From Billabong’s Design for Humanity Swimsuit Runway show last June. Photos by Label Networks.

Action sports and music have always been closely intertwined with many brands in the industry working with musicians and/or launching their own record labels as an extension of the overall lifestyle of their brand. So when Billabong announced last week their new strategic partnership with Universal Music Group, it made sense.

According to Billabong: Under this new agreement, UMG and Billabong will collaborate on the development of a broad range of services and products that will unite the world’s most popular recording artists with the world’s most celebrated, successful talents in action sports. Among these initiatives will be co-produced premium audio/visual content, live events, sports and music merchandise digital download offers preloaded audio/visual hardware, streaming radio and TV, and a dedicated music service.

The partnership signals a diversification for both companies – leaders in their respective fields – to tap into changing youth culture appetites for entertainment and action sports. “UMG and Billabong represents a unique partnership between two progressive companies that share a passion for creating compelling products and engaging experiences for consumers, ” said Mr. Grainge. “This is just one of many new global initiatives that we will be launching to help redefine and enhance the musical experience for consumers.” Derek O’Neill said: “Music is an integral part of our lifestyle and culture, and this partnership will no doubt enhance our brand’s position by supporting compelling marketing initiatives revolved around film projects, events and our global athlete program.”

In other Billabong news according to Billabong has signed a 3-year license agreement with Modern Amusement to use its crow icon and assist Modern Amusement with production sales, and distribution of eyewear and watches. Modern Amusement eyewear via this deal will debut this summer and watches will debut in time for Holiday 2011.

Given that Billabong’s brands also include Von Zipper and Nixon, this latest license deal does come across as redundant, however according to President of Billabong North America, Paul Naude, there’s more to it.

“The collaboration with Modern Amusement partners Billabong with an iconic founder and brand,” said Naude. “Together with Mossimo’s iconic personality and style, we’re excited about the opportunity to offer a fresh collection of eyewear and watches to the new youth market under the bold eclectic Crow icon of the Modern Amusement brand.”

The eyewear and watches will be distributed in PacSun, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom along with various surf boutiques.

Billabong’s other brands also include Element, RVCA Honolua Surf Company Tigerlily Sector 9, Kustom, and DaKine.