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-- Last week, EMI rushed to close a deal to license its catalog to either Universal Music Group or Sony Music. But not having the legal right to license some of its top artists may have prevented a deal from being done. Roger Friedman reports The Beatles, Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Norah Jones and "a few other EMI acts" have clauses in their contracts that forbid EMI from licensing their recordings to another company. Friedman assertion that any licensing deal would be "valueless" without this group of artists is an exaggeration, but it would certainly exclude most of EMI's top catalog sellers. Other than the artists mentioned by Friedman, Bob Seger, "Now Classic Rock" and the Beach Boys are the only EMI artists in last week's top 100 catalog titles at SoundScan. (Showbiz411)

-- HMV says its Pure HMV customer rewards program, launched in 2008 and expanded last year, is boosting customer spending. Customers earn points from purchases online or at physical stores. Points can be redeemed for concert tickets, backstage passes and other items. Some retailers have diversified by emphasizing clothing and video games in their product mixes, but live events has been a cornerstone of HMV's turnaround plan. In January 2009, the company created a joint venture with Mama. It bought out Mama's half of the venture in December. It also acquired half of digital music store 7digital in September. (Daily Finance)

-- Musician Coaching has an eye-opening interview with John Mathiason, artist relations executive at merch company Cinder Block. Mathiason talks about the many moving parts that go into selling merch on the road. "[W]hat ends up happening a lot of times because people don't really understand that they have to factor in manufacturing, shipping, whatever it is you have to pay the house in terms of event fees and what you're paying the guy you have selling. After all is said and done, you might only be making $3 off a $25 t-shirt. It's crazy how tight the margins are...You hired the bass player's cousin to sell merch because you don't want to actually pay somebody to do a good job, and that kid's in the back smoking weed throughout the tour, and not keeping up with inventories or following the cash." (Musician Coaching)

- Bob Dylan has canceled an East Asia tour after Chinese officials refused permission to hold concerts, according to the U.K. Telegraph. He was due to tour Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong this month following concerts in Japan. "China's Ministry of Culture did not give us permission to stage concerts in Beijing and Shanghai, so we had no alternative [but] to scrap plans for a South East Asian tour," Jeffrey Wu, the head of operations for Taiwan-based Brokers Brothers Herald, told the South China Morning Post. (CBS)

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