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In a surprise move, UK singer/songwriter Amanda Ghost has been appointed president of Epic Records. She will be based in New York and report directly to Columbia/Epic Label Group chairman Rob Stringer. "I'm not a conventional choice, but it is testament to the new mood at Sony where content is now king and the music business is being put back in the hands of creative talent such as myself. I'm here to draw on my experiences as an artist, songwriter and producer to make the new and existing artists signed to Epic as brilliant and successful as possible," Ghost said. She has worked with artists including Beyoncé, James Blunt, Jordin Sparks, Kanye West, Shakira and Jay Z.
Former Warner Music MD Korda Marshall has re-launched Infectious Records, the label he formed in 1994 which had success with Muse, Ash, Garbage and Paul Oakenfold among others. Marshall left Warners last October and has also teamed up with his former business partner, Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski, and entrepreneur Michael Watt. First signing is Australian band The Temper Trap, signed to Gudinski's Liberation Music.
Ex-Ministry of Sound publishing head Tony Moss has been appointed MD of BMG Rights Management, reporting directly to CEO Hartwig Masuch. Moss started out at MCPS-PRS, before moving to Ministry, and most recently as a freelance publisher working with Modest Management and selected artists.
Radiohead's manager Brian Message has been appointed as chairman of the Music Managers Forum, taking over from Jazz Summers who stood down recently. Message will oversee a detailed review of the MMF which could lead to the organisation undergoing radical change. Message said he will be working with MMF CEO Jon Webster to "come up with a game plan."
AIM CEO Alison Wenham has also been appointed chairman of the Worldwide Independent Network, of which she was previously president. WIN has also appointed four vice chairmen: David Vodicka, chairman of Australian Independent Records (AIR); Mark Chung, chairman of German trade body VUT; Portia Sabin of the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM); and Duncan McKie, president and CEO Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA).
21 year-old Jade Ewen has been chosen by British TV viewers to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow on May 16th. She will be singing the ballad My Time especially composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and US writer Diane Warren, with Lloyd Webber expected to accompany Ewen on piano at the event. Jade was previously in the Sony/BMG-signed girl band Trinity Stone, and beat The Twins, sisters Nicola and Francine Gleadall in the final of the BBC's Your Country Needs You.
PRS for Music is sponsoring Sky Arts' second run of Songbook, an eight part series on songwriting, presented by music journalist Will Hodgkinson. Made by Liberty Bell and JolyGood TV, it features an eclectic mix of musicians including Jarvis Cocker, Albert Hammond, Bernard Sumner and Donovan.
Estelle and the Ting Tings are to perform together at the Brit Awards on February 18th. The show at London's Earl's Court also includes appearances by Coldplay, Girls Aloud, Kings of Leon, Take That, and the Pet Shop Boys who will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Music award.
Artists are hoping to receive payments from radio airplay in the US following the introduction of the Performance Rights Act in the Senate. The bill, which aims to bring the US in line with almost every other nation in the world, will end an archaic provision of US copyright law that allows AM and FM radio stations to earn $16 billion a year in advertising revenue without compensating the artists and musicians who provide the music. However the move is being opposed by National Association of Broadcasters.
Universal Music and French Rights Society SACEM, have announced their joint model for the licensing and administration of their rights for multi territorial online and mobile exploitation in Europe, under the name of D.E.A.L (Direct European Administration and Licensing).
Ferdy Unger-Hamilton has been appointed co-president of Polydor UK. Tom Haimovici and Jodie Commidge join Mercury as A&R managers. Paul Harris has joined Columbia UK as senior A&R manager. Ed Lewis and Steve Prudholme have joined WEA's 14th Floor label as A&R managers.
Former Really Useful Records MD Tris Penna has been appointed director of A&R for Epic Records UK. Penna will work alongside MD Nick Raphael and A&R head Jo Charrington in building Epic's roster. He previously spent 10 years at EMI, and was at PolyGram Records and Chappell Music.
Former EMI CEO Jean-Francois (JF) Cécillon has been appointed vice chairman of Really Useful Group, reporting to Andrew Lloyd Webber and working with CEO André Ptaszynski. He will have special responsibility for the worldwide launch of Love Never Dies, the successor to The Phantom of the Opera.
UMPG has signed an exclusive deal for the USA with the UK's Notting Hill Music to administer Notting Hill's 30,000 titles in the USA, including songs recorded by such artists as Beyoncé, Pussycat Dolls, Snoop Dogg, Akon, Britney Spears, and many others. Notting Hill is headed by Andy McQueen, Dave Loader and Peter Chalcraft and has offices in London and LA.
EMI Music Publishing has renewed its deal with the catalogue of legendary jazz trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie, extending a relationship dating back to 1999. Gillespie died in January 1993.
Universal is re-aligning Decca Records with its classical crossover and other artists moving to UCJ, following the move of MD Bogdan Roscic to Sony Music's classical wing. Decca's UK roster includes many other artists from Morrissey to John Barry, and recent signings rock band Mama's Gun.
Kobalt Music's new Online Pipeline Royalty Advance service now offers advances at one of three interest rates. Kobalt founder and CEO Willard Ahdritz says, "We are fortunate in having no debts on the balance sheet for the moment, so the money we have available is just five clicks away." Clients include Max Martin, Gwen Stefani and Ryan Tedder among many others.
Sony/ATV has signed Bruce Springsteen to a sub-publishing deal for the UK and Ireland, with A&R head Ian Ramage as the creative contact. The deal includes past work as well as his new album, Working On A Dream.
Warner/Chappell has added another collecting society to its Pan-European Digital Licensing (PEDL) initiative as it unveiled a deal at Midem with Dutch society Buma/Stemra. The Dutch organisation joins MCPS, GEMA, STIM, SACEM and SGAE in the PEDL, which grants non-exclusive rights to the major publisher's Anglo-American repertoire.
Boosey & Hawkes Publishing is to represent jazz masters on EMI's Blue Note label for synchronization under a new worldwide deal. "Blue Note's 70th anniversary this year represents a unique opportunity." said Cynthia Sexton, EMI Music's executive VP of brand partnerships, licensing and synch.
Mötley Crüe co-founder Nikki Sixx's Eleven Seven Music has signed a worldwide admin deal with Downtown Music Publishing for his song catalogue, including singles like Shout At The Devil and Girls Girls Girls. The deal also includes sync rights to the band's master catalogue. New York-based Downtown Music is headed by Justin Kalifowitz.
RIP: British pop star Dave Dee; Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell; Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton; Ronettes member Estelle Bennett, Hair composer Tom O'Horgan; British folk/rock icon John Martyn; Buffalo Springfield drummer Dewey Martin; The Cramps singer Lux Interior; veteran protest/folk singer/songwriter Odetta; Saxophonist Hank Crawford; composer/arranger and musician Derek Wadsworth; guitarist/singer Davey Graham; guitarist Neil Gauntlet of Joe Brown's band; songwriter Clint Ballard Jr.; singer/actress Eartha Kitt; Delaney Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie; jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard; Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell; US manager/promoter Gary Kurfirst; US jazz singer Blossom Dearie.