The Weeknd has officially inked “an expansive, long-term partnership” agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG).
The Big Three record label and the Toronto-born singer-songwriter unveiled their extended deal today. Beginning with future recordings, The Weeknd – who’s released all five of his studio albums via UMG’s Republic Records – will remain signed to the label for the foreseeable future, according to the involved parties.
On the publishing side, Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is poised to “administer all his future works and songwriting catalog in a new long-term deal” – albeit “upon [the] expiration of his existing commitment.”
Next, the multifaceted pact will see UMG’s Bravado brand-management and merch company continue to coordinate with The Weeknd and his XO Records label “to expand and develop global merchandising, branding, ecommerce and retail licensing opportunities around future projects and releases.” (XO co-founder and The Weeknd manager Wassim Slaiby is CEO of Universal Arabic Music.)
Lastly, the all-encompassing deal covers collaboration between the After Hours artist, UMG, and Republic on “future audiovisual projects.” The Weeknd previously partnered with Amazon to release a “fully immersive music special” based upon Dawn FM. (Universal Music Group in January finalized expanded contracts with Amazon Music and Twitch.)
Additionally, the 32-year-old Songfinch investor is the creator and executive producer of HBO’s upcoming The Idol, in which he will star alongside Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp.
Addressing today’s agreement in a statement, UMPG chairperson and CEO Jody Gerson pointed to the deal’s perceived potential to maximize commercial opportunities for The Weeknd, who’s preparing to kick off his After Hours til Dawn Tour in July.
“The Weeknd is a world-class, boundary breaking artist and I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him and Sal to UMPG,” said Gerson. “Through this expanded and multi-faceted agreement, UMPG, Republic and Bravado global teams will be empowered to work closely together under one roof, maximizing opportunities and value for The Weeknd’s artistry in unprecedented ways.”
Regarding other possibilities (beyond merch and visual media, that is) for the partnership between The Weeknd and Universal Music, it’s worth noting that the latter has deals in place with avatar-technology company Genies, non-fungible token platform Curio, and a different NFT platform yet, Snowcrash.
Universal Music Publishing Group itself has quietly closed contracts with the Juan Gabriel estate, SiriusXM-backed scripted-podcast service Audio Up, Spanish-language television network Univision, and Authentic Brands Group (centering on Elvis Presley’s song catalog) through 2022’s first third.