Staid, historic Carnegie Hall has long avoided many of the commercial opportunities its cultural compatriots have jumped at in recent years. But the concert venue is about to take its first step toward the broad licensing of its world-renowned name. 

This spring, Carnegie Hall will offer its first branded credit card. Working with MBNA Corp., the music hall will initially focus on introducing the card to season ticket holders, subscribers and donors. A portion of the revenues will go to Carnegie Hall-now involved in a $75 million restoration of its lower level-for annual operations. 

Carnegie Hall is looking at other possible licensing and royalties deals, but it plans to consider each possibility carefully. "The stakes are a little higher because there is an image to hold up," says Jay Golan director of development and planning.