Today came the announcement that Edgar Bronfman Jr. will be exiting his role as CEO of Warner Music, a post he has held since 2004. He’ll remain on as chairman of the board at Warner Music Group, while Stephen Cooper will take up the reins as new CEO. Cooper’s track record, primarily as an interim CEO with a focus on turning around troubled companies, includes stints at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Enron, among others. It’s expected that Bronfman’s focus will transition to the current bid for EMI Group, continuing his long-desired goal of combining the two companies. If merger efforts fail, his continued involvement at Warners is questionable… Research In Motion is reportedly working on a new music service that will utilize the popular BlackBerry Messenger service, with some major labels supposedly already onboard, though it’s unclear exactly which ones. The service as it’s being described, though not by RIM, would be far from robust, but it’s being characterized as possible positive note for the struggling smartphone maker… A legal fray that has the Village People‘s original lead-singer attempting to regain copyright control over his share of a number of works including “Y.M.C.A.” may prove to be telling in the coming battle over “termination rights,” that will pit many big-name artists against labels – a storyline that hit the mainstream media this week… Music and imagery from The Beatles are featured in a new anti-piracy video as a part of the UK-based Why Music Matters campaign. There’s a bit of irony here, as pointed out by Peter Kafka on AllThingsD, in that the Fab-Four’s music is still only (legally) accessible digitally in one place, that being iTunes, where it was first made exclusively available 10 months ago. With a plethora of other new digital music services out there, one can wonder how long it will be before the group’s music will be more widely available… Elsewhere, Music Ally has obtained a report that provides insight into Spotify‘s subscriber numbers, particularly for the period following new restrictions on free accounts that were in acted earlier this year. Get the details HERE, but essentially with the changes, the number of free user accounts dropped by over 1.5 million, while the paying user base increased by roughly 1/3 of that amount. The conversion of users from free to paying isn’t insignificant, and that’s good news for Spotify, who has to pay royatlies regardless of whether a user pays for the service or not, but losing over 1 million potential listeners is not exactly good news for artists… And a group music publishers who joined a class-action lawsuit against YouTube-owner Google in 2007, came to a settlement this week, a resolution that in part will see pubcos given the opportunity to enter into a licensing agreement to receive royalties for musical works included in videos on the site. According to at least one person familiar with the situation, artists should expect to start receiving accounting for YouTube royalties from publishers right around the time they start receiving it from the record labels.
All posts tagged The Beatles
More Bits & Pieces: Warner Music gets new CEO, Blackberry Messenger music?, new Spotify numbers & more…
Just ahead of the Epic Records release of a new Michael Jackson album on December 14th, a five-part series investigating the relationship between Jackson and his longtime attorney John Branca kicks-off on TheWrap.com. Part-one covers a supposed deal that never came to fruition back in 2003, which involved Branca and Goldman Sachs attempting to orchestrate a back room deal for Jackson’s prized Beatle‘s catalogue, ATV Music, the acquisition of which the barrister originally arranged for Jackson in 1985. Read Pt 1 in its entirety here…
UPDATE: Pt 2… A Music Superlawyer Goads Jackson Into “Thriller”
Today Apple announced the addition of The Beatles catalogue to the iTunes store, which ends a longtime hold out from the group and leaves AC/DC, Bob Seger and Kid Rock among the remaining high-profile acts whose music is not available on iTunes. Reports of the Beatles announcement leaked well before the Fab Four popped up all over Apple.com, the iTunes homepage and Ping early this morning. Many were hoping for a music-streaming or Lala related announcement, but as reports pointed out, there is nothing indicating that Apple has new licensing deals in place with the major labels yet. However, this morning’s announcement does beg the question of whether of not The Beatles catalogue will be left in download-only mode, if and when Apple launches a streaming service, particularly in light of “the long and winding road” it took just to get their music available digitally. Others are pointing to the much needed bump the new pact will give to EMI, ostensibly providing the label with a huge Q4 release in the form of all thirteen of the group’s studio albums, available as full albums or single songs, as well as other popular collections and a digital box set… While all parties involved were lauding the new digital era of Beatles music, there was a stark reminder of the role Apple has played in the industry’s digital music quagmire over the last decade, in the form of a dinner conversation in San Francisco last night. The discussion, which was part of the 2010 Web 2.0 Summit, featured WME head Ari Emanuel discussing among other topics, the film and television industry’s burgeoning piracy problem. In mentioning the recording industry’s plight of piracy, Emanuel asserted that record labels in all likelihood would not have agreed to a 99-cents per song structure had they the knowledge they do now. Others argue that given what has happened in the music industry, the studios should have the foresight to avoid making the same mistakes in holding out on new digital services from Google, Apple and Netflix. Read the full story on SAI… And for even more on Hollywood’s growing digital issues, check out a Q&A with BigChampagne‘s Eric Garland on CNET.
[UPDATE: Ethan Smith has more on the backstory of how the iTunes - Beatles deal came to fruition, read it here on WSJ]
In the news this week… Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris appears to be making plans to bring in a successor, though the 71-year-old executive has no plans of retiring… MediaMemo reports that Apple is out taking the temperature of networks for a $30 a month iTunes TV subscription… MySpace will reportedly fall short of the minimum traffic levels specified in parent company News Corp.’s massive 2006 Google ad deal… And digital marketplace BlueBeat.com uses the old ‘psycho-acoustic simulation’ defense in legal action taken by EMI for the site’s illegal and bizarre sale of The Beatles catalog online… Is that like claiming insanity, or just insane?