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SongLink NewsLink | Music Industry News for February 2003


© Copyright 2003 by SLI - SongLink International
Editor & Publisher: David Stark
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Producer Phil Spector was arrested in connection with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson at his home in Alhambra, CA on February 3rd. He was released from custody on $1million bail, and is scheduled to appear in court on March 3rd, represented by attorney Robert Shapiro. Spector has just made a comeback producing two tracks on the new album by UK band Starsailor, and had recently given his first interview in 25 years to the Daily Telegraph.

Tim Bowen has been appointed chairman and CEO of BMG UK & Ireland, following restructuring of the German-owned major. Bowen was most recently head of BMG Europe, and previously VP at Universal, and MD of Columbia Records.

Former BMG UK chairman Hasse Breitholz is returning to his native Sweden to form a new management, production and publishing venture with top writer/producer Max Martin, and former Zomba Europe senior A&R VP Martin Dodd.

Former Virgin Records co-president Ashley Newton has been appointed Executive VP, A&R at RCA Records (USA), reporting to Clive Davis who is now chairman of RCA Music Group incorporating RCA & J Records.

Around 5000 musicians are in line for back-dated performer airplay royalties, as a result of the 'Royalties Reunited' initiative launched by PPL, Aura, Equity, MU, MPG and Pamra. To register online visit

The semi-finals of A Song For Europe to find the UK's entry for the Eurovision Contest 2003 took place on Radio 2 on January 31st. The four finalists are Cry Baby by Martin Isherwood (artist: Tricity); Ever Since That Night by John Brant and Simon May (artist: Mimi); Help Me by Simon Hill (artist: Emily Reed); and Wait For The Moment by Danny Davies (artist: Esther Hart), the latter two being SongLink subscribers. The final takes place on March 2nd on BBC1.

EMI Records has secured international rights for a compilation of Eurovision Song Contest 2003 entries. The contest takes place in Riga, Latvia on May 24th, while next year's contest will be extended into a two-day event to include Middle East countries that have not previously participated.

Ministry of Sound publishing head Mike Sefton has left the company, along with international head Aaron Moore who is setting up a London and South Africa-based artist and producer management and production company. Meanwhile MoS joint venture label Relentless Records has also been put into liquidation.

Bronze Records has been relaunched after 16 years by founder Gerry Bron and son Richard, and will represent artists in recording, publishing, marketing, web sites, videos, plus a consultancy service on new technology issues. First signing is Jet 68 with a CD and DVD video-promo of Superqueen, featuring an animated cartoon in five episodes. Visit

Music lawyer Mark Wilkins has left Edmonds Bowen to form a rights management company, The Rights Group, offering a wide range of services. His colleague Patrick Rackow has also left to join solicitors Steele & Co. as a consultant in their new music & media department based in Holborn, London.

The Musicians Benevolent Fund has launched the Peter Whittingham Award for Song Creation, for students on popular music undergraduate courses. Seven institutions have been invited to nominate up to three applicants who will be short-listed this month, with up to seven songwriters selected for the showcase final on Monday 10 March at the Kashmir Klub, 6 Nottingham Place, London W1. The BPI has won its High Court summary judgement ruling against EasyInternet CafÈ , who were found liable for copyright infringement for allowing customers to download music from their computers.

Former Brit School students Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart (aka Floetry) signed to Perfect Songs, topped off a successful 2002 in the US with three Grammy Award nominations, including best R&B song. The Grammys takes place on February 23rd at Madison Square Garden, NYC. Visit

Jonas Siljemark, who built Bonnier Amigo into Sweden's leading independent label, has left the company to head up Warner Music Scandinavia.

Andrea Bocelli is launching a record label, Clacksong, with first signings Allunati and Jacqueline Ferry set to appear at the San Remo Festival from March 4-8th.

Sony Music Entertaiment chairman/CEO Tommy Mottola has left the company two years before the end of his contract, to start a new venture expected to be in partnership with Sony. He is replaced by NBC president Andrew Lack.

A&R execs Nick Cassanelli, Damon Zwirn and Rich Christina have left Atlantic Records.. Patrick Moxey has exited Virgin.. Josh Deutsch has left Elektra.

Brent Milligan becomes VP of A&R at Forefront Records, part of the EMI Christian Music Group, reporting to president Greg Ham.

Lyle Lovett and In The City's Tony Wilson are confirmed as keynote speakers at South by SouthWest in Austin, Texas from March 12-16th. Further acts confirmed to play include the Coral, Datsuns, Electric Six, Idlewild and Polyphonic Spree among many others. Visit

Jody Scotchmer has been appointed as first executive director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in Toronto. She was previously with Corus and Red Apple Entertainment.

RIP: Maurice Gibb (53) of the Bee Gees died on January 12th in Miami after he suffered a heart attack during an operation. He had recently been working on new album tracks with brothers Barry and twin Robin, while the band's last studio album This Is Where I Came In unusually featured lead vocal tracks by Maurice.

Songwriter Doris Fisher has died in Los Angeles on January 15th, aged 87. She co-wrote Tutti Frutti with Slim Gaillard, and many hits with lyrcist Allan Roberts including That Old Devil Named Love and You Always Hurt The One You Love.

Composer and longtime SongLink subscriber Roger Webb died on December 19th, aged 67. He worked as conductor and arranger with many name artists such as Shirley Bassey, Johnny Mathis, Rex Harrison and Danny Williams, as well as many US acts. As a songwriter he appeared at the World Song Festival in Tokyo and his song Make Your Own Rainbow with lyrics by Norman Newell, won the Danny Kaye Award at the UNICEF International Song Contest in Holland. Other award winning songs include Stay Awhile (First Prize - Gibraltar Song Festival) and All Over the World (runner-up, FIDOF Song Contest). He wrote many film and stage musical scores, while his TV credits included Love Thy Neighbour, George And Mildred, The Gentle Touch and Jilly Cooper's Riders. He also recorded and performed with The Roger Webb Trio, whose album John Paul and All That Jazz was ironically re-released by Rollercoaster Records the week of his death. SongLink sends sincere condolences to his widow Margot.

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