Vienna 2015

Record companies threaten boycott of MGP over EBU contract with Universal

Sony Music, Warner Music and daWorks have taken the bold step of declaring a potential boycott of the Norwegian national final, Melodi Grand Prix next year over a new ruling by the European Broadcasting Union. Together with its record company partner Universal Music, the EBU required for the first time this year that all songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 be released as part of the official album, but also as single tracks to download. This has caused a storm with some local record companies who will miss out on income derived from the single where the single has been downloaded as part of the official album release.

Leif O. Ribe from Sony Music told Norway’s VG that they were effectively forced to sign an agreement to permit the release of the single in this way after Carl Espen had won Melodi Grand Prix 2014 with Silent Storm, stating that “the alternative was that [he] couldn’t represent Norway in Eurovision, something we could not allow.”, declaring that the proposal was something that was not revealed to them before the contest. He goes on to note that the release of songs in this manner damages the ability of record companies to promote Eurovision entries outside home markets, with little incentive for partner record companies in other countries to do so without the possibility of receiving payment for songs downloaded – unless of course they are signed to Universal Music.

In response, Jon Ola Sand, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest has thrown the blame in Norwegian broadcaster NRK’s court: “We sent [this information] out to the European broadcasters last autumn, which NRK signed on to, but it seems NRK neglected to notify Sony Music about the changes. The same happened with the Romanian broadcaster….”. He goes on to say that only Norway, Finland and Romania have reacted to the changes.

Stian Malme, from NRK has stated that they are in discussions with the EBU over the changes, which they feel have the potential to damage the contest in many countries.


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