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Because Group buys old London Records catalogue in latest Warner divestment 

By | Published on Friday 11 August 2017

Because Group

French independent record company Because Group yesterday confirmed it had acquired much of the old London Records catalogue in the latest of the Warner Music divestments to the indie sector.

As much previously reported, Warner committed to sell a certain portion of its catalogue to independent music companies as part of a 2013 deal with pan-European indie label repping trade group IMPALA and indie label digital rights agency Merlin.

In return for that commitment, the independent sector agreed not to oppose Warner Music’s acquisition of the Parlophone Music Group, which constituted a bunch of old EMI subsidiaries and catalogues that Universal Music was forced to sell by European competition regulators when it bought the EMI record company in 2012.

London Records was a subsidiary of the old music major Polygram for a long time, being led by British record industry veterans Roger Ames and Tracy Bennett during its particularly prolific period in the 1980s and 1990s.

After Polygram merged with Universal Music in 1998, the London label got sold off to Warner Music, rejoining Ames who had also jumped over to the rival record company. Though, somewhat confusingly, the London Records name then reverted back to Universal in 2010, which subsequently relaunched the label as part of its UK business.

Which is presumably why Because plans to rebrand the London catalogue it has just acquired off Warner as London Music Stream. Artists whose old recordings will now sit under that banner include Bananarama, Happy Mondays, Fine Young Cannibals, Orbital, Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat, East 17, Goldie and Shakespears Sister. London Music Stream will operate as a separate entity to the existing Because record company in the UK.

It’s not the first deal Because has done as part of Warner’s grand divestment party, it having acquired the catalogues of ten French artists earlier this year, including recordings by Mano Negra, Rita Mitsouko, Camille and Les Negresses Vertes.

Commenting on the new deal, Because chief Emmanuel de Buretel said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with a talented group of artists whom I have long admired, and whose music remains relevant today. It is a great honour to be in a position to build on the legacy of the amazing creative vision established by Roger Ames and Tracy Bennett more than 25 years ago, and take London to a new level. The catalogue includes some incredible hit songs which we intend to revitalise in the digital age”.

He added: “The ambition for this company is first to optimise the catalogue of the London artists on a worldwide basis using the resources of Because Music, and then to take the label back to its glory days with fresh ideas and talented people, all while using new opportunities on offer in terms of music, creativity, technology and data”.