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4 Music Week 28.09.12 NEWS NEWS IN BRIEF


SONY/ATV: The publisher is said to have begun the auction process for the rights to more than 30,000 songs from the Virgin Music and Famous UK catalogues that were part of necessary concessions for its EMI Music Publishing acquisition. MUSIC FESTIVALS: Vince Power’s Music Festivals PLC has suspended the trading of its shares after failing to raise additional working capital as hoped. It will pursue a number other funding proposals.


WARNER BOSS POKER-FACED JUST DAYS BEFORE ANNOUNCING DEPARTURE


Cohen…Going…Gone L


REEPERBAHN  BY TOM PAKINKIS


yor Cohen gave little indication of his shock exit from Warner when


speaking at Reepberbahn last week – or if he was eyeing a job within the merged Universal/ EMI, as rumours suggest. In fact, the WMG recorded


DOWNLOAD: Iron Maiden (pictured above) and Rammstein have been confirmed as headline acts for Download Festival 2013. HMV: The high street retailer suffered a year-on-year sales decline of 11.6% amongst its retail stores in the 20 weeks to September 15. The firm pointed to a ‘very quiet summer release schedule’ as anticipated. MISSION GROUP: Parent to the Mission Group clutch of music production and publishing companies Papa Entertainment PLC has been admitted to trading on the PLUS-quoted market operated by PLUS Stock Exchange (an ICAP Group company). DANIEL MILLER: Music Week's interview with Mute founder Daniel Miller is now available to read online. Miller has clarified points surrounding EMI's ownership of the Mute brand and The Normal's standard distribution arrangement with Rough Trade in the early '80s. ICE: The International Copyright Enterprise has appointed Carsten Drachmann from Nokia Siemens as its new chief executive. ROUND HILL: Round Hill Music has acquired Kara DioGuardi and Stephen Finfer’s interest in a 150-song catalogue from Arthouse Entertainment, LLC. MYSPACE: A new look for the social network and music platform has been revealed with music discovery functions and artist pages at the centre of a minimalist, visual design.


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music CEO and chairman dismissed personal interest in running EMI’s Parlophone from his Warner hotseat, despite his reputation for reinvigorating dropped acts. Universal’s proposed


acquisition of EMI Music was conditionally approved by the European Commission only hours before Cohen took to the stage at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival last Friday (September 21). Interviewed by UK journalist


Mark Sutherland, Cohen was asked to give his thoughts on the merger’s approval, which would be green-lit in the US by the FTC in the US later that day. The A&R man felt it was too


soon to make any predictions about the deal’s impact, saying, “I don’t know how it’s going to affect me but I’m simply focused on the need for artist development at our company. He added: “As for the


speculation as to what it all means, we’ll find out shortly. But I have a whole roster of artists [at WMG] that need our help to navigate their careers and I hope that doesn’t change.” Cohen was certain about one


thing – he had enough work on his hands at Warner without taking on divested labels. “I’m going to leave that to our


owner Len Blavatnik,” he said when it came to the question of Warner’s potential interest in the soon-to-be-sold EMI outfit. When asked whether he


would like the opportunity to take on a label like Parlophone at WMG, he added, “I’ve got a lot on my plate. I don’t need another spinning plate to worry about. As you get older, you learn the meaning of refinement.”


Cohen all out: Lyor Cohen maps the past, present and future of A&R at Hamburg’s Schmidt Theatre for Reeperbahn Festival (left) and (above) the Warner Music boss with L-R: Mark Sutherland (Journalist, UK), Bernd Dopp (CEO Warner Music Central & Eastern Europe), Detlef Schwarte (Reeperbahn Festival).


that record execs face, according to Cohen, is being brave enough to take their time. “It takes a lot of guts to stay


with a band over a period of time because we’re in a flippant world,” he said. “There are a lot of very fast things going on so patience, quiet and stillness takes courage.” Cohen offered The Black


Keys as an example of a band who have only recently seen real success, despite having five albums under their belt. Drawing an example from


“As for the speculation as to what [UMG/EMI] all means, we’ll find out shortly. But I have a whole roster of artists [at WMG] that need help to navigate their careers. I hope that doesn’t change” LYOR COHEN LAST WEEK


Sutherland picked Cohen’s


brain about the wider A&R world, with the Warner man advising his peers to makes mistakes, sign acts passionately and avoid acting like day-traders. Cohen warned against certain


traits including an “arrogance” previously exhibited by major labels, which allowed him to score success with pioneering rappers such as LL Cool J with Rush Management alonside Def Jam founder Russell Simmons in the 1980s. Cohen went to found Rush Associated Labels, often dubbed an early feeder label for


Def Jam. “We had no money, we had


no clout, we had no experience – any one of the four was enough to stop you from building a business,” he said. “One of the beautiful things


about Def Jam was that the arrogance of the major labels allowed us to organically incubate and make a lot of mistakes ourselves and not get put out of business. That’s something our industry could allow for more.” Today, Cohen stands by the


A&R philosophy of signing high quality acts out of passion,


his days as chairman and CEO of Island Def Jam, he added: “You should have seen how they were laughing at Kanye. The way he looked, the [debut] record; the whole nine yards. It took 11 months with that record and now he’s a brilliant artist that we’re lucky to have.” Faced with the question of


whether the record label has a role to play in a digital world where an artist can fund, record and distribute music completely independently, Cohen was unequivocal in his response. The Warner boss said that


labels could mean even more today than they have in the past – but only if they adapt their role. “There used to be such an


enormous barrier of entry,” he said. “Now, with the internet, anybody could do it. “To me curating is an


invaluable part of what we do as a record label. “Promotion and marketing is key but even that has a lower barrier of entry,” he added. “So, A&R to me is the life-blood differentiator for labels.”


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admitting that his refusal to “cookie-cutter” his taste for the direction of a company has frustrated corporations in the past. “A lot of people say you


shouldn’t sign any rock and roll because it’s dead. That makes zero sense,” he said. “For me, record companies shouldn’t act like day-traders. There are cycles and you can’t time the cycles but you can feel proud of your signing.” One of the biggest challenges


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