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-- The behind-the-scenes dealmaking involved in the EMI acquisition is spotlighted in an New York Times article by Devin Leonhard. It's a thorough look on Terra Firma's situation with Citigroup, its EMI-related debt and the lawsuit in which Terra Firma alleges Citi inflated the acquisition price by not disclosing that other bidders had dropped out of the race for EMI. A major angle in the article is the close relationship between Guy Hands and key people at Citi. Those people and their dealings with Hands are at the center of Terra Firma's lawsuit against Citi. "A person with knowledge of Citi's deliberations, who requested anonymity because of the litigation, says the bank was fearful of losing its standing with private equity borrowers if it abandoned a longstanding client like Terra Firma," wrote Leonhard. "So Citi stayed in." (New York Times)

-- Suzanne Vega has a post-record company strategy that will likely become more popular as years pass. The singer-songwriter has recorded acoustic versions of her own songs - including "Luka" and "Tom's Cabin" - and will self-release a series of themed albums over the next two years. By recording new versions of old songs, Luka will own the rights to the masters. By selling the songs with direct-to-fan tools, she will be other to gather consumer data that would otherwise be lost to third parties. "We'll sell it off iTunes and our Web site, which will allow us to collect e-mail addresses, so when I want to release an album of new material we'll know who the audience is," she said. Re-recording songs in this manner is hardly new. Decades ago, K-tel paid bands to re-record their hits for use in their compilation albums in order to avoid licensing costs with record labels. But established artists such as Vega are perfect for the opportunities now available to artists. They have a catalog of songs, an existing fan base, increasingly inexpensive recording costs, and a broad range of distribution and sales tools. (New Yorker)

-- Social media music player Tunewiki has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Motorola Ventures, the strategic investing arm of Motorola. Intellect Capital Ventures (a venture fund initiative of Nordic telecom operator TeliaSonera), HillsVen Capital, LLC, Novel TMT and Benchmark Israel also participated in the round. Tunewiki will use the investment to expand and enhance its products for mobile platforms and the Internet. The Tunewiki service contains subtitled lyrics with music, videos, and lyrics translations. (Press release)

-- SoundExchange is going to attend a number of conferences in early 2010 to continue to educate musicians and copyright holders on the need to register to receive digital performance royalties. The organization will be at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis (February 17-21), Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg, PA (February 19 and 20), Digital Music Forum East in New York (February 24 and 25), Spring National College Media Convention in New York (March 14 to 16) and South By Southwest (March 17 to 21).

-- Tapulous has released a new iPhone app called Riddim Ribbon, a "music racing game" featuring the Black Eyed Peas. The app lets users create their own unique mixes of songs as they play. Riddim Ribbon includes the songs "Boom Boom Pow," "Meet Me Halfway," and "I Got a Feeling" and costs $2.99. (VentureBeat)

-- In the wake of a recent legal victory by iiNet, an Australian communications minister has called for new talks on file-sharing in lieu of new laws aimed at curbing digital piracy. "I think that a mature approach by both the movie industry and the internet industry - sitting down, having a conversation and coming up with a code of practice - is the absolutely preferable outcome." Last week, an Australian court ruled iiNet, an Internet service provider, could not be held liable for unauthorized downloads of movies on its service. Although victorious, iiNet appears willing to work with movie studios to prevent future court appearances. "We would like to engage with all the movie studios and the other rights holders, and see if we can find a way to get this stuff legitimately online," the company's managing director said after the decision. (News.com.au)

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