April 15, 2024

Media Decoder Blog: Sony Makes Deal for Electronic Dance Music

In the latest sign of the music industry’s gold rush over electronic dance music, Sony Music has struck a deal with a leading independent dance label, Ultra Music. The arrangement calls for the labels to share acts, and gives one of Sony’s divisions distribution rights to Ultra’s catalog in North America, which includes top D.J.’s like Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris and Benny Benassi.

As part of the deal, announced on Wednesday, Sony will make an unspecific investment in Ultra, and Patrick Moxey, Ultra’s president, will be named Sony’s president for electronic music, reporting to Doug Morris, the chief executive of Sony’s music division.

The arrangement raises Ultra’s profile considerably, and will give it access to some of Sony’s vast resources: the label, for example, will be able to use Sony artists for its popular compilation albums, like “Ultra Weekend” and “Ultra Dubstep.”

Ultra, which has become a substantial dance-music empire, including an artist-management arm, will also help promote Sony acts. With the distribution arrangement — through Sony’s Red division, which distributes recordings from many independent labels — sales of Ultra albums will also contribute to Sony’s market share, a source of constant competition between Sony and its biggest rival, the Universal Music Group.

The news was first reported earlier on Wednesday by The Financial Times.

EMI Takes Shape: Since Universal closed its $1.9 billion deal for EMI Music, the company has moved quickly to establish a management team for its labels in the United States, and with a few announcements this week, much of that team now appears to be in place.

On Wednesday, Universal said that Ron Fair will be chief creative officer of Virgin Records, one of the flagship labels of EMI’s new Capitol Music Group. Mr. Fair, formerly of Universal’s Geffen label, is a hitmaker of long standing. He signed Christina Aguilera and guided her early career, and has also worked with Black Eyed Peas and the Pussycat Dolls.

Universal also announced on Wednesday that Ashley Burns, an EMI employee for more than a decade, would be Virgin’s general manager. Earlier this week, it was announced that Greg Thompson, EMI’s top marketing and promotion executive, who is said to have been instrumental in many of the label’s successes in recent years, like Lady Antebellum and Coldplay, would be the executive vice president of the Capitol Music Group.

In November, Steve Barnett left his position as co-chairman of Columbia Records, a Sony label, to join EMI as the chairman of the Capitol group.

As a condition imposed by European regulators, Universal is selling about a third of EMI’s recorded music assets, including the rights to release music by major acts like Coldplay and Pink Floyd. That auction is under way.

Ben Sisario writes about the music industry. Follow @sisario on Twitter.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/sony-makes-deal-for-electronic-dance-music/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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