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SongLink NewsLink | Music Industry News for March/April 2005


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Richard Blackstone, president of Zomba Music Publishing, has been appointed Chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. Upon the expiration of his current agreement with Zomba, Blackstone will succeed Les Bider, who recently announced his decision to step down following the appointment of a successor. Blackstone will report to WMG's Chairman and CEO, Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Charlie Pinder has left his post as MD of Sony/ATV Music Publishing UK after nearly six years. He joined in 1993 as an A&R scout, and in 1999 replaced MD Blair McDonald when he moved over to Columbia Records. Pinder's signings included Sleeper, Catatonia, Travis and more recently Katie Melua and Robert Plant.

The Sanctuary Group has acquired Elton John's Twenty-First Artists management company for 16m. Under the deal Sir Elton has signed a new 5-year management agreement, while directors Frank Presland and Keith Bradley have also signed 5-year contracts. In a separate announcement, the Manics' manager Martin Hall has been named as new MD of Sanctuary Artist Management, which have also just signed Joss Stone.

Simon Fuller has sold his 19 group of companies to Sports Entertainment Enterprises (CKX Inc.), the group which controls the Elvis Presley Estate, in a deal worth 100 million. Fuller remains as CEO of 19 and its subsidiaries, and has also been appointed a director of CKX.

AIM has made an official complaint to the Office of Fair Trading, calling on it to intervene and delay the first official combined digital download and CD singles chart which was launched on Sunday April 17th.

Pelle Lidell, the co-founder and former MD of Sweden's Murlyn Songs, has been appointed as an A&R executive to Universal Music Publishing in Europe, reporting to executive VP Paul Connolly. Lidell will will work with the group's European and global repertoire across the region, dividing his time between its offices in London and Stockholm.

Javine (Hylton) is representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest after winning BBC TV's Making Your Mind Up finals with Touch My Fire, which she co-wrote with John Themis. The single will be released by Sony/BMG on May 16th before the contest in Kiev, Ukraine on May 21st. Javine is managed by Jonathan Shalit of Shalit Global Entertainment, who has joined the MMF board of directors.

Keith Harris (MMF, Musictank) has been appointed chairman of Muzikplugger, which broadcasts quality music video files on a global basis. The company uses the same technology used by the major Hollywood film Studios for digital delivery of feature films to broadcasters. Roadrunner Records has become the first UK label to sign up.

Former Sony Music UK PR head Gary Farrow has formed new media consultancy The Corporation, with first clients including Elton John.

Artist manager and IMMF chairman Peter Jenner has been elected chairman of the European Live Music Forum (ELMF), a new organization launched by sixteen national and international associations from the European live music community. Joining him on the board is vice chairman Hans Hjorth (Sweden) and Christof Huber (Switzerland).

Warner Chappell Music has signed a deal with Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks... Kobalt Music Group has signed an exclusive deal to administer Gwen Stefani's publishing company Harajuku Lover Music. As part of the 50th Ivors celebrations, the British Academy is hosting a songwriters showcase at The Bedford in Balham, London SW12, hosted by Tony Moore. Special guests will include Roachford, Mel Blatt and others tba. Tickets for the pre-showcase party cost 10, contact Kizzy Donaldson on 020 7636 2929, e-mail:

Jean-Francois Cecillon, chairman and CEO of EMI Music Continental Europe, has announced the establishment of a new regional management structure to support the company's change and growth programme across its continental European, Middle Eastern and African businesses. Thomas Hedstrom, chief operating officer of EMI Music Continental Europe, is leaving the company. Spanish CEO Manolo Diaz will assume the additional role of president, EMI Music Iberia. Adrian Cheesley has been appointed MD, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

MTV and singer Anastacia are teaming up to give an unsigned act the chance to open one of Anastacia's European tour dates this summer. 'MTV A Cut' will scour the European music scene to select unsigned 18-26 year old acts to give them a once-in-a-lifetime chance at stardom. The show which will air on MTV Europe from September 2005.

The Russell Simmons Music Group has been formed as a 50/50 joint label with Island Def Jam Music Group, to include a new label deal and consultancy agreement, in a deal announced by Island Def Jam chairman Antonio 'L.A.' Reid.

Michael Jackson's financial salvation may lie in selling or reducing his 50% share of the Sony/ATV Music and Northern Songs catalogues, which he bought for $47.5 million two decades ago. The catalogue now generates an estimated $80 million in annual revenue, half from Beatles songs. Rumours suggest he may reduce his interest in from 50% to 15%, providing $10m cash with an income stream of about $10m per year.

Ron Sexsmith won Songwriter of the Year award (sponsored by SOCAN) at Canada's Juno Awards on April 3rd, with Avril Lavigne named Artist of the Year. The Tragically Hip were inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame at the event, held at the new MTS Center in Winnipeg. The show was closed with a tribute to Manitoba Music with The Waking Eyes, Nathan, The Wailin' Jennies, Fresh-I-E, and Guess Who founders Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman.

Richard Beck has relocated to Australia to become general manager at Ralph Carr Management (Kate Ceberano, Madeleine West). He was recently at LD Publicity looking after Shania Twain in Europe, and was also at CMO Management (Blur, Midge Ure).

Roger Grierson is to retire as chairman of Festival Mushroom in Australia. He will continue to work on various music projects and is also writing the biography of Stiff Records founder Dave Robinson.

RIP: Prof. Armando Moreno (84), President and founder of FIDOF; Rock'n'roll pianist Johnnie Johnson (80), who was Chuck Berry's original collaborator; Jim Capaldi (60), Traffic drummer, solo artist and songwriter, from cancer; Chris Curtis (63), drummer and founder member of The Searchers; DJ and broadcaster Tommy Vance (63), of a stroke; Sue Wilkinson (61); singer/songwriter of 1980 hit You've Gotta Be A Hustler If You Want To Get On; soul singer Tyrone Davis (66); singer Solomon King (74) of She Wears My Ring fame; Jamaican reggae singer Junior Delgado (46); Crowded House drummer Paul Hester (46), who was found hanged in a Melbourne park.

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