Landmark agreement provides Universal Music with its artists’ performances and appearances on BBC television and radio
In a deal struck with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, Universal Music has exclusively licensed the rights to exploit content relating to its portfolio of artists from the corporation’s extensive archive of TV and radio content. In addition, Universal will work with BBC Worldwide to identify archive material which could create new broadcast programming opportunities in the UK and overseas.

The archive covers the entire history of rock and pop, as well as including hundreds of hours of classical music.

Universal and BBC Worldwide are identifying programme material relating to artists in the Universal stable – including U2, Elton John, The Who, Cream, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Bee Gees, The Police, ABBA, and The Cure – which can be used to create a wide range of product for global release.

Under the terms of the licence, BBC archive material of Universal artists could be used to produce, in conjunction with the artists, a wide range of commercial products, including albums, DVDs and downloads. The first music to be used from the BBC archive under the new deal is the 27 tracks included on Universal’s Top 10 Cream retrospective I Feel Free – Ultimate Cream.

The deal is unique in its potential to deliver both commercial value and public service benefit to the BBC. Material from both the BBC and Universal’s archives becomes available, creating a pool of distinctive audiovisual content that the BBC can draw upon to create new music-related programming for broadcast in the UK, and for BBC Worldwide to exploit internationally.

The arrangement is expected to reward both BBC Worldwide and Universal Music with further strategic benefits, as both companies work together to maximise the value of the unique BBC archive, and deepen the relationship between the broadcaster and the music industry going forward.

The deal is the first of its kind between BBC Worldwide and a key music industry partner, and is part of the company’s strategy to work with the music industry in deriving greater value from the wealth of music-related material in the corporation’s archive.

Lucian Grainge, Chairman of Universal Music, said: “The BBC archive offers a wealth of material that will be of interest to fans of our strong portfolio of heritage and new music artists. I am delighted to have led the way for the music industry in working with the BBC to unlock this valuable resource.”

John Smith, BBC Worldwide CEO said: “The BBC has always worked closely with the music industry to showcase talent and bring the latest new music to its audiences. This arrangement with Universal is not only a good example of the BBC and BBC Worldwide commitment to partnering with the commercial sector, but also builds on the public value of the assets we have.”

About the BBC archive

The BBC television archive, which encompasses over 500 million feet of film, or 400,000 hours of video, from the 1930’s to the present day, includes a wide range of footage relevant to Universal Music’s portfolio of artists.

The mix is unique, including full concert footage, revealing interviews on chat shows, rare studio sessions, guest appearances in comedy, variety or celebrity game shows, and news items from the national and regional BBC News archive.

The BBC Radio archive comprises of over 300,000 hours of broadcast material stretching back to 1924, including exclusive interviews, rare live concert performances, specially recorded studio sessions and unique guest presenter and DJ appearances.

Brought together, the BBC archive can be used to chart the professional life of some of Universal’s artists in sound and video.

Examples of content, much of which has not been aired since its original broadcast, are:

• Performances from music TV shows such as Top of the Pops and Old Grey Whistle Test;

• Performances and interview material from entertainment programmes such as Parkinson and Wogan, comedy series such as The Young Ones and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and children’s shows like Cheggers Plays Pop and Saturday Superstore;

• BBC News footage and interviews from national and regional news magazine programmes, and programmes such as Newsround;

• Radio studio sessions, DJ sets and interviews, plus recorded live concert performances.

About BBC Worldwide

BBC Worldwide is the main commercial arm and wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC. Following a strategic review and reorganisation, the company now operates six businesses: TV Channels, TV Sales, Magazines, Home Entertainment, Children’s and New Media. Both through its own operations, and via joint ventures, it seeks to drive commercial benefit from rights and content on behalf of the BBC. In the UK its products and services help to extend audiences’ appreciation of BBC programmes. Internationally the company promotes the best of British talent and culture across a range of media.

About Universal Music

Universal is the UK’s leading record company, selling one in four of all albums bought in 2004 including the two bestsellers of the year, Polydor’s Scissor Sisters and Island’s Keane. Universal Music UK is a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 71 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, DreamWorks Records, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group and Verve Music Group, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division.

Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.