Bob Marley, Reggae’s First Billion Dollar Brand

Legend, icon, king, are just a few words we’ve associated with Bob Marley. Now we will have to add another moniker, the “billion dollar rasta.”

In 1981 the world was mourning the loss of a music legend, now three decades later you can find the name Bob Marley on almost everything from clothing and apparel to electronics.

Bob Marley ranks in the top five richest dead celebrities, joining the likes of Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Andy Warhol.

In 2009, the Marley family struck a licensing deal with a Canadian private equity firm called Hilco Consumer Capital, which estimated that the brand would be racking up sales of $1 billion by 2012.

“It’s been an evolution,” Courtney White, a brand manager for the Marley family, told the NYPost in a recent interview. “What they were doing four years ago were more souvenir items: a lot of lighters, apparel. We’ve moved away from that in favor of products that focus on every aspect of your life.”

Earlier this year the House Of Marley introduced a line of electronics at the annual Consumer Electronics Show CES, including earbuds and over-ear headphones with names like Zion and Exodus. Last year, Marley Beverage Company launched Marley’s Mellow Mood teas and sodas, made with herbs such as valerian root and chamomile that are said to have a calming effect.

Bob Marley’s new documentary film “Marley” is now showing in select theaters and also available online.

Writer: Duhaney Grant