According to sources, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group are close to acquiring BMG Music Publishing from German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG for $2.05 billion. The agreement is expected to be signed as early as today.
In related news, following its deal with Universal, emerging online music service SpiralFrog announced today that it has signed an agreement with EMI Music Publishing to offer free downloads of EMI's music catalog in the United States.
The combined publishing coup gains them songs by artists such as Sting, Nelly Furtado, Jay Z and Kanye West.
SpiralFrog will be launched in December and is offering a unique new business model that is funded entirely by advertising, as opposed to the pay-per-song model of Apple Computer Inc.'s market-leading iTunes music store.
"It is a very exciting concept which fuses advertising with music downloads and other services to recapture consumer demand which has been hijacked by online piracy," said Roger Faxon, Co-CEO of EMI Music Publishing. "Anytime we can create a new revenue stream for our songwriters and combat online piracy, you will see EMI Music Publishing leading the charge."
And anytime an artist is receiving far les royalties for their own music than the suit and ties that controls it, EMI will be there leading the charge.