Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gil Scott-Heron dies

The legendary poet and jazz musician Gil Scott-Heron has died aged 62. Firstly a writer (his novels included 'The Vulture' and 'The Nigger Factory') his first musical project, 'Small Talk At 125th And Lenox', was released in 1970 and included his the track, 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised'. Four albums followed in the next five years and Scott-Heron's work became increasingly influential, especially on the emerging hip hop genre. Despite this, Arista Records decided to drop Scott-Heron in 1985 but he continued to tour and he briefly returned to recorded music via a deal with TVT in 199T releasing the seminal 'Message To The Messengers' and the ‘Spirits’ album. Plagued by addiction issues, resulting jail sentences and more latterly diagnosed as HIV positive, Scott Heron’s output fell away but in 2010 he released his first studio album in sixteen years, 'I'm New Here' on XL Recordings, to widespread acclaim. Also missed will be Flick Colby, dancer and choreographer and co-founder of the Pan's People, dancers for BBC's 'Top Of The Pop's for much of the seventies. Flick has died aged 65 after a battle with cancer.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Gaga tops 1.15 million US sales in first week

A 99 cent full album download promotion by Amazon.com has pushed first-week sales of Lady Gaga’s new album “Born This Way” to 1.15 million units in the USA according to Billboard and despite technical glitches, Amazon cOntributed approximately 440,000 sales. At retail, the album reportedly sold at least 500,000 units on Monday; it has been made available at a wide range of 20,000 stores, including CVS, Whole Foods and Walgreens.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Perry looks for secondary sales

The Smoking Gun has published what seems to be Katy Perry's rider for her upcoming US tour, which along with the normal stuff on food and dressing rooms and transport has a clause that seemingly tells promoters that they may be required to hold back tickets for the Artiste to sell to fans via a ticketing agent of their choice, promoting speculation that the tickets will be aimed at the secondary market.

Doherty jailed for six months

Babyshambles frontman and ex-Libertine Peter Doherty has been jailed for six months in relation to the cocaine possession charges that followed the death of his friend Robin Whitehead last year. Whitehead had been making a film about Doherty when she died of an overdose. Doherty was initially accused of supplying the drugs that killed Whitehead, although this was subsequently changed to a charge of being in possession of cocaine. Judge David Radford sitting at Snaresbrook Crown Court said the singer had an "appalling record" with regards to illegal drug use and possession, and that a custodial sentence was therefore justified. The jail time means cancellations in Doherty's touring plans.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Gaga giveaway

US retailer Best Buy has announced a deal with Universal's Interscope which will mean that anyone who buys a mobile phone from one of their stores will get a free copy of Lady Gaga's new album 'Born This Way' which has been released to fairly mixed reviews.

Eurosonic to focus on Ireland

Eurosonic 2012 will focus on Irish artists. Confirming that Ireland would be the event's featured country in 2012. Creative Director Peter Smidt told CMU: "Ireland has a long and strong music tradition and has been influential to modern rock, punk and pop music. Ireland and RTE 2fm, in particular, have brought many great artists to Eurosonic Noorderslag from the start. Lots of Irish artists are making great music and are very successful worldwide. Enough reasons to put the focus on Ireland in 2012at Eurosonic Noorderslag". Irish acts were also the focus of the recent 2011 Great Escape convention in Brighton. Eurosonic 2012 will run from 11-14 Jan, more at www.eurosonic-noorderslag.nl

Apple takes licensed approach to the clouds

Apple has reportedly signed “cloud-music” licensing deals with Warner Music and EMI , and is nearing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Entertainment. The deals could put Apple in position to launch a cloud-based music service with more features and flexibility than either Amazon or Google, who both began offering digital music lockers without finalizing deals with the music industry.

Ilosaarirock go greener!

Finland’s Ilosaarirock rock festival has announced a new environmental drive and is panning to establish a new “Pop Forest” in co-operation with UNESCOs MaB programme – along with plans by Ilosaarirock to help in the conservation of the endangered Great Crested Newt in North Karelia. The new memorial tree park will be close to the well known Koli National Park and all of the trees in the forest will have a special envioronmental or cultural significance. losaarirock's Katri Kilpia also said that they will be investing E6000 in efforts to conserve the Great Crested Newt whose habitat has been badly affected by climate change. The sum represents offsets calculated on the Festival's carbon footprint, doubled up by a local sponsor. The Fetsival wil also introduce new recycing and greenhoise gas emission targets at this year's event.

Viagogo to appeal court setback

Ticketnews.com reports that UK-based secondary ticket company Viagogo has been granted leave to appeal a ruling by Judge Tugendhat that would have forced it to turn over the names and personal information of resellers Rugby Football Union tickets(RFU). RFU terms and conditions prohibit the re-sale of their tickets for matches at its TwickenhamStadium and it made the unique argument that after the tickets were resold those who bought them were trespassers. The league wanted the names of the resellers to piece together the transactions and determine who the alleged violators were. Viagogo refused on the ground that this was a violation of privacy rights of its customers. In other ticketing news, in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed the state's paperless ticketing bill into law, a move that continues to keep New York as the only state that makes non-transferable paperless tickets illegal. Cuomo signed the bill, A06856A, late last week after the legislation received overwhelming support from both the state Assembly and Senate.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Blackburn joins Eventim

European ticketing giant Eventim have announced the appointment of Nick Blackburn to the role of Chairman for its UK business. Blackburn was previously CEO at See Tickets. He has been working as a consultant in the ticketing sector since leaving See Tickets last year, and will join Eventim in June.

Reading ticket fraudster jailed

A ticket scammer who sold non-existent tickets to the 2008 Reading Festival has been jailed for three years after being found guilty of fraud and money laundering charges by a jury earlier this year. Christopher Bundza claimed to have tickets to sell for the music festival both via his own website and on eBay, but had no tickets, and was found guilty of eighteen separate charges, some relating to the ticket scam, others to a fraud he committed in relation to the purchase of his home. His former partner Kathryn White avoided jail after admitting four offences of fraud

Dylan not censored in China

Bob Dylan has said that neither his songs nor his set list were censored on his recent visit to China, saying that whilst he submitted a set list and indeed previous set lists, he was not asked to change anything. Dylan also said that he had not had any visa problems with the country, blaming a Chinese promoter for using a visa issue for cancelling concerts Dylan had never agreed too.

UK government announces licensing reforms

The UK’s coalition government has announced plans to reform the country’s much criticised Licensing Act to do away with the ‘red tape’ that many says stifles the development of grass roots music. The Tourism Minister, John Penrose, said that in the future only events of over 5000 people or those that sell alcohol or where there is adult entertainment will need licences with Penrose saying “the current regime makes it harder for new talent to get a chance to perform In front of audiences and imposes a deadweight cost on small businesses and voluntary bodies who want to put on shows” adding “live entertainment is a good thing: it improves our cultural life and should be encouraged, not stifled by the clammy hand of bureaucracy” promising that proper controls on alcohol, health and safety and noise nuisance would remain.

EMI announces a bumper profit

Success with acts such as Katy Perry and Tinie Tempah pushed Citigroup owned EMI’s profits 7% higher to £330 million

UK Music highlights the value of events to the UK’s economy

A new report from UK Music and Bournemouth University shows just how much music tourism generates for the wider UK economy. Destination: Music – the contribution that live music makes to the tourism economy highlights the fact that live music in the UK attracts at least 7.7 million attendances by music tourists and that they spent £1.4 billion during the course of their trips - contributing £864 million to the national economy and sustaining the equivalent of 19,700 full time jobs. The data shows that domestic tourists make up 95% of all music tourists, while overseas tourists make up 5% - but overseas tourists contribute 18% of total spending and overseas music tourists spend a quarter more in the UK than the average overseas tourist.

The research analysed the data of more than 2.5 million ticket transactions at larger events (5000+) to calculate the proportion of people who attend live music events whom were classified as a music tourist. This data was then cross-referenced against the substantial body of work already conducted on live music and tourism.

The full report can be downloaded here:

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Azerbaijan win Eurovision 2011

Azerbaijan has won the 2011 EuroVision in front of a packed Düsseldorf Arena and millions of TV viewers all over Europe beating off challenges from pre-show favourites Germany, the UK and Eire. Ell & Nikki from Azerbaijan received the highest number of points from televoters and juries from the 43 countries participating in this year's show, totalling 221 points for their song Running Scared - followed by Raphael Gualazzi from Italy with 189 points and Sweden's Eric Saade who collected 185 points. After two semi-finals, twenty five acts participated in the final with host nation Germany and the rest of the so-called 'Big Five' - France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom - automatic finallists. The UK's Blue who had previously sold more than 14 million albums came in 11th with I Can and Eire's X-factor stars Jedward managed to come in 8th with Lipstick.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

New fund opens for business

The Times reports that venture capital fund Icebreaker has £350 million available from wealthy investors to back recording artistes who want to operate outside traditional record company business models. The fund, set up by former Kleinwort Dresden banker Caroline Hamilton, has brought in UK indie label Cooking Vinyl as a consultant and has already placed its first funding, providing backing for Marilyn Manson’s new recordings.

Festivals green up

A Greener Festival has published an analysis of all of the entries into the 2010 Greener Festival Awards scheme which shows just how far festivals around the World have come in adopting environmentally friendly practices. The results show that 100% of the participating festivals now promote public transport in an attempt to reduce audience greenhouse gas emissions, which are the largest contributor to most festival’s carbon footprint, and 58% offer tickets which combine festival entry with rail/coach tickets. A whopping 88% now promote liftshare or car pooling – to push up car occupancy for visitors to the site, with the aims of both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need for extensive parking areas. 77% of participating festivals measure greenhouse gas emissions from audience travel, artist travel and transport and festival production.

When it came to recycling, 100% of the entrants had some form of recycling, and 75% of events now ban non-recyclable disposable good such as polystyrene containers, preferring either to concentrate on re-usable containers for food and drink or recyclable cups, plates and cutlery. When it came to the delicate issue of human waste, 47% now had compost toilets on site (up from 36% in 2009), with many saying these were preferred by customers. 84% of festivals have now adopted the use of at least some renewable energies on-site (up from 71% in 2009) which include solar power, wind power, hydro-electric power and bio-diesel from sustainable sources. Whilst 90% now have written environmental policies to reduce CO2 emissions, only 39% had completed full carbon footprint or greenhouse gas analysis.

Of the Award winning festivals, all (100%) now had a dedicated environmental co-ordinator (up fro 91% in 2009), 93% have a written environmental policy, 91% had policies and measures in place to reduce noise pollution, 55% ask caterers to uise organic and/or free range products, 64% undertook an environmental impact analysis and 90% had a ‘switch off and save’ policy in their business premises.

The analysis, by Nicolas Pianet, was based on entries from 47 festivals who all won the 2010 Greener Festival Award. See www.agreenerfestival.com

LimeWire settles with record labels

LimeWire, the now defunct file sharing platform, and its founder, Mark Gorton, have reached a settlement with the 13 record labels that brought an action against them in the Manhatten federal court, agreeing to pay $105 million in damages. The defendants has already been found liable for copyright infringement last year by Judge Kimba Wood and the trial that has been settled was to award damages – the Jury could have potentially awarded up to $1.4 billion in statutory damages.

RIP John, George and Gil

John Walker, of the Walker Brothers, has died aged 67 after losing his battle with liver cancer. And goodbye to George ‘Big George’ Webley, BBC radio presenter, band leader and composer. Fially, its goodbye to Gil Robbins, a key member of the Highwaymen and the Belafonte Singers who has died aged 80. Gil also was a successful actor and ran the Gaslight venue in Greenwich Village, the famous folk club where Bob Dylan made some of his earliest appearances.

Solid Q1 figures for Live Nation

Ticketmaster delivered a 11 percent growth in ticket sales for the quarter ended March 31 to help Live Nation Entertainment record a 17 percent increase in revenues for the period compared to last year's first quarter (Q1) with revenues at $849.4 million. Live Nation sold 34.6 million tickets during the quarter up from 31.2 million.

Google joins Amazon with digital locker

Google has joined Amazon by launching a new music-based digital locker service - despite not have any licensing deals in place with the record companies or music publishers. Amazon had previously argued that its digital locker service did not require licences from with record labels or music publishers because all its digital locker does is allow users to upload their own MP3 collections to remote servers, and to then download or stream that music back to any net-connected device via a user-friendly player. Amazon has already launched is Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player services and Google’s Music Beta joins them as an unlicensed digital locker.

Groupon ink deal with Live Nation

Groupon has announced the formation of a joint venture Live Nation Entertainment which will create a new online ticketing deals channel. GrouponLive will offer deals on tickets sold via Live Nation's Ticketmaster in North America, beginning with the summer concert season. Live Nation's Michael Rapino said "GrouponLive represents a new channel to drive value for fans, while helping artists and others to reach ever larger audiences" .

Monday, 9 May 2011

UK live sector joins up with UK Music

The UK's live music sector has finally joined UK Music, the umbrella organisation representing the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to major and independent record labels, music managers up, music producers, music publishers, music licensing companies and, now, the live music sector - now ensuring that, for the first time, the UK’s entire commercial music industry will be represented by one umbrella body. The move follows the establishment of the UK Live Music Group, a coming together of the live industry’s main trade associations and representative bodies whose members are The Agents Association, The AFO (the Association of Festival Organisers, representing many jazz and folk festivals), the Association of Independent Festivals (whose members include Bestival and Creamfields), The Concert Promoters Association, The International Live Music Conference, the NAA (National Arenas Association), the PSA (Production Services Association ) and we:Live, the independent venue and promoter association. The group will meet every six weeks and have nominated Paul Latham of Live Nation Entertainment to be their representative on the UK Music board.

Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music said: “This is a fantastic development for UK Music. The coming together of the UK Live Music Group is hugely significant in itself - establishing a unique and powerful voice for the sector. Having their input at board level will be a huge asset for this organization and we hit the ground running next week, with the publication of some groundbreaking research on music tourism.” According to PRS for Music research, revenues from live music in the UK rose by 9.4% in 2009 to £1.5bn. The total value of the UK music industry in 2009 was estimated at £3.9bn


Saturday, 7 May 2011

ATP to end spring events

CMU Daily reports that this month's All Tomorrows Parties festival in Minehead will be the final springtime ATP event, organisers have said. ATP promoters announced earlier this week that moving forward they will be concentrating on their Christmas time festivals in the UK, plus one-off city-based events, such as the Portishead mini-festival taking place at Alexandra Palace in July. May has traditionally been an important month for the ATP enterprise, their guest-artist-curated holiday-park fests often being seen as the first big events of the summer festival season.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Warners sold for $3.3 billion

In the first of what is expected to be another wave of consolidation in the recorded ,music and music publishing sectors, Warner Music Group announced on Friday 6th May that it has been acquired in a deal valued at $3.3 billion by Access Industries, a private equity firm headed by Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik. Blavatnik was already an equity investor in WMG, and previously served on the company's board. The deal will make the label a private company, and its stock will no longer be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. A group of private equity firms acquired the record label from former parent company Time Warner for $2.6 billion in 2004.

MTV boss to step down

Judy McGrath, Chief Executive of MTV, is to step down after 30 years with the American music network.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Live Nation moves to stamp out ticket scams

Live Nation and Festival Republic have both said that they will support a plan put forward by the Police to try to combat the sale of non-existent tickets for festivals with both organizations saying that they will send out tickets for their big summer events earlier than normal. Despite the higher risk of counterfeit tickets, police say that a bigger problem these days is ticket agents who take money off music fans online with no intent of sending them any tickets, real or fake. Deputy Chief Superintendent Steve Head of the City of London Police told the BBC: "We believe that [posting tickets early] would stop a lot of people being the victims, because we'd be able to act on it quicker, convicting the kind of people we want to convict".

Some sad farewells

Its farewell to Phoebe Snow, the singer-songwriter whose Poetry Man was a top 5 hit in the USA in 1974. She has died aged 60. Also farewell to music publisher Terry Oates. Terry, who started his career at Chappell Music and went on to RCA and then Screen Gems Columbia, set up Eaton Music in 1975, home to songs by Harry Nilsson, George Fenton and Status Quo amongst others. Terry had recently suffered from ill health and was 74 when he died. And finally farewell to music lawyer Sam Sylvester who represented Sir Paul McCartney in his battlle against the other three Beatles as well as representing The Who, Asia, Don Black, Jeff Lynne as well as writers such as Frederick Forsyth, Stephen Spender and playwright Robert Bolt, latterly as a senior partner at Clintons before he retired in 1995. He has died aged 77.

Warner’s auction enters final phase

With the auction for Warner Music Group entering its final round it seems to be shaping up to be a two-way contest with he real competition between the billionaire Gores brothers and Russian-born businessman Len Blavatnik's Access Industries. The Gores have submitted a bid valued at $7.50 a share, or around $3 billion and Warner shares closed yesterday at $7.40, down about 1 percent. Blavatnik, a close ally of Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman and who already owns 2 percent of the company. has also bid around $3 billion for the music company according to the New York Post. The NYP also report that KKR-backed BMG Rights Management is said to be out of the Warner mix and has set its sights on acquiring EMI, possibly as a joint bid with Universal, although there is speculation that the they may re-enter the Warner’s battle with a joint bid. The UK’s Daily Telegraph reports that If either were successful it is thought BMG would take any publishing assets while Universal would take ownership of the record labels. EMI’s owners Citigroup is expected to start publicly taking bids for EMI in the next two months.

In other Warner’s news, Miami-based hip hop label DM Records, which boasts some Tupac, MC Breed and Prince tracks in its catalogue, is suing Warner Music in a dispute over digital distribution rights.