| UNIVERSAL MUSIC-EMI DEAL APPROVED BY EUROPEAN UNION: European Union regulators today formally approved Universal Music Group's $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Music. As expected, the approval is contingent upon divestments to limit the combined companies' market share. Universal reportedly said the assets to be divested amounted to 30 percent of EMI's group revenues (approximately 10 percent of sales for the combined group).
| SONY/ATV'S DIVESTMENT AUCTION FOR VIRGIN, FAMOUS UK CATALOGS BEGINS: The package of assets -- comprised of 30,000 copyrights from the Virgin and Famous Music U.K. publishing catalogs -- that the Sony-led consortium agreed to sell in order to gain regulatory approval to buy EMI Music Publishing is about to hit the auction block. According to Reuters, and confirmed by numerous sources, more than 20 suitors have been contacted to see if they want the non-disclosure agreement. The auction is being handled by Ziffren Brittenham partner John Branca -- who is also co-executor for the Michael Jackson estate -- and Shot Tower Capital principal David Dunn.
AEG CEO TIM LEIWEKE ON IMPENDING SALE: 'WE WON'T MISS A BEAT': According to Anschutz Entertainment Group President/CEO Tim Leiweke, if a press release had never been issued regarding the potential sale of AEG two days ago, "No one would have ever noticed the change." While the announcement of AEG being on the block has created a furor in the sports and entertainment industry, Leiweke considers that an over-reaction. "People act like this is going to be some seismic earthquake within our company and it won't be," Leiweke told Billboard.biz. "We won't miss a beat."
GOOGLE SAYS IT WILL SHUT CHINA MUSIC SERVICE: Google Inc. said Friday it will close a music download service in China, further reducing its presence in the world's most populous Internet market t wo years after the company closed its mainland search engine in a dispute over censorship and computer hacking. Google said the 3-year-old service failed to achieve the market impact it wanted and will be shut down Oct. 19.
HMV SALES CONTINUE TO FALL SHARPLY: Troubled music, films and games retailer HMV reported a further sharp fall in sales, citing the lack of new releases over the summer. Same-store sales at its HMV Retail business fell by 11.6% in the 20 weeks to 15 September, the firm said. Sales of portable technological devices grew strongly, but its core business of music, DVD and games saw "significant market value declines". The company says the upcoming Christmas season should help increase revenue.
LED ZEPPELIN REUNITE TO LAUNCH 'CELEBRATION DAY' DVD: The surviving members of Led Zeppelin officially launch their Celebration Day DVD today (Sept. 21). Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones made a rare public appearance together at London's Odeon West End for a premiere of their DVD, followed by a Q&A session. Celebration Day will show in cinemas from October 17, following premieres on September 13. The film will then get a general DVD release on November 19.
BMI RELEASES RESULTS, REVENUE DOWN 3.5% DUE TO RADIO RATE SETTLEMENT: In the y ear ended June 30, 2012, Broadcast Music, Inc. reported $898.8 million in revenue, a nearly 3.5% decline from the $931 million collected in the prior year. The organization attributed the decline to "settling a rate litigation" with terrestrial radio.
SOUNDHOUND QUIETLY PASSES 100M USERS, AVERAGING 200K DOWNLOADS/DAY: Just t hree days after Shazam's announced its impressive user numbers (250 million) and its expanded TV initiative, the "other music search and discovery app" SoundHound released their own r ather impressive numbers: More than 100 million users and an average of 200,000 downloads a day on Android and iOS systems
FANS SEND NEARLY 50 MILLION TEXTS FOR IHEARTRADIO MUSIC FESTIVAL TICKETS: Clear Channel today announced that fans sent a record-setting number of text messages - nearly 50 million - for a contest to win a free trip to this weekend's iHeartRadio Music Festival. The event, The national contest was promoted on nearly 7 00 Clear Channel stations in 45 states. The event's line-up includes T aylor Swift, Aerosmith, Rihanna, Usher, Lil Wayne, Green Day, Swedish House Mafia, Brad Paisley and Enrique Iglesias among many others