BBC, EMI accessing each other's archives

Companies will receive reciprocal royalties on sales

LONDON -- The BBC has handed EMI Music the keys to its treasure-filled broadcast vault. Through an agreement struck between EMI and BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, both parties will be able to tap into each other's content wells.

The London-based music group will have access to BBC's archive TV and radio recordings to create products for release across multiple platforms, including DVDs, CDs and digital downloads.

On the flip side, BBC Worldwide will be able to use EMI artist performances to create new programming for commercial use, including international radio and TV programs. BBC Worldwide also has obtained rights to distribute the content direct to consumers by way of its own future digital services.

"We are very excited about this agreement," said Pete Duckworth, senior vp catalog, EMI Music U.K. and Ireland. "In the BBC vaults there is a wealth of unreleased and high-quality material from EMI artists that we will now be able to bring to fans. At the same time, we can offer new revenue opportunities to our artists that simply weren't there before."

BBC's archive includes such EMI spoils as 1967 live radio performances from Pink Floyd, playing tracks from its debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," plus a 1975 documentary on David Bowie and early recordings of Coldplay.

Both companies will also receive reciprocal royalties for each other's sales, and featured artists will be approached for clearance on each release project.

Its not the first time BBC has encouraged the major label community to tap into its broadcast library. Universal Music struck a landmark licensing deal in mid-2005, enabling the market-leader to leverage the BBC's audio and visual content for use in a broad range of internationally available products.