The Financial Times reported on Sunday that the new-new Warner Music Group, owned by Len Blavatnik‘s Access Industries, is out of the bidding for EMI Music. I’m not surprised. Last spring, when Blavatnik bought WMG and took it private, a source there told me didn’t think it was necessary for Warner to merge with EMI. And now, I guess, that’s come to pass.
Last week, another source spoke to me about Sony Music. Sony/ATV Music Publishing already has expressed an interest in EMI Music Publishing. Sony/ATV contains the Beatles catalog, of course. And EMI recorded music includes the Beatles recordings–all their CDs and packages. That’s the gold ring inside of EMI more than anything else. Who ever gets EMI gets the Beatles. And to marry the Beatles records with their publishing would be hitting a jackpot.
But I’m told as much as Sony in New York may want this, “everything must be run by [meaning talked over] Japan. And they are slow to make decisions.” But it does seem that the moment is now for Sony if they want to sweep EMI and the Beatles into their universe. Everything is up in the air.
EMI is a good fit for Sony on other fronts–Pink Floyd, second to just the Beatles at EMI, actually left Capitol for Sony in the 1970s after “Dark Side of the Moon.” Paul McCartney, now on Concord, did the same thing. They eventually returned. And an EMI artist like Katy Perry would flourish with the Sony A&R teams. Also, labels like Blue Note and Manhattan could be a neat fit, especially in the RCA group.