Morning Fix: Bertelsmann Buys BMG; Q&A With CEO Hartwig Masuch; Bowie Streams New Album on iTunes

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BERTELSMANN BUYS OUT BMG

German media giant Bertelsmann has bought out private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which for the past five years has been its partner in BMG Rights Management. A source at Bertelsmann put the buy-out amount for BMG, which administers the rights to more than a million songs, at some $390 million.
Billboard.biz


BMG CEO HARTWIG MASUCH ON BUYING OUT KKR: 'WE NO LONGER NEED THE OLD LABEL SYSTEM'

On the day that Bertelsmann announced it had bought out KKR, it's partner in BMG Rights management at a price-tag estimated at well-over a quarter billion dollars, Billboard.biz caught up with one of the deal's key architects, BMG Rights Management’s Hartwig Masuch. Here Masuch details the rationale behind the buy-out, plans for expansion and whether to get into the label game.
Billboard.biz


BUSINESS MATTERS: MUVE MUSIC HITS 1.4 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS, PLANS TO GO INTERNATIONAL

Unlimited music service Muve Music now has 1.4 million U.S. subscribers, a Cricket Wireless executive said this week at the World Mobile Congress conference in Barcelona. The executive added that Muve will expand outside the U.S. within a month, but did not name the carrier or country. A Cricket spokesperson tells Billboard an announcement of the carrier’s identity should happen within a month once the agreements are completed.
Billboard.biz


DAVID BOWIE STREAMS 'THE NEXT DAY' ON ITUNES

David Bowie's "The Next Day" is here already. The March 12th-due album is the music legend's first in 10 years and is streaming on iTunes. The online retailer has moved into the increasingly crowded prerelease album streaming game in recent months, previously offering up albums by Ke$ha and One Direction prior to their street dates.
Billboard.biz


SIMON COWELL, YOUTUBE LAUNCHING ‘THE YOU GENERATION’ ONLINE TALENT CONTEST

Award-winning music producer Phil Ramone has been hospitalized in New York City after suffering an aortic aneurysm and is in critical care. Ramone has won 14 Grammy Awards, including producer of the year in 1981 and worked with such top-tier vocalists as Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Billy Joel and Paul Simon among others.
Billboard.biz


MUSIC PRODUCER PHIL RAMONE HOSPITALIZED

Google’s entrance into the music streaming market would provide the music industry with “arguably the biggest funnel we can have” with regards to turning music consumers onto legal licensed services, says Francis Keeling, Universal Music’s global head of digital.

Billboard.biz


BILLBOARD EN CONCIERTO TO FEATURE SHOWS BY TITO EL BAMBINO AND 3BALL MTY

Award-winning music producer Phil Ramone has been hospitalized in New York City after suffering an aortic aneurysm and is in critical care. Ramone has won 14 Grammy Awards, including producer of the year in 1981 and worked with such top-tier vocalists as Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Billy Joel and Paul Simon among others.
Billboard.biz


CHART MOVES: NICK CAVE SCORES HIGHEST CHARTING ALBUM, EAGLES FLY BACK ONTO BILLBOARD 200

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds celebrates its highest-charting album ever as "Push the Sky Away" arrives at No. 29. The band also score its best sales week. And following the Showtime premiere of its documentary "History of the Eagles - Part One" (Feb. 15 and 16), two of the Eagles' greatest hits albums re-enter to the list.
Billboard.biz


BEST BUY TALKS WITH FOUNDER END

Richard Schulze’s efforts to take over Best Buy, the struggling electronics retailer he founded nearly 47 years ago, have ended. Talks between Best Buy and a group comprising Mr. Schulze and three private equity firms have ended, people briefed on the matter told the New York Times’ DealBook on Thursday. Discussions could resume at some point, one of these people cautioned.
New York Times


HMV ASIA SOLD TO PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM

HMV administrators Deloitte have sold the retailer’s business in Asia to Hong Kong-based private equity firm Aid Partners.
The firm has bought HMV's six shops in Hong Kong, two shops in Singapore and branding rights in China, Macau and Taiwan. The Asia HMV business generates annual sales of more than 300m Hong Kong dollars ($39 million).
Music Week


ONE DEAD IN FRENCH MONTANA TOUR BUS GUN ATTACK

A man is dead after a shooter opened fire on a rapper's tour bus outside of the Holiday Inn on Penn's Landing overnight. Police say that rapper French Montana's entourage was hanging with fans outside of their tour bus at the hotel on Columbus Boulevard and Race Street after a performance at the TLA last night when someone driving by opened fire. A 27-year-old man was shot in the stomach, according to authorities. He was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital were he was pronounced dead. A second person was also hit in the shoulder. That person is in stable condition.
NBC Philadelphia


LANEWAY FESTIVAL LAUNCHING IN NORTH AMERICA

Australia’s Laneway Festival is eyeing a launch in North America this year in an attempt to become the first Australian fest to test the waters in the U.S. or Canada.
Billboard.biz



STEVIE NICKS TO SPEAK AT SXSW

The South By Southwest Music Conference announced this year's fest will close out on March 14 with a Stevie Nicks interview. Nicks is the subject of the documentary "In Your Dreams" screening at the SXSW Film Festival and is featured in SXSW Keynote Dave Grohl's "Sound City" documentary and will also perform with Grohl at a series of shows. Later this spring, Fleetwood Mac hits the road for a heavily anticipated world tour.
SXSW


HEADLINES OF THE DAY

- Tricky Admits Last Albums Sucked, Shares Much Better 'Nothing's Changed'

- The Mark McGrath and Friends Cruise Is Dead as a Doornail...

- Scott Weiland Says He Was 'Terminated' To 'Boost Ticket Sales'

- Beyoncé gets boulevard in Bermuda named after her

- Finally! The Indie Rock Coloring Book for indie rock fans.

- Happy Birthday, Justin Bieber! Here's (1)9 Of Your Best Moments!

- BigDog 'mule' robot wreaks havoc with herculean throwing arm

- Dear Apple, Thanks for Making Our Content Worthless. Signed, Radiohead...

- 'Harlem Shake' on a Plane Results in Federal Investigation

- Quintron & Miss Pussycat touring, showing their new puppet movie too


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