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http://www.plastic.com/article.html?sid/04/11/06111158

nairda3 writes us with a real good scoop if this deal turns out to be real: “Crikey.com.au recently reported that it ‘doesn’t break many global stories but here’s one we got from a well-connected music industry insider in LA: The world’s largest chipmaker, wants to diversify into the copyright business and is negotiating to buy Warner/Chappell Music, the music publishing business of AOL-Time Warner, in a $US2 billion all cash deal to be announced in three weeks. The sale of Warner/Chappell, the second biggest music publishing company in the world by market share (to EMI Music Publishing), would represent one of the largest efforts to alleviate AOL-Time Warner’s worrying $45 billion debt problem. “If true, the acquisition would be the first effort by a large tech company to invest in the business of protecting content copyrights, following the recent agreement between major tech firms and Congress that they would self-regulate copyrights with customer hardware. The acquisition would leave Murdoch’s News Corp one step closer to becoming the world’s largest media company. Without their copyright business, AOL Time Warner could possibly merge its recorded music division with EMI and avoid the anti-trust concerns that it once experienced. The Inquirer and Guardian both quote Crikey on this one and eventually the truth of the matter will emerge. Ultimately, this rumour could likely become fact in view that Intel may now need content to leverage its just announced Trusted Platform Module. This platform seems to be build upon the new Trusted Computing Group’s open standards that involve the tech industry’s largest players. This group will perhaps end in failure as did the very similar SDMI initiative.

“What will possibly submerge is Intel’s shareholder value when their encryption is inevitably cracked by unemployed (non-Indian) software engineers tinkering with their Intel chips and relive the open-season days of Napster. An alternative is Sun chief scientist Bill Joy’s idea of having record labels ‘ship me a box with all their music in it, and then I could license what I wanted from them.’ Like Cringely’s idea, mine is for free content no matter what its delivery and providing an efficient way for optional payments.”

eewittme writes in with a similar story: “The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Apple Corp. may spend as much as $6 billion to acquire Universal from its flagging parent, Vivendi Universal. If completed, the deal would instantly make Steve Jobs the world’s biggest music mogul, as well as completely reshape the record industry almost instantly. Visions of a Def Jam parent-owning Jobs wearing a fur coat and chatting on his cellphone as he drives his fly honeys around Cupertino in his Escalade are already dancing in my head. Universal’s roster includes U2, 50 Cent, Shania Twain and Luciano Pavarotti. Can Ellen Feiss be far behind? The Times report says the deal’s been in the exploration phase for a while, but a sale could come by April 29. All of this, the Times reports, would dovetail nicely with Apple’s plans to roll out a new fee-for-song music download service, for which Jobs has already secured deals with four of the Big Five.”

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