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EMI to Distribute New Label by Schulhof

Music: Former Sony executive, seeking to join crowded market, has been quietly searching for talent.


Michael P. Schulhof, the former head of Sony's global entertainment division, is forming an independent music label that will be distributed by EMI Music.

Schulhof, who was forced out of his Sony job 18 months ago after years of troubles at the company's film studios, recently signed an international pact with EMI to manufacture and distribute all recordings released by his label, sources said.

Schulhof has kept a low profile since leaving the Japanese conglomerate. He keeps an office in New York and has made some investments in new-media businesses. Last year he began work on his music label, quietly searching for talent. He has attempted to negotiate pacts with entrepreneurs in a variety of music fields, but has yet to sign an artist to his label, which still has no name.

Schulhof was in Paris on Thursday and could not be reached for comment. EMI Music chief Jim Fifield, who last month initiated a massive restructuring at the company that resulted in the firings of dozens of employees, declined comment.

Sources said that Schulhof struck his distribution deal with Ken Berry, who under last month's restructuring plan was promoted to president of EMI's new Recorded Music division. Berry could not be reached for comment.

It is unclear why EMI Music, which is rumored to be considering consolidating several of its own labels after taking a $192-million hit for the restructuring plan, would commit to Schulhof's new venture.

With so many new record labels--including EMI's own Enclave--already competing for new acts and market share in the $36-billion global music market, competitors questioned whether Schulhof can make a difference at EMI.

Although Schulhof was a well-liked executive at Sony who often hobnobbed with such superstars as Michael Jackson, many in the music industry considered him to be more of a corporate suit than a record man who connected with talent.

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