Mean Fiddler Music Group (MFMG), the London-based live-venue operator and concerts promoter, has struck a content deal with EMI ahead of the planned launch of its online music service, dubbed "Meantun

Mean Fiddler Music Group (MFMG), the London-based live-venue operator and concerts promoter, has struck a content deal with EMI ahead of the planned launch of its online music service, dubbed "Meantunes".

A spokesman for MFMG confirms Warner Music has also reached agreement for the use of live music content through the initiative, which is due to go live in the United Kingdom this June. Talks are ongoing with Sony and Universal Music.

As previously reported, the group is entering the digital download market through a new subsidiary, Mean Fiddler Media (MFM), which would be marketed to its existing worldwide database of several million customers. At the time of the March announcement, Warner Music, BMG and indie V2 had already agreed to license content for the initiative.

MFMG had expected the three remaining majors to commit content in time for an April launch. A timeline has yet to be announced for the subsequent rollout of "Meantunes" into Europe, the United States and Asia.

The news emerges as MFMG announces losses for 2003 totalled £2.9 million ($5.1 million) compared with £8.3 million ($14 million) in 2002. Over the past year, the group sold its loss-making bars and restaurants division to concentrate on its core divisions of tours, festivals, and live venues. According to MFMG Chairman Vince Power, those three divisions were "trading profitably."

Group revenues growth was up 13.1% year-on-year to £44.1 million ($78.6 million). A profit before exceptional items and amortisation of goodwill was recorded at £1.3 million ($2.3 million) vs a loss of £4.8 million ($8.5 million) in 2002.

One of the key players in the British live-music business, MFMG owns such top music venues as the Astoria, the Forum, the Borderline and Jazz Cafe. MFMG either owns or promotes such major festivals as the Reading and Leeds Carling Weekend and the Glastonbury Festival.