Business News Week In Five

The music business week in five – 21 Oct 2011

By | Published on Friday 21 October 2011

Chris Cooke

So how did your day begin? Mine started great – perfect commute, extra chocolate on my coffee from that little stand at London Bridge, speedy bus ride up to Shoreditch High Street – where I found CMU HQ sans-electricity. And no, it wasn’t a money-in-the-metre scenario, the whole building was in darkness (well, if Hackney Council are reading, yes, the emergency lighting was on). Isn’t it weirdly quiet when all the servers switch off?

Having ascertained that I had 106 minutes of laptop time in which to write my bits of the CMU Daily, I managed – in the dark (this was 6am) – to find an electricity bill and call up the power people. Now, either I wasn’t the first tenant of this block to call, or I was talking to the most efficient energy people in the world, because within five minutes three men were bent over a hole in the pavement outside, and minutes later lights, buzzing servers and whirring air-con were all back. None of which is really relevant to any of you, I know, but “efficient utility firm fixes problem immediately”, that’s front page news right? If not, here’s the stories that would have been front page news in CMU this week, if the CMU Daily had a front page…

01: It was rumoured HMV may sell some of its stake in 7Digital. Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman said the retailer was looking to offload some or all of its 50% stake in the digital company, presumably – if true – to raise some more quick fix cash. Though a complete sale of its 7Digital share would be climb down for HMV CEO Simon Fox, who span the original share purchase in 2009 as a way for his company to make up for lost ground in the digital domain. Elsewhere in HMV news, the retailer got ready to launch a new ad campaign pushing Fox’s latest grand plan, making his shops the go to place for entertainment gadgets. It was also announced other retailers would stock HMV vouchers. CMU reports | Sky News report

02: YouTube finally got round to doing a deal with the indies. Talk about a long time coming, but the Google-owned video site finally did a licensing deal with Merlin, which represents the bigger indie labels in the digital domain, and works to get the independents deals closer to those enjoyed by the majors. It means indie label music will now be legitimately on the video site for the first time, and labels and artists will earn a royalty. YouTube also announced plans to launch a ‘merch store’ which will enable artists to sell downloads, tickets and merchandise from their YouTube channels. CMU report | Huffington Post report

03: Vinyl sales are up. We already knew this, and it’s easy to read too much in to this – after all, 240,000 units overall isn’t hugely significant. But more vinyl records have already been sold this year than in the whole of 2010, though the increase is in part aided by Radiohead selling an awful lot of their ‘Kings Of Limbs’ album in vinyl format. According to the Official Charts Company, vinyl sales this year will be at their highest since 2005, which is probably around about the time all the dance music dudes suddenly decided, after years of religiously favouring old-fashioned records, that a hard disk full of digital tracks wasn’t so bad after all. These days it’s indie kids keeping vinyl alive. CMU report | BBC report

04: Deezer dude said digital market downsizing incoming. Following their official launch over here, the UK MD of the French streaming music service, Mark Foster, told Music Week that he thought a number of digital music services would go out of business in the next year as the still fledgling digital music sector starts to mature. He seemed convinced Deezer would be one of the ones to survive. Talking of digital services, chatter about soon-to-launch new digital venture Boinc increased this week, partly because of rumours Sony and Warner had signed up to the new venture. CMU report | Music Week report

05: Absolute Radio gained two new stations, but lost one very fine presenter. The national station – which is no longer up for sale remember – announced it was launching two new genre stations, one for the 60s and one for the 70s, to join its other digital-only channels covering the 80s, 90s and 00s respectively. In the same week the main Absolute station axed one of its best shows, Iain Lee’s late night programme, which disappeared from the schedules with no advance warning (as often happens in the crazy world of commercial radio). CMU report | Guardian report

That’s your lot for now. Though, further power cuts permitting, look out for the latest CMU Weekly podcast online this afternoon at

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU