The BBC has handed EMI Music the keys to its treasure-filled broadcast vault. Through an agreement struck between EMI and BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, both parties will have control to tap into one another's content wells.

The London-based music group will have access to the Corporation's archive TV and radio recordings to create products for release across multiple platforms, including DVDs, CDs and digital downloads.

On the flip side, BBC Worldwide will be enabled to use EMI artist performances to create new programming for commercial use, including international radio and TV programs. BBC Worldwide has also obtained rights to distribute the content direct to consumers by way of their own future digital services.

"We are very excited about this agreement," comments Pete Duckworth, senior VP, catalog, EMI Music U.K. and Ireland. "In the BBC vaults there is a wealth of unreleased and high quality material from EMI artists that we will now be able to bring to fans. At the same time, we can offer new revenue opportunities to our artists that simply weren't there before."

BBC's archive includes such EMI spoils as 1967 live radio performances from Pink Floyd, playing tracks from their debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," plus a 1975 documentary on David Bowie and early recordings of Coldplay.

Both companies will also receive reciprocal royalties for each other's sales, and featured artists will be approached for clearance on each release project.

In a statement, Paul Dempsey, director of audio and music with BBC Worldwide, says the new agreement is part of a strategy to utilize the corporation's rich archive. "This deal is a prime example of the commercial opportunities available to artists, their labels and BBC Worldwide when we work together to release this incredibly rich archive of content," he says.

Its not the first time the Corporation has encouraged the major label community to tap into its broadcast library.

Universal Music struck a landmark licensing deal in mid-2005, enabling the market-leader to leverage the BBC's audio and visual content for use in a broad range of internationally-available products.

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