Warner, Euro vet tune up for new gig

Former EMI topper returns with new venture

LONDON — Former EMI Europe chief Emmanuel de Buretel returned to the business Thursday when he inked an exclusive licensing deal with Warner Music Intl. for his new venture, Because Music.

WMI will license Because’s global repertoire around the world, excluding the U.K. and France; de Buretel’s company has bases in London and Paris.

Because Music has already signed Amadou and Mariam, a production involving platinum-selling artist Manu Chao. The independent label said it is working on alliances with mobile phone networks, venues and publishers to develop new ways to produce, broadcast and distribute music.

Deal was hatched between de Buretel and longtime friend Paul-Rene Albertini, chairman and chief exec of WMI. De Buretel was locked into a period of exclusivity with his former employer, which he left last year when Jean-Francois Cecillon took over as chairman-CEO of EMI Music Continental Europe.

Before that surprise coup, de Buretel was one of the European music industry’s most successful executives. In the year ended March 31, 2003, EMI paid him $25 million for his half of French publishing company Delabel Editions, which it now owns outright.

“Emmanuel is responsible for nearly all the most exciting cross-border projects in Europe over the past 15 years,” said WMI’s Albertini in a statement.