Business News Week In Five

CMU Digest – 8 Mar 2013

By | Published on Friday 8 March 2013


The five biggest stories in the music business this week…

01: Warner Music reportedly reached a deal with Google regards two new subscription services. It’s thought the first is a new premium pay-to-access version of YouTube, while the second is the mooted Google streaming audio platform that is in development. Talks continue with both the other majors, Sony Music and Universal Music, in relation to both Google innovations. CMU reportC-Net report

02: Warner owner Len Blavatnik bought a stake in the Beats streaming service. Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Electronics has spun its in-development streaming music platform off into a standalone business, being led by Topspin founder Ian Rogers with creative input from Trent Reznor. Presumably utilising the MOG set-up Beats acquired last year, the all new Beats service – code name Daisy – will launch later this year. $60 million in new investment for the service was confirmed this week, with Blavatnik amongst the new backers. The Access Industries chief, as well as owning Warner Music, also already has a stake in digital service Deezer. CMU report | Billboard report

03: Tesco confirmed Blinkboxmusic is in the pipeline, a music channel attached to the Blinkbox video-on-demand set up it acquired in 2011. The new music service will presumably utilise the We7 platform the supermarket giant bought last year. The retailer plans to build a portfolio of digital services, including an e-book strand, around the Blinkbox brand, sitting separately from Tesco’s existing online operations. The plan, it seems, is to take on Amazon, with plenty of cross-promotion via Tesco’s stores, mailing lists and website, plus a big advertising and marketing push. CMU report | The Next Web report

04: The labels reached a settlement with Chinese search engine Sogou. The major record companies and China-based entertainment group Gold Typhoon had sued Sogou and its owner Sohu over an MP3 search facility it offered, which the labels said was a gateway to illegal content. Under the agreement, the labels will forget past grievances, and Sogou will become a customer, licensing music for a new streaming and download service, which will be seemingly free to the user (and therefore presumably funded by advertising). The deal echoes that reached in 2011 with another once controversial Chinese search engine, Baidu. CMU reportChina Daily report

05: Vince Power confirmed that the Hop Farm festival will return this summer, despite the company that produced the event, Kent Festivals Ltd, collapsing when its parent company, Power’s Music Festivals plc, hit the wall last year. Power still owns the rights to stage a Hop Farm event, and will announce a line-up for a 2013 programme soon. He also bought back the rights to Spain’s Benicassim festival from the shortlived Music Festivals plc business. Local newspaper Kent On Sunday last week published a story claiming that the Hop Farm owed £4.8 million when Music Festivals plc went under, basically questioning whether a relaunched event could be commercially viable. But Power told CMU that that claim was misleading, because not all of Kent Festival Ltd’s debts related to the Hop Farm festival, adding that the fall of Music Festivals plc was “one blip” in a three decade career promoting major music events, and that artists and suppliers were being “very supportive” as he relaunches his two main festivals post the closing of his PLC. CMU reportKent On Sunday report

In CMU this week, we got busy announcing some more information about this year’s CMU Insights-programmed Great Escape convention, revealing strands on Data & Discovery, Music Marketing and DIY, the latter featuring key sessions with Billy Bragg and Infectious boss Korda Marshall. We also chatted to the buzzy buzzy man that is Tom Odell, enjoyed listening to some quality tunes selected by Tall Ships, and Editor Andy Malt wondered if everyone in the music business had got the memo revealing that now was a very exciting time indeed to be in the music and creative industries. Approvals, meanwhile, went to Emily Wells, Vanessa Paradis, Smith Westerns and Truls.

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