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Inside Move: UMG thinking Web duet

Consolidation would be conditional on buyout talks

Universal Music Group is mulling a combination of Farmclub.com, its fledgling Web site to showcase unproven artists, with GetMusic.com, a 50/50 music portal venture with BMG Entertainment.

News of the potential union comes as Universal is in discussions to buy out BMG’s portion of GetMusic, which offers music downloads, artist news and information, videos and other content.

Industry watchers noted Wednesday that a Farmclub/GetMusic consolidation, which likely would be conditional on a successful conclusion in the BMG buyout talks, would make strategic sense on several levels.

For one thing, the overlap of services is minimal: GetMusic deals primarily with information and downloads from signed artists, whereas Farmclub showcases greener talent, either unsigned or else signed to the site’s own inhouse label.

A combo also could help the two Netcos improve their financial situations by cutting redundant costs and playing to the strengths of each.

“They’ve lost a ton of money on both, so it might not be such a bad idea” to consolidate, said one industry insider.

It remains unclear how the combination would affect Farmclub’s weekly TV show on cabler USA Network, or a high-profile trial subscription program on the site, which offers free audio streams from much of the Universal Music catalog.

Officials at GetMusic and Farmclub declined to comment.

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