European Commission approves Universal/EMI deal but requires concessions
The European Commission approved Universal Music's takeover of EMI Music, though it required some concessions. Universal agreed to divest nearly one third of EMI assets, including its Parlophone flagship music label in Europe. There are other stipulations, such as agreeing to a set of market controls that dictate how Universal handles contracts with digital music services.
EMI continues suit, pursues CEO and company
In the latest maneuver during a legal battle with EMI that began in 2007, MP3Tunes has filed for bankruptcy. The move puts the ongoing case on hold, and could prevent a judgement in the matter. EMI isn't abandoning the suit, and as the CEO of MP3Tunes is a co-defendant in the case, he is personally facing liability for the alleged infringements.
Sony to now publish much of EMI music
A group led by Sony on Thursday won its side of a joint bid on EMI assets. The alliance, which includes the Blackstone Group, David Geffen, Mubadala Development, and Raine Group, was cleared by the European Commission to buy EMI's publishing wing for $2.2 billion. The deal is contingent on Sony's group selling off catalog rights for Virgin's European, UK, and US divisions, along with Famous Music UK.
ReDigi wins initial injunction case
ReDigi, a company that wants to sell 'used' digital music, has successfully dodged a preliminary injunction filed by EMI last month. Capitol Records, who owns EMI, argued that the service would infringe copyrights as there would be no guarantee that the seller would delete the copy of the digital track being sold. The US district judge in charge of the case, Richard Sullivan, ruled (PDF) for ReDigi, but did state the case raised a number of technological and statutory issues.
EMI accuses ReDigi of music piracy
Music label EMI is now known to have sued fledgling service ReDigi for its strategy of reselling downloadable songs. New details obtained by CNET showed that EMI unusually didn't object to the doctrine of first sale, which only lets a seller collect income with the initial purchase, but rather the origins of the MP3s and other music. ReDigi isn't selling the music from paid sources like iTunes, EMI said, and by extension isn't selling legal copies.
Digital music company continues to face trouble
EMI Music Publishing appears to be the latest content owner to file a lawsuit against the online music company Grooveshark. Although the music label has a licensing agreement with Grooveshark, the latter company is accused of not making "a single royalty payment" or providing any accounting statements.
Sony wants live Internet TV for PS3, TVs, players
Sony may be in an unintentional race with Apple to bypass the limits of traditional TV providers for its own live TV service, multiple sources might have disclosed on Tuesday night. The electronics giant is believed by the Wall Street Journal to be talking to media firms to get rights for streaming TV channels. The focus would be on Sony's own devices, ranging from Blu-ray players through to TVs and the PS3.
Google music store event may go minus Sony, Warner
Google's November 16 music event is still likely to see it go without some potentially critical deals. Follow-up details reportedly slipped to AllThingsD still had Sony and Warner holding out and unlikely to reach a deal in five days. EMI was the only certain prospect, and Universal was very likely, but not certain.
EMI publishing, music to be sold off separately
(Update: confirmed) Citigroup is splitting EMI in two for a sale that's about to be imminent, according to claims Friday. Pointing to sources, the Wall Street Journal's Dana Cimilluca said that the publishing wing, EMI Music Publishing, would be sold off to a Sony consortium for $2.2 billion. The pure music label would go to Universal for $1.9 billion.
EMI, The Echo Nest make music deal for apps
The Echo Nest, which calls itself a music intelligence platform that supplies developers with music and data, has now teamed up with EMI Music. As part of the deal, Echo's 10,000 app developers will have access to all of EMI's artists. Revenues will be shared between developers and rights holders, with EMI handling all the required licensing, clearance requirements, and marketing of the resulting apps.
Google music shop may be days away
A handful of more details about Google's music store may have emerged on Monday. The service is now thought by unofficial WSJ sources to be going live within the next two weeks, and possibly this week. "At least two" major labels are unlikely to have signed on, however, with only EMI probably onboard and Universal in discussions that might not make the release date.
Google Music may go without major labels
Google's tentative music store plans may be launched with just a fraction of the music that Apple and Amazon have, music insiders divulged on Wednesday. In continuing its deadlock with majors, the search firm was reported by CNET as being willing to limit its music catalog to just independent labels. Only "close to a dozen" have signed on, the industry contacts said, and would leave all sides upset at the lost opportunity for sales and recognition.
Ruling could leave door open for locker services
MP3tunes has lost a copyright infringement lawsuit originally filed by EMI, however the judge tossed many of the record label's DMCA claims that were viewed as a threat to other music locker services. Judge William Pauley agreed that MP3tunes violated EMI copyrights by failing to remove pirated tracks from its customers' music lockers after pulling the same listings from Sideload.com, a music search engine that operated alongside the locker service.
Judge approves class-action status
US District Jude Loretta Preska has allowed a class-action lawsuit against RIAA music labels to continue forward. The lawsuit, which accuses major labels of conspiring to fix prices for digital music distribution, will be pursued under the Sherman Act to explore potential antitrust violations of federal law. Similar antitrust actions under New York state law will also be investigated, as well as other claims related to consumer protection and unjust enrichment.
All three volumes, more available for pre-order
Apple and EMI Music have announced that the remastered versions of all three volumes of the Beatles' Anthology series will be available on iTunes beginning June 14th, with pre-orders being accepted now. There will also be an Anthology digital "Box Set" which will feature all 155 tracks, along with a Highlights compilation from the Anthology albums available as well. A video trailer for the package as well as a 50-minute "Meet the Beatles" radio show are now available for streaming from iTunes.
Google removes Grooveshark from Android Market
Google has quietly dropped Grooveshark's mobile app from Android Market. Insiders said Wednesday that music labels had pushed Google into action under claims that the search-and-play service was breaking copyright law. The company issued a non-response to CNET that said it pulled apps that "violated our policies" without directly attaching the claim to Grooveshark or mentioning labels.
iTunes LP format failing to catch on, say execs
Universal, EMI, and other entities in the music industry are looking at distributing more albums as iPad apps, according to the New York Times. Universal has already partnered with a company called Eagle Rock Entertainment to do iPad versions of movies about famous albums such as Nirvana's Nevermind, with added social networking; EMI recently published a $10 iPad version of Until One, a new album by the Swedish House Mafia. The app includes photos, documentary videos, and written comments by the band. Icelandic artist Bjork has announced that a project called Biophilia will involve "music, apps, Internet, installations and live shows."
Company illegally sold tracks before iTunes deal
Media Rights Technologies has reportedly agreed to pay $950,000 to settle a copyright infringement suit involving Beatles songs sold on the Internet before the music became officially available on iTunes. The company had been sued by music label EMI Group for distributing a variety of tracks that were claimed to be remixed as "psycho-acoustic simulation" content, rather than original music.
MobileMe media locker may cost 20 a month
An industry publication claimed in a previously unmentioned rumor this past week that Apple had been making progress on its rumored MobileMe media locker. The service purportedly wouldn't be free but would drop to $20 per year. The Music Void's "informed sources" said Apple had already landed a deal with Warner to let users store music from the label online, and both EMI and Universal were likely to cede relatively quickly.
LimeWire agrees to settle music publisher suit
LimeWire on Tuesday said it had reached a settlement deal with major music publishers that had sued it for alleged piracy in June of last year. The two sides reached a secret deal that would see the lawsuit dismissed without the possibility of its return. The publishers, including those representing EMI, Sony, and Universal, had wanted as much as $150,000 per song and would have made it impossible for LimeWire to pay them back.
Spotify deal with Universal said weeks away
Spotify is near landing its most important and possibly last remaining deal before it can launch in the US, sources said Wednesday. The company is reportedly a "few weeks away" from a deal with Universal, the largest label and often considered the most important for the agreement. Its size would be enough that Reuters heard Spotify would be willing to forgo a deal with Warner.
Spotify and Warner hint US service getting nearer
Spotify gave a hint that it might be getting closer to its long delayed US launch. The streaming music network told those few who have test accounts in the US to choose a payment method in prep for when the paid Premium access goes live "over the coming months." While it had a copy of the notice, AllThingsD didn't get an indication of what the price might be or whether plans would change.
Plans sale, possibily splitting up EMI
Citigroup has bought EMI in a deal that may see the end of one of the four last major surviving record labels, according to a report. Citigroup already owned EMI’s $4billion debt and excused the debt in exchange for control of its operations. The takeover could signal the end of the 80 year-old company with its rich musical history.
World copyright pool to speed online music deals
Music labels including EMI and Universal said on Friday that they were working on an international copyright licensing base that would significantly accelerate the spread of online music. The consulting group Deloitte has been tasked with creating a global repertoire database that would show which individual or label owned the rights to a given song. A comprehensive library would let a music store, a show producer or others know who to reach to sell or license tracks.
Warner Music talks to Goldman for sale and buyout
Warner Music is consulting with Goldman Sachs to at once sell itself off and looking into a buyout of its rival EMI. Sources said on Thursday night that it had reacted to multiple buyers, including professional acquirer Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, making offers by having Goldman start a formal look into the process where it would sell all or just of the company, such as its Warner/Chappell publishing wing. The New York Times' contacts didn't say how close Warner might be to a deal.
Supreme Court drops review of digital music suit
The US Supreme Court later on Monday declined to review a lawsuit accusing RIAA music labels of price fixing for digital music. Officials cleared the lawsuit to go ahead after an appeal brought back the case, which had initially been dismissed in 2008. No comment accompanied the decision to uphold the appeal and the case.
Band, label may be getting equal split
In order to secure the Beatles' music for iTunes, Apple agreed to pay the band's company (Apple Corps) directly, according to industry sources contacted by Reuters. The newswire agency notes that under a typical music contract, a label distributes a record, licenses songs from publishers, collects revenue from retailers and then makes royalty payments to the artists and the publisher. In the case of the Beatles and iTunes though, the digital download royalties are said to be going straight to Apple Corps, while the songwriting mechanical royalties are going to Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which owns most of the Beatles' songs.
Should keep complete discography on iTunes
The remaining members of Pink Floyd have reached a settlement in a dispute with record label EMI, according to an announcement. As a part of an agreement which will see Pink Floyd stay with EMI for another five years, the latter party claims that "all legal disputes between the band and the company have been settled." No greater elaboration of what the statement means has been offered.
Could affect mix of iTunes music
One of Apple's primary iTunes executives is leaving the company to join EMI's Capitol & Virgin Label Group, reports say. At this new job, Alex Luke will take on a senior A&R role, discovering and manufacturing new acts. With Apple however he was the director of global music initiatives for iTunes, tasked with programming, artist relations and finding music content.
eMusic changes to pay-per-track to fight iTunes
eMusic has this weekend changed its pricing model to get major labels and more directly compete with Apple's iTunes and Amazon MP3. The deal drops eMusic's distinctive bulk song credits in favor of a variable price, pay per track model that finally adds wider access to major label music, including current music from Sony and Warner as well as year-old music from Universal. Most independent music will still cost the equivalent of the base song credit plan, at 49 cents per song, but will see major label songs sell for 69 to 89 cents.
Warner renews Spotify Euro deal in hint at US deal
Warner Music today renewed a deal with Spotify to keep offering its music. The deal is the first among the major labels and was touted as a positive by Warner chief Edgar Bronfman, who in the past had previously criticized free, ad-based music. He wouldn't confirm US plans but was "hopeful" a deal would come soon, AllThingsD heard during the call.
Catalog held up by Apple Corps dispute with EMI
Following Apple's announcement that it would finally bring Beatles tracks onto the iTunes store, additional information of the negotiations has surfaced. Apple reportedly beat offers from Google and Amazon to secure the digital catalog, industry insiders have told the New York Post. Although the terms of the final deal were not disclosed, Apple may have been forced to take a smaller cut to guarantee exclusivity into 2011.
iTunes Beatles deal an exclusive past January
Apple's deal for the Beatles on the iTunes Store is an exclusive "into 2011," EMI representative Dylan Jones said. While Apple hasn't characterized the catalog deal as a matter of sole rights, its deal isn't based on the calendar year and will prevent other stores from getting the catalog until sometime beyond January 1. Jones wouldn't be drawn by AllThingsD into saying when the exclusive would end.
Apple iTunes 90s deal done with majors, not indies
Apple's 90-second iTunes sample deal has already been reached with major music labels but is simply being pushed on indies, tips from the inside revealed today. EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner have all reportedly signed off so far along with some individual publishers, while the blanket notice to smaller labels was sent without them having reached an agreement. Labels talking to CNET couldn't provide detailed comment but, in two cases, agreed Apple was using hardline tactics by making labels automatically accept the deal just by staying in the store.
Yoko Ono says Beatles holding out on digital
Yoko Ono late Thursday cooled expectations that the Beatles would reach iTunes, or any digital music store, in the near future. She didn't explain what the holdup might be but implied a sticking point that had Apple Corps at odds with either EMI or Apple Inc. John Lennon's famed widow was quick to call Apple Inc.'s Steve Jobs a "brilliant guy" but said there was an unnamed aspect the Beatles' label wasn't "very happy about, as people."
Apple Records plans non-Beatle digital releases
Apple Records edged closer towards Beatles digital tracks on Tuesday with word that it would put up 15 remastered versions of its non-Beatles albums. The famous label plans an Internet launch on October 26 for early albums from well-known artists like Badfinger, Billy Preston and James Taylor, many of whom were working with one or more Beatles. Apple didn't say which stores would get the albums, but the individual Beatles' albums are already on iTunes and other major music stores.
Group demands $150K per download
Eight music publishers have sued Limewire for copyright infringement. David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said his organization decided to pursue its claim after record companies won a similar lawsuit last month. The publishing group is claiming damages of $150,000 per download, the same as the record industry sought.
RIAA wins copyright lawsuit against LimeWire
A lawsuit that dates back to 2006 has been settled, with a federal court judge finding file-sharing service LimeWire liable for copyright infringement. The judge ruled in favor of the RIAA and its member labels that LimeWire's parent company engaged in 'unfair competition' and induced copyright infringement.
Pink Floyd decision may pull music from iTunes
Pink Floyd in a UK court on Thursday won a key ruling in its case against EMI for allegedly breaking its contract terms. The quick turnaround would prevent the music label from selling any Pink Floyd songs as individual downloads without permission from the band. In his findings, Judge Morritt determined that the key clause preventing per-track sales was meant to "preserve the artistic integrity" regardless of format.
Prog rock band claims album terms valid online
Progressive rock band Pink Floyd on Tuesday sued its label EMI for allegedly breaking the terms of its contract through online sales. The complaint accuses EMI of knowingly "unbundling" the band's songs by letting those at iTunes and other online music stores buy some songs individually, against terms that insist all the content of an album be sold as one item.
Appeals court OKs suit vs major music studios
A Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York today reinstated an antitrust lawsuit accusing EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner of illegal price fixing for digital music. Putting aside a dismissal from October 2008, Judge Robert Katzmann said there was enough evidence to "plausibly suggest" that the music labels might try to keep download prices artificially high through collusion.
EU deal for Euro-wide music licensing
The European Commission today reached a roundtable agreement with several music stores and labels to ensure more widely distributed music for the continent. Apple, Amazon, BEUC, EMI, Nokia, PRS for Music, SACEM, STIM, and Universal now say they will work with the Commission to desegregate music licensing in European Union countries and have labels produce licenses that work across multiple if not all member states. They will also more freely exchange information so that companies can get rights outside of a musician's home country.
Qtrax outs music downloads
Qtrax recently announced that its free and legal music download service will soon launch, naming October 28th as the launch date in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. A launch in the US, Canada and the UK will happen before year's end, Qtrax informs, while the rest of the world will get the service within the first half of 2010. The reason for the initial Asia launch is because of the region's record Internet user growth and specifically the ratio of Internet users downloading music, which is more than double that of the US.
CMX Album Music Format
Major music labels are developing their own whole-album music file format after being rebuffed by Apple, a source for a UK newspaper says. Created by EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, a file format known as CMX would contain both the songs as well as liner notes, attached videos and mobile content. Much like a DVD, it would have its own "launch page" that appears after launching a given file.
Apple expands record deals
Apple is planning to expand the content buyers receive when shopping for iTunes music, writes the Financial Times. The company is currently said to be in negotiations with the four major record labels -- EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal -- regarding a project called "Cocktail," aimed at boosting music sales by supplying interactive material with albums. At the core of the concept is a new booklet, which can mix photos, lyrics and liner notes.
MS May Have Bought Seeqpod
Seeqpod has been providing clues that suggest it may have been acquired by Microsoft. After entering bankruptcy and suffering repeated site shutdowns, the music-playing search site has come back with a notice that it's undergoing a "metamorphosis" and links to Microsoft's Live Search site instead. Seeqpod chief Kasian Franks has previously acknowledged that his company was in later-stage talks with a major media firm and, when combined with the new front end change, may have acknowledged a completed deal.
Study on Piracy and Music
Despite a common perception that pirating music decreases sales, a new study published by Norway's Aftenposten this week suggests an opposite effect. Conducted by the BI Norwegian School of Management, the research finds that those between who frequently download music through file sharing services are 10 times more likely to buy music than those that cling only to legal purchases. It also notes that those between the ages of 15 and 20 are more likely to buy songs through download stores like iTunes than CDs.
Beatles Remastered CDs
The Beatles on Tuesday confirmed plans to launch remastered CD versions of their catalog in time with their first digital-only video game release through the Rock Band series. The reworkings are claimed to be the best quality since the originals and each include a QuickTime video documentary about the making of their given albums. A separate collection will include the original mono mixes where they existed.
Google offers free songs
report maintains that compared to Baidu, Google has not offered high quality legal music downloads, which hurt its popularity. Google will share its advertising revenue with the music labels to make downloads legal and keep artists happy. The brand-new service so far offers 350,000 tracks from Chinese and foreign artists, although this is expected to jump to 1.1 million songs over the next few months.
CD Sales Drop 20 Percent
By Jeff Valvano
Media tracking agency Nielsen SoundScan this week noted
that physical album sales in the US have dropped a significant 20 percent between 2007 and 2008 to just 360.6 million copies. The drop marks the seventh decline in eight years and is credited partly to both a shift towards online-only music sales as well as illegal file trading. Nielsen warns in particular that the steepest drop came in the fall, when music labels normally depend on an increase due to holiday gifts.