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Universal Buys EMI's Recorded Music Unit For $1.9 Billion 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-you-need-is-love-and-a-monopoly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The 'Big Four' music labels are about to become the 'Big Three.' Universal Music Group is buying the recorded music unit of EMI for $1.9 billion. It's expected that a consortium led by Sony will soon purchase EMI's publishing unit for upwards of $2 billion. 'Although the enlarged Universal will now account a third of all music sales worldwide, company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline. Nevertheless, Universal will respond by selling record labels or catalogs if the European Commission were to demand disposals.'"
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Universal Buys EMI's Recorded Music Unit For $1.9 Billion

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  • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:47AM (#38025588)

    Fix the title to include "Billion" otherwise it looks like one hell of a deal. I could afford $1.90 with the spare change in my car.

    • by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:49AM (#38025620)
      With the quality of what they own, 1.9 dollars might be a loss.
      • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:12PM (#38025950) Journal

        EMI has one of the most impressive catalogues of great classical music recordings. Only Deutsche Grammophon may come close. Hey, maybe that's worthless compared to Britney and co., I wouldn't know. It's very valuable for people like me, though.

        And of course, Deutsche Grammophon is now part of Universal, too.

        Damn you Universal, fucking trolls of musical industry.

        • As for more-recent classics in the EMI catalog, I can think of The Beatles and Pink Floyd off the top of my head.
          And whatever you think about Britney and co., I wouldn't mind the income stream. (Katy Perry is with EMI even though Britney in particular isn't)

        • As far as great classical catalogs go, the smaller labels such as Hyperion, Harmonida Mundi, BIS, and Naxos have the big boys beat hands down. While some of th big name soloists still sign DG and EMI, their heydays are over if for no other reason than that they don't record interesting repertoire. After you own twelve different Beethoven cycles, it takes something special to draw your attention, and the big boys just don't seem to like taking any chances.
    • by euyis (1521257)
      Looked at the title... Thought it was correct and the $1.9 is just a token payment.
    • by Twinbee (767046)

      Neah, $1.9 is actually about right, give or take 9 orders of magnitude of error margin.

      It was only a matter of time before it came to this. At first it was the story, then it was the summary. Now we're getting so lazy that we can't even be bothered to check the title! :) :o

  • Price disparity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:51AM (#38025650) Homepage

    Even at $2B+, it's still probably cheaper to buy EMI outright than to pay copyright charges for all of their songs.

    • by houghi (78078) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:06PM (#38026574)

      According to MAFIAA $2B will buy you around 14.7 songs.

      • by Reziac (43301) *

        I had a similar thought... they have essentially stated what the value of that catalog IS... far below what they'd have us believe is the value of what gets pirated. Make up our minds, is it worth a lot (pirated) or a little (if *they* have to buy it)??

        • According to their "About EMI" page, they have 1.3 million songs in their catalog. So that works out to $1461 per song for the total rights to the song (not per download). Obviously some are worth a lot more than average, and some less.

          Universal, the buyer of EMI, is owned by Vivendi, who also owns Activision and Blizzard. So they own a ton of media properties.

  • Decline? Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:51AM (#38025654)

    Their revenue [grabstats.com] says differently. It's grown. And during a recession, at that. And yeah, there is inflation to account for and whatnot. Still, grown.

    Oh wait, piracy is destroying the music industry, blah blah BULLSHIT. Not that it really matters, most of their produce is as much bullshit as their claims. Unfortunately, a bigger cartel^H company is likely to be able to "lobby" for more Internet regulation.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep - that's capitalism: decline = profits not climbing year after year... No such thing as meeting demand, profit must always increase otherwise your company is in trouble.

    • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:39PM (#38026240)

      Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

      Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

      Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

      So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

      You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:49PM (#38026356)

        You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians

        Oh, now who doesn't know what the fuck their talking about? Point out where I "advocated piracy" in my post. Oh wait, I didn't. No, I am sick of the RIAA and compatriots bullshit, that is all. I haven't stolen your music, and I haven't advocated anyone else to do so. I'd tell them to read your post and make up their minds whether they want to support you afterwards.

        I can't comment on your musical skills, but you might want to take a remedial English comprehension course if you expect anyone to take you seriously.

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RazzleFrog (537054) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:51PM (#38026376)

        First, in this economy, 2% in this economy IS mind-blowing. I know as a musician you might not follow the financial news but even 2% decline would be seen as good news for some businesses.

        Are you seriously blaming piracy for your industries inability to adapt to a changing marketplace? Guess what - most people have no problem with paying for music but the industry, instead of adapting quickly, took YEARS to react and when they did it was to squelch digital formats instead of embrace them.

        Some can even argue that people who pirate music probably wouldn't even have bought it in the first place - at least not a full CD. Back before mp3s I can think of plenty of songs I liked that I didn't buy because I didn't want the whole CD so I just never got the song. Now I wouldn't hesitate to just buy that song so you are actually getting MORE money than you would have before.

      • I can really relate to what you’re going through. It used to be easy to make money as a software developer, and then the internet came out, and all the jobs went to India, and oh no wait that was just another whinny post I read. I feel genuinely sad about the sorry state of the music industry, but whining about it isn’t any way to gain support.
      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Belial6 (794905) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:16PM (#38026726)
        You seem to be confused about basic math, and in particular the difference between positive numbers and negative numbers. Maybe Kahn can help. http://www.khanacademy.org/exercises?exid=number_line [khanacademy.org].
      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AdamWill (604569) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:19PM (#38026792) Homepage

        "I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell"

        Not gonna cry too much over that. I go to work every day and do a good job; I don't expect to then be able to retire a year later and live off the profits of that good day's work forever more...

        • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by iONiUM (530420) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:35PM (#38027098) Homepage Journal

          This is kind of a good point. Since when did "being a musician" amount to only having to work for a year or two, and then be ultra-rich? Maybe musicians just have to work 9-5, 5 days a week, like the rest of us..

          • Only for a very narrow subset of musicians in a very narrow subset of the entire history of music in the 20th and 21st centuries.

          • by trawg (308495)

            Since record companies realised they could keep getting copyright laws extended over many decades so they have a complete monopoly, take most of the money, and keep the artists content enough with their meagre take

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Even if this decline you speak of is happening, why are you putting the blame on piracy, which survey after survey has shown is decreasing, if anything. I'll admit I download a crapton of pirated music just for convenience sake (and because a lot of the music I like isn't readily available in the US.). But I also have a paid napster account, a paid pandora acct, a paid last.fm account, and I still buy individual tracks from iTunes that I can't get from the other services.

        The real reasons that music has not

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:47PM (#38027260) Journal

        And what's your band's name?

        Nowadays you need to be famous. Great talent is optional[1] maybe even overrated. If you're too obscure, you could be the best and tour as much as you want, nobody is going to attend your tours.

        [1] There are many thousands of very talented musicians. Fact is you could be one of the best violinists in the world, but hardly anyone will care, unless you're gift wrapped in marketing and presented appropriately: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html [washingtonpost.com]

        And why should they care? With the population growth and increase in opportunities and technology, there are more talented musicians nowadays than there have ever been in history. But the average lifespan of each person has at most doubled.

        So why should people even give a minute's attention to your particular bunch of musicians. And without that minute of their life how are you going to even get a dollar from them?

        Are many people even pirating your band's music? If more people are pirating other band's music and not your band's perhaps you should think hard about why that is happening and fix it - They don't know of your band? They don't like the music? They don't like the people in the band? They don't like the look or image?

        Or you can just keep cussing, whining and blaming the pirates. Doesn't matter that much to me. Plenty of other stuff to listen to, many movies to watch, many games to play, many restaurants to go to, etc.

        p.s. I'm actually happy to hear there are empty floors at Sony's offices.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Of course they are, it's got nothing to do with the pirates, and everything to do with an incompetent industry.

        Personally, it's this sort of bullshit self entitlement that is why I don't buy CDs anymore. I'm not about to pay money when I'm being bullshitted and guilted into over paying so some fat cat execs can get their bonuses. You made a choice to sign with a label and this is the consequence. This isn't like in the past where you had to do so in order to sell albums.

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:52PM (#38027342)
        This, after the big music companies in Canada were recently forced to pay royalties that had been on their "back burner" for years? Just who do you think is really exploiting you, anyway? Hint: it isn't teenagers who want to listen to your music first before they plunk down your money (which is what studies have shown the biggest downloaders -- not "pirates" -- do).

        And that's another thing: you need to get a clue and distinguish between downloaders and actual "pirates", who, by definition, make a profit from their copies. Like your DJs. But blame them, and not everybody else.

        I think most of us who are actually knowledgeable about the situation know who is missing the boat here and who is not. You've been listening to the propaganda from the very music industry that has made a practice of screwing people like you over for generations.
      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

        By its self, it proves nothing other than they had a 2% growth, in a rather poor economy where most industries have seen a loss ( or complete collapse ). It says nothing about the whys or whats. Just that its +2%. it does not say piracy is killing ( or helping, or a negative impact ) the market any more than it says that the phase of the moon effected it.

        So take your rant elsewhere please, it just makes you look petty and stupid ( and a bit jealous for those who have made it with their talents, which you

      • Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

        Tip: people will take you more seriously without the bullshit analogies. If you can't tell the moral difference between stealing a car and downloading a song then you don't deserve to make any money in the music business.

        here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music)

        So you're blaming DJ piracy on your lack of venues?. That's absurd.

        I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell

        I'm of the opinion that a musician should be able to make enough money from live shows. Your studio work should be thought of almost like advertising with the CD revenues being there to recoup recording expenses + a small bo

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vadim_t (324782) on Friday November 11, 2011 @02:24PM (#38027840) Homepage

        Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

        Which band? You have a chance for some self-promotion, why are you ignoring it?

        So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

        Welcome to 2011, where anybody can make music, and where there's an ever growing amount of stuff to listen to. Your new music then makes a smaller and smaller addition to the whole.

        People still buy ABBA CDs. It sounds perfectly good, and a lot of people don't particularly feel like trying to filter out the good songs of 2011 from the trash when they can just buy a collection of the classics and have something perfectly nice to listen to while commuting.

        You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

        No, I don't plan to shut up.

        Here's where I stand: I care about my freedom and my Internet much more than I care about my music. If push comes to shove, I'll glady accept having the entire music industry bankrupt, if it means they stop trying to mess with my hardware, my Internet connection, and sneakily trying to reach into my wallet.

        One day I looked at an invoice, and noticed that half the purchase price for some DVD-Rs amounted to a tax for the music industry. So, I decided to vote with my dollars. In the last 5 years I've not bought any music. Where I am, they tax recordable media, so I stopped buying DVD-Rs as well. They tax other media too, so I just have it shipped from another country (at extra shipping expense, purely for the satisfaction of not giving money to organizations I don't like)

        No, I don't pirate it either, I just keep listening to what I have and find alternative things to listen to (music from Jamendo, TED talks, etc). That's just it, I'm tired of this music industry crap, and decided they will not have any of my money. No matter what anti-piracy measures are taken, no matter what laws are passed, I'm done with the music industry, and they're not getting another cent from me that I can avoid paying, even if it involves shipping hard disks from the other side of the planet. Sony has empty floors now? Good.

        Only way I will pay for music ever again is if it comes from a street musician, or indie musician who is not associated with the various recording associations.

        • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:4, Informative)

          by houghi (78078) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:56AM (#38033764)

          If you still want to buy music but not from the MAFIAA: http://bandcamp.com/ [bandcamp.com]
          You can clearly read how much goes to the site and how much to the band.

          No pirating, still voting with your wallet.

          The site is also very easy for musicians (most of the time not the most tech savy people) to set up a site and distribute their music to the world.

      • by LanMan04 (790429)

        Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

        That's several times the growth rate of the overall economy recently. Sounds pretty good to me!

        US GDP Growth:
        2007: 2%
        2008: 1.1%
        2009: (2.6%)
        2010: 2.8%

        Average: 0.825%

      • Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

        2% growth definitively debunks the claim is causing decline in revenues because the decline is nonexistant, despite so many factors that would lead one to expect decline even if there were no piracy whatsoever. That's the whole point. Your "stealing music doesn't hurt anyone" argument was never made - it is a strawman argument.

        Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

        Baloroth did not say that stealing does not cause bereavement. He did not say that insurance makes theft or any other harmful actions become victimless. He did not assert that either

      • Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

        Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

        Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

        So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

        You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

        Boo Hoo...

        My business is down 15% from last year, which was down 20% from the previous year, which was down 18% from the year before that...

        2% growth would be a godsend in this economy. Most of us have had to become far more efficient in order to survive. We have tightened our belts. We have laid off employees. We have pushed off development that will not provide immediate returns. We have branched out into markets beyond our comfort zones in order to get by.

        I hear you are hurting, but you can shove yo

      • Re:Decline? Huh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ogdenk (712300) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:49PM (#38030848)

        Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

        2% growth in an industry that large is really quite significant actually.

        Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

        Totally different. If you brought raw materials and made an exact copy of that car, the car lot owner couldn't really say shit. Ford might be able to take action if I sold or distributed copies but they couldn't do squat otherwise. Pirating music involves physically stealing nothing. It is just a near-perfect reproduction created on the pirate's own equipment. More like counterfeiting than stealing. And it's likely a sale you wouldn't otherwise have anyway.

        Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

        That's not because of pirates, that's because people haven't been going to shows because douchebags like you have been openly hostile toward them for getting your music heard by others.

        When you treat your entire customer base like untrustworthy criminals, they tend to not want to be your customer anymore. When you do it publicly and openly, they even tend to unite against you and cost you as much money as possible because hating you becomes a cool thing to do socially. And as part of the backlash more people find bittorrent clients.

        The funny thing is that I don't really pirate music. I just stopped buying any when I realized how corrupt and twisted the music industry is and how little the artists are actually compensated.

        Piracy may have increased some but the hassle DRM and other tactics have introduced have really made people uneasy about buying CD's if they can't use them however they want with their hardware.

        Right now, the pirates have a much better DRM-free easily accessible product. Want to make more money? Give people what they want.

        So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell,

        Wow, sounds like those band members should have planned for financial difficulty a little better instead of assuming their art is better than it is and will sell. Never put your eggs into one basket. Either write crappy music that all the teeny boppers want to hear or write real music and be a starving artist. That's how it works.

        I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

        You do not know what the fuck you're talking about.

        Maybe because real music played on real instruments doesn't sell like it did in the 80's. It's not just piracy, people are actively boycotting the music industry. Cry me a river. Don't like it? Get a real f**king job.

        And Sony deserves everything they have coming to them. Every ounce of it. They've screwed themselves as well as treated artists like shit for years.

        I really doubt piracy now per capita is any worse than the heyday of recordable cassette tapes. Piracy is more a convenient scape goat for a poorly run industry that depends on ancient legislation and sleazily buying new legislation to remove our rights to secure

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Dipshit, what is the economy doing during this time, what are peoples wages doing during this time, what is the unemployment rate doing during this time, what are healthcare costs doing during this time, what are food costs doing during this time, what are foreclosure rates doing during this.

        You are an insensitve greedy prick. You are part of the problem so crawl under a rock and shut the fuck up.

        So which comes first, feeding the ego of drunken drugged up minstels that demand mansions and mega yachts o

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I really doubt larger venues are getting away with just DJ:s, unless they're actually famous djs with their own songs. Or are otherwise DJ driven venues, like nightclubs. Have you considered, that the reason you're not booked in larger venues is that you ain't gonna sell that many tickets?
        It's betterr for the promoter not to book any bands at all, than to book a band that might sell less than or equal to half the capacity of the venue?

        I'm a DJ myself, and yes i download music. But only music that I own on a

      • by Xest (935314)

        "So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they

  • Eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:53AM (#38025682) Homepage

    "buying the recorded music unit of EMI for $1.9 billion"

    "It's expected that a consortium led by Sony will soon purchase EMI's publishing unit for upwards of $2 billion."

    "company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

    1.9bn for a single (apparently struggling) company. Wow. Wish my company was in such decline. Strange that an industry can decline while those producing the devices that music plays are and those selling music (albeit online now rather than physical) are at their most popular and profitable in the entire history of music.

    Hell, those idiots only started counting digital sales in the UK Top 10 just about a year ago. In denial much?

    • by lgarner (694957)

      "company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

      This wasn't claimed by Universal or EMI, but by a blogger that wrote one of the articles. Consider it accordingly. A snarky comment may well be appropriate here, but not for this reason.

  • FUUUUU:.......... (Score:5, Informative)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:53AM (#38025684) Journal

    EMI has been the only label trying to shake some sense into the RIAA, read for example here [techdirt.com], tried to convince the RIAA that suing music fans MAYBE isn't such a great idea.

    Universal, on the other hand, have been the FUCKING TROLL DOUCHEBAGS of the industry!

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:56AM (#38025744) Journal

      Yup, the asshats just got a bit more leverage. It's a shame Google didn't try to buy them - not that I believe the whole "Don't be evil" bit is applicable to a company that large, but when it comes to resisting net censorship and moving with the times, their interests align with what benefits the rest of us.

      • At least Google did a lot of good by allowing me and everybody else to access a TON of publications online. Publications that would have been lost ot humanity, otherwise. If they'd have EMI's music catalogue, you'd see a ton of beautiful classical music made available. OK, I'm a classical music buff, so bear with me.

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday November 11, 2011 @11:53AM (#38025692)
    Fewer players means more control for those left. Also in my opinion, Universal has been the label most resistant to change and accepting DRM-free content while EMI seemed to be the most receptive. EMI was the first to offer DRM-free on iTunes while Universal was the last. On the Zune, squirting was only allowed on purchased content if the label agreed and Universal never agreed so you could never share their music. One reason why squirting was doomed. It was a good idea but so crippled that it wasn't really a feature.
  • Probably the merger was "inevitable" due to the rampaging piracy ;-).

  • "company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

    That way if the industry ever comes back they will be positioned to make a killing.

    On top of all the additional "pirates" they will get to sue the balls off of......

  • Hang on a sec. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by loshwomp (468955) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:15PM (#38025982)

    So piracy losses amount to $12 billion annually in the US alone [riaa.com], but the copyrights to one third of the music out there are worth a measly $2B? Something doesn't compute, here. What am I missing?

    • by DaTroof (678806)
      According to TFA, EMI owns about 9 percent of the recorded music market.
      • by loshwomp (468955)

        Okay, I see my error. The "one third" figure would be the result of the merger, not EMI's share. I think my point still stands, though, even if EMI only represents 9%.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Ok, so the entire industry is worth ~$20B, still hard to see how they can lose $12B a year just to piracy and be collectively worth only $20B. I mean that puts the P:E on just lost sales at 1.5, about 10x less than what a slow growth bluechip is worth. Hell at $20B the tech companies should just pool a part of their pocket change (cash reserves) and buy the whole industry and stop the shenanigans and let people start using music in a way that isn't stuck in the era of wax cylinders.
        • by DaTroof (678806)
          I imagine that the $1.9B purchase price reflects the value of EMI's recorded music in the current market, not what its value would be if piracy didn't exist. Nonetheless, I don't disagree that the RIAA's figure is grossly exaggerated.
    • While walking home I whistled a few tunes without first obtaining a public performance licence. By RIAA accounting that should be another few thousand on the price of EMI. Could have been far worse if I'd been whistling in a crowded room.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Whistling a tune wouldn't require a license from an RIAA member (unless a label holds the songwriting credit)—playing the recording in public would. For appropriate whistle licenses, see our friends at ASCAP. Typically, however, they don't require payment unless you sell tickets or receive a cover for your public performance. In my experiences, getting performance permission is not particularly difficult or expensive. Those rules all predate recorded music anyway. To record your whistling virtuosity,

    • by Kjella (173770)

      That piracy has killed almost all value in the music industry? No, wait probably not it but there's no inherent disconnect here. The market price is based on the current and future cash flow from that music, if the market thinks that few pay now and less in the future and those who do pay will pay less then the market price will go down. What people "ought to" have paid won't go into the market price unless they think they can actually make people pay it in the future.

  • And there is no reason why [youtube.com] They only did it cause of fame!
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:40PM (#38026250)

      And there is no reason why [youtube.com] They only did it cause of fame!

      I felt a song coming on three years ago [slashdot.org], and I suppose it's time for an update.

      Are you suggesting there's an unlimited supply?
      That there's no reason why?
      $1.9 billion for their name,
      Why, any longer, care for fame?
      (Who?)
      EMI! EMI! EMI!

      M&A lawyers make a fuss,
      For gigabucks they acquired us,
      Not quite unlimited amount,
      Let the shareholders scream and shout.

      Mp3.com was crucified,
      For business models that had died,
      It was a website that was rivaled by none,
      (never ever never...)
      And you thought that they were faking?
      That it was all just money-making?
      You don't think EMI will steal?
      Even if they lose their last appeal?

      Oh, don't judge a band by its cover,
      Unless another you discover,
      And blind acceptance is a sign,
      of RIAA fools who stand in line
      (like)
      EMI! EMI! EMI!

      Unlimited edition,
      With an unlimited supply,
      That was the only reason,
      MP3.com said goodbye,

      Unlimited supply (EMI!)
      And there is no reason why! (EMI!)
      One point nine billion for a name,(EMI!)
      The business model still so lame!
      From four to three, UMG rules (EMI!)
      The big three are still useless fools (EMI!)
      Unlimited supply.

      Hello, Universal. Goodbye, EMI.

      - With apologies to the Sex Pistols, and you should still be grateful I can't sing, or I'd have dubbed it onto the original track and uploaded the result to MP3.com as a parody.

      34 years after the Sex Pistols, it was Universal who would carry out Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 25-year-old threat to Buy EMI! [youtube.com]

      • by vm146j2 (233075)

        - With apologies to the Sex Pistols, and you should still be grateful I can't sing, or I'd have dubbed it onto the original track

        Can't you scream?

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:36PM (#38026212)

    So, EMI accounts for about one-third of the music sales in the country, and it's worth about $2 billion. That means the entire recording industry, copyrights and all, is worth about $6 billion total? Google could buy the whole thing out of its pocket change if it wanted to (and if regulators let it).

    Heck, if we had one multi-billionaire who was devoted to the free content movement, he/she could put an end to the RIAA and music copyrights once and for all for a relatively small price.

    Remind me again why these idiots have so much political power? Lots of other industries are worth a hell of a lot more than $6 billion and we never hear of Congress bending nearly this far backward for most of them. Even Senate malapportionment can't be an excuse here, since the music industry is overwhelmingly California-based and they have only two Senators just like every other state.

    • by jittles (1613415)
      You're forgetting about Nashville, TN. That's 4 senators now... I am sure there is some back scratching going on in just CA and TN though.
      • by Anomalyst (742352)
        It aint backs that's getting anatomical attention, though it probably is tiny, and it aint scratching that's being performed,.
    • by Daetrin (576516)
      Agreed, and the subject has been brought up on Slashdot before. [slashdot.org]

      Google just spent almost $13 billion on buying Motorola. I know it would have been a far bigger regulatory hurdle, but they could have bought all (or even just half) of the music industry instead. Then send a note to Apple: "Stop suing people over Android or the iTunes store will lose access to half (or more) of its music." Yeah, i'm sure there would be legal issues involved that i don't know about, but it's a nice dream.
  • by sootman (158191) on Friday November 11, 2011 @12:36PM (#38026216) Homepage Journal

    ... next time someone tries to get a multi-million dollar fine against a file sharer? I would say ($2 billion) / (the number of songs in the catalog) = EXACTLY what a single song is "worth".

  • Seems their barking about how badly pirated music and videos have been over stated/estimated if they have nearly 2 billion to toss around.
  • I can't wait until one huge mega-corporation owns everything.
  • "...Although the enlarged Universal will now account a third of all music sales worldwide, company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline...

    Ah, in a word? Bullshit.

    Sold out concerts. Pop "stars"(a.k.a. one hit wonders) racking up Platinum sales in record numbers. The music elite making even the 1% look conservative. Bigger music stars "becoming" music execs(gee, no conflict of interest there) for nothing more than the tax write off. And yet I'm supposed to believe that this is an industry "in such decline"?

    And if the company execs end up "convincing"(a.k.a. buying) the regulators on this deal, then we might as well sit back and take in th

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:46PM (#38027252)
      Well for most part, concert sales go to the artist. Naive artists let the record company handle their concerts and take an even smaller cut. That's why artists fund their own concerts and why they tour so much. Very little of album sales go to the artist. Experienced artists also build their own studios as the record company would charge them exorbitant fees to use their studios.
  • by loshwomp (468955) on Friday November 11, 2011 @01:33PM (#38027054)

    Another poster mentioned that EMI constitutes 9% of the recorded music out there. And it's evidently valued at somewhere around $2B. It is utterly astonishing that such an insignificantly tiny industry could have such enormous legal and political power.

    $2B is less than a one-time $10 fee for every person in the USA. It's less than we, collectively, spend on chewing gum in a year. For that puny amount, we could put 9% of all recorded music in the public domain. Wow.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)
      Or to think about it another way: if Americans pooled all the money we spend on CDs, iTunes fees, etc. in just one single year, we could buy all the music, and actually get to keep it and do whatever we want with it.
  • I've got a BIG ONE for them. . .

  • That's it? 1.9 billion? We at Slashdot are used to talking about companies like Google and Microsoft and Apple which have a 200-300 billion USD market cap each, and yet we keep getting bullied by a company that's only worth 1.9 billion? Jesus. Why hasn't Google or Apple shut them down yet?

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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