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LABEL NEWS (Click MORE To View All Articles): BMG Buys Rest Of J Records With Clive Davis Heading RCA Music Group

BMG will acquire the 50 percent of J Records it doesn't already control as part of the company's overall strategy to consolidate ownership of key A&R assets, according to Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, chairman and CEO, BMG, and Clive Davis, chairman and CEO, J Records. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

As part of the acquisition, Schmidt-Holtz named Davis as the chairman of the newly-formed RCA Music Group, which will include 101-year-old RCA Records, home to superstars such as Christina Aguilera, Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews Band, and J Records, the successful label Davis created that is home to Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart, Busta Rhymes, and Luther Vandross. Schmidt-Holtz also named Charles Goldstuck as the president and chief operating officer of the new RCA Music Group. Goldstuck has been president and COO of J Records reporting to Davis.

"We are thrilled to bring Clive back to BMG and to have him lead what we consider a powerhouse label at RCA Music Group," said Schmidt-Holtz. "His genius at finding new artists and his proven track record will help lead the RCA name to new levels of creative performance."

Explaining BMG's decision to acquire all of J Records, Schmidt-Holtz said, "As BMG continues to create a company that is focused on artists, efficiency, and transparency, full ownership of our key assets is a guiding strategy."

Clive Davis said, "I am happy to be working with BMG's management, which has created a very promising culture for entrepreneurs. I am looking forward to building on the powerful label we have at J Records and helping to give greater luster to RCA Records, one of America's musical institutions. I feel this is a wonderful challenge that I can't wait to take on."

Bob Jamieson, chairman and chief executive officer of the existing RCA Music Group, will leave his post at RCA, and he is in discussions with BMG about a future role with the company. Other parts of the existing RCA Music Group, which includes BMG Canada, RCA Label Group — Nashville, RCA Victor Group, Strategic Marketing, BMG Heritage, and BMG Special Products, will report, on an interim basis, to Michael Smellie, COO of BMG. Richard Sanders will continue as executive vice president and general manager of RCA Records.

Sony Music, Pepsi Forge Multifaceted Global Marketing Campaign

Sony Music Entertainment and Pepsi-Cola North America have entered into an unprecedented multifaceted, global marketing campaign that will span the worlds of radio, television and retail.

Beginning next summer in the United States, there will be nationwide radio advertising for Pepsi brands featuring "sneak previews" of songs from key SME artists, as well as a series of Pepsi-sponsored TV specials showcasing select SME artists. The campaign will include co-branded sales efforts at non-music retail outlets across the country, providing a dramatically expanded distribution platform for SME releases and unique cross-merchandising programs for Pepsi retail customers.

Internationally, there will be a variety of innovative, co-branded marketing initiatives to maximize visibility for established SME artists and introduce new artists throughout the world.

"Pepsi's long track record of successfully blending music with their message made the company the natural choice for this one-of-a-kind co-branding campaign," commented Tommy Mottola, president/CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

"I have every confidence that the three-part strategy of early awareness through radio exposure, maximum exposure through television specials and superior point-of-purchase placement at non-music retail outlets will give our releases and artists a significant advantage in the North American marketplace. Internationally, SME and Pepsi already have joined forces on Shakira's worldwide concert tour, and we look forward to expanding the effort to include a broad array of established and emerging artists."

"Nothing connects with young people like music and, with its dedicated focus on developing the very best artists from around the world, no one is better suited to help us intensify that connection than Sony Music," said Pepsi-Cola North America president Dawn Hudson. "Music is an integral part of the Pepsi experience. In creative exchange with SME, we're unlocking our respective assets to make this campaign resonate like no other in the marketplace."

"Our involvement with Sony Music and their artists has been a real win for Pepsi brands over the years, and this next step is a natural extension," said Antonio Lucio, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo Beverages International. "Having worked with Shakira internationally since 1999, we've been successful in making SME artists a key part of Pepsi's music programs to better connect music fans with their heroes and us."

While specific details are in development, preliminary elements of the Sony Music Entertainment and Pepsi campaign are as follows:

* In advertisements to run on radio stations across the United States,
Pepsi will provide music fans with "sneak previews" of key SME artists'
songs prior to their debut at radio, creating heightened levels of
anticipation for the relevant songs and releases.

* Pepsi also will sponsor a series of music television specials, which
will include performances from both superstar and emerging SME artists.

* Co-branded point-of-purchase displays offering Pepsi products and SME
CDs will be installed in high-traffic areas of non-music retail outlets
in the United States, effectively positioning music product as a
high-value impulse buy.

* As with Pepsi's sponsorship of Shakira's worldwide tour, SME and Pepsi
will collaborate on a variety of innovative campaigns designed to
maximize exposure for both Pepsi brands and SME artists in markets
around the world.

Liquid Audio Launches New Digital Downloads Of Universal Music Group

Liquid Audio, Inc. is making thousands of songs from Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, available to consumers in the U.S. as digital downloads for the first time. Beginning November 20, music fans can preview and purchase more than 43,000 UMG tracks from many different artists and genres of music. The downloads can be burned to CD and transferred to secure portable devices and are available in both the Liquid and Windows Media format. UMG is the first major label to offer music fans such a broad catalog of music tracks for preview and purchase. The digital tracks will be available for purchase by consumers in the U.S. for 99 cents for individual tracks and $9.99 for albums. The digital catalog includes current and catalog releases.

Universal Music Group is part of the growing number of major and independent record labels worldwide that are utilizing Liquid Audio's extensive network of retailers, as well as Liquid Audio's distribution services including encoding, hosting and clearinghouse functions, to securely deliver music to consumers. Liquid Audio distributes the largest catalog of secure digital music available with more than 400,000 tracks from 17,000 artists and 1,800 record labels. Liquid Audio distributes its digital music catalog through a broad network of music and retail Websites from Best Buy to Tower Records. For the UMG launch, Liquid Audio has expanded its network of affiliates to include Black Entertainment Television, Circuit City, and Transworld's

"We're thrilled that Universal has chosen Liquid Audio to be their digital music service provider for this groundbreaking launch," said Gerry Kearby, president and CEO of Liquid Audio, Inc. "The depth and breadth of the content, the array of so many important affiliates and the consumer offering are all precedent setting. Universal is raising the bar for the delivery of secure digital music."

"This is a watershed moment. Universal is committed to making every recording it controls available for Internet distribution. We have listened to the public, and we are offering the music that people want at a reasonable price that fairly compensates the artists, songwriters and the tens of thousands of hard-working individuals who make their living in the music industry," said Larry Kenswil, President, Universal Music Group, eLabs. "There is nothing that can justify resorting to illegal services to get UMG music on the Internet."

"UMVD is excited about spearheading this new opportunity with our retail partners," commented Jim Urie, president, Universal Music and Video Distribution. "We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to drive business and market our music. This is truly a significant step in the digital distribution revolution, empowering our customers to give the consumer hit music in any format, physical or digital, they desire."

The digital downloads are available today through the following retailers and music sites:

AudioCandy ( )

Best Buy ( )

BET ( )

Cats ( )

Circuit City ( )

College Concerts ( )

Compact Disc World ( )

Corner CD ( )

Dimples ( )

EarWax ( )

Electric Fetus ( )

Face The Music ( )

TransWorld ( )

Gallery Of Sound ( )

Independent Record ( )

Latin Noise ( )

Mainstreet ( )

Millennium Music ( )

MIRA Coalition ( )

Music Millennium ( )

Music Rebellion ( )

New World Record ( ) ( )

Quonset Hut ( )

Rasputin ( )

Record & Tape Trader ( )

Rolling Stone ( )

Tower ( )

Windows Media ( )

'Suge' Knight's Label, Homes Raided

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities on Thursday raided the record label and homes of rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight, a figure in an East Coast-West Coast rap feud that some believe led to the killings of two major stars.

A sheriff's spokesman said Knight is not considered a suspect.

Meanwhile, three other people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, though authorities declined to provide further details of the alleged crime.

Theodore Peter Kelly, 29, was arrested at the offices of Tha Row Records, formerly known as Death Row Records. Arrested elsewhere were Michael Leroy Payne, 25, and Kordell Depree Knox, 37. All were being held without bail.

Knox is a former sheriff's deputy who was fired Nov. 1 because of his suspected involvement in an assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Alba Yates said.

A total of 16 search warrants were served at Knight's homes and at other homes and sites in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas.

Yates said Knight was not considered a suspect in the investigation. Deputy Darren Harris said there was "some connection" to Tha Row Records.

Knight and his record label have been at the center of an East Coast-West Coast rap feud that some believe was behind the unsolved killings of rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Knight was riding in a car with rapper Shakur in Las Vegas in 1996 when another vehicle pulled alongside and someone opened fire, killing Shakur. Knight has said he couldn't see who fired the shots.

Shakur had been feuding with The Notorious B.I.G., who was shot to death six months later in Los Angeles. Both killings remain unsolved.

Two other former associates of Knight have been shot to death this year.

Alton McDonald, 37, a former Death Row Records production manager, was killed in April as he pumped gas at a Los Angeles service station. Henry Smith, 33, who designed the label's electric chair logo, was killed as he sat in his parked sport utility vehicle last month.

Knight was released from prison in August after serving five years for violating probation by getting into a fight in a Las Vegas hotel. The altercation occurred hours before Shakur was killed.

Knight's attorney Arthur Barens said his client was being harassed, but was willing to cooperate with investigators.

"I have yet to see any association between the people arrested, any items taken and Suge Knight," said Barens. "We heard they were looking for weapons. There are certainly no weapons in his home, offices or anywhere else."

A heavily armored SWAT team descended on Tha Row Records' headquarters near Beverly Hills about 5 a.m., stalking the roof with drawn weapons, smashing a glass door and hauling off computer equipment and a dozen cardboard boxes. Deputies also searched luxury vehicles in the company's lot, including two SUVs registered to Knight.

A handgun was seized from another location, Harris said.

The search of Knight's $1 million former home in a gated community southeast of Las Vegas had "nothing to do with the Tupac Shakur slaying," Las Vegas police Sgt. Kevin Manning said.

The Los Angeles Times earlier this year concluded that Shakur was shot by a now-deceased gang member using a pistol supplied by Wallace.

In 1999 police searched Knight's record label offices in connection with the slaying of B.I.G., whose real name was Christopher Wallace. No charges were filed.

MusicNet Licenses Universal Music Group Catalog

MusicNet, a leading digital music company, and Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, have entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement that will add UMG's digital music library to the MusicNet service. Under terms of the agreement, UMG will deliver its online catalog of titles to MusicNet to be incorporated into the service. The titles will be offered to consumers through MusicNet's distribution partners, which now include AOL and RealNetworks.

"The license from UMG will bolster MusicNet's catalog and help us meet our goal of offering the widest possible selection of music to consumers," said Alan McGlade, CEO of MusicNet. "UMG's catalog includes some of the world's best known artists and we're thrilled to be offering this music to consumers through our distribution partners."

"Legitimate online music consumption is about to explode," said Larry Kenswil, president, eLabs, Universal Music Group. "UMG is supporting as many legitimate online music services as possible."

Music fans will be able to access tracks from artists such as Diana Krall, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, Lee Ann Womack, Nelly, Sheryl Crow, among others through MusicNet. UMG's online catalog of music will available through AOL by the end of the year.