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Sony Wins European Union OK To Buy EMI Music Publishing

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 11:58am PDT

The clearance still leaves Sony waiting for the Federal Trade Commission, which is expected to take a few months before deciding whether to approve the $2.2B deal. But it’s still a big step forward for Sony’s ambition to make its Sony/ATV subsidiary — a joint venture with Michael Jackson’s estate — the No. 1 owner of music publishing rights. EMI’s catalog includes standards such as New York New York, You’ve Got A Friend, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Over The Rainbow, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Singin’ In the Rain, and The James Bond Theme. The EU said that it would approve the acquisition once Sony divests four  catalogs — Virgin UK, Virgin Europe, Virgin US, and Famous Music UK — and works  by 12 contemporary songwriters including Gary Barlow, Ozzy Osbourne, Robbie Williams, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Placebo and The Kooks. With that agreement, Read More »

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Sony America CFO Defends Combo Of Technology And Entertainment: UBS Confab

With 350M Sony networked devices including  TV sets and PlayStation game consoles expected to be in the market over the next two years “right now that integration has never made more sense,” Sony Corp Of America CFO Rob Wiesenthal told investors at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. ”The momentum is there and the capability is there. …You want to maximize the value of all these assets by keeping them together.” He says that the company is approaching $1B in revenue this fiscal year from its PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network. He’s also optimistic about the recent Sony/ATV deal to pay $2.2B for EMI’s music publishing operation which includes rights to 1.3M songs. The plan is still a little mysterious. “We’re coming up with a structure that we haven’t disclosed yet” to make music  publishing a separate company. Still, he notes that “music publishing rights are a critical element of any music business” — with revenues that can come from just about any show or device that plays tunes. He also says that he’s encouraged by prospects for the overall music industry, even though it’s just a shadow of its former self. He says that music video site VEVO “is worth a fortune” and adds that “you’ll see music companies incubate new services.” He notes that “a lot of our business now is related to TV” through shows such as The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. In addition to … Read More »

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Apple And Google Prepare To Take Digital Music War To The Cloud

By | Tuesday November 15, 2011 @ 8:04am PST

Apple made a major improvement to its digital music service today as it introduced iTunes Match. For $24.99 a year, iTunes will scan a user’s mobile gadget or hard drive, identify its recordings — including those copied from a CD — and then make them available on iCloud for streaming to any Web-enabled device running iTunes software. The company says iTunes already has 20M songs, and will upload “only what it can’t match.”

The announcement precedes Google’s expected unveiling tomorrow of its own music store. It will enable buyers to download tunes, and stream them from remote servers. The company also has been lobbying record companies to make it possible for members of the Google+ social network to share tunes with their online friends. EMI has agreed to offer songs from its catalog on the music store, and Vivendi’s Universal Music “may be signed as early as tomorrow,” Bloomberg reports. The other two majors, Sony and Warner Music, are holding back until pricing and privacy concerns are resolved.

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AFTRA To Take Action In Sound Recordings And Network TV Negotiations

By | Saturday October 1, 2011 @ 5:43pm PDT

LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK (Oct. 1, 2011) — The National Board of Directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO – a national union of more than 70,000 recording artists, broadcasters and actors – met today by videoconference plenary in Los Angeles and New York, and unanimously voted to authorize the AFTRA Sound Recordings Negotiating Committee to take all actions necessary, up to and including proceeding to a strike authorization vote if needed, to secure an agreement with the major record labels.

Negotiations between AFTRA and representatives from Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels for a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings, the Union’s second largest national contract, commenced in New York on Aug. 15, with an additional round of bargaining held in Los Angeles the week of Sept. 12-16. An additional bargaining date has been set for Oct. 5 in an effort to resolve outstanding issues. AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth serves as Chief Negotiator for the Union.

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