Image by Bradford Timeline (CC BY-NC 2.0)
The Beach Boys are the latest to join the heritage artists buyouts bonanza, selling a controlling interest in their master recordings and a cut of their publishing, memorabilia and overall Beach Boys brand to Irving Azoff’s new company Iconic Artists Group.
The deal doesn’t cover all the band’s output, as Universal Music Group owns a big chunk of their 1960s recordings and publishing, but Bloomberg still estimated that it could have been worth $100m-$200m.
On one level, the strategy for Iconic is fairly standard: making the most of the Beach Boys in the year of their 60th anniversary. “Potential plans include a documentary, a television tribute special, a touring exhibit, and more — and maybe, if everything lines up just right, their first reunion shows in nearly a decade,” reported Rolling Stone.
What we found just as interesting, though, is how Iconic is looking further forwards, with a focus on technology. “That includes VR, AR, 3D, CGI, natural language processing. That, to me, is probably the most interesting aspect of what’s going to transform our business,” said Iconic CEO Oliver Chastan.
“In five years, I could send you a text and say, ‘At 2 p.m., let’s put our Oculus Rift glasses on, and let’s go see the Beach Boys record ‘Good Vibrations’ at Western Recorders.’”
We tend to write a lot about whizzy digital marketing for frontline artists, but we’re just as interested in how the teams around heritage acts are eyeing new technologies.
From Iconic’s plans for the Beach Boys and Abba’s avatar tour to Elton John’s exploration of VR and AR, and Dolly Parton recording a swathe of unreleased songs to click tracks for producers to use in the future, the potential around digital legacies is huge.
The Beach Boys may be getting paid well in their deal (“Pounds, pounds, getting pounds, they’re getting pounds” etc) but the future tech plans are fascinating too – although much more fascinating if Iconic can work constructively with Universal to ensure the 1960s music is also part of that.