Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Warner Music, Sony Music Sign Physical License Deal for Russia

Richard Smirke/Billboard

Warner Music Russia and Sony Music Entertainment Russia have signed a three-year license agreement that grants the former exclusive rights to import, manufacture and distribute physical products from Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog throughout Russia.

License terms apply to the geographically vast territories of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Sony Music Entertainment Russia will continue to handle all other activities including digital sales, public performance collection, synchronization and development of local catalog.

The deal encompasses Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog of more than half a million tracks, including repertoire from label imprints Columbia, Epic, Zomba and RCA, among others, and artists such as Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Pink, Shakira and Justin Timberlake.

Sony Music Entertainment Russia-signed artists Sergey Lazarev, Denis Matsuev and Igor Butman will also benefit as part of the deal. Prior to signing the physical distribution deal with Warner Music Russia, physical distribution of Sony’s music catalog in Russia was handled by local company CP Digital. It is understood that the new license arrangement significantly grows the size and scale of Sony Music’s physical distribution network throughout Russia.

Warner Music Russia was established in 2013 following Warner Music Group’s acquisition of leading independent Russian music company Gala Records. Warner Music Russia encompasses recorded music, distribution, publishing and live production and represents some of the biggest artists and composers in Russian music, including MakSim, Dan Balan, Petr Nalitch, Bianka, Ruslan Nigmatullin, Pompeya and Infiniti, as well as Warner Music’s international roster of recording artists. The company’s distribution arm works with a large number of independent international labels including !K7, Harmonia Mundi, Kontor and Fat Cat Records as well as global entertainment companies such as Disney.

According to the IFPI’s 2013 “Recording Industry in Numbers” report, Russia, which has a population of over 140 million, was placed No. 46 in the world market. Ukraine was No. 54, while Kazakhstan did not feature.

“We are delighted to have Sony Music Entertainment as a partner,” commented Alexander Blinov, CEO of Warner Music Russia, in a statement. “Our companies share the same passion for music and for providing local consumers with compelling legal products of the highest quality. We’re sure that this deal will create many new opportunities that will benefit both companies, our artists and Russian music fans,” Blinov went on to say.

“By combining Warner Music’s strength in this area with our own local expertise in core strategic functions we are offering the best of both worlds for our current roster and catalog artists,” added Adam Granite, executive VP of Sony Music International.

Arina Dmitriyeva, managing director, Sony Music Entertainment, meanwhile, stated: “We are sure that the professionalism of the Warner Music team in Russia combined with their deep knowledge of the physical distribution market will help to enhance the presence and profile of the Sony Music catalog in retail stores.”

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