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Nothing May Stop EMI purchase by Warner

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. continues to tease the industry with his refusal to commit to whether EMI will be bought by Warner, the third largest label in the world, following Universal Music Group and Sony Music.

“From a regulatory standpoint,” Bronfman is said to have stated, “further consolidation in the recorded music industry is possible.” Even though he was referring to the stamp of approval by the European Union regarding the famous merger of Sony Music and BMG, many speculate that he may actually be referring to the potential merging of Warner and EMI, two financially-troubled labels of which the futures of neither one are clear.

While EMI reported an annual loss of USD$2.4 billion only recently, Warner Music also reported a quarterly net loss of $17 million just 2 weeks ago.

“Our goals remain focused on delivering strong returns on A&R investments while we develop new business models, diversify our revenue mix and fortify our digital leadership position,” Bronfman stated in a press release.

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22/02/2010 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EMI Signs with Hulu

EMI has signed an exclusive deal with Hulu, online video service, starting with exclusive content from Norah Jones. The jazz songstress promised Hulu some live shows, exclusive music videos and an interview.

 

“We think Hulu is an excellent, high-quality environment and a great place to connect with fans. We look forward to making more content available from other artists as well,” says Ronn Werre, President of EMI Music Services.

22/11/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , | Leave a comment

BlueBeat.com Gets Served

I’m sure you’ve heard by now the news of EMI suing BlueBeat.com, a Californian music download website, for offering unauthorised downloads and streaming of Beatles’ content. After being served the copyright infringement lawsuit by EMI, BlueBeat.com has come up with the most genius defense one can ever think of.

Their defense, or rather, the one they are rumored to respond to EMI with in court, is that they have literally deconstructed the original Beatles’ content track-by-track, and then rebuilt it up from scratch, like Lego bricks, if you will. Except, the finished Lego structure is virtually an exact replica of the original content.

While their defense will most probably never hold up against EMI’s lawyers in court, some believe it’s worth a try.

09/11/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reach for the SKY

SKY has launched a beta website for their brand-new music-subscription service which allows DRM-free song downloads and streaming for all UK and Irish music lovers. In case you’re wondering, the DRM-free songs offered are truly DRM-free, untethered as the day they were digitally born (or made, if you will). For a simple fee every month, subscribers get a certain number of DRM-free songs to download, as well as unlimited streaming of music on the Sky music website. So far, as usual, only the pro-digital Universal Music Group has jumped right in with the utmost of enthusiasm.

While Sky assures that there are ‘talks’ for other labels to come onboard, I can assure you that it’s not going to happen anytime soon. If Sony, Warner and EMI are not already laughing at UMG for their overzealousness for such digital projects, then they are definitely bidding their time, waiting in line to see if UMG’s throat gets cut first, and when. These three giant labels are more concerned about profits first, and not about paving the way to building new digital business models.

Or maybe they are actually concerned about the latter, but in any case, they still have naught to show for it.

As of 12 October 2009, all four major labels have come onboard with offerings from their catalogue, making SKY a true model of the new digital music business. Wonderful news!

Sky, a self-proclaimed ‘communications’ corporation, has implemented a sleek look for their beta music site, which can be found here. Simple, elegant, and easy to use, Songs.Sky.Com has all the offerings from UMG’s huge catalogue, which consists of jazz great classics from the VERVE and ECM catalogues, hip-hop gems from the Def Jam catalogue, and of course chart-topping hits from pop and rock acts like the Black Eyed Peas, the soon-defunct Pussycat Dolls, Mariah Carey, No Doubt, Pixie Lott, Snow Patrol, Hoobastank, Keane and much more.

Mike Darcey, COO of BSkyB, sums it up, “We aim to offer an easy and affordable service for all UK music fans, while ensuring that artists are properly rewarded for their creativity.” While it has yet to be proven that digital profits from such straight-to-the-label tie-ups will blow through the roof anytime soon, it is heartening to see that a certain digital music business model is taking shape all over the world. To sum it up:

The All-New Digital Music Business Model
  • Unlimited Music Streaming for up to max. 30sec
  • Unlimited Tethered Downloads
  • Limited DRM-free (untethered) Downloads
  • Nice, softly-priced Subscription Fee (it can take any form other than a straight-up music subscription fee)
  • Easy-to-use Website
  • Easy-to-download at the click of a mouse
  • No hassle, no contracts

And there you have it: the new digital music business model of the 21st-century:

skyhomepage
SKY Songs Homepage

29/10/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joss Stone struggles with Colour Me Free

Colour Me Free by Joss Stone

Joss Stone has put out a brand-new album titled Colour Me Free, but  not without some fighting with her label EMI. Stone apparently recorded the album on a whim at her mother’s venue “Mama Stone”, with a band she hastily put together, and the result is a recording of her most passionate music to date.

“And it is exactly how I made it. I didn’t touch it one bit. If it’s not commercial then so be it. It’s an album for people who love music. It’s not about getting radio play,” says the 22-year-old Stone, who I say is refreshingly untouched by the cynicism that plagues the elephant of an industry I currently work in.

Of course, EMI stepped in and ordered her to rework the album to make it more commercially successful, to which Stone refused. “The label people were very angry,” she admitted.

“I understand that the label is run by businessmen and they don’t believe that the songs are commercial enough. I understand their logic but I don’t want to be part of it. I just want to make music. So we’re putting this music out and hallelujah.”

Seems like EMI took a step back and gave her what she wanted in the end; the album is set for release on 20 October 2009. Yet, would the label promote it? If they do, they risk sending out the signal that they give in to star power. On the other hand, if they don’t promote it and it becomes a viral hit (anti-label rebels would probably pick it up out of spite), then the label stands to lose a little credibility.

Refreshing as this sweet young woman is, the freedom she received this time round cannot be said to be received elsewhere. Big stars who achieve great fame risk becoming a commodified object, that does exactly what the label wants them to do. At the base of their journey, artists are often promised fame and everything else that comes along with it, and in exchange they sell their soul freedom. Promotional tours and showcases are some of the worst things they have to go through before they, if they do at all, make it.

I’m going to be looking forward to Colour Me Free, so aptly titled. Well done, Stone!

Colour Me Free will be out on 20 October 2009, released under EMI.

13/10/2009 Posted by | Music News | , , , , , | 1 Comment