So, this is exciting, don’t you think? The mighty DJ Shadow is not only bringing his awe inspiring Shadowsphere show to The Great Escape this May, we’ve even managed to persuade him to give a rare interview as part of our In Conversation programme in the TGE convention which, of course, we are organising this year.
We’ll talk to Shadow about his inspirational career to date, and find out how the Shadowsphere show (which you get a glimpse of here) was conceived and created.
Shadow joins BRIT Award winning producer Paul Epworth in our In Conversation programme this year, and we’re close to confirming the next addition to that bit of the proceedings, so watch this space. Meanwhile the panels are coming together very nicely and hopefully next week I’ll be able to give you details of a few more of the people who will be taking part. Meanwhile you should probably get online to www.escapegreat.com and book your delegates pass, a steal at just £125. And now, your week in five…
01: Warner Music’s owners started accepting offers from possible bidders interested in buying the whole company, or its publishing division Warner/Chappell, this week. It’s thought there is most interest in the latter deal, and that Warner chief Edgar Bronfman Jr favours that option also. KKR-backed BMG remain favourites to buy Warner/Chappell and they appointed bankers Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan to advise on a possible bid this week. Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik, already a minority shareholder in Warner, is also thought to be preparing a bid. CMU report | FMQB report
02: Reuters reported that Universal is close to signing up to Spotify USA. EMI and Sony Music are already on board, and while Warner is still holding out, it is thought that if and when Spotify secures Universal’s catalogue it could conceivably launch Stateside. The arrival of the Swedish streaming platform in the US has been a long time coming because of concerns by many American label execs over the free version of the service. Meanwhile, Russian firm Digital Sky Technologies invested in the region of $100 million into Spotify this week, meaning the company is now valued at about $1 billion. CMU report | Reuters report
03: American record industry types ranted about the Grammys. The ranting was started by Steve Stoute, Nas’s business manager, who took out a forty grand ad in the New York Times to express his outrage that big name acts, especially from the urban genre, are nominated for awards and invited to perform, helping secure TV ratings, but often don’t win on the night. He seemed most annoyed that Arcade Fire had beaten Eminem in the Best Album category this year. He encouraged big name urban and pop acts to boycott the event, though producer Jermaine Dupri – one of many execs to respond to Stout’s open letter – suggested instead that the urban community get more actively involved in the Grammy organising Recording Academy so that more people from that genre took part in the voting. CMU report | Billboard report
04: BMG announced its new UK structure bringing together its existing companies over here with the recently acquired music publisher Chrysalis. The all new BMG Chrysalis UK will be run by recent recruit Alexi Cory-Smith, with BMG Europe COO John Dobinson overseeing operations and Ben Bodie of Chrysalis and Alan Pell of previous BMG acquisition Stage Three leading A&R. The combined business will be based out of Chrysalis’s HQ in West London. CMU report
05: MySpace Music’s chief quit. Courtney Holt will stop working for the web firm full time, but continue to advise in a consultancy role. There have reportedly been growing tensions between him and overall MySpace boss Mike Jones, while the uncertain future of the web operation presumably has also played a part in Holt’s decision making. Owners News Corp are currently trying to offload the company, and according to Reuters will start considering offers for it from potential bidders in mid-March. CMU report | Reuters report
And that’s your lot, though for more retrospective chatter do download the CMU Weekly podcast this afternoon - sign up here.
Business Editor, CMU
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