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Editor & Publisher: David Stark
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The Music Publishers Association is preparing to mark its 125th anniversary this summer with a huge birthday party at the Old Billinsgate venue on July 6th when publishers, writers and others will gather to celebrate the landmark. The party is being sponsored by Bank of Ireland Corporate Banking and will include post-dinner acoustic performances from what are being billed as 'some very special guests.'
MPA Chief Executive Stephen Navin said, "We are proud to say that we are the music industry's oldest trade organisation and we want to take this opportunity to highlight the partnership between publisher and writer and to say thank you to all of the composers and songwriters, large and small, who have made it possible." Visit
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are overseeing the re-working of over an hour's worth of Beatles tracks for the soundtrack to the upcoming Cirque du Soleil Beatles show which opens at The Mirage in Las Vegas later this summer. The project is being supervised by Sir George Martin and his son Giles, with clips from unreleased sessions and studio chat being edited and mixed in with clips from many Beatles' standards, resulting in a dynamic sound collage spanning the band's career. An accompanying album may also be released by Apple/EMI.
The PRS is making more improvements to its royalty distributions to composers, songwriters and publishers. From this month, the Society is adding 40 more radio services to a growing list of stations that pay out on a census basis. PRS currently pays for every play on national TV and radio stations and has traditionally taken a sample of the output of local radio services to enable it to assess royalties due. Recent changes to internal procedures and computer systems have enabled it to increase the capacity of its processing; rising from 39,000 sampled performances at a BBC local radio level to 400,000 actual performances per month.
The FA has confirmed that chart-toppers Embrace will record the official England World Cup song to be released prior to the World Cup by Independiente. The song, World At Your Feet, will be revealed nearer to the start of the tournament. Meanwhile Tony Christie has re-recorded his biggest hit as (Is This The Way To) The World Cup for Gut Records.
Lincoln Elias has joined Virgin Records A&R Executive, reporting to MD Ferdy Unger-Hamilton. At Sony his signings included Terence Trent D'Arby, Des'ree, Roachford, Reef, Toploader and Jamiroquai.
British Music Rights general manager Henri Yoxall has left the organisation after seven years to work on a number of different projects including advising the MPA on their communications, starting with their 125th birthday celebrations. Emma Pike, BMR Chief Executive said: "Henri has been with British Music Rights since its inception and has helped to build the organisation into what it is today. We are extremely sorry to see her go but wish her well with her new endeavours."
Sony/ATV Music Publishing (UK) has re-signed Mikkel Eriksen, co-founder of Norwegian songwriting/production team Stargate. He has written and produced dozens of hits in recent years for the likes of Mariah Carey, Blue, Atomic Kitten, Cher, Nelly, Mary J Blige, Elton John, Lemar and many others, including the recent UK number one single So Sick by Ne-Yo. Other artists Stargate have been writing with include Christina Milian, Gwen Stefani, Aretha Franklin and Beyonce.
Warner/Chappell Music UK has extended its publishing agreement with George Michael, and expanded the deal to cover all territories worldwide. Under the deal, Warner/Chappell will administer the rights to Michael's catalogue - as a solo artist and member of Wham! - identifying opportunities for placement in TV, films and commercials as well as online and on mobiles. Warner/Chappell has had rights to the catalogue since 1982, the deal previously excluded the UK and Ireland.
AIM, the Association of Independent Music, has struck a deal to stream promotional music and video clips from UK music companies to the 180m registered users of China's largest ISP, SINA. AIM chairman/CEO Alison Wenham signed the agreement in Shanghai on April 13th, and also attend other official events in China during a week of talks and official engagements to promote London and the UK music industry.
Former British Airways chairman Bob Ayling has been appointed Chairman of the Sanctuary Group, following the completion of £110m in a recent fundraising initiative. Meanwhile veteran A&R man John Williams has left Sanctuary to start a new label at Universal Music, where he will be signing vintage acts with previous track record.
Warner/Chappell Music (London) has promoted Jane Dyball to International Legal and Business Affairs senior vice president.
Twenty-four UK acts will play at British Music Week in Berlin from May 19-26 in seven venues. The acts include Razorlight, SXSW favourite The Feeling, Belle & Sebastian, Towers of London, the Rifles, violinist Sophie Solomon, art-punks Amusement Parks on Fire and the voice of Morcheeba, Skye. Another key element of British Music Week is a series of four label showcases hosted by Universal, SonyBMG imprint Red Ink, Domino Records (home of Franz Ferdinand and the Arctic Monkeys) and V2 label group Cooperative.
Birgit Adels has joined EMI Music Germany as President, moving from the Prada Group where she has been CEO, Northern Europe.
Digital distributor The Orchard have expanded its London office, with Neil Cartwright, previously Head of New Media at Sony Music UK, joining as Regional Manager. Naja Detrekoy is appointed product manager, while Veronika joins as label relations manager, all reporting to Scott Cohen, who also manages various European teams.
Independent publisher and label Zest, headed by Steve Weltman, has bought reggae label Greensleeves for £3.25m in its first acquisition since it was listed on AIM in March 2005. Greensleeves has offices in London and New York to serve an international reggae market estimated to be worth £150m excluding publishing. According to Zest, Greensleeves has a catalogue of 18,000 copyrights, 400 albums and 900 singles.
The MCPS-PRS Alliance has made a move to introduce Europe's first podcast licence. The new licensing solution, which comes in the wake of the Alliance scrapping plans to cover podcasts through its Joint Online License, will allow podcasters to use the society's 10m musical works until the end of 2006. The royalty rate will be the greater of 12% of gross revenue, or the minimum fee per track downloaded as part of the podcast: full tracks will be 1.5p, while half a track will be 0.75p.
Universal Publishing has signed an agreement to administer the publishing of Sex Pistols members Paul Cook, Steve Jones and the estate of Sid Vicious for the world outside North America. The deal includes representation for synchronisation for films, TV and advertising and Universal plans to aggressively promote the catalogue for worldwide synchronisation opportunities.
Warner Chappell Music USA has created a new incubator label to promote and develop emerging artists. Perfect Game Recording Co. will sign unsigned songwriter/artists and give them the opportunity to release records. Former Zomba A&R head Howie Abrams will head as general manager. East West Records will provide marketing and promotion resources, while WMG's Alternative Distribution Alliance will handle U.S. distribution. First signing is New York punk band The Lordz.
Warner Music Group Corp. has named Todd Moscowitz president of the newly created Independent Label Group (ILG) which is composed of Asylum, East West and Cordless Recordings. Based in New York he reports to John Esposito, President and CEO, WEA Corp.
Warner Music Group Corp. has signed an agreement to acquire Ryko Corporation for $67.5 million. Ryko CEO Sam Holdsworth will step down following the completion of the sale.
Michael O'Neill has been appointed Senior VP, Licensing at BMI, and will oversee all aspects of BMI's licensing including radio, television, cable, satellite and its General Licensing arm whose customers include approx. 600,000 restaurants, bars, live venues, and other establishments.
Sony BMG International, with 20-20 Entertainment, have signed Finnish three piece Apocalyptica, who have sold 2.5million albums since the release of their debut album Plays Metallica. The three graduates of the Sibelius Music Academy in Finland have just concluded a world tour where they played 150 shows in over 35 different countries.
peermusic writer Juanes was named Songwriter of the Year at the BMI Latin Music Awards 2006, held April 7th in New York. The Colombian superstar's hits La Camisa Negra, Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor and Volverte A Ver were all in the Top 50 most performed Latin songs on US radio.
RIP: Gene Pitney, 66, died on April 5th in Cardiff of natural causes during his sell-out UK tour. Apart from recording over 20 hit singles, he also wrote such classics as Hello Mary Lou for Ricky Nelson and Rubber Ball for Bobby Vee. He is survived by his wife Lynne, three sons, two brothers and two sisters, and was buried on April 12th at his home town of Somers, Connecticut.