Trouble could be afoot for EMI and its two separate businesses – recording and publishing – are heading towards merger with Universal and Sony respectively. With EMI is set to meet with lenders in New York City to discuss the $1.8 billion loans needed to support the Sony Corp acquisition, there are rumblings that of a battle with independent labels to halt the deal – Universal’s acquisition of EMI would give them near 40% market share of the recorded music industry. If Universal loses this battle, it may effect both Universal and Sony’s ability to merge with the branches of EMI.
In other Sony news, Sony/ATV Music Publishing filed a legal action in Nashville against karaoke giant KTS Karaoke for the willful copyright infringement of 6,715 songs. Sony is claiming that any time a bar or club patron has performed one of the songs they own, the act is infringing on their copyright to the music – even though though the music has been re-recorded by KTS Karaoke.
The gloves were off also for Ray Dorset, frontman for Mungo Jerry, the ’70s group responsible for the smash hit In The Summertime, whose management company is suing Associated Music International (AMI) claiming the company made deductions from his royalties without his knowledge. The lawsuit took an interesting turn when AMI alleged that Dorset was involved in creating an anti-Semitic film called Nail That Snail in which AMI’s Eliot Cohen’s head was superimposed onto the body of a Nazi.
Also in court, there’s a royalty battle involving the late country singer Jim Reeves’ widow and the man she remarried over how much money and land from the Reeves estate he should be entitled to.
In this week’s big deals: publishing rights to the Irving Berlin catalog has picked up by Universal Music Publishing Group; the entire 5-decade long career catalog of music by Pete Townsend has been acquired by Spirit Music Group.
Spirit Music Group also announced that they’re the first U.S.-based member of IMPEL (Independent Music Publishers’ European Licensing) – an initiative launched by the U.K two years ago to allow music publishers with American repertoires to successfully navigate the pan-European digital music licensing space.
More encouraging news from the digital music services, with Spotify announcing its 3 millionth paid customer – up from 2.5 million just two months.