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SongLink NewsLink | Music Industry News for March/April 2007

MARCH/APRIL 2007

© Copyright 2007 by SLI - SongLink International
Editor & Publisher: David Stark
23 Belsize Crescent - London NW3 5QY, UK
Tel: +44 (0)207 794 2540 - Fax: +44 (0)207 794 7393

In an historic deal, Starbucks has signed Paul McCartney for a one-off deal to its Hear Music record label, run in association with Concord Music. McCartney's new pop abum is expected to arrive in June, to be distributed in Starbucks stores worldwide and elsewhere. The one-album deal also brings Macca into contact with Universal for the first time, following their joint distribution and licensing deal with Concord in January. McCartney is planning some smaller-venue shows to support the release, while a guitar concerto he is also working on is likely to be released through EMI Classics. Meanwhile his 2006 album, Ecce Cor Meum, has been nominated for the Classical Brit Awards on May 3rd.

EMI Music is launching new premium downloads for retail on a global basis, making all of its digital repertoire available at a much higher sound quality than existing downloads and free of digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. Apple's iTunes Store will be the first online music store to host the downloads. EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli said, "Our goal is to give consumers the best possible digital music experience."

Roger Faxon is the new Chairman/CEO of EMI Music Publishing, succeeeding Martin Bandier who recently became Chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music following his departure from EMI Music last year. For the past year Faxon has been president and co-CEO of EMI Music, and prior to that president and COO. From 2002 to January 2005 he was the chief financial officer of EMI Group. He joined EMI in 1994 as senior vice president, worldwide business development and strategy.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance and Swedish society STIM are to create a jointly-owned commercial service centre to transform the way global rights administration is handled, to be called ICE (International Copyright Enterprise). MCPS-PRS Alliance MD Steve Porter said, 'Our mission is to transform our business to deliver world-class results and service for the benefit of our rights holders and customers. STIM is committed to the same vision and is our ideal partner in the ICE project."

Rondor Music is one of various publishing catalogues that Universal Music Group is offering to dispose of in order to win approval for its takeover of BMG Music Publishing, along with Zomba Music, 19 Music and BBC Music. The EC has told Universal that divestments would speed up the regulatory decision making process and is expected to make a ruling on the takeover bid on June 1st.

The UK's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki on May 12th will be pop foursome Scooch performing "Flying The Flag For You," written by Russ Spencer, Morten Schjolin, Andrew Hill and Paul Tarry, released by Ram Projects. Scooch were formed in 1998 and signed to EMI with such hits as "More Than I Needed To Know" and "The Best Is Yet To Come." Runner-up was newcomer Cyndi performing "I'll Leave My Heart," written by Henry Gorman and Paul Moessl.

Nick Raphael has been announced as MD of the revived Epic Records label, reporting to Sony BMG chairman and CEO Ged Doherty. The roster will include Raphael's current White Rabbit label artists, including Lemar, Mylo and Imogen Heap, plus Scouting for Girls and Go Audio.

Mike Batt has been appointed new BPI deputy chairman, following the election of Tony Wadsworth, Chairman and CEO of EMI Music UK and Ireland to the position of non-executive BPI Chairman, and the appointment of Geoff Taylor as BPI Chief Executive on March 1. Steve Redmond has departed as director of communications & development.

Digital distributor The Orchard has renewed its alliance with Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), ensuring the collection of UK performance royalties for hundreds of labels and artists who have opted into The Orchard's one-stop royalty collection service.

Playlouder MSP and EMI Music have announced a deal to make available music from EMI's catalogue via Playlouder's bundled subscription and ISP service. The new agreement allows users access to EMI Music's extensive back catalogue as well as new releases.

Online licensing service Ricall has signed a deal with Sony BMG, who will place almost its entire catalogue on Ricall's website. Ricall CEO Richard Corbett said, "We've signed deals with over 150 indie labels to host their catalogues so far, but Sony BMG is the first major."

The PRS Foundation for New Music will award up to 120k this year to support emerging UK acts at showcasing events overseas under the British Music Abroad scheme. The next application deadline for British Music Abroad is May 7th for acts hoping to attend Popkomm and other events. www.prsfoundation.co.uk The MCPS-PRS Alliance has reported record revenues for performing and mechanical royalties during 2006 exceeding 545m. PRS revenue was up by 7% to more than 335m, with over 290m paid to composers, songwriters and publisher members. MCPS distributions were 213m, unchanged from 2005 despite tough market conditions. The overall cost revenue ratio of the Alliance fell in 2006 to just over 11%.

ITN On is launching a music division headed up by Ross Landau, who will be responsible for building ITN On's interests with record companies, mobile operators and online operators.

The Divine Comedy won the Choice Music Prize for Irish Album of the Year 2006 for Victory for the Comic Music (Parlophone). Neil Hannon picked up a cheque for Euro 10,000 (courtesy of IMRO and IMRA) as well as a Liam Caulfield-designed glass trophy at the event in Vicar Street, Dublin. The inaugural prize was won last year by Julie Feeney for her 13 Songs debut album.

Spanish rock group Dover won three awards at the Premios de la Musica awards on March 29 in Cordoba, southern Spain. Madrid-based Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler won the best album award for 12 Segundos De Oscuridad (Warners), while pop duo Nena Daconte (Universal) were named best new artist and best new composers.

Top Scottish band Runrig take to the road again this Autumn on a major UK tour, following a one off show on August 18th at Drumnadrochit near the banks of Loch Ness. Wolfstone are confirmed as one of the supports.

The Ultimate Singing Contest takes place online at www.RiffStar.com, allowing unknown singers to have their original songs exposed to a global listening audience, with a top prize of $1,000.

Doors founders Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger have chosen ex-Fuel lead singer Brett Scallions to front Riders On The Storm, following The Cult's Ian Astbury departure from the group last month. The Doors' 40th anniversary is also being marked with an extensive re-issue campaign, while in February the band was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

The Bee Gees are to be named BMI Icons at the 55th annual BMI Pop Awards, to be held on May 15 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles. In addition, BMI will recognise song, songwriter and publisher of the year, along with the recipient of the BMI Foundation's John Lennon Scholarship.

Jermaine Duprie has joined Island/Universal in New York as President, Urban Division, with Jaha Johnson as VP A&R... Mike Bailey and John McCracken join Manhattan Records as A&R directors... Daniel Werner joins Epic in NY as A&R manager, while Vinny Caruso exits.

Michelle Berlin has joined Cherry Lane Music in Nashville having previously been creative director at BMG Music Publishing in Nashville. Cherry Lane's catalogue includes songs recorded by Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Black Eyed Peas and John Legend.

Sinead O'Connor has signed to Koch Records NY by label president Bob Frank... UK bands The Hedrons and the Naked Apes have signed to 4 West Records NY, run by Don Oriolo and Jurgen Korduletsch.

Film director Martin Scorsese is teaming up with Mick Jagger to direct The Long Play, a film set in the the music business spanning over three decades. The film is based on an original idea of Jagger's, whose Jagged Films approached Scorsese several years ago. The pair recently collaborated on a Rolling Stones concert documentary shot at The Beacon Theater in New York to be released this autumn.

Meanwhile The Stones sold out the new London and Dublin dates of their A Bigger Bang 2007 European tour in 30 minutes. The London gigs are on 21st and 23rd August at the O2 Dome, with the Dublin gig on 18th August at Slane Castle, their first open-air show in Ireland in 25 years. Other gigs include the Isle of Wight Festival and shows all over Europe.

Rondor Music has signed Mika to a worldwide deal, announced by Rondor President Lance Freed. Mika's debut album, Life in Cartoon Motion (Casablanca/Island) and lead single Grace Kelly both hit No.1 on the UK charts and worldwide, and he is going down well in the USA.

Warner/Chappell Music has signed an administration agreement for music owned and controlled by Microsoft, including Xbox and Xbox 360 video games, Halo and other video game franchises.

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