Business News Week In Five

CMU Digest – 11 Jan 2013

By | Published on Friday 11 January 2013

The Beatles

The five biggest stories in the music business this week…

01: Reissue labels capitalised on ‘Love Me Do’ going public domain as the Intellectual Property Office began a consultation on copyright extension. By the end of the year the copyright term on sound recordings will be extended from the current 50 to 70 years, meaning anything released in 1963 will not come out of copyright for another 20 years. However, while the European Union approved that extension in 2011, it is yet to be incorporated into law in each member state, so the old term applied to 1962 recordings, meaning the first ever Beatles record releases, ‘Love Me Do’ and its b-side ‘PS I Love You’, are now out of copyright (though the copyright in the two songs themselves, subject to a life-of-creator plus 70 years term, remain). Capitalising on that fact, the Digital Remasterings label has included ‘Love Me Do’ on a compilation of early Beatles recordings, and Pristine Classical has released a remastered version of the track. CMU report | report

02: announced it was shutting its retail site, and would become a marketplace for third party retailers. The mail-order site, launched in Jersey, was one of the first online operations to capitalise on the so called Low Value Consignment Relief that meant that companies on the Channel Islands (outside the EU) could sell low-cost products like CDs and DVDs to UK customers without charging VAT, giving them a 15-20% advantage over mainland retailers. Once became one of the biggest online retailers in Britain, many rivals also located their mail-order businesses on the Channel Islands to benefit from the VAT dodge. But last year the UK government closed the loophole. While had previously insisted LVCR was not core to its business, owner Rakuten – which acquired the firm for £25 million in 2011 – this week announced that the Play site would now cease to be a retail operation in its own right, though third parties will still be able to use the platform to sell their goods. CMU report | BBC report

03: The Virgin France entertainment retail chain declared itself insolvent. A Paris court will now decide if the 25 store business can be saved in any form. No longer part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the French Virgin retail firm has struggled in recent years amidst increased online competition. The news came as HMV in the UK negotiated with its money lenders, having admitted last month that it will likely break covenants linked to its debts this month. The retailer also announced a big sale kicking off in all its stores this weekend. While HMV management insist that the company always runs a major promotion in January, some commentators have suggested that this sale is much bigger than usual, possibly in a desperate bid to get more cash through the tills as it tries to placate bankers. CMU report on Virgin | Sky report on HMV

04: Max Hole was promoted to the CEO role at Universal Music Group International. Currently COO of the mega-major’s international division, the promotion will see Hole lead the music company’s operations outside of the US, including the integration of the EMI labels with the Universal business around the world. CMU reportGuardian report

05: Ian Rogers joined Beats to lead Daisy. The former Yahoo! Music GM and current Topspin CEO will lead a new company in the Beats Electronics group that will launch a new digital music service later this year, presumably built out of the MOG streaming platform Beats acquired last year. Rogers will work with Trent Reznor (who announced his involvement last month) on developing the new digital service, which, it’s promised, will have some nifty discovery tools and Topspin integration, allowing artists to upsell products direct to fans. Rogers will remain on the Topspin board, with Beats making an investment in the direct-to-fan company. CMU report | MusicAlly report

In CMU this week, we spoke to Riku Salomaa of Music Finland as his country appeared under the spotlight at this year’s Eurosonic festival, the CMU Insights team provided some tips for new bands reaching out to the media for the first time, and we provided a playlist of recently CMU approved tracks. Newly approved, meanwhile, were Elizabeth Rose, Angel Olsen, Dyymond Of Durham and The Men.

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