Because buys Beta Band catalogue, other deals imminent as Warner divestment deadline day looms

Because buys Beta Band catalogue, other deals imminent as Warner divestment deadline day looms

The Because Group has snapped up another former Parlophone Label Group (PLG) catalogue, Music Week can exclusively reveal – as the clock continues to tick down on Warner Music Group’s sale of PLG assets to the indies.

Time runs out on the Warner divestment – as brokered by indie bodies IMPALA-Merlin as part of Warner’s acquisition of PLG from Universal for £487 million in 2013 – tomorrow (September 30), as exclusively revealed by Music Week last month.

Music Week also broke the news that super-hot indie Because was buying large parts of the old London Records catalogue, under the Warner Music 90 banner, back in July. Now it has gone back in for the Beta Band, the highly-acclaimed indie rock act that released several albums on Regal in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Their biggest-selling album, the compilation The Three EP’s, has sold over 115,000 copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company.

The Three EP’s is among the albums and compilations transferring to Because, alongside The Beta Band (1999), Hot Shots II (2001), Heroes To Zeros (2004) and The Best Of The Beta Band (2005). The acquisition also includes two EPs from Steve Mason’s solo project King Biscuit Time; King Biscuit Time Sings Nelly Foggit’s Blues In “Me And The Pharaohs” (1998) and No Style (2000). Beta Band and King Biscuit Time material will be reissued via frontline label, Because Music.

Because founder Emmanuel de Buretel commented: “We are delighted and honoured to acquire such an amazing body of work from such an important and influential band. We are hugely excited to be given the opportunity to relaunch The Beta Band’s incredible catalogue of work to fans old and new.”

The Beta Band’s Steve Mason said: “I am delighted that the Beta Band catalogue has found a place on an independent record label. I think that Because Music is a perfect home for our hard work and endeavours. Bon voyage Beta Banditos.”

The band’s Richard Greentree added: “It is a happy day indeed finalising this deal with Because. The opportunity the divestment process has presented for many artists to revitalise and re-promote their works has been an interesting, exciting and unexpected one. The outcome for the Beta Band, of finding a great deal, with the best-suited and hottest record label of the moment, shows just how exciting and unexpected it gets.”

Progress with the long-running sale has been painfully slow at times, but you can expect a flurry of further deals as tomorrow’s deadline approaches. Music Week sources suggest that plenty of deals are still likely to cross the line in time, with catalogues by the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Thomas Dolby and Lynyrd Skynyrd all potentially moving home, while indies rumoured to be going shopping could include the likes of Concord, Cherry Red, Nature Sounds and PIAS.

And, while the deadline is unlikely to be enforced quite as rigorously as the football transfer market equivalent, the pressure is on both Warner and the indies to make deals happen or assets will remain with the major.

To read Music Week’s in-depth investigation of the whole, epic Warner Music indie divestmest saga, click here. To read the full list of done deals so far, click here. And to subscribe to the new-look Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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