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The European Commission has cleared the Sony/BMG merger, concluding that the joint venture would not create a dominant position in the music market. Sony BMG is also reportedly close to re-entering the music publishing business. Chief executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz has said the label's two parent companies, Sony Corp. and Bertlesmann, are close to agreeing a proposal, despite the fact that such a move would potentially put Sony BMG in competition with Sony ATV. However indie label body IMPALA has called for a formal enquiry into decision, saying that the Commission has ignored major findings of the European court in favour of IMPALA last summer. IMPALA will ask the European Ombudsman to investigate potential maladministration, and will examine the decision in detail when the non-confidential version becomes available.
After more than 31 years of independence, Belgian record company ARS Entertainment is becoming part of Universal Music Group. The acquisition was concluded by Patrick Busschots, ARS founder and MD, and Vico Antippas, Senior VP, Universal Music Group International. Busschots opened the ARS record shop in Antwerp in 1976. The business was a success, expanding into a record label. In 1989, ARS Productions went global, due to the success of Technotronic (Pump Up The Jam). Over the years, the record company broadened into ARS Entertainment, focusing on the local market with artists like M-Kids, Laura Lynn, ReBorn, Nailpin and many more. ARS Entertainment also built up a DVD and book business. Effective October 1, Busschots is appointed MD of Universal Music Belgium. He succeeds Dirk de Clippeleir, who left the company earlier this month. ARS will continue to exist as a label for Belgian artists within Universal Music.
Chrysalis Music MD Jeremy Lascelles has succeeded Richard Huntingford as chief executive of the Chrysalis Group, with Chris Wright as executive chairman and Andy Mollett as CFO of the music division, moving from EMI Music Publishing UK from February 1 2008.
Mike Batt's Dramatico label has appointed producer/arranger Frank Gallagher, who has worked with Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church, as head of A&R, and Tim Brown, formerly of Fisher's accountancy firm, as financial director. The label's key artist Katie Melua, has signed a two-album extension to her current five album deal.
Pete Waterman is selling the rights to a £8m catalogue owned by PWL, including hits by Kylie Minogue such as "The Locomotion" and "I Should Be So Lucky", as well as over 40 Top 10 singles. The sale is being overseen by investment company Edge Group, whose team includes David Glick and Harvey Goldsmith. PWL's most recent signing is The Sheilas, a girl group who appear in the Sheila's Wheel car insurance advert.
Radiohead are staying with Warner/Chappell for the band's new album In Rainbows, with the publisher 'fully supporting' the band's controversial method of selling the album online for whatever fans pay for it.
The recipients of this year's British Academy's Gold Badge Awards, sponsored by MCPS, are: Danny Betesh, Tim Blackmore M.B.E, Jamie Cullum, Michael Eavis C.B.E, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Carrie and David Grant, Andy Heath, Gavin Henderson C.B.E, Mike Moran, Maurice Murphy, Steve Price and Debbie Wiseman M.B.E. The event takes place on Wednesday 24th October at the Savoy Hotel.
MIDEM will honour figure Peter Gabriel with the MIDEM Personality of the Year Award at a gala dinner in Cannes on Monday 28 January. "Peter Gabriel is an outstanding musician with an international following of millions. He has also pioneered innovative methods of distribution in the digital environment and has explored new business models for his music and that of fellow artists. Throughout his career he has shown that music transcends pure entertainment and can be put to the service of important issues such as human rights", says Paul Zilk, Chief Executive Officer of Reed MIDEM.
Songwriter /producer P*Nut has settled his claim for copyright infringement against Amy Winehouse relating to the song "He Can Only Hold Her," which he co-wrote with Winehouse in 2006 for the Back To Black album. He will receive a share of the copyright and payment of his costs.
Diane Warren has signed a worldwide administration deal (ex-USA/Canada) with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, moving the catalogue from distributed by EMI. Sony/ATV chairman and CEO Martin Bandier said, "Diane Warren is one of the world's greatest songwriters, whose catalogue and future works we are proud to to represent."
EMI Music Publishing is leaving its Charing Cross Road base after two decades to move to EMI's Wrights Lane offices. A total of 111 employees - including 49 European staff - will be affected by the move, which was planned months before Terra Firma's acquisition of EMI.
A new international conference titled Who Is In Control? is taking place in Reykjavik on October 17, is aimed at musicians, artists, advertisers and marketers and will discuss the latest trends in digital marketing, new opportunities and funding in the digital world. Confirmed speakers include Gerd Leonhard, Ralph Simon, and AIM's Alison Wenham.
Universal Music Publishing has signed a deal with Happy Mondays, covering its catalogue and future compositions. The deal coincides with the band's UK ahead of playing in mainland Europe in November, and recent album Uncle Dysfunktional, their first since Yes Please! in 1992.
Meanwhile UMG CEO Doug Morris is reportedly enlisting major music industry partners to launch a subscription service as an alternative to iTunes. Earlier this year Universal declined to re-sign a yearly contract with iTunes, and is on a month-by-month deal with the digital retailer.
Nine solo albums by George Harrison are now available from online retailers, after the conclusion of the recent dispute between Apple Inc. and Beatles' label Apple Corps. Solo work from all four Beatles can now be bought in digital format. It is expected that the latest move will bring The Beatles catalogue a step further towards going digital.
Van Morrison has signed a new deal with Polydor Records, who now have rights to all of Morrison's catalogue, with a new greatest hits compilation, Still On Top, spanning five decades of material.
David Dollimore has been promoted to head of A&R and Iain Hagger to general manager at Ministry of Sound Recordings. Victoria Davies becomes head of legal and business affairs.
Kylie Minogue has visited the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology in Croydon, ahead of her award as recipient of the Music Industry Trusts' Award 2007 on October 29th at the Grosvenor Hotel. She will be the first female recipient in the Awards' 16 year history.
Nick 'The Captain' Stewart is launching a music consultancy business offering marketing, management and music publishing. He is supervising the re-issue of U2's back catalogue and working with Universal on the release of The Eagles' new album Long Road Out Of Eden. Other clients include Freemantle TV, Warner Music and Live From Abbey Road.
EMI Music Publishing has appointed Big Jon Platt as president of West Coast Creative, and will continue his national leadership of Urban Music. Dan McCarroll has been promoted to Executive VP East Coast Creative, both reporting to Roger Faxon. The company has also formed the North American Songwriter Leadership Council, whose aim will be to coordinate on a North American and global basis the full array of EMI Music Publishing's resources to enhance the success of each of the songwriters and composers it represents. Joining Platt and McCarroll on the Council are CEO Roger Faxon, Executive VP Leo Corbett, Gary Overton (head of Nashville Office), Michael McCarty (President, EMP Canada) and Nestor Casonu (MD, Latin division).
Sony/ATV Music Publishing has signed Jonathan 'JR' Rotem, co-writer and producer of Sean Kingston's No. 1 hit "Beautiful Girls." LA-based Rotem has also worked with 50 Cent, Natasha Bedingfield, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg, and will work closely with the Sony/ATV president Danny Strick and East Coast A&R VP Rich Christina.
The late Tony Wilson was honoured as a hero at the Q Awards held at London's Grosvenor House hotel on October 8th. Other winners included Kylie Minogue (Q idol), Sir Paul McCartney (Q icon), Arctic Monkeys (best act in the world today), The Enemy (Best New Act), Kate Nash (Breakthrough Artist), Stereophonics (Classic Song - "Local Boy In The Photograph"), Amy Winehouse (Best Album) and Johnny Marr (Lifetime Achievement).
RIP: Luciano Pavarotti (71), near Modena, Italy, from pancreatic cancer; Ronnie Hazlehurst (79), composer and musician who wrote music for TV's Are You Being Served? and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, among many others; Bobby Byrd (73), singer, songwriter, keyboardist and arranger with James Brown and the Famous Flames.