Last May, we wrote about EMI Music's appointment of former Google CIO Douglas Merrill as head of digital strategy. Then in March of this year, Merrill moved on with a claim from EMI that digital was becoming central to all of their operations, rather than it's own stand alone department.
Now, the numbers coming out of EMI's year of digital confusion seem to indicate that profits are up significantly (£163 million over 2008's £51 million) and digital is to thank. The numbers show that while physical sales were down 10%, digital sales have moved in to represent 35% of the company's income, up from 20% last year.
Their digital activity in the last year has included a number of quirky licensing deals including a deal with The Fairmont Hotel chain, music-themed scratch-off lottery games, and a music Visa card.
In fact, the real secret to increased profits at EMI may well be the strong British Pound (against the US dollar) and internal cost cutting (such as letting go their head of digital strategy?).
A high profile music licensing deal has captured Canadians' attention in the past several days. The story weaves together Canada's national broadcaster, Canada's "national game," and a ubiquitous melodic cultural artifact, and in an era of free music and rampant digital reproduction, has put the business of song licensing on the national stage... or ice.
I'm sure you've heard the gist of this story, but just in case. The writer of the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, Dolores Claman, a Canadian jingle writer who now lives in London, England, retained the ownership and copyright of the song and has licensed it the CBC since 1968. Her and the song's publisher, Copyright Music & Visuals, have been upset with the CBC recently for their alleged use of the song in ways that went beyond the license agreement, and there is an unsettled court battle over this. It seems that when the license came up for renewal this year, the bad blood over the lawsuit hampered negotiations. CBC wanted to get more use from the song, but didn't want to pay the cost of an outright 'all uses in perpetuity' deal.
This is where it gets really interesting. Last Friday, after the CBC announced the that...