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Art Licensing by artist Joan Beiriger: I'm happy to share art licensing info but please
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tracking the Success of Top Art Licensors

I find it very interesting and informative to track the retail sales figures of art licensors to see the ebb and flow of their success in licensing. The only figures that I find available (without paying a fee) is published yearly in the Global License! magazine's April issue of the "Top 100 Global Licensors." These articles list all licensors such as product brands, characters, entertainment and art. Disney always tops the list. In 2008, products with Disney art sold at retail $30B (billion). Scholastic Media was the 100th top licensor in 2008 at $50M (million) retail. In 2008, seven artists were listed in the top 100 licensors which means that they sold over $50M at retail. Note: The information on the amount sold at retail listed in Global License! magazine is dependent on what is reported to them by licensors because many are private enterprises. Thus, there could be other art licensors selling more than $50M at retail that are not included in the article because Advanstar (publisher of Global License! magazine) was not informed.

An interesting side note: If you do a "rough" calculation on how much money an artist would earn on $50M at retail and lets say at 5 percent royalty on the wholesale price ("if" one-half retail), it would be a staggering $1.25M.

Below is a chart of ten art licensors that I have tracked since 1998. Notice that three of the artists no longer make the top 100 licensors list. That could be because they no longer sell enough to make the list or they have opted not to report their figures to Advanstar.


  1. Very good post Joan! Just as a note to artists wanting to break into licensisng - the calculation above of a royalty payment is not usually based on 50% of retail. Most goods are sold at less than 50% of retail, with some being sold at 1/3 of retail or less, depending on the percentages and discounts offered. Large chains that place big orders get a much better deal and higher discount than an independent store. Of courses, if anyone has 50M in retail sales, they are still getting a nice royalty check, irregardless of the wholesale amount.

  2. Would love to see an update to this chart since the crash of '08. Btw who is Flavia? I googled the name and came up with tons of hits for Coffee and one hit for an illustrator.

  3. I don't think Flavia is licensing art anymore. Five or so years ago Flavia was a studio that had two major brands. Each was aimed at either specialty or at mass market and was on products everywhere.

  4. I'd love to get data to update this chart also. However, the only data available is from License Global of the top 150 licensors once a year. Hardly any artists are successful enough now to make the list and it is filled with brands (Coke Cola, etc.), entertainment and characters.