Wednesday, October 15, 2008

EMI Helps Usher in T-Shirt Karaoke Fad

Music Publisher Licenses Lyrics to Sainsbury's for Clothing Line

EMI Music Publishing and UK retailer Sainsbury's are collaborating to feature the lyrics to some of the greatest songs ever written on a brand new fashion range. The new collection from the Tu clothing division, which includes products for men, women and children, will feature words from EMI's catalog of more than 1.3 million songs such as "My Girl," "ABC," "(Theme From) The Monkees," "Wild Thing" and "Dancing In The Street."; The Tu range is now carried in 281 of the retail giant's 545 stores across the country.

The agreement marks the latest in a series of initiatives under EMI Music Publishing's Lyric brand, which helped create art posters, greeting cards and board games in the last few years. The deal was brokered by cutting-edge licensing agency Corporate Creative Licensing in conjunction with EMI Music Publishing's Head of Media Licensing Steve Hills and Tu Childrenswear Buying Manager John Carolan. Michael Gottlieb, corporate creative head of licensing, said, "I am thrilled to have helped bring together a leading British retailer with the leading British music publisher. The EMI catalogue contains the world's greatest lyrics, and now Sainsbury's customers will be able to wear inspirational clothing featuring some of the most famous words ever written."

As artists look to replace dwindling revenue streams from recorded music, we are going to see more of these types of innovative and creative deals that take the "brand equity" of the artist and their songs and extend that into new forms of licensing, collaborations with brands and businesses. This particular deal by EMI is such a "no brainer" that I'm surprised it's not being done by every music publisher. Lyric Culture, in West Hollywood, has a similar business plan, but their t-shirts are high-priced, boutique items, not mainstream-consumer-friendly and not widely available at a nationwide retail chain. But that's the great thing about "no brainers" like EMI's deal with Sainsbury's. They only become that way when someone makes them actually happen!

[Press release]

Radiohead: US Music Biz Has One Advantage

UK Musicians Lobby for Ownership of Their Work

Thom Yorke, Radiohead
Photo: WENN

Radiohead and other British artists are banding together for ownership rights.

UK pop and rock stars are taking action to try to gain ownership and control of their work from record labels. Robbie Williams, Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs and The Verve are among the acts who have signed up to a new pressure group, the Featured Artists' Coalition.

According to a number of reports on the BBC, the group wants artists to keep the rights to the music they create and to have a greater say in how their songs are sold -- and a bigger slice of the takings, naturally. At the moment, record labels normally own the rights to the music their artists make, though the artists often get "charged" back all the recording and marketing costs against their advances. Instead, the body is proposing that artists should own the rights but lease them back to labels, technology companies or anyone else for that matter, for up to 35 years, as happens in the US.

The coalition also wants its members to be consulted more fully on how their music is used, the ways it is sold and who gets the money, particularly in regard the increasing number of deals done by labels and publishers with new digital services. "Record and technology companies are signing agreements to deliver music to fans in new ways," the Featured Artists' Coalition charter says. "Artists are not involved in these negotiations and their interests are likely to be overlooked. Artists should receive fair compensation as part of these new deals."

While labels, management companies and agents are still feeling their way in the brand partnership world -- particularly since a lot of current deals are promotional or exposure-oriented rather than hard-cash generating for them -- these partnerships are becoming an increasing source of revenue for their artists and will no doubt come under the same land grab for revenue streams that artists are now fighting off. Agencies and brands need to be aware of the multiple number of "interested parties" when putting together these types of deals, and this coalition is a potent reminder.

Getty Images Launches Premium Music Platform

Media Clearinghouse Strikes Deals With Majors for Ad, TV Placement

Getty Images' Premium Playlist
Getty Images, one of the largest creators and distributors of visual content and other digital media in the country, has unveiled Premium Playlist, a music collection that makes popular music available for commercial licensing in movies, TV commercials/advertising, broadcast, online and other new media.

The Premium Playlist music collection will be available through, where it will benefit from worldwide distribution in more than 100 countries. Premium Playlist will additionally be promoted through Getty Images' 600-strong global licensing, distribution and rights-clearance professionals. Getty Images' team is already experienced in music licensing, managing the Pump Audio library of more than 100,000 music titles by independent artists.

According to Billboard, Craig Peters, VP-multimedia products at Getty Images, said, "We have seen significant growth and success in our Getty Images music product and our Pump Audio collection. Representing premium music content through Premium Playlist is the next step and a natural fit for our business model."

Several music publishers, management companies and record labels, including Cherry Lane Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Group, Koch Records, Lionsgate, Nettwerk, Red Light Management and Warner/Chappell Music, have concluded worldwide, non-exclusive deals with Getty Images. The collection has officially launched with an initial catalog of more than 1,000 songs from such artists as Barenaked Ladies, Smash Mouth, Peter Malick (featuring Norah Jones) and music from Lionsgate properties, including the hit TV shows "Mad Men" and "Weeds," and the movie "3:10 to Yuma," among many others.

Nice move from Getty and another sure sign that music licensing is set to continue to grow at a time when the rest of the music business' revenue appears to be heading south. Now who's going to produce the first brand partnership database that profiles artists, giving brand-relevant information and a one-stop shop for clearing multiple rights? Just off to write the business plan for this ...