40 things that have happened in the 758 days since Warner Music Group promised the indies $200m+ in assets

On February 19, 2013, the independent music community had much to celebrate.

Warner Music Group, fresh from buying Parlophone Label Group for a whopping £487m from Universal, announced that it had agreed to divest a “significant portion” of its assets (or their equivalent in WMG-owned assets), to non-major music companies.

The deal between Warner, IMPALA and Merlin was reached in accordance with the European Commission’s instructions.

Reports later confirmed that this divestment would amount to somewhere in the region of 25% to 33% of PLG’s value – a giant bundle of music rights worth somewhere around £160m ($238m).

And then… nothing.

Frustratingly for journalists looking to cover the next exciting moment in this vital redistribution of power to the indies, hardly anything has been announced since. All we know is that the process still has a way to go.

As for the independents that MBW has talked to about the deal – especially amongst the 100+ companies believed to have made a bid – they remain extremely tight-lipped. As you can imagine, many of them are NDA’d up to the nines.

The good news is, the deal is still going on. The bad news is, it’s still going on… and on… and on…

All we really know is that ex-IFPI chief John Kennedy has the thankless task of helping Warner divvy up a huge and complex web of assets in sale, licensing or distribution deals to indie companies all over the world.

So far, this process has taken 108 weeks, 758 days or – for those with a flair for the dramatic – 18,192 hours.

Seems like an awful long time, doesn’t it?

Because no-one wants to talk much on the record about the process, or the fact that this redistribution has now taken over two years, it’s perhaps worthwhile to get a sense of the amount of time that has passed since it all kicked off.

So here’s 40 major news events that have taken place following the announcement that cheered the indies up – and then really tested their patience.

  1. Ben Howard, Emeli Sande and Mumford & Sons win prizes at the BRIT Awards 2013 (20/02/13)
  2. Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor at the Oscars 2013. Jennifer Lawrence wins Best Actress. Argo takes home Best Picture (24/02/13)
  3. Hugo Chavez, President Of Venezuela and Socialist hero, dies aged 58. (05/03/13)
  4. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as the new Pope. Aged 76, Argentinian Bergoglio is the Roman Catholic Church’s 266th pontiff – but the first from Latin America. (13/03/13)
  5. Amanda Knox’s acquittal for the murder of Meredith Kercher is overturned by Italy’s supreme court. A new appeal hearing is due in early 2014. (26/03/13)
  6. The UK Government introduces the controversial ‘Bedroom Tax’ or under-occupancy penalty (01/04/13)
  7. Baroness Margaret Thatcher dies aged 87. (08/04/13)
  8. The previously-unfancied UK Independence Party performs exceptionally well at the UK’s local elections, gaining 139 seats. Leader Nigel Farage takes full advantage of his notoriety in the UK media. (03/05/13)
  9. Amanda Berry escapes from a house in Cleveland, Ohio. The owner of the property, Ariel Castro, had been holding her captive since 2003. (06/05/13)
  10. Sir Alex Ferguson retires as Manchester Utd manager. (08/05/13)
  11. Bayern Munich win the 2013 Champions League. (25/05/13)
  12. Edward Snowden outs himself as the source of leaks from the National Security Agency in the US. He takes refuge in Hong Kong. (09/06/13)
  13. Photographs published in the UK national media show Charles Saatchi grasping his wife, Nigella Lawson, around the neck. (16/06/13)
  14. Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi is deposed in a military coup. (03/07/13)
  15. Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic to be crowned the first British man to win Wimbledon in over 50 years. (07/07/13)
  16. Same-sex marriages are legalised in England and Wales (17/07/13)
  17. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce their firstborn, Prince George of Cambridge. (22/07/13)
  18. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post for $250m (05/08/13)
  19. Godfrey Bloom rants and raves about ‘sluts’. He is expelled from Nigel Farage’s UKIP party. (20/09/13)
  20. The discovery of the Higgs Boson or “God Particle” leads to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert winning the Nobel Prize for Physics. (10/10/13)
  21. The US House and Senate approve a bill to fund the US government until early 2014 – just one day before it could have fallen into default. (16/10/13)
  22. In the UK, a major trial into phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World begins at the Old Bailey. Former editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are in the dock. (28/10/13)
  23. Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins pleads guilty to child sex charges at Cardiff Crown Court. (26/11/13)
  24. Former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, dies, aged 95. (05/12/13)
  25. Legal sales of medical marijuana begin in Colarado, US (01/01/14)
  26. UKIP councilor David Silvester blames recent storms on UK government’s decision to legalise gay marriage (18/01/14)
  27. Amanda Knox found guilty of murder in Italian court, but remains a free woman. (30/01/14)
  28. Arctic Monkeys, Rudimental, Bruno Mars and One Direction amongst winners at the BRIT Awards 2014 (19/02/14)
  29. 12 Years A Slave Wins Best Picture at the Oscars 2014. Matthew McConaughey wins Best Actor, Cate Blanchett Best Actress. (03/013/14)
  30. A heroic Stephen Sutton raises more than £3m for Teenage Cancer Trust before passing away aged 19. (14/05/14)
  31. Real Madrid win the 2014 Champions League (24/05/14)
  32. The football World Cup begins in Brazil. England, France, Italy and Spain all qualify, filling their respective nations with hope. (12/06/14)
  33. Germany win the football World Cup (13/07/14)
  34. Coca-Cola replaces its iconic logo on bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero with everyday people’s names. (04/08/14)
  35. Hollywood star Robin Williams dies aged 63. (12/08/14)
  36. While promoting his book, Revolution, Russell Brand says he is ‘open-minded’ about the causes behind the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. (24/10/14)
  37. Kim Karadshian releases naked pictures in a bid to “break the Internet”. (05/12/14)
  38. Birdman wins Best Picture at The Oscars 2015. Eddie Redmayne wins Best Actor. Julianne Moore wins Best Actress. (22/02/15)
  39. Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Sam Smith amongst winners at the BRIT Awards 2015 (25/02/15)
  40. Apple announces the iWatch, due for release in April (09/03/15)

Do YOU have any information on the whereabouts of the independents’ assets?

Drop us a line: [email protected]Music Business Worldwide

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