Business News Week In Five

CMU Digest – 22 Feb 2013

By | Published on Friday 22 February 2013


The five biggest stories in the music business this week…

01: IMPALA and Merlin announced a deal with Warner regarding PLG. The pan-European indie labels trade body and indie label digital rights agency announced an agreement with Warner Music which will see the major allow independents to “buy, license or distribute” some of the former EMI assets it is in the process of acquiring from Universal. Warner was confirmed earlier this month as the buyer of the Parlophone Label Group, which includes most of the European EMI assets Universal was forced to sell by regulators when it acquired the wider EMI recorded music business last year. Warner’s PLG deal will have to approved by European regulators too though, but as part of this week’s agreement the indie label community has pledged to not oppose that acquisition. Quite how the Warner/indies arrangement – which could as yet prove controversial – will actually work is not yet clear, but IMPALA and Merlin said it would “bring more scale into the independent sector”. CMU report | FT report

02: HMV announced more store closures. 37 more branches of the flagging retailer will shut in the next month or so, in addition to the 66 UK stores and sixteen Irish outlets already closed or set for closure. The boss of the Entertainment Retailers Association, Kim Bayley, had already predicted more closures, but told the BBC “everyone in the industry hopes that they come through the other side, and that with a slimmer and leaner organisation HMV can still make a high street presence work”. CMU report Sky News report

03: The Met called for more efforts to crack down on ticket crime. The London police force published a report on ticket fraud on the back of its efforts to combat the dodgy distribution of tickets to last year’s Olympics. The report said that the live industry should work with search engine operators to ensure legit ticket sellers score higher than fraudsters in web searches, and encouraged consumers to report any incidents of ticket fraud so the authorities could better ascertain the extent of the problem, which could be costing punters and the live sector up to £40 million a year. CMU reportRadio 1 report

04: The RIAA said Google should do more to stop illegal sites appearing in search results. The US record industry trade body said it had assessed the impact of a change in the Google search algorithm made last year, which was meant to downgrade unlicensed sources of music in Google search results, but had found the tweak had had little effect, and illegal music still appeared too high in Google search lists. The trade body wants the web giant to do more in this domain. Google, though, according to reports, is currently focusing on stopping pirates from using its ad networks. CMU report | C-Net report

05: The Pirate Bay squabbled with Finnish anti-piracy group CIAPC. The controversial file-sharing website cried foul last week when CIAPC launched an anti-piracy website that spoofed its site, accusing the pro-copyright body of infringing the Bay’s copyrights by lifting a bunch of code off the actual Pirate Bay to create the parody. The Bay threatened to sue, but CIAPC said it would welcome any legal challenge, because it would force TPB’s anonymous operators to reveal themselves. So far Team Bay are yet to actually sue, though reports suggest they have reported CIAPC to the police for copyright violation. Remains to be seen if police get involved in what would usually be handled by a civil action. CMU report | Register report

Here at CMU, the Insights team launched six brand new half-day training courses and announced new dates of the popular Music Business In 2013 programme, while we chatted to Marnie Stern, got ourselves a grand playlist from Comanechi, and grabbed some tips for aspiring pop stars off A&R and promoter Jessica Pinkett. Approved this week were Philco Fiction, White Fence, Retro Stefson and Keep Shelly In Athens.

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