In early January 2008, the New York-based MerchDirect announced that they had signed a deal with the estate of Russell Jones, aka “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” to produce and sell “authorized merchandise/wearable art sanctioned by widow Icelene Jones”. Lee Tepper, CEO of MerchDirect stated in the release that the initial ODB merchandise would be available for February, Black Music Month and true to his word, the “ODB Online store” (merchdirect.net/odb) will open its doors as of Tuesday, February 12th.
Media and fan response to the initial deal announcement was worldwide and news services, blogs, hip-hop sites, magazines, radio station sites, etc. reported that MerchDirect is the only “estate authorized company” permitted to manufacture a new line of ODB merchandise. The ODB news spread far and (world)wide: India, England, Canada, Suriname, Spain, Finland, The Netherlands, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, and the United States and now, the first facet of the line is available â€“ the T-shirts.
Icelene Jones, the estate’s Administrator stated, “MerchDirect has an excellent reputation and its run by two seasoned musicians. They are highly respected by record labels, recording artists and fans alike. Their use of modern-day technology to generate accurate sales and monitor global revenue is well-known and that convinced me to work with them.”
To preview the new ODB T-shirts, click onto merchdirect.net/odb but keep in mind the “catalog photos” are only the first phase. Several other items, including ODB posters, hoodies and planned one-of-a-kind commemorative merchandise will become available shortly as well. MerchDirect is now taking orders and the company’s intention is fulfill the obvious demand from ODB for high-quality authorized merchandise and contribute to the ongoing welfare of all of ODB’s children and his widow. Since his death 3 years ago, between fifteen to twenty-two parasitic companies have been selling “unauthorized ODB shirts” without a penny being paid to his estate.
“I was particularly annoyed to discover how the unauthorized companies were capitalizing on the sale of shirts with ODB’s likeness. Since he died in November 2004, his immediate family has struggled with their loss and they have rebounded slowly. We feel we will have a long-standing arrangement with the estate and we’re going to help them wherever possible,” MerchDirect CEO Lee Tepper stated.
Icelene Jones, ODB’s widow as the “Administrator” of her late husband’s estate is poised to collect funds due the estate from all sources in the entertainment industry. The estate’s relationship with MerchDirect sets a standard “the estate is determined to follow”. Working with honest, creative and accountable companies like MerchDirect will not only generate revenue for the estate’s rightful heirs but properly promote ODB’s contribution to the world of rap music. The “logging on of the ODB online store” is our first step in that direction.
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CONTACTS: George Dassinger/Dassinger Creative 973/890-1008
Lee Tepper/MerchDirect 631/891-0111