North End Music Store (NEMS) manager Brian Epstein became The Beatles’ manager after several live performances in his store. Brian negotiated the recording deals for their music, and planned a merchandising campaign. Prior to the group's first trip to America, Brian asked his “solicitor,” to find someone to handle the licensing of The Beatles image for merchandising. Brian’s rep, Mr. Jacobs, met a young man by the name of Nicky Byrne at a cocktail party and offered him the opportunity to manage that aspect for The Beatles. When asked what percentage would be requested, Byrne responded “90 per cent.” Jacobs agreed informing Epstein, who also agreed. Without any advance fee or discussion, Jacobs had given away 90 per cent of The Beatles' merchandising rights to an unproven business person who had no previous experience with merchandising, leaving only 10 per cent to be shared by the Beatles, Brian and NEMS. Nicky was quoted as saying he would have given 90% if they had asked.
Byrne flew to New York, and within a week Capitol Records had offered to buy him out for $500,000.00, including allowing him to retain half interest in the merchandising business. He turned them down. The young man seemed to have more of an idea of The Beatles' value than Epstein himself. When Epstein realized the full extent of his gaffe, he was dismayed. By August 1964, Mr. Jacobs had renegotiated the deal, raising the Beatles' royalty to 46 per cent, but by that time Epstein had instructed NEMS to begin negotiating with US firms direct. Court proceedings were instigated against him. Due to the legal problem, a large number of major firms, including Woolworth's backed out of negotiations and it was said that approximately One Hundred Million Dollars worth of merchandising deals were lost. To make matters worse, Byrne won his case and NEMS had to settle with him for a substantial cash payment.
Even before the U.S. deal some licensed items, like the Beatles UK perfume (late 1963) were offered. A bottle of that perfume now sells for $12,000. Tens of thousands of items were licensed during the mid 1960’s and again for the Yellow Submarine movie in 1968.
The first announced guest will be Gary Sohmers, who appears frequently as an appraiser of Pop Culture, Collectibles and Toys on the 3 times Emmy nominated PBS TV program “Antiques Roadshow.” Gary will be happy to discuss valuations of Licensed Music Memorabilia with attendees, and will be appearing at Booth 750 Tuesday and Wednesday June 22 & 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day.
There will be a preview of the ItsOnlyRocknRoll.com Media Contact:
Gary Sohmers 508-864-4498
Beginning with a John Lennon "Hard Days Night" outfit, his Ivor Novello award for "She's Leaving Home," and his Vox Python guitar strap. Over 50 Beatles autographs including a receipt signed by the five original Beatles, a fantastic Brian Epstein business card signed by all, and a Beatles Royal Command Performance backstage pass