Friday, 29 July 2011

Now Michael Forever ticketing plan hits the news

Hot on the feels of the Jackson family spat over the planned Michael Jackson tribute concert in Cardiff, comes news of a new row over ticketing. Fans will be asked to not only to register to buy tickets between £55 ($90) and £289 ($475) but must also agree to pledge money to charity - and it seems the more you pledge the more the chance you have of getting a ticket with the event's website saying "Remember, the more you pledge to charity, the more chance you have of getting a ticket. Tickets will range from £55 to £289 plus shipping. The amount of your pledge is up to you. Fans have complained on two fronts - firstly that it seems none of the ticket face value is going to go to charity, and secondly that the system will favour the wealthy, not the fan The Registration period for Michael Forever will last 76 hours from 8pm British Summer Time on Thursday 4 August 2011 until midnight British Summer Time on Sunday 7 August 2011.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Jackson Tribute splits family

The proposed tribute to Michael Jackson, 'Michael Forever: The Tribute Concert' which seems to have the support of some but not all of the Jackson clan, including Michael's mum, Katharine, sister LaToya, and brothers Tito, Jackie and Marlon, now seems to have fallen foul of the late King of Pop's estate. The co-executors of the Michael Jackson estate, John Branca and John McClain, have released a statement confirming that they have no involvement in the Michael Jackson tribute event and nor did they authorise the use of Michael's name for it. Two of Michael's brothers, Jermaine and Randy, had already issued a statement saying they felt it was inappropriate to stage a big charity tribute show when Conrad Murray's manslaughter trial in relation to their brother's death was likely to still be going through the motions in court. The proposed October 8th event in Cardiff, announced at a press conference by Chris Hunt of Global Live Events, has no confirmed performers as yet. A previous tribute concert in Europe planned by Jermaine Jackson in the months after his brother's death was scuttled after promoters ran into problems and some of the singers listed as performers said they had scheduling conflicts.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse has did aged just 27. The singer songwriter was found dead at her Camden flat by police. Amy, who has long battled alcohol and drugs, had last been seen with her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield at London's iTunes Festival. Amongst many tributes, Mark Ronson, who producerd winehouse's epic Back to Black said "she was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. This is one of the saddest days of my life".

Friday, 22 July 2011

Parfitt moves on

Sony Music has just announced that Nick Gatfield will become Chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK, taking over from Ged Doherty. And BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt is to leave the station and the BBC, after 30 years with the BBC,

Benn bigs up festivals

Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn has responded to Michael Eavis’s much reported comments that the Glastonbury Festival might “only have three or four years left” due to public apathy and the economic climate, claiming that the festival only sold out due to the “huge headliners” they were able to book every year with Benn saying that the festival business was in good health. Speaking to BBC Suffolk during last week’s Latitude Festival, Benn, who also promotes the Big Chill, and the Reading & Leeds festivals, and works with Eavis on Glastonbury, said that Eavis was wrong and said that festivals were part of “UK cultural life” and also added that Latitude had sold out as would Reading and Leeds.

Cheap Trick just avoid Ottawa stage collapse

Three people were injured when the main stage at the Ottawa Bluesfest collapsed after a violent windstorm during a Cheap Trick's set on the 17 July. The band had been advised to leave the Main Stage as the storm struck and the stage collapsed five minutes later. Three people suffered minor injuries and all were released from hospital.. A team from Ottawa's Ministry of Labour will investigate the incident.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Festival Awards recognise access and disability

The UK Festival Awards are supporting the Attitude Is Everything campaign to improve deaf and disabled people's access to live music events. They have included disabled access in the criteria used by judges assessing this year's music festivals, and have teamed up with Festival Republic to offer the winner of the best "Grass Roots" festival award a £1000 grant to enable them to improve accessibility.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Spotify launches in the US

Spotify has finally launched its streaming service in the USA after concluding agreements with the one major who hadn't signed up - Warners - and music publishing society ASCAP. Spotify has ten million users in Europe.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Weezer Cruise Wheeze

Weezer are planning a festival with a twist - its on a 2,700 capacity cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico from Miami to Cozumel with live bands including Dinosaur Ju, Gene Ween, Sebadoh, Wavves, The Knock and Yuck. Tickets for the four day trip in January 2012 with carnival Cruises cost from £500 (US$699) plus taxes each for a shared double cabin. A ticket for The Empress Grand Suite costs $2,899. Fans who purchase tickets get access to all the live onboard shows, plus an exclusive Q&A with Weezer on the ship's lido deck, a photo op with the band and a sundry of other activities and amenities, including "swimming pools, water slides, relaxation decks, casino, mini-golf, ping-pong ... and karaoke."

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Willie Robertson

It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we must bring you news that Willie Robertson, co-founder of Robertson Taylor insurance brokers, has died after a determined fight against his recentlly diagnosed cancer. Willie passed away on Saturday the 9th July and his wife Angie and family were with him. Bob Taylor, who with Ian France, was his partner and friend for in excess of 40 years, said "to say that he will leave a gap in our lives is truly an understatement. Willie was a prolific producer of business and a tough and challenging partner throughout our long and incredibly successful relationship. The three of us along with help from many of you guys built what we now know as Robertson Taylor. Over the years he made many life-long friends who have been in regular contact with his family and with myself over the last few weeks. The support has been overwhelming coming from all across the world."

Willie was a true legend from the live music industry, and both at work and at play was a charming, considerate, entertaining and hardworking friend, a most excellent host, and a valued colleague who will be so very much missed by so many.

AIF launches ticket exchange service for UK festivals

The Association of Independent Festivals has launched its own ticket exchange for sold out festivals allowing fans who have bought tickets but can no longer attend will be able to resell their tickets via the new website, though at face value only. The Ticket Trust, which will be run by ethical merchandise company Sandbag, will verify tickets are genuine and make sure they get to buyers. Buyers will be charged up to a 10% commission.

Wurzel passes on

Michael Burston, aka Wurzel, who was with Motorhead for nine albums between 1985-1995, has aged of 61 from cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease). Lemmy's bass tech, Tim Butcher, broke the news on his Facebook page, referring to Wurzel as a "complete gent" and a "great guitarist, and writing "We will miss you."

Ticket frauders jailed

Three men who ran the fraudulent Xclusive ticketing scam have been jailed, one for eight years. The three defendants, Terence Shepherd, Alan Scott and Allan Schaverien ran various companies under the Xclusive banner that claimed to be able to provide elusive tickets for sold out sports and music events, in particular the 2008 Beijing Olympics and various music festivals. Over £5 million is believed to have been defrauded. A number of relatives of UK competitors at the 2008 Bejing Olympics were those left devastated when tickets failed to arrive. Shephard was sentenced to eight years in jail while Scott got seven years. Both were banned from being company directors for fifteen and ten years respectively. Schaverien, who had pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting fraudulent trading, was sentenced for two years and eight months by Judge Martin Beddoe.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Eavis dampens festival frenzy

Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis has told the Times newspaper that he believes that the UK's love affair with festivals is "on the way out" saying "we've probably got three or four more years". Noting that Latitude and Womad haven't sold out this year, Eavis adds "its a scary business" putting the blame for shrinking audiences on the recession and the fact that people have "seen it all before". The article also comments that cheaper European festivals with the same headliners are often attractive to fans, that the Reading and Leeds festivals have almost 40% of their tickets remaining and that the recent Prince headlined Hop Farm festival in Kent had ticket sales well below its 50,000 capacity. Viagogo has Reading tickets discounted from £192.50 to £120.00.

UK visa scheme under heavy fire

Ian Birrell, co-founder of Africa Express with Damon Albarn and former Deputy Editor of the Independent newspaper, has launched a blistering attack on the UK's Border Agency, highlighting the Wu Tang Clan's recent treatment when they arrived in the UK to tour and play Glastonbury who said they were treated like 'The Taliban', and the plight of Idrissa Soumaoro, who should be rehearsing for the much anticipated Amadou and Mariam tour, but who is stuck in a hotel in Senegal waiting for UK visa paperwork to be completed. In another article by the Observer's Arts and Medias Correspondent Vanessa Thorpe, a number of artistes have said that they are ruling Britian out of future touring plans because of the difficulties in obtaining visas. Russian ballerina Ploina Semionova was almost unable to perform with the English National Ballet in June 2010 because of visa problems, Argentinian dancers Ismael Ludman and Maria Mondino were refused entry at Glasgow in April this year and painist Grigory Sokolov has refused to submit to fingerprinting and eye scans every time he applies for a visa to visit the UK.

Five teenagers stabbed at Oxegen

Five teenagers have been stabbed at Ireland's Oxegen Festival at Punchestown, Coiunty Kildare, after a fight. One 19 year old required hospital treatment. headliners at the 80,000 capacity event included Foo Fighters, Beyonce and Coldplay

Friday, 8 July 2011

Slipnot in the slipstream

Slipknot have announced that they will stream their headline set at Sonisphere UK this weekend live via their official website and the website of the festival. The set will be the band's first in the UK since the death of bassist Paul Gray last year. It's also the first time a set at the festival has been streamed live on the net.

US live revenues grow

After a difficult 2010, the US live music industry is having a better 2011 according to Pollstar with the country's top 50 tours brining in 11% more revenue in that first half of 2011 than the equivalent tours did in 2010, despite a 2.1% drop in ticket sale volume

IFPI and SGAE face scandals

Hot on the heels of the scandal engulfing Spain’s collection society SGAE – their offices and a number of private homes were raided by Spanish police as part of an investigation into the "misappropriation of funds" and nine people, including president of SGAE's Board of Directors Eduardo Bautista, were detained - comes new that the former chief of the Swiss branch of the International Federation of The Phonographic Industry, Beat Högger, has been accused of abusing his position in the trade body to gain tax breaks for his own company IPGate. According to TorrentFreak, and German journalist Christian Bütikofer, Högger allegedly employed two administrators at the IFPI through his own German company, to qualify IPGate for concessions under Germany's tax system on the basis he had a Swiss operation. Bütikofer claims this allegedly benefited Högger's company to the tune of 316,500 euros.

Will Live Nation go private?

Following last month that Live Nation chief Irving Azoff was talking to one of the firm's biggest shareholders, John Malone, about taking the company into private ownership, Malone has confirmed that he thinks such a move would be a sensible one, though raising the cash to make it happen might be difficult. Reuters quotes Malone saying : "There are arguments that it would be better as a private company. It would probably be nice for that company to be private for a period of time to settle down and consolidate operations".

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Madam Butterfly causes problems in the wings

The Royal Opera House's screening of Madam Butterfly in London's Trafalgar Square was a victim of its own success after hundreds of excluded fans complained of heavy handed and rude security. The ROH has now apologised to excluded fans, saying that they will review their procedures for outdoor screenings. Some 8,000 packed into the Square to watch the live screening with another 2,000 on surrounding pavements. The ROH said that warm weather and acclaim for the performance caused the record turnout saying that there was 'an unprecedented volume of people'.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Power to re-launch Phoenix

Vince Power has said that he is planning on resurrecting the Phoenix Festival in 2012, which happens to be the Glastonbury Festival’s next year off. Power created the Phoenix Festival with Mean Fiddler in 1993. It ran for five years, but then was cancelled after disappointing ticket sales in 1998. No location has been announced. Power has recently floated his new live music company Music Festivals plc whose events include the recently concluded Hop Farm Festival last weekend featuring Prince and the newly launched Feis which again relaunched the Fleadh in London’s Finsbury Park. In separate news, organisers of a new festival in Devon - the Devonrox Festival - have announced they are cancelling their event due to poor ticket sales.

Ticketola founder says its a buyer's market

After the recent shenanigans at AEG’s Alicia Keys concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall where fans who brought tickets from secondary ticket agents were (sometimes) refused entry as they were not original purchasers, The founder of a new secondary ticketing website has hit out at two of the most common criticisms of the growing ticket resale sector, saying that that fans are not ripped off by secondary ticket agencies, saying that 96% of tickets sold at face or below face value, and that ticket fraud is almost non-existent on the leading ticket exchanges because buyers are protected against fraud. Jonathan White, who launched in May, told EU Ticket News that that the secondary ticketing sector is a "buyer's market" and most people buying tickets from these outlets are getting “bargains”. According to Ticket News, efforts by AEG to only allow original ticket buyers into the recent Alicia Keys show led to queues and confusion at a show hadn't actually sold out.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Glastonbury Effect pushes Beyonce to UK number 1

The post Glastonbury 'effect' on the UK charts has pushed Coldplay's last single back into the top 40 singles charts with Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall moving from 42 to 7. The event also propelled Beyonce's new ablum '4' to number one in the UK's official album charts. Other big chart winners from the televised super-fest included Elbow, Janelle Monae and Mumford & Sons. 18 million watched the live transmisisons and Beyonce's live single from Glastonbury 'Irreplacable' charted midweek at 26 and Coldplay's live In My Place charted at 31 - all proceeds go to the Glastonbury Festival main charities, WaterAid, Greenpeace and Oxfam along proceeds from U2's I Will Follow Live at Glastonbury.

Roskilde tower death sparks enquiry

CMU Daily reports that a young woman died at this weekend's Roskilde Festival in Denmark after falling from a tower in the event's camping area that was part of an aerial cable ride run by one of the festival's sponsors. Another festival-goer fell but suffered only light injuries. A spokesman for the event said this weekend's accident was "very tragic", adding that organisers were waiting for more information from the police regarding the incident before making any further comment.

Farewell to all that jazz

The jazz world has lost two stars: Ottilie Patterson, the Belfast jazz and blues singer has died ages 79, and Ian Wheeler, the jazz clarinettist and saxophonist has died aged 80.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Jessie J takes a festival break

Jessie J, who appeared at last weekend's Glastonbury Festival with a cast over her foot after breaking it in two places has now undergone emergency surgery and subsequently cancelled a number of festival appearances. The festivals affected are T In The Park, Oxegen, Lovebox, as well as appearances at Orange Rock Corps, T4 On The Beach, i-Tunes Festival, Radio Aire Party In The Park, Key 103 Summertime Live, Summer Sonic Japan, and Digester Event Stockholm. It is hoped she will recover in time for Big Chill, and the twin V Festivals. She performed her barnstorming set at Glastonbury against Doctors orders in a foot brace sitting in a giant throne.

Australian Idol judge dies

Australian Sony Music executive and Australian Idol judge Jay Dee Springbett has died aged just 36. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.

Scottish festival cancels

A new music festival due to launch in Aberdeen this month has been axed just four weeks before show time because of poor ticket sales. The promoter of the Northern Lights Festival, Jim Sandison, said in a statement: "We're so sorry to announce that the Northern Lights Music Festival has been cancelled. This has been a heartbreaking decision to make, which has simply been taken out of our hands due to poor ticket sales. To those that have supported the festival from the beginning by buying tickets, we can only thank you and apologise".

Music Tank asks are dinosaurs extinct?

The expanded line up for MusicTank’s mini-conference 'Remake, Remodel: Challenging The Dinosaur Myth' has been announced. The half day event will take place at PRS For Music in Berners Street, London W1 on Thursday the 14th July from 2.30pm. Speakers include

Tony Wadsworth (Chair, BPI)
Muff Windwood (Sony UK President)
Paul Smernicki (Universal digital)
Peter Thompson (MD PIAS)
Martin Goldschmidt (Cooking Vinyl)
Robert Horsfall (Sound Advice)
George Ergatoudis (Headof Music, Radio 1)
Malcolm Gerrie (WhizzKid Entertainment CEO)
Alice Enders (media analyst).
Eamonn Forde (Digital Editor, Music Week)

More at

Elon launches new management stable

Elton John has announced details of the Rocket Music Entertainment Group - set up by the singer songwriter after parting ways with Twenty-First Artists, the management. Artistes managed by the group will include Elton himself and James Blunt, Lilly Allen, Just Jack, Dirty Vegas, Pnau and Marina & The Diamonds. The new management team includes Frank Presland as Chairman, Todd Interland as CEO, John Barbis as Chairman North America, Mike Tierney as GM, and Will Ashurst as COO.