EMI ends partnership with Valentim de Carvalho

By: Chris Graeme

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PORTUGUESE record company Valentim de Carvalho (VC) has ended its historic partnership with English-owned multinational EMI Portugal to join forces with independent Som Livre. The move ends a relationship that stretches back to 1940, when VC’s catalogue was first licensed to EMI.

VC, which was founded as a recording company in 1923, holds an impressive back catalogue that traces the history of popular Portuguese music in the 20th century, including Fado singer Amália Rodrigues and other innumerable references to Portuguese music.

VC has signed a licence deal with Som Livre, which, in turn, was recently acquired by private television station, SIC, owned by multimillionaire media mogul and former Portuguese Prime Minister, Pinto Balsemão.

EMI International has blocked any new deal between VC and EMI Portugal over catalogue sharing. The managing director of EMI Portugal, David Ferreira, said: “Despite long negotiations with VC, I regret to say we were unable to reach an agreement, from a commercial standpoint, over a catalogue that has been operating for years. From objective terms, a contract has come to an end and has not been renewed.”

Low profits

Paula Homem, executive director at VC, explained: “The separation of the two companies was decided at an international level, when we were trying to negotiate a new agreement.”

The rationalisation and restructuring within EMI globally and in particular in Europe, with new policies on how local territory offices are run, has, in part, been blamed for the failure in negotiations between VC and EMI.

EMI International has been undergoing major restructuring following falling music sales within the world music industry. At the beginning of the year, it announced the dismissal of chief executive Alain Levy after profits were down on expectations in 2006.

The new licence agreement between VC and Som Livre, according to Paula Homem, will allow the commercial exploitation of VC’s historic back catalogue as far back as the 1920s. “We also plan to invest in the artists’ careers and groom new talent,” she said.

Som Livre, a record company created in 1969 in Brazil, produces best-selling soundtrack albums from popular Brazilian soap operas produced by Brazilian TV station, TV Globo.

In 2006, EMI held a 17.38 per cent market share in Portuguese music, while Som Livre held 14.3 per cent.

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