Bertelsmann wants to conquer music world

Details of the proposed pairing remain sketchy. EMI and BMG confirm that high-level talks have taken place but maintain that an outright acquisition is not in the offing. BMG officials were not immediately available to comment.

A partnership with EMI makes sense, especially in light of Bertelsmann's groundbreaking deal with Napster, which BMG and the other major labels are suing for copyright infringement. The deal calls for the creation of a for-pay, secure file-swapping service, and for BMG's new power centre, the e-commerce group BeCG, to loan an undisclosed amount to Napster.

Without the participation of other major recording groups, the new, Bertelsmann-sponsored Napster would have little appeal. After all, how many listeners would flock to a service offering music from just one of the Big Five record companies -- not to mention all the independent labels that have yet to strike a deal with the company?

Fans, furthermore, are loyal to artists, not labels. The two companies' talent rosters would fit together nicely. BMG has popular acts such as Dave Matthews, Toni Braxton and teen idol Christina Aguilera, all of which appeal to a younger audience. While EMI has some similar artists, it also has the catalogue for classic rock groups such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. EMI also owns the highly regarded Blue Note jazz imprint, which appeals to a smaller but more affluent audience.

Bertelsmann's newly aggressive approach to its music business already has riled its own executives. BMG Chairman Michael Dornemann and President Strauss Zelnick resigned from the music powerhouse early last week, just days after the Napster announcement. Meanwhile, a planned restructuring of BMG will strip the division of its distribution responsibilities.

Friday's news comes after weeks of speculation that Bertelsmann, which is trying to surpass the Universal Music Group as the world's largest music company, would make an out-and-out bid for EMI. A full-out merger, however, is unlikely given that regulatory authorities in Europe already have denied a proposed Time Warner-EMI union.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Morse.

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?