Is Terra Firma Handing Over EMI to Citigroup Sooner Than Later?
-- Terra Firma may hand over EMI to Citigroup within weeks and buyers have been lined up for its recorded music and publishing divisions, according to a weekend report in The Guardian.
A source at Citi says Terra Firma's investors do not want to invest any more funds in EMI. Without additional funds Terra Firma would likely be unable to meet its debt requirements. While Citi would normally not take over EMI until March, The Guardian says Terra Firma is considering a quick exit strategy.
One should note that The Guardian was the only paper over the weekend reporting this news. As such, the best way to interpret this news is to consider it possible at best that Citi could take over EMI in a few weeks.
Media reports have offered clues about possible suitors for EMI's two divisions. Conventional wisdom has long said that Warner Music Group is the most likely acquirer of its recorded music division. However, a recent comment by BMG Rights Management's CEO, Hartwig Masuch, indicates the company known best for music publishing is also interested in the recorded music division. "We are increasingly moving into representing master catalogues and EMI is the iconic catalogue," he told MusicWeek last month.
( The Guardian)
SoundCloud Raises Capital Towards Becoming the Web's Audio YouTube
--Cloud-based audio-sharing service SoundCloud has raised $10 million from Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures. The company had raised $3.3 million last year from Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures.
The service gives users a powerful yet simple tool to record, upload and share audio on the Web. It has grown quickly since its launch in 2007. When founder/CEO Alexander Ljung was named to Billboard's "30 Under 30" list in August, he told Billboard that SoundCloud had 1.3 million registered users. Since then, the company has launched a desktop app for the Mac and introduced a content identification system to help rights holders control the availability of their content.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures was attracted to SoundCloud because he saw that audio needed something on the Internet the way video has YouTube. "The media type that I spend the most time with on the web is audio," he wrote at the SoundCloud blog. "And yet, audio is the one media type that doesn't have an obvious platform for posting and sharing audio." Mike Volpi of Index Ventures agrees. "What was probably most eye-opening and interesting is the fact that if you look out there," he wrote, "there's websites that aggregate videos, there's websites that aggregate blogs, photos, etc. But there really wasn't one definitive place to go for sound."
New York-based Union Square Ventures has invested in such companies as Twitter, Zynga, Foursquare, Etsy, Tumblr and TargetSpot. Among Volpe's investments at Index Venture's portfolio are Skype, Sonos and GroupSpaces.
Best Buy: Not The Best Buying December Sales Numbers
-- Weak demand for music and movies helped drive Best Buy's December same-store sales down 4% to $8.4 billion. Domestic same-store sales for the period dropped 5% to $6.5 billion. Both figures represent a sizable drop over the previous year. Total and domestic same-store sales were up 8.2% and 9.3% in December 2009.
In explaining the month's sales, the company singled out softness in entertainment software and televisions. Entertainment software was down 15.4% due primarily to poor sales of movies and music. Weak television sales pushed down the consumer electronics category by 7.9%. There were a few bright spots. Mobile and appliances grew over the previous year, and domestic online sales were up 13%.
Spotify, Still With No U.S. Launch Date, Partners With Logitech
-- The only Spotify news people want to know is the U.S. launch date. So prepare to be disappointed. The music service's latest development is a partnership with Logitech that will integrate the music service with Squeezebox Touch and Radio devices. As is the case with apps for iPhone and Android, the Squeezebox app that enables Spotify works only for paying subscribers. This news comes on the heels of an announcement from CES that Rdio is available to users of the Sonos home audio system. Spotify also works with Sonos.
( Spotify blog)
Skyline Muisc's Announces 'Book a Gig Plant A Tree' Initiative
-- Booking agent Skyline Music has launched a green program called "Book a Gig, Plant a Tree" in partnership with the non-profit Trees for a Future. Each time a promoter or venue books a Skyline Music client and accepts contracts and promo email, the agency will plant a tree.
Daily Motion Incorporates Trending Content
-- Online video site Dailymotion has launched what it calls "rapid-response, on-demand content hubs" that feature trending content in social media, search or breaking news. One example is the site's coverage of last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Paris-based Dailymotion is often overshadowed by U.S.-based YouTube but is one of the most popular web sites in the world. It reached 93 million unique viewers in a six-month period in the second half of 2010, according to comScore, making it the 32nd most visited web site.