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Label News (more headlines) 09-28-2010

Mute To Go Independent Again Through New Agreement Between EMI And Daniel Miller

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EMI Music and Mute founder Daniel Miller have reached a preliminary agreement that will see EMI support Miller in the establishment of his second record label, and the continuation of the Mute brand as an independent recorded music business.

Since he founded Mute in 1978, Miller has signed and developed some of the world's most innovative and influential recording artists including Depeche Mode, Moby, Goldfrapp, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Erasure and Richard Hawley. He sold Mute to EMI in 2002 and has continued to lead the label since then.

Miller's new label will operate under the trademark Mute which it is licensing from EMI. It will tap into EMI's Label Services unit for sales, distribution, synch & licensing and merchandising in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland, and a network of independent record distributors elsewhere. The label will be controlled by Miller, with EMI taking a minority equity interest in the company. Miller will also take a consultancy role with EMI Music as part of the new agreement.

To help fund the label, EMI is licensing to Miller part of the Mute back catalogue. It is also providing Miller with operational support in areas such as royalty administration and business affairs.

Mute artists Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Richard Hawley, Kraftwerk and White Rabbits remain signed to and marketed worldwide by EMI Music, with Miller continuing to work with them in his A&R consultancy role with EMI. The remainder of the Mute roster will move over to Miller's new independent label including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Grinderman, Yeasayer, Erasure, Andy Bell, Liars, Polly Scattergood and A Place To Bury Strangers.

In the UK, the new Mute label will be housed with Miller's existing music publishing and management business in Albion Place, West London, and in the US in a new location in New York.

It is proposed that the majority of Mute's 18-strong staff in the UK and USA will move over from EMI to the new Miller-controlled company, while a number of UK-based Mute marketing staff are expected to remain with EMI and continue to work with EMI-signed Mute artists. EMI has today begun a consultation process on these new staffing proposals with all of its Mute employees.

David Kassler, EMI Music CEO, Europe & Rest of World, said: "We're delighted to have reached this agreement with Daniel, who is a beacon for the artist community and one of the great label entrepreneurs. This new partnership will allow him to build a new independent label whilst enabling us to continue to work with him in a productive and creative way."

Daniel Miller said: "I am pleased that as a result of this arrangement with EMI, Mute can prosper as a vibrant member of the independent sector, while retaining a strong and constructive link with EMI in the development of our catalogue, brand and roster."

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