The five biggest stories in the music business this week…
01: First round bids were in for the EMI publishing catalogues set for divestment, according to the New York Post. The Sony-led consortium that bought the EMI publishing company earlier this year agreed to sell off the Virgin and Famous US catalogues, worth between $130m and $150m, in order to get European regulator approval for their acquisition. The Post says BMG, Primary Wave, G2 Investment Group, Ole and Because Music have all submitted bids, and that more parties may join the race when a second round of bidding kicks off next week. CMU report | New York Post report
02: The MAMA Group took a stake in All Tomorrows’ Parties. The festivals and venue operator, still part of the HMV Group for the time being, bought 50% of the ATP business, which was relaunched by its founders in July after a difficult year for the UK festivals sector forced their original company into administration. The MAMA team will help further develop the ATP brand in the UK and beyond, while the ATP promoters will also get involved in other MAMA ventures including Lovebox and The Great Escape. CMU report | NME report
03: AEG confirmed the roll out of AXS.com in the UK. The live promoter launched its own ticketing platform in the US last year, in response to its existing ticketing provider, Ticketmaster, merging with its main rival Live Nation in 2010. It will arrive in the UK as a primary ticket seller for events at the AEG-operated O2 dome, beginning with two Girls Aloud dates, presumably with plans to become a fully-fledged player in the UK ticketing market. CMU report | Pollstar report
04: It was revealed that the BPI plans to try to block three more file-sharing websites. The record industry trade body has written to all the major UK internet service providers requesting they block access to Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents on copyright grounds. No one expects any ISP to comply, but the letters indicate that legal action to secure injunctions forcing web-blocks against all three sites is on the agenda. The BPI successfully got web blocks put in place against The Pirate Bay earlier this year. Meanwhile in Ireland this week, it looked like the BPI’s Irish counterpart had won a similar injunction against the Bay, but then ISP UPC said its customers had temporarily lost access to the controversial file-sharing site because of tests on its network and not because of any injunction. BPI story | UPC story
05: AEG asked that leaked emails be withdrawn from its legal battle with the Jackson family. The live giant accuses people linked to the Jacksons of leaking embarrassing emails between the firm’s employees and associates, dating from 2009, to the LA Times, which showed concerns and problems AEG staff had regards Michael Jackson, who at that point was preparing for his ill-fated ‘This Is It’ residency in London. The concerns in the emails ran contrary to AEG’s official statements at the time. The Jacksons are suing AEG, claiming the live firm is jointly liable for the late king of pop’s death as employers of the doctor the criminal justice system said caused the singer’s demise. AEG says Jackson himself appointed and managed the negligent medic. The leaked emails were seemingly shared with the Jacksons as part of preparation for that legal battle, and AEG says that the family broke the rules by making them public, and therefore the correspondences should not now be submissible as evidence when the case finally gets to court. The Jacksons deny leaking the mails. CMU report | CNN report
On CMU this week, we continued to prepare for the independent sector’s big awards show on Monday by chatting to three inspirational indie label leaders, Sam Dyson from Distiller, Chris Goss from Hospital and Simon Morley from Pink Mist and Blood & Biscuits. Approved were Talk Normal, Bleeding Heart Narrative, Chromatics and Feathers.