Mean Fiddler flogs music downloads

Following the piper who calls the iTune

The Mean Fiddler, Britain's biggest live music organiser, is hopping onto the digital music download bandwagon. It will launch a UK-oriented service next month, ahead of roll-outs in the rest of Europe, the US and Asia.

The company has formed a subsidiary, Mean Fiddler Media (MFM), to run the service, which will provide one-off downloads and mobile phone ringtones.

Interestingly, it says it is close to signing a deal with Sony, whose own download service, Connect, is due to launch in the UK. Some would-be digital music market players claim that Sony is proving resistant to moves to license its music catalogue, ahead of Connect's debut.

MFM has already licensed tracks from Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), Warner and Virgin's V2 label. It expects to have licensing agreements with EMI, Sony and Universal in place by launch time.

Mean Fiddler is best known as a London live music venue, but the company also owns a range of locations across the city, including the Borderline, the Jazz Café and the Astoria. And it is big organiser of music festivals, including Reading. ®

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