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DELL FURANO REMEMBERED

Tributes are pouring in as artists and industry people absorb the passing of Dell Furano, a trailblazer in the merch world, co-founder of Winterland Productions, founder/head of Epic Rights and erstwhile Live Nation exec, who died on 9/4 after a battle with cancer. He was 71. 

“He took an embryonic business and made it part of the infrastructure of live music,” CAA Head of Music Rob Light wrote on Instagram. “He always found a way to get a deal done. And always made the artist money. All while being a decent, good person, who always had a smile and lived live music. RIP.”

California-born, Stanford-educated Furano joined promoter supreme Bill Graham in the launch of Winterland Productions, which became an early titan in concert merchandising and worked with many of the era’s biggest acts, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Michael Jackson among them. They sold the company to CBS in 1985; it was subsequently acquired by MCA/Universal.

Six years later, Furano founded Sony Signatures, the merch-licensing/consumer product hub for Sony properties including films and TV shows. In 1999 he set up Signatures Network, which became a powerhouse in digital merch and marketing as well as ticketing opportunities.

Live Nation acquired the company and Furano began a four-year stint as CEO of Live Nation Merchandise in 2008. He kicked off Epic Rights, a branding, licensing and rights-management concern, in 2014 with his wife Kym. Universal Music Group’s Bravado acquired the company in early 2019.

He was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

"I have been honored to work for Dell for the better part of thirty years," Epic Rights President/COO Phil Cussen offered. "He was a true visionary—constantly re-inventing our business for changing times while embracing evolving technologies. Through all the changes, he never lost sight of the artists, their representatives, the fans, our partners and our employees. He had a profound and positive impact on so many lives and careers—he was a very special guy, a true giant. I, together with the whole Epic family, am going to miss him dearly. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Kym and the entire Furano family."

A quote issued on behalf of UMG reads: "We mourn the loss of our friend and partner, Dell Furano, a trailblazer who helped to guide the formation and development of the music merchandise business. Dell was a true entrepreneur, and he leaves an enduring legacy. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."

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