Blog Post Cuts A Deal With Warner, While Viacom Looks For A Way Out of the Music Biz

Steve Jobs’ latest call for the death of music DRM has gotten most of the attention, but that’s not all that’s happening in digital music today., the popular music-recommendation engine and social network, has signed a deal that lets it stream the Warner Music Group catalog. According to the release, “’s music fans will have access to WMG’s catalog through’s free, advertising-supported radio streaming service and its soon-to-be released premium, subscription-based interactive radio. Through a phased rollout, U.S. music fans will have first access to these services with the European markets following suit in the coming weeks.” The reaction is positive. Gartner’s Mike McGuire told Reuters, “The big guys are starting to realize that these community tools aren’t just for people to use to amuse themselves. These sites can help drive transactions.” Warner is moving fast on the digital front, as this and recent Rhino announcement make clear. Meanwhile, founder Martin Stiksel said talks are ongoing with the other three major labels and content holders.
Viacom, though, is working on an exit strategy from the music business. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Viacom’s music publishing unit, the venerable Famous Music, is for sale. UBS has been hired to explore the usual “strategic alternatives.” Famous has a huge catalog, ranging from the theme of The Brady Bunch to Shakira and Busta Rhymes. It wasn’t clear how published music fit into Viacom’s long-term plans; this shouldn’t be a surprise.
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