Friday 21 September 2012, 11:49 | By Chris Cooke
CMU Digest – 21 Sep 2012
The five biggest stories in the music business this week.
01: The European Commission approved Universal’s EMI deal, albeit with some significant remedies that could see the mega-major forced to sell up to 60% of its new acquisition’s assets in Europe. The Commission said that “the very significant commitments proposed by Universal will ensure that competition in the music industry is preserved and that European consumers continue to enjoy all its benefits”. Pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA did not agree, and said it would consider its options once the EC’s full decision was published. CMU report | FT report
02: The Anschutz Company announced it would sell AEG, meaning the music business will have another major sale to concern itself with once Universal’s EMI purchase is completed. AEG owns a large network of venues, has interests in various sports clubs and is the second biggest tour promoter in the world. Anschutz wants to sell the group in its entirety to one buyer, and is expected to set the asking price at $7 billion. The deal could take a year to complete, but in the meantime AEG boss Tim Leiweke says it’s business as usual. CMU report | Billboard report
03: Musicmetric launched a report this week claiming that over twice as many albums were illegally downloaded via BitTorrent file-sharing networks in the first half of the year than were bought via legit download stores like iTunes – 33 million in total. Some reckoned that stat showed that file-sharing was still a major issue in the UK, though others reckoned the figure was actually quite a lot less than you might expect (after all, twice as many albums were probably illegally taped as sold in the late 1980s); though, of course, BitTorrent is just one kind of file-sharing. Either way, more people were interested in the regional data Musicmetric also published, showing that Louis Armstrong was downloaded the most on the Isle Of Wight, Justin Bieber in the Oxfordshire village of Kidlington and The Smiths in the Scottish Border town of Galashiels. Ed Sheeran’s album was the most illegally accessed record nationwide. CMU report | BBC report
04: James Taylor joined the digital royalties litigation party, suing his original label partners Warner Music. The Grammy winning singer-songwriter has various issues over the royalties he receives from the major, though key to his litigation is the good old digital royalties debate – ie should artists get the lower record sale royalty or the higher licensing revenue royalty on downloads. That issue is the subject of numerous lawsuits in the US just now, all citing a precedent arguably set in a legal battle on the same matter between Universal Music and Eminem collaborators FBT Productions. CMU report | Hollywood Reporter
05: The Amazon’s digital music locker launched in the UK, France and Germany, complete with the scan-and-match functionality that was added to the etailer’s music-based cloud storage platform earlier this summer. It means Amazon users in Europe can now store their MP3 collections on Amazon’s servers and access them via any net-connected device for £21.99 a year (or 250 tracks for free). Unlike the original Amazon music locker service, the enhanced version launching here is backed by the music companies. CMU report | C-Net report
On CMU this week, Andy Malt had a long chat with producer and DJ Wrongtom about his new album ‘In East London’, Eddy TM previewed tonight’s DJ Shadow special on Xfm’s ‘The Remix’, and the CMU Insights team offered some tips for scheduling tweets. Approved were Trust, Alice & Michi, Gwilym Gold and Deftones.