EMI Music and Mute have announced plans for the latter’s founder Daniel Miller to take the label independent again – albeit with strong ties to EMI. Miller sold Mute to EMI in 2002, but has remained in charge. Now he’s going indie again, licensing the trademark Mute, and using EMI’s Label Services unit for sales, distribution, synch & licensing and merchandising in the US, UK, Canada and Ireland. EMI will have a minority equity interest in the new company, and is licensing to Miller part of Mute’s back catalogue. Some artists, including Nick Cave, Erasure and Liars will move over to Mute, while others – Goldfrapp, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk etc – will remain signed to EMI. An intriguing deal: it will be interesting to see how Mute’s regained independence affects its strategy on the digital side of things.

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