All posts tagged Warner Chappell

Post EMI Auction Round Up

As was expected by many observers,  Read more…

Out on the Street: Meiko to release new album on Concord, Interscope head scratchers & more

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Bits & Pieces: BMG Sets Sights on WMG & EMI Publishing Assets, MySpace + Vevo & Twenty First Republic

Eyeing Warners & EMI publishing arms

Outside of the explosive announcement from Amazon this week that left a music-cloud hanging over the industry, other developments include the news of KKR-backed BMG Rights Management being back in the bidding action for Warner Music Group, after recent reports of the JV being on the outs in the sale. CEO Hartwig Masuch denied such rumors, saying “I can state that we are in the second round of bidding and are on very friendly terms with the main shareholders,” while executives at BMG RM’s other backer Bertelsmann claimed this week that the company is “ready to invest into the right business, at right price, and at the right time,” with the right business apparently being publishing, as Warner/Chappell and EMI Publishing are key in their sights. More reporting can be found at The Guardian, The Telegraph and Music Week… As News Corp. continues to look for a way to unload struggling MySpace, word that the parent company is in talks with online video hub Vevo began to surface. The accuracy of such claims continues to be debated, while a piece in the WSJ yesterday points out that the complex ownership anatomy of both companies might make a deal difficult. For now it seems an unlikely scenario… And a new partnership that links Universal Republic Records, Universal-owned Twenty First Artists and producer management firm Worlds End, forming Twenty First Republic, was announced yesterday. Primaries in the deal include Uni/Republic executives Monte and Avery Lipman, Twenty First Artists CEO Colin Lester and Sandy Roberton, CEO of Worlds End.

Bits & Pieces: Grainge Crowned UMG Chairman, Bids for Warner Narrowing, Spotify Hits 1mil & more…

Beyond believable funding

Today Vivendi announced that Lucian Grainge will now be taking the title of Chairman along with CEO of Universal Music Group, this comes ahead of the original timeline for assumption of the title, a result of Doug Morris exiting his contract early to head to Sony Music this summer. Grainge will report to Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy, and will also take a seat on the board of gaming company Activision BlizzardWarner Music Group is reportedly narrowing the field of offers it has received, for both the entire company as well as just the publishing unit Warner/Chappell Music - conflicting rumors have  current WMG investors wanting to sell the entire lot, while most believe CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. is still eying EMI and has no intention of exiting the recorded music space…Elsewhere, Spotify revealed that its music service now boasts 1million paying customers, which represents roughly 15 percent of its overall active user base. A good sign for a U.S. launch soon?… File-sharing service LimeWire, which was recently shutdown by court order, has settled legal action brought by music publishers for an undisclosed sum. Action brought against the company by the record labels has yet to be resolved… And a News Corp-backed digital music start up called Beyond Oblivion made waves this week with a reported $77million in new funding. The company’s model has a twist in that it is a device-based cloud music service, which will pay content holders a royalty every time a song is played on a device, regardless of where the song originated.

Bits & Pieces: Morris Move to Sony Music Top Spot Confirmed, Warner Music Gets Bids, Thumbplay Unloaded & More…

Morris takes his talents to Sony

The big news this morning from within the big four music groups (soon to be three?), is the confirmation that outgoing Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris will indeed take over the reigns as new chief executive at Sony Music on July 1st, as Rolf Schmidt-Holz departs at the end of this month. Sony Corp. chairman Howard Stringer will fill the role in the meantime. Morris held the role of CEO at UMG since 1995, before announcing a successor in Lucian Grainge at the beginning of last year. On the other side of the coin, RCA/Jive label chief Barry Weiss will also leave the building this week, as he takes a top spot in Grainge’s East Coast Universal label operation… Bloomberg reported this week that Warner Music Group, which recently put itself on the block with help from Goldman Sachs, has received ten offers so far including bids on its publishing division Warner/Chappell Music by Sony/ATV Music and KKR-backed BMG Rights Management, while Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik is seeking to acquire most of the company. UMG did not submit an offer, reportedly due to anti-trust concerns – though they may be interested in acquiring parts of the recorded music business… In what could be seen as a preemptive move as Spotify appears to be gearing up for a U.S. launch (including reportedly making hires), Rhapsody is offering a 60 day free trial for its streaming service… Ringtone company Thumbplay, who transitioned into the music subscription arena earlier than most current players, has been bought by Clear Channel. It appears that the new owners of the service intend to transition the service into online radio, utilizing the Thumbplay technology and talent and integrating it into Clear Channel’s current free iheartradio service… Elsewhere, Live Nation California prexy Rick Mueller is reportedly leaving and heading to rival AEGMTV and Sony/ATV’s Extreme Music are launching Hype Production Music as the result of a new licensing partnership that will focus on emerging and independent artists… And despite continued turmoil in the digital music landscape, investors are once again starting to dump big cash in the chaotic space.

Bits & Pieces: Warner/Chappell Losing MJ Admin, Sony Backs Off Anti-iTunes talk, Apple Making More Enemies & more…

A piece on Showbiz411 yesterday, revealed that Michael Jackson‘s publishing company MiJac Publishing, which is currently administered by Warner/Chappell Music and includes songs such as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” among others, will soon be moving to Sony/ATV Publishing. The shift was reportedly written into the contract with WCM, who has administered the catalog for years. It also comes on the heels of the announcement that Warner Music Group is shopping for a sale, most likely of its publishing arm, putting them in direct competition with Citigroup‘s plans for EMI Music. Insiders share that this is one of multiple similar scenarios WCM will face in the coming years… After abundant commentary last week on Sony Music‘s possible intention to abandon iTunes, following a report in an Australian publication, a comment from a Sony Network Entertainment executive indicates that is in fact not the case, saying Sony Music has “no intention of withdrawing from iTunes, they’re one of our biggest partners in the digital domain.” Today also saw the announcement that Sony is launching its “iTunes rival” music service Qriocity in the U.S., though still without a mobile component. Currently Sony is focused on Playstation 3 as the primary vehicle for the music service, though it has plans to move into mobile in the future, and most likely on the Google Android platform first… More Google Music talk arose this week, with a Motorola executive tipping that the service will be included on Google’s new version of Android, Honeycomb, which will be tied to the new Motorola Xoom tablet… Following the details revealed this week by Apple for its new content subscription service, music services are upset over the 30% share for each subscription that goes to Apple, in addition to the fees already being paid to content owners. Among them, Rhapsody, has gone as far floating the possibility of legal action… Elsewhere, Topspin has announced a move into offering their direct-to-fan platform for all users… Through a sponsorship effort, Converse has saved the legendary punk enclave the 100 Club in London from closing… And this Death of the Music Industry chart, is getting lots of attention.

More EMI & WMG: Hands Won’t Give Up & Warner Racing to the Block

In his first public appearance since the turnover of EMI Music to Citigroup, Terra Firma‘s Guy Hands said he is considering buying EMI, according to a report in Bloomberg, but that it is a “question of price,” adding, “They are going to auction it, and we will see if they can get more for it than we offered.” Addressing the split of EMI’s two divisions, Hands declared, “You’ve really got to keep the two together so that you have the stability of publishing’s earnings versus the volatility of the recorded music division.” Following the bank’s takeover of the music company, much of the publicity has shifted to EMI CEO Roger Faxon, and his rumored stealth efforts to save the label, being credited with leading a behind the scenes effort without Hands’ knowledge. Others in the know share that the spin has been well orchestrated leading up to Citi taking control, to keep Faxon’s place at the table moving forward… Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that Warner Music Group is trying to beat Citigroup to the finish line, hoping to get a sale in place before EMI. Particularly in light of the presumed interest in selling off its publishing division Warner/Chappell before EMI Publishing, as it would be hard pressed to compete. Interested bidders named include Zomba founder Clive Calder, Russian investor Leonard Blavatnik, Universal Music, Sony Music, KKR and music publishing giant Imagem. While whether or not WMG backers Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners are looking to cash out or just unload WC is unclear, the article claims CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. is anything but ready to get out of the music business.

In Case You Missed It: Hiring Recap


Several new label and pubco hirings have been announced over the last week… They include former Warner/Chappell Music CEO Richard Blackstone, who has been tapped by BMG Rights Management to oversee the publisher’s U.S. operations as new Chief Creative Officer, reporting to CEO Hartwig Masuch… Warner/Chappell has a new head of sync in Ron Broitman, who comes to the pubco from Sony/ATV and BMG Publishing before that, reuniting him with current WC prexy Scott Francis… Universal Music Group has upped Rob Wells to president of Global Digital Business from his role as SVP digital… And in more digital shuffling Warner Music Group‘s head of digital legal affairs, Elliott Peters, is reportedly preparing to leave his post for a new position at Apple overseeing iTunes European legal team…

Publishers Weigh In on 360 Deals at AIMP Confab

Some interesting commentary regarding 360 deals coming from publishers on a panel at the recent Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) luncheon held at the  House of Blues on the Sunset Strip.  Panelists revealed that more and more the deals they make hinge on an artist bringing them all of their rights, often so that so-called “sister” labels can have the option to up stream the artist. What about publishers signing artists who’ve already done a deal with a major record label? More and more those deals look less attractive to publishers, with comments even indicating a deciding factor may be renegotiations to include the publisher in multiple rights.  This also points to why writer-producers continue to be an attractive prospect to publishers, as Warner Chappell SVP Greg Sowders, aka The A-Team‘s “Hannibal,” commented, “A home run for us is signing a writer who is a producer and has direct access to artists.  The self contained singer/songwriter is still possible but difficult.” But does that speak to what should be a larger concern for major labels and publishers, as they sign and develop fewer and fewer self-contained artists, increasingly in any genre not just pop, only to rely on a shrinking stable of “hit-making” outside writers? More quotes and commentary on the AIMP panel HERE

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