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UMG WILL LAUNCH “INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FEED”
Court Rules Echostar Must Carry; Decision
Clears Way for First Label-Owned 24-Hour
Music Channel
A New York federal court has ruled that Echostar, owner of satellite broadcaster Dish Network, must carry Universal Music Group’s nascent 24-hour music video channel, known as IMF: The International Music Feed. The ruling means that IMF could be on the air as early as tomorrow, according to sources.

IMF was originally scheduled to debut on Jan. 22, but a disagreement with Echostar prevented the channel’s launch. UMG parent Vivendi Universal subsequently filed suit in federal court claiming Echostar breached its carriage agreement with IMF. While that litigation is still pending, the court found that VU is “extremely likely to prevail on the merits” of the case and issued a preliminary injunction ordering Echostar to carry the channel as soon as possible.

The ruling paves the way for UMG to be the first music company to launch its own 24-hour music video channel, an idea that has been floated repeatedly for years but until now has failed to materialize.

According to sources, UMG has been in talks with other labels, both independent and major, about airing their content on IMF. Agreements with several of these are said to be imminent and could be announced within the next two weeks.

Additionally, IMF is said to be in talks to secure carriage with additional satellite and cable broadcasters.

IMF is being headed by label and radio vet Andy Schuon, who is President of the channel. Schuon has previously worked in a broadcasting/new media capacity for UMG’s Farmclub.com and has held top jobs at MTV, Warner Bros. Records, Pressplay and Infinity Broadcasting. Former MTV programming colleague Greg Drebin is on board as Executive Vice President, Programming and Production.

A message on the IMF Web site earlier this year said that IMF was “founded on the thought that great music comes from all over the world. Until now, it was impossible to see and hear all the artists and music we present every day on IMF. Music truly is universal and we’re committed to creating a ‘Pangaea,’ or single continent, with the viceos and other music programs we offer. Every day you can see al the best new music from the U.S., plus the biggest hits from every other country in the world.”

Sounds like UMG is about to deliver on that promise. Stay tuned.
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