Fox Lifts Ban on Music Controlled by Universal
November 5, 2007 at 5:36 AM (PT)
For much of this year, NEWS CORP.'s movie and television studios refused to use in their productions almost any music controlled by VIVENDI SA's UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP -- a move that people familiar with the situation say was retaliation for a UNIVERSAL MUSIC lawsuit against NEWS CORP.'s MYSPACE social-networking site, reports THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.
The lawsuit hasn't been decided, but the ban was nonetheless lifted last month, according to the people familiar with the situation. Ironically, people close to both companies agree that the greatest pain may have been felt not by UNIVERSAL, but by producers at NEWS CORP.'s TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX studios, who were often frustrated when told by lawyers and others in the corporate structure that their budgets couldn't be used to pay UNIVERSAL for music they wanted in their shows and movies.
"It was like doing my job with one hand tied behind my back," says BILLY GOTTLIEB, music supervisor for NBC's "Journeyman" and FOX's "Bones," both of which are produced by TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION. "Unfortunately, the shows suffered and people like me had to jump through hoops."
KEVIN EDELMAN, a music supervisor for a number of FOX-produced TV series, including NBC's "My Name Is Earl," says it was a "relief" when the ban was lifted. "It was a big challenge on a show like 'Earl,' " he says. "It's all classic rock. And UNIVERSAL has a lot of that."
Throughout the standoff, which lasted around eight months, the campaign remained confined to music licensing. Given its limited duration, the ban's financial impact on UNIVERSAL MUSIC was minimal, people familiar with it said.