Friday, 30 September 2011

BT Digital Music Awards announced

The winners of the BT Digital Music Awards have been announced and amongst the very worthy recipients picking up gongs at London’s Roundhouse were JLS who picked up Best Group, Bruno Mars who picked up Best International, Adele who picked up Best Independent Artist, Jessie J picked up Best Newcomer and Best UK Female Artiste and Ed Sheerhan as Breakthrough Artist Of The Year. At the digital sharp edge, the Best Music App was Orange’s Glastonbury 2011 app, the Best Place To Discover Music was Radio 1 online, the Best Place To Hear Music: YouTube (!!), the Best Place To Buy Music was iTunes and the Best Innovation Or Gadget: SoundCloud. Colplay picked up both best Official site for an artiste with and the People's Choice Award For Best Fan Site For An Artist for

Farewell to Sylvia & Bert

Sylvia Robinson, The Founder of the Sugar Hill record label has died from heart failure, aged 75. Often referred to as the "mother of hip hop", she was a pioneering figure in the genre, producing the labels’s first commercial hit, The Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight', and later 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five. The influential folk musician and founder of the band Pentangle, Bert Jansch, has died aged 67. He had been suffering from lung cancer. After a long and distinguished career, he had been performing live as late as August this year

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Music tops YouTube channel viewing

ComScore has eleased its first comScore YouTube Partner Report, putting some actual numbers to the popular streaming platform's successes. Machinima had 17.7 million viewers in August, which exceeds the average number who watch NBC's Sunday Night Football and the mostly under 35, male-skewing Machinima audience sticks around for a monthly average of 70 minutes per viewer. But it was music videos that reached the most people on YouTube. The Universal/Sony platform Vevo attracted the most viewers with 60.6 million and Warner Music clocked up 31 million, with average times of 60 minutes and 29.1 minutes respectively.

Benn has plans for two more UK festivals

Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn has told BBC 6Music that he is considering possibly launching two new festivals in 2012. Benn revealed he is considering launching a new event next year, possibly a twin event, with the main focus outside of music, although he didn't reveal what exactly the focus would be adding it was "too early" to reveal the details for the events which he felt there was "a market for a festival in a space that doesn't currently exist.". In other UK news, both the Isle of Wight Festival and the Big Chill both look likely to move their dates in a busy British summer. The Isle of Wight is planning to move into the vacant 'Glastonbury weekend' from June 22nd to 24th because of problems with busy ferries to and from the Island caused by the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and Benn is considering moving the Big Chill as it cashes with the London 2012 Olympics.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Coldplay top headliners poll

Coldplay have been voted the best UK festival headliner of 2011, in an online poll conducted by BBC 6 Music. The band - who headlined Glastonbury and T In The Park - topped the survey with 22.7% of votes cast, breakfast show host Shaun Keaveny announced. US rock band The National came in second with 14.2%, while Muse were third with 13.9%. Coldplay's drummer Will Champion told 6 Music playing festivals gave the band "a chance to win people over but added "But there's also a strong possibility that people have already made their mind up about you," he added, "and no matter how well you play they're not going to be happy about it."

Picture by Denis O'Regan (C) 2011

Friday, 23 September 2011

Cancelled gigs "cost UK fans £12.7 million a year"

New research from Viagogo says that UK fans lose out to the tune of £12.7 million when gigs are cancelled and re-arranged. Viagogo surveyed 1,500 people and say the results show that 2 million fans were affected last year - and a third of these could not make the new date - and of this third almost one half (an estimated 303,600tickets) did not re-sell their tickets or ask for a refund and with an average ticket price of £42 means that Viagogo estimates that £12.7 million was wasted by fans.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

REM Split

REM have amicably split after thirty one years. A message on the band's website reads "To our Fans and Friends: As REM, and as lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band and walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished. To anyone who ever felt touched by our music, our deepest thanks for listening. REM". Frontman Michael Stipe added "A wise man once said – ‘the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave.’ We built something extraordinary together. We did this thing. And now we're going to walk away from it … I hope our fans realize this wasn't an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way.”

Photo (c) 2003 The Television Company (London) Ltd

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Live Nation and Universal announce new alliance

Live Nation's Executive Chairman Irving Azoff has announced that Live Nation and the Universal Music Group are forming a new alliance via Live Nation's management division, Front Line, which will form a new joint venture with Universal, to focus on extending the reach and revenue potential of big name artists through brand partnerships, and the creation of packages containing recordings, tickets and merchandise sold direct to fans via artist websites. Azoff told reporters: "This is an unprecedented partnership that unites the world's top music artists with the world's leading artist management, live entertainment, event ticketing and sponsorship resources to drive innovation across our industry. We see tremendous opportunities to work together to create a broad range of products built on the power of music and the direct connection between artists and fans. We look forward to working closely with Lucian Grainge and the talented UMG team in this new and exciting chapter of the music industry". Grainge, Universal Music's CEO, added: " We are creating a series of new platforms and global direct-to-consumer initiatives that will further expand the presence of our artists in this evolving marketplace while providing music fans with even more flexibility in how they consume music. Our artists and their music are at the heart of everything that we do, and by leveraging our combined skills, strengths and global reach with that of Live Nation Entertainment, our management companies, artists and their fans will benefit immeasurably".

MTV Europe nominations out

The Award season is now in full flood and the latest nomination are MTV’s celebration of European music – this year with Belfast hosting the actual ceremony on November 6th: The main award nominations are:

Best Song: Adele - Rolling In The Deep, Bruno Mars - Grenade, Jennifer Lopez feat Pitbull - On The Floor, Katy Perry - Firework, Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Best Live: Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best Pop: Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna
Best New: Bruno Mars, Far East Movement, Jessie J, LMFAO, Wiz Khalifa
Best Female: Adele, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga
Best Male: Bruno Mars, David Guetta, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Kanye West
Best Hip Hop: Eminem, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z & Kanye West, Pitbull, Snoop Dogg
Best Rock: Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, Kings Of Leon, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best Video: Adele - Rolling In The Deep, Beastie Boys - Make Some Noise, Beyoncé - Run The World (Girls), Justice - Civilization, Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Best Alternative: Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, My Chemical Romance, The Strokes, 30 Seconds To Mars
Best World Stage: Arcade Fire, The Black Eyed Peas, Diddy Dirty Money, Enrique Iglesias, Kings Of Leon, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Ozzy Osborne, Snoop Dogg, 30 Seconds To Mars

Another label quits Spotify

Another heavy metal has said it is quitting streaming music platform Spotify. Prosthetic Records has followed Century Media and Metal Blade in pulling its content from the Spotify service, with its co-owner EJ Johantgen telling LA Weekly "there [does] not appear to be an upside" to being part of the Spotify party and that payouts are "fractions of pennies". An online debate about Spotify's payments to both labels and songwriters has been initiated by self-releasing indie-folk outfit Uniform Motion based around the royalties they earn on their sound recordings (as both label and recording artist) rather than their publishing (as songwriters). Posting a long blog about the economics of being a DIY artist, they provided some interesting insights into what artists can make from the various digital services - both download and mail-order - and streaming - and the blog led to an online debate comparing the money artists can make 'per download' via services such as iTunes and 'per stream' models such as Spotify. Spotify responded by pointing out the diffence between the two models and saying that they has paid out $100 million to rights owners, that they are the second largest source of digital revenue for European labels. Interestingly, Uniform Motion has since noted on their blog that their problem with Spotify and other streaming services isn't so much how much they get paid per stream, but rather how that fee relates to what the streaming firms earn for ad sales and subscriptions. They say: "What we dislike about Spotify, is the lack of transparency in their business model. With Apple, it's simple. They take 30%. With Spotify, we don't know if we're getting a fair deal or not".

Tenenbaum damages back up to $675,000

In the see-saw world of US damages, a federal appeals court has reinstated a $675,000 judgment against a Boston University graduate student Joel Tenenbaum who admitted to downloading music on Internet file-sharing sites after a judge had reduced the previous jury award at the same level by 90%. The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected Tenenbaum’s assertions that he did not violate copyright protection laws because he was a consumer, not someone looking to make a profit from downloading. The court also vacated the US District Court’s decision to reduce the total charges to $67,500, because Judge Nancy Gertner found the original figure was unconstitutionally excessive. The court instead reinstated the jury’s figure of $675,000 criticising Judge Gertner for disregarding procedure in reducing the award. The case involves 30 infringements of copyright law which attracts maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per violation, or a potential maximum in this case of of $4.5 million.

In the other leading case involving single mum Jammie Rasset Thomas (Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset) Judge Michael Davis rejected a jury damages award of $1.9 million through both remittitur and on constitutional grounds, and reduced the award to $54,000. The record labels offered Rasset Thomas a settlement at $25,000 but she rejected this, and then the labels appealed the judge determined award and a new trial which was convened solely to determine damages. Here the jury awarded $1.5 million. This was again reduced by the judge to $54,000. The RIAA is currently appealing the most recent lower damages figure set by a court in the Eighth Circuit.

Both defendants have said they do not have the means to pay the damages.

Super Girl blitzed in China

China has lost its version of Pop Idol and X-factor from its TV screens after state regulators placed a cap on the amount of screen time it could have, saying it was concerned about the programmes effect on younger viewers. At its peak Super Girl attracted 400 million viewers but the State Administration for Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) has now banned it from prime time. It will be replaced by programmes that promote moral ethics, public safety and practical advice for home owners.

Friday, 16 September 2011

StubHub to launch in UK but Scarlet Mist closes down

Stubhub have announced that they will begin operations in the UK. It will put the American ticket resale business up against Viagogo, which (also founded by Eric Baker) and StubHib’s now parent company, eBay. At the same time ethical ticket exchange Scarlet Mist said that it was closing down due to criminal activity of the site by unspecified users. Site founder Richard and Olly Marks said in a statement this morning that the decision to close was due to "unacceptably high levels of fraud carried out by a small number of criminals".

Q Awards and UK Festival Awards nominations out

Nominations for the Q Awards and the UK Festival Awards are out!

The nominations for the Q Awards are out and here they are:

Breakthrough Artist: Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Katy B, James Blake, Miles Kane.

Best New Act: The Vaccines, WU LYF, Foster The People, Everything Everything, Nero.

Best Female Artist: Adele, Laura Marling, Beyoncé, Jessie J, PJ Harvey.

Best Male Artist: Cee Lo Green, Tinie Tempah, Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran, Example.

Best Track: Adele ¬ Rolling In The Deep, Aloe Blacc - I Need A Dollar, Arctic Monkeys - Don't Sit Down Cause I've Moved Your Chair, Adele - Someone Like You, Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks.

Best Album: Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See, Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!, The Horrors - Skying, PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (already winner of the Mercury Music prize)

Best Live Act: Coldplay, Biffy Clyro, Elbow, Beyoncé, Chase And Status.

Best Video: Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude, Lady Gaga - Judas, Foo Fighters - Walk, Ed Sheeran - You Need Me, I Don't Need You, Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (TGIF), Hurts - Wonderful Life.

Best Act In The World Today: Muse, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Arcade Fire, U2.

There’s also a new award (well, probably planned to be announced once every 25 years from now on .....) and its for the Greatest Act Of The Last 25 Years: Nominees are : U2, Damon Albarn, Radiohead, Oasis, Nirvana, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Jack White, Paul Weller, Jay Z, Eminem, Madonna, The Strokes, REM, The Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Manic Street Preachers, Björk, Beastie Boys, Metallica, Prodigy, The Cure and Green Day.

And the UK Festival Awards have opened up voting on the five categories that will be chosen by festival goers at the launch of the Awards in London and the categories are: Headline Performances Of The Year, Anthem Of The Summer, Best Breakthrough Artist, plus Best Overseas Festival and Fan's Favourite Festival. All five awards will be presented at the Camden Roundhouse on 15 November, alongside other ‘best festival’ categories that will be chosen by a panel of judges whilst other gongs such as Agent Of The Year, Concession Of The Year and the Greener Festival Award etc - will be judged by separate panels.

And at the first ever Artist and Manager Awards at London’s Roundhouse winners included Adele, Ed Sheeran and Massive Attack. Live performances on the night also included Sheeran and Mumford & Sons. The awards are the result of a collaboration between the Music Managers’ Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists’ Coalition (FAC). Sponsored by American Express, the Artist and Manager Awards celebrate and recognise music talent in the UK.

The winners are:

Achievement Awards: Everybody’s Management and Artists
The Artists’ Artist Award: Massive Attack
Manager of the Year Award: Jho Oakley
Breakthrough Artist: Ed Sheeran
First Rung Manager Award: Hiroki Shirasuka and Richard Austen-Smith (Giant Men Management)
Artist of the Year: Adele
The Peter Grant Award for services to management: John Glover
Industry Champion Award: Martin Mills (Beggars Group)

Quebec gets tough with secondary ticketing reports that a proposed bill that would essentially wipe out the ticket resale market in the Canadian province of Quebec could end up being watered down to allow for a regulated secondary market. Government officials concluded two days of hearings about the bill on September 13, and are considering some changes to the bill in part because the Canadian Ticket Brokers Association (CTBA) and others argued that banning ticket resale in the province would drive the secondary market underground where consumers could be at greater risk of being scammed.

Jackson tribute concert hits new problems with fans

Michael Jackson fans are lambasting the organisers of the October 8th Michael Forever tribute concert in Cardiff, Wales, after organisers Global Live Events heavily discounted tickets after struggling to sell out. Many early bird purchasers had pledged substantial amounts for charity in order to secure what they thought would be a hot ticket, only to now see Global offering ‘two for the price of one’ packages. Concert organisers had stated on the application that the higher the donation pledge, the greater likelihood that application would be selected to purchase tickets when they eventually went on sale. A refund in the difference paid has now been promised but fans are sceptical Confirmed talent includes Leona Lewis, Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Smokey Robinson with video contribution from Beyonce. Jamie Foxx hosts.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Term extension approved by EU

The European Union's Council Of Ministers has approved proposals to extend the copyright term for sound recordings from the current 50 years up to 70 years, giving backing for an EU directive extending the sound recording copyright term which must be implemented by menber states within 2 years.

BMG buy Bug

BMG has bought up US independent music publisher Bug Music. The terms of the deal, expected to be completed by next month, are not known. BMG chief Hartwig Masuch said"With the acquisition of Bug Music and its vast collection of evergreen and contemporary compositions, BMG further establishes itself as a leading music rights management company. We look forward to working with Bug Music's exceptional roster of artists and songwriters".

Bestival rape allegation

A 15-year-old girl has reported that she was raped at Bestival in the UK. The teenager has told police that she was with friends in the main arena of the festival at Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight on Sunday when she was approached by a man she did not know. She said she was raped some time between 19.30 and 20.30 near the main arena. The attacker was described as black, in his 20s, approximately 6ft tall, and of large muscular build with braided hair.

RIP Richard Turner

Rising rock and jazz trumpeter Richard Turner, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music who played with Friendly Fires amongst others, has died at the tragically young age of 27 from an aneurysm.

Monday, 5 September 2011

UK Festivals Conference back

Organisers of the UK Festival Awards have confirmed the fourth outing of the UK Festivals Conference to run alongside the Awards show in November. The evening Awards show will take place at the Camden Roundhouse and will be preceded by the UK Festival Conference at the HMV Forum. The draft agenda include preparing for bad weather, the potential of social media and how to stand out in a saturated market place. Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn will take part in a Q&A, and the results of the UK Festival Market Report will be presented.
More at :

Universal grabs See Tickets

In a surprise move it seems Universal Music owners Vivendi have bought UK-based See Tickets from its current owners Parcom Capita in a deal reportedly worth £80 million. Vivendi's already own a 65% stake in French ticketing firm Digitick.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Pukklepop launches victims fund

The organisers of Pukkelpop have announced that they are launching a fund to support the victims of the storm which hit the Belgian festival last month, and the families of those who died. The Steunfonds Slachtoffers Pukkelpopstorm (the Support Fund for the Victims of the Pukkelpop Storm) will act as an independent organisation with its own board. Information on the fund and how to donate money can be found at

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Mars tries to escape Bug

Bruno Mars has filed papers ar the LA County Superior Court in a move to to end his music publishing contract with Bug Music. TMZ reports that Mars believes that he has fulfilled his commitments under his contract with the up-for-sale independent publisher, and that it failed to take up an option to renew in the renewal period previously agreed. Mars now says he is currently without any commitments to any music publisher. TMZ reports that Bug seems not agree and maintains that he is still under contact to the company.

CTS closes in on See, EMI up for grabs

Music Week reports that CTS Eventim is seemingly the favourite to buy the UK's See Tickets from current owners, Dutch investment firm Parcom Capital. See Tickets originally span out of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful company, and sells tickets to West End shows as well as a plethora of music and sporting events, including the Glastonbury Festival. an according to Dow Jones, the next round of bidding for EMI is expected to take place next week and owner Citigroup has invited a number of parties to submit second bids after the Labour Day Weekend in the US, initial bids having been made at the start of last month. It is thought that existing music companies Warner Music, Universal Music and BMG are all still in the running. Whilst Citigroup wanted just ‘one’ sale (as does current CEO Roger Faxon), it's thought that bids for both EMI in its entirety and the major's constituent parts are both being considered

US festival accused of unregistered investment sales

The organisers of an Orange County weekend music festival in Irvine may have run foul of state law with an unusual financing scheme by attempting to sign up investors using “boiler-room” style phone calls. Billed as a “new music experience in Orange County”, the two-day Playgound Festival is planned to feature hip-hop and rock acts at Hidden Valley, a grassy area adjacent to Verizon Amphitheater. Rapper the Game and rock bands the Bravery and Panic! are currently billed as headliners according to Orange County Register, However, it seems that sales teams from promoters Elevated Sound Productions having been cold calling local residents offering exceptional returns from investments in the Festival. Steve Blasko, an ESP managing partner, denied that the company made unsolicited calls to investors. He told the Orange County Register that the company only contacted people who had previously expressed interest through the company’s website. If anyone got an unsolicited call to invest, Blasko said, it was because “wires were crossed somewhere.” Investigations by the Register say that one salesman compared the newly established Playground Festival with long-established Coachella Festival and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and that another pressuried an undercover reporter to make an immediate investment.