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Rhino Licenses Grateful Dead Intellectual Property

SAN FRANCISCO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — One of rock’n’roll’s longest lasting institutions and well-marketed brand names, The Grateful Dead, have announced a licensing agreement with Rhino Entertainment to exclusively manage all of the band’s intellectual property.

Rhino, a subsidiary of the Warner Music Group that is best known as a premier reissue label, will oversee everything from the band’s vast archive of live recordings and its Web site to its merchandise and use of its likeness. Grateful Dead Productions will retain creative control, according to the New York Times, and the deal does not include any of the band’s music publishing rights.

“In the last couple of years, it became apparent that the business was just too much trouble,” Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir told the paper. “The Grateful Dead of yore was built around being a touring band, and when we stopped touring, the structure wasn’t there.”

The deal reflects the shift rapidly taking over the music industry, as labels can no longer rely on CD sales as sole sources of revenue. The Dead agreement is similar to the multi-rights deal signed by Korn and EMI Music last year, that makes EMI a partner in the band’s overall business, including its publishing, touring, merchandising and multimedia activities.

“The music industry has to change,” Jimmy Edwards, VP at Rhino, told the paper. “We can’t just put CD’s out to retail. We need to be more involved with protecting the legacy of the artists.”

The deal is significant for the Dead because of the lack of infrastructure for the group, after they disbanded following the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. As each member pursues their own projects, Rhino will provide a solid source of income based on the band’s legendary marketability.

Mickey Hart, longtime drummer for the Grateful Dead, noted that the band started its recording career with Warner Brothers in 1966, and remained on the label through the mid-1970s.

“It’s kind of funny,” he told the paper. “We tortured them so much in the early days, so maybe now we’re making up for it.”

Hard said he hopes the arrangement would free up the band, and possibly mend relationships enough for the Dead to once again make music together. “To us, the Grateful Dead was always about the music, not just going to board meetings. The business got so big, and that’s not what we signed up for.

“When we don’t have to do business together, maybe we can become friends again. Maybe we can even play together again.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers