The Licensing Mixtape: New Kids On The Block’s Danny Wood Gets Candid About Music Licensing

From an early ‘90s kinetic whirlwind to a well-oiled machine, the licensing program of pop megagroup NKOTB has evolved into an ideal blueprint for music licensing. NKOTB’s Danny Wood tells License Global about going from merch mayhem to merch mastery.

Bibi Wardak

October 22, 2020

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In the late ‘80s, megawatt music group New Kids On The Block captured the international spotlight and dominated the pop music charts with their hit album Hangin’ Tough (1988) followed by the wildly successful Step-By-Step (1990). With the unimaginable fame, fandom and frenzy came a hunger for consumer products that saw early 1990s store shelves packed with licensed New Kids merch ranging from bedding, apparel, pins, trading cards and action figures, among countless other products.

As fans gobbled up products, the New Kids merchandise program ballooned into tour sponsorships, the first sponsored major entertainment-branded Super Bowl half-time show and much more.

In the newest episode of "The Licensing Mixtape" podcast, one of the inadvertent pioneers of music merchandise licensing, NKOTB member Danny Wood, tells License Global content editor Bibi Wardak about the group’s experiences licensing in the early years – and how he and the group today are fully in the driver’s seat, steering each aspect of their sophisticated, fan-driven, hands-on consumer products offerings including their wildly popular lines at Walmart, Target, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and more. The group has also been at the helm of a popular annual themed cruise, a branded television show and several internationally successful tours teaming up with the likes of Backstreet Boys, Boyz II Men, TLC and more.

Wood also shared insight into how the group is coping with the halt of live events and physical shows in 2020 by authentically engaging their beloved fan base via virtual events, as well releasing a quarantine-themed new single, “House Party,” starring Boyz II Men, Jordin Sparks, Naughty By Nature and Big Freedia with a star-studded music video featuring Mark Wahlberg, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Scherzinger and Jenny McCarthy. The song benefits No Kid Hungry, an organization that aims to end child hunger in America. Wood is also the founder of Remember Betty, an organization he created in honor of his late mother that directly benefits breast cancer patients.

The Licensing Mixtape · Episode 12: New Kids On The Block’s Danny Wood Gets Candid About Music Licensing

Hear the full interview in the latest episode of "The Licensing Mixtape," and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherGoogle PlaySoundCloud or Spotify

About the Author(s)

Bibi Wardak

Bibi Wardak is content editor at License Global, where she covers the licensing industry, the current retail landscape and the latest news on big brands including Amazon, Disney, NBA, NIKE and Netflix. With a diverse background in business journalism and entertainment, Bibi previously held senior editor roles at Entertainment Tonight and MarketingProfs. She holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.

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