 2008. He's ranked in the top 10 of top-earning estates for deceased rockers. Pretty intense.

So what do you think of Marley's family commercializing his name and reputation for profit and merchandise?

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