Snapchat partners with Republic Records to launch “Band Tees” – digital avatar merch from Lil Wayne, Greta Van Fleet and more

Greta Van Fleet, one of the acts featuring the Band Tees digital merch on Snapchat. Credit: Troy Larson

Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP) has partnered with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records to launch Band Tees, a Bitmoji-centric digital merch collection featuring avatar apparel from The Jonas Brothers, Lil Wayne and more.

The Snap-owned social and messaging platform, which had 383 million daily active users in Q1 2023, today announced its virtual article collaboration with Republic. As part of the union, the companies have collaborated on “digital merch tops” from the aforementioned acts, as well as Greta Van Fleet, Kim Petras, Metro Boomin and Nicki Minaj.

And while the Band Tees collection is expected to expand with more creators and labels in the future, Snapchatters can currently dress their Bitmoji avatars in virtual t-shirts and/or hoodies from popular artists.

A cursory look at the equivalent (free) option reveals that most digital garments support artists themselves, rather than individual projects. But The Jonas Brothers was recently released The albumwhich the group has also marketed with partnerships candy Crush Saga and TikTok, is depicted on part of the intangible clothing. (The three-piece band is also gearing up for a 35-date stadium and arena tour in August.)

Similarly, Metro Boomin’s band of Tee reads “Boominati,” while another, decidedly plain, band of Tee features a red star. Needless to say, it’s worth keeping an eye on the offering over the coming months and years, especially to see how it’s playing out on new releases, touring, and even physical merch lines.

More broadly, the initiative represents the latest in a series of music-focused ventures for Snapchat, which claims to have more than 750 million monthly active users.

“Snapchat’s Sounds, AR-Lens technology, and our Live Nation partnership have proven to be a powerful distribution tool for artists and creators to expand their creative canvas and share their music globally,” the platform said launched in February and is zeroing in on live music AR experiences specifically.

As for licensing, Snapchat — which has only had deals with all three major labels since late 2021 — last month announced deals with UnitedMasters (including eligibility for its artists), Buma/Stemra and SUISA, the latter of which had been sued in Santa Monica resident platform in 2022 for copyright infringement.

As the market closed today, Snapchat stock was worth $9.78 per share, up 10.5 percent since the start of 2023. The company is expected to release its second quarter results on Monday, July 24th.