Thursday, 30 June 2011

HMV profits down 61%, but sells Canadian stores

HMV, the struggling UK retail and live music group, have announced a 61% drop in profits down to £28.9 million for the last financial year. CEO Simon Fox has now successfully sold the firm's Waterstones booksellers and Canadian retail chains, raising much needed cash and reducing liabilities, and has negotiated new bank loan terms, giving Fox two years to turn things round at HMV.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Bay organiser to fund refunds from asset sales

Ticket holders for the now cancelled Bay Festival, which was due to take place on the Isle of Man last weekend, with Tinie Tempah and Westlife set to headliner, are facing a battle for refunds. Organiser Jonathan Irving who blamed the cancellation on poor ticket sales, and a lack of support from the island's government for failing to support the event, also said that the Isle of Man’s government was to blame for pursuing a sister company in an unpaid tax dispute which distracted Irving’s team when they should have been publicising their festival. Initially ticket holders were told they'd get full refunds but with ticket agent HMV having already handed over revenues to promoters, who had in turn paid it on to artists and service providers in upfront payments, Irving now says he has to sell assests to meet refunds. Irving says he has no future plans to stage an event on the island.

Monday, 20 June 2011

EMI considers financial future

EMI has launched a review to determine whether recapitalization, a possible sale or an IPO are options. The company, which is owned by Citigroup, made a statement that there was no certainty that the process would result in a transaction, and that they would not disclose further development until their board had approved the strategic plan. EMI was acquired by Citigroup in February, which in turn announced a recapitalization of the company to reduce its debt by 65%, and provide over $484 million in financing.

Winehouse cancels Europe dates after Belgrade disaster

Amy Winehouse has cancelled two shows on mainland Europe this week after a terrible performance in Belgrade which, whilst initially cheered by a supportive crowd, soon left them dispirited after Amy mumbled and fumbled and stumbled around the stage. You can see more here and make your own mind up . The singer's management said that Winehouse would return to the UK because she can't "perform to the best of her ability". The plan is for her European tour to resume in Bilbao on the 8th July.

Clarence Clemons dies

Clarence Clemons, a founder member and the sax player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has died aged 69. Clemons had been seriously ill since suffering a stroke a week ago.

Friday, 17 June 2011

U2 top Forbes cash haul list

The latest Forbes list of the most highly paid music stars is out, showing just what Forbes estimates they have raked in over the last twenlve months before tax and commissions. U2 top the list with earnings from their 360 degree tour and the other twenty five cash rich rockers are:

1. U2 ($195 million)
2. Bon Jovi ($125 million)
3. Elton John ($100 million)
4. Lady Gaga ($90 million)
5. Michael Buble ($70 million)
6. Paul McCartney ($67 million)
7. Black Eyed Peas ($61 million)
8. Eagles ($60 million)
9. Justin Bieber ($53 million)
10. Dave Matthews Band ($51 million)
11. Toby Keith ($50 million)
12. Usher ($46 million)
13. Taylor Swift $45 million)
14. Katy Perry ($44 million)
15. Brad Paisley ($40 million)
16. Tom Petty & the Heartbreaks ($38 million)
17. Jay-Z ($38 million)
18. AC/DC ($35 million)
18. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($35 million)
18. Beyonce ($35 million)
18. Tim McGraw ($35 million)
18. Muse ($35 million)
23. Rascal Flatts ($34 million)
24. Kenny Chesney ($30 million)
25. Rihanna ($29 million)

Live Nation back to private?

Reports are circulating over plans by Live Nation chief Irving Azoff and major shareholder and Liberty Media chief John Malone taking the live music, venue, artiste management and ticketing conglomerate private, just a year and a half after the Live Nation – Ticketmaster merger. Live Nations debt currently stands at approximately $1.7 billion. Taking the company private would ease pressure from investors and shares rose 6% to $10.92 on the news. More at

Wiseguys escape jail

The three defendants in the $25 million Wiseguy Tickets computer hacking case escaped jail time and have received sentences of probation from a federal judge the USA. A fouth defendant, Faisal Nahdo had fled the US some time earlier. Kenneth Lowson and Kristofer Kirsch each received two years' probation and Joel Stevenson received one year. The trio pleaded guilty late last year to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and other charges for their part in the multi-million-dollar ticket scalping scheme by using sophisticated computer programmes (‘bots’) to acquire approximately 1.5 million premium event tickets

Thursday, 9 June 2011

WPP moves to cut off infringing websites from advertising cash

In another example of how the imagined 'Wild West' of the internet is (slowly) being tamed by proactive business practices which can run alongside new legislation and court decisions, advertising giant WPP has announced a list of 2,000 websites in the USA which it says carry illegal or pirated content and will not be used for advertising for the group's clients. The list will be used by the media buying agencies within WPP's GroupM business and executives in those companies have been told not to buy any advertising on those site - and since they have a combined annual spend of $6 billion, $3.5 billion in the US alone – that’s quite a major move. WPP's clients include Ford, Unilever, AT&T and IBM and interestingly their client list also includes two major labels - Universal Music and the Warner as well as the Paramount film company. The list will be regularly updated.

GroupM Interaction's Global CEO Rob Norman told reporters: "We're serious about combating piracy and protecting our clients' intellectual property as forcefully as we possibly can. This policy extends to digital media buyers at all GroupM agencies, as well as other WPP companies like Team Detroit, which manages Ford's media business". According to The Guardian, among the sites blacklisted are,,,,,, and Last year Google pledged to stop websites that infringe copyrights from using its adwords service.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Music videos face age restrictions in UK

A new report commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron says that music videos should come with age ratings to protect children from overt sexual imagery and lyrics at an early age. The rating system is one of a number of proposals put forward by Reg Bailey, the head of the Mothers' Union, as a way to curb the "sexualisation and commercialisation of children”. The BPI recently announced plans to extend its parental advisory scheme, which results in stickers being put on CDs which contain strong language or adult themes, to the digital domain for sites like YouTube.

iCloud launches with Jobs

Apple head honcho Steve Jobs has taken a break from his medical treatment and launched the company's new music offering, the iCloud, at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Fully licensed by all four major record companies and publishers Billboard cited sources this weekend confirming that the split of revenues generated by the iCloud service will be 58% to the labels, 12% to the publishers and 30% to Apple. It will be interesting to see if Apple's digital locker service will have more or less limitations compared to those launched by Amazon and Google, who decided to go without licenses – and perversely therefore don't have any content owners to placate – and on first looks it appears that iCloud doesn’t actually allow you to store music in the cloud.

Farewell to Andrew Gold and Martin Rushent

Andrew Gold, the singer, songwriter and long term Linda Ronstadt collaborator, has died aged 59. He had massive hits with Oh What A Lonely Boy and Never Let Her Slip Away. Another track, Thank You for Being a Friend, was known to millions after being used as the theme for long-running sitcom The Golden Girls. And also missed will be record producer Martin Rushent who has died, aged 63. Martin entered the music business as a sound engineer in the early 1970s, working with artists as diverse as T Rex, Fleetwood Mac, Yes, David Essex and Shirley Bassey. Martin came to wider attention at the end of that decade as the producer of may of the key records of British punk scene, including the first three Stranglers albums and records by Buzzcocks, Generation X and XTC.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Coachella doubles up for 2012

After record attendances and fast ticket sales, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is going to double up in 2012, with the 2012 event held as two back-to-back weekends with identical headliners and line ups on April 13th to 15th and April 20th to 22nd at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA.

UK retail giant join ticketing market reports that Tesco, the UK's giant retail and grocery chain which takes 8% of all retail spending, is launching an initiative to sell concert tickets without added fees in a move that could instantly make it a force in the country's ticketing industry. The retailer will offer tickets to several outdoor shows at venues at horse racing tracks in the UK this summer, as part of a family friendly entertainment package. Prices will start at £12 ($19.72) per ticket and be capped at £33 ($54.22).

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Downloading Scottish gradmother gets 3 years probation

Anne Muir, the Scottish grandmother who was convicted of copyright theft for sharing over 30,000 music files via P2P networks earlier this year, has been sentenced to three year's probation. It was stressed in court that Muir was suffering from depresion and this drove her filesharing actions, rather than any intention to profit or to deny rights owners their profits. Welcoming the ruling, a spokesman for the BPI told reporters yesterday: "Today the court has recognised that illegal file-sharing on a massive scale is a serious matter and has imposed a sentence aimed at preventing such behaviour in future. We would like to thank the Strathclyde police and the procurator fiscal service in Ayr for their diligent work on this investigation".

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Vegas set to rival Ibiza as mecca for dance

Delegates at the International Music Summit in Ibiza have been discussing the potential of Las Vegas as a new rival to the 'White Isle' as the new home of dance music. DJs such as the UK's Pete Tong, DJ Tiesto from the Netherlands and French star David Guetta have all played in Vegas with Tong telling the Summit "something has changed in Vegas recently and electronic music is really starting to take hold" adding "The casinos used to use people like Sinatra and Dean Martin to get people in, but it has evolved and now dance music is the thing" saying that Vegas had become the second biggest city for dance music bookings in the World.