Tuesday, 31 January 2012

AXS announce new features

AEG's ticketing chief Bryan Perez has been revealing details of the firms new joint venture ticketing platform, AXS, which had a low key launch in the US last summer, and which is set to grow in 2012. One of the key services due to be included in AXS is a new ticket lottery system to cope with fan demand, where users will be able to pre-register for in-demand events, and tickets will be distributed on a random lottery basis. AEG hopes the lottery system (thought to be similar to that used by Glastonbury Festival) and other checks might overcome fans frustrations with crashing websites and exclude tours to a great extent. Other AXS features include the option for friends to book seats in a block even when paying with separate credit cards, and widgets that will make it easier for sponsors and other music services to sell tickets using the AXS system via their own sites. AEG's new business partner, Mark Cuban also confirmed that the new network will air recordings of concerts and other live events, and would also have a regular entertainment magazine show called AXS Live.

Touts target the boss

Tickemaster have reported what looks like a concerted attempt by touts (scalpers) to acquire Bruce Springsteen tickets for the Boss's next US tour. Tickets for a new Springsteen tour went on sale last Friday, and as the Ticketmaster site struggled to cope with demand, with many fans finding frozen screens when they tried, frustratingly tickets were appearing on re-sale sites such as StubHub (although tickets remained available through Ticketmaster). Many suspected that touts were using sophisticated computer programmes to buy tickets, and the company said "We have been experiencing highly abnormal traffic patterns on our site this morning that have impacted the fan buying experience for some customers. Early indications suggest that much of this traffic came from highly suspicious sources, implying that scalpers were using sophisticated computer programs to assault our systems and secure tickets with the sole intention of selling them in the resale market. We are investigating the source of the problem and are working to resolve it as quickly as possible, but tickets are selling so please stay patient".

Photo: Nick Cordes (c) 2009

Monday, 30 January 2012

Spotify tops 3 million

Spotify has added 500,000 new users since November after its US roll out and new partnership with Facebook - and says that one in five users now pay a subscription fee - although that means 80% still use the free ad supported service. The music streaming platform has also launched in Denmark and Austria during the same period and has begun partnerships with telcos such as Virgin.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Dipple to head up UK Music

o Dipple has today (January 27th) been confirmed as the chief executive of UK Music.
She formally replaces Feargal Sharkey, who departed the UK commercial music industry’s umbrella body in November 2011.

Speaking of the appointment, she said: “I am delighted to take on this role. The British music industry is an extraordinary cultural and economic force and I look forward to working with Government and our members to ensure its continued dominance.” Andy Heath, UK Music chairman, added: “UK Music is now established as the representative voice of the UK’s commercial music industry. That voice is now at its most important as Government looks to change the copyright framework that underpins our sector. The Board is confident that Jo will excel in the months and years ahead.”

UK Music was established in October 2008, bringing together key representative bodies from across the UK’s commercial music industry. In May 2011 the live music sector came under its umbrella with the formation of the UK Live Music Group.

More opposition to paperless tickets in the US

Ticketnews.com reports that the American Antitrust Institute (AAI) has officially joined the fight against paperless ticketing. The Washington, DC-based advocacy organization has presented the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and several state attorneys general with a 71-page white paper authored by James D. Hurwitz which spells out the AAI's position that the US government needs to sponsor an investigation into restrictive paperless tickets which restrict consumer choice and depart from "bedrock competitive market principles" particularly where added restrictions are put in place for gaining entry (eg necessitating presenting the credit card used or photo ID) or where restrictions are in place restricting or complicating gifting or re-selling tickets.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Truck back on the Road

Robin and Joe Bennett, organisers of the Truck Festival, have announced that the event will return this July under new management after the previous 2011 edition went into administration. The event will now continue with new promoters in the form of the team behind the Y-Not festival, which won the Grass Roots Festival Award at last year's UK Festival Awards. Truck 2012 will take place at Hill Farm, Steventon on 20 and 21 July.

IFPI Digital Music Report

If you are interested in what's going on in the recorded music sector - good news - the IFPI Digital Music Report for 2012 is out, highlighting that the digital music business saw unprecedented global expansion in 2011, while key steps forward were taken in several markets to help tackle digital piracy. More here (with links to the full report)http://www.the1709blog.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-digital-growth-but-is-it-good-news.html

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Anti-Putin Punks Face Prison for Pissing Protest

All four members of Pussy Riot, the female Russian punk rock quartet, have been arrested after performing the track ‘Putin Has Pissed Himself’ in Red Square. They face charges and the possibility of up to 15 days in prison.

HMV wins breathing space

HMV, the struggling UK retail chain, has secured new deals with suppliers including the major record labels and a number of film companies as well as with its bankers to give it much needed breathing space. Its shares, which have collapsed 90% in the last year, rose from 4.75p to 7.15p. suppliers will take warrants for 2.5% of the groups shares. David Joseph from Universal Music emphasised the importance record labels still place on the chain of stores.

Branson face criticism for musical instruments levy

Virgin boss Richard Branson is facing criticism for charging for musical instruments to be carried on Virgin Atlantic with the Stranglers original frontman Hugh Cornwall pointing out the irony of man who made his original fortune from music now 'declaring war' on musicians. The airline says that some instruments can be taken as hand luggage and other instrument carried in the hold but the airline will charge for excess baggage. Last year RyanAir faced a boycott from musicians for charging for all musical instruments with Julian Lloyd Webber saying 'this indiscriminate victimisation of musicians has to stop'

Live Music Bill moves closer to being law

The UK music industry is celebrating after the Live Music Bill passed its third reading and report stage in the House Of Commons. The Bill, introduced by Lib Dem Peer Tim Clement-Jones and promoted in the Commons by Bath MP Don Foster, should now proceed to Royal Assent. As a result, small venues wanting to host live music events will no longer need a local authority entertainment licence – cutting bureaucracy and expense, and making it easier for pubs and clubs to host live performances. Jo Dipple, acting chief executive of UK Music, the UK commercial music industry’s umbrella body, said: “This is a great day for music. The Live Music Bill will make a real and positive difference to lives of musicians. There is no doubt that the current Licensing Act has created needless layers of bureaucracy - making it complicated and expensive for pubs and other small venues to host live gigs. The entire industry would like to thank Lord Clement-Jones and Don Foster MP who have made this change possible.”

John Smith, Musicians Union General Secretary, added: “We are delighted that the Live Music Bill has finally made it through Parliament. It is a real achievement for a Private Member’s Bill to get through and the MU would like to thank Lord Clement-Jones, Don Foster and all of the other MPs who helped to pass this Bill. “Over the past few years our members have been telling us that the number of gigs available to young musicians who are still perfecting their craft has gone down. This is primarily due to a reduction in the number of smaller venues which traditionally offered this level of gig, and is directly linked to the Licensing Act. The exemption that the Live Music Bill introduces will be hugely beneficial to these small venues.”


Friday, 20 January 2012

RIP Johnny Otis, Jimmy Castor and Etta James

Jimmy Castor, bandleader, percussionist and saxophonist who had a big hit with Troglodyte (Cave Man) has died aged 68. Johnny Otis, the record producer, perfpormer and hit songwriter who discovered and worked with a host of future R&B stars including Etta James, Little Richard and Jackie Wilson has died aged 90. Sadly Johnny's death was followed by news that Etta James had passed on at the age of 73. The soul star whose hits included I just Wanna Make Love to You and I'd Rather Go Blind was with her husband and two sons when she died.

Chill out

Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn has confirmed rumours that The Big Chill festival would not take place this summer, with the Olympics being blamed as a real problem as the Big Chill's August dates directly clashes with the London 2012 games. Festival Republic acquired The Big Chill in 2009 after the previously independent festival went into liquidation. Co-founder Katrina Larkin initially joined Festival Republic as a Creative Director for the event, but moved on a year later.

Mega arrests in New Zealand

Reuters report that Kim Dotcom (Kim Schmitz, a 37 year old German national), the Megaupload boss, and three other senior members of his team have been arrested by police in New Zealand and that the US Government has shut down the content sharing website. It can hardly have escaped anyone’s notice that the actions come against the background of heated debate over the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) legislation in the USA but Reuters report that a US Justice Department official said the timing of the arrests was not related to the battle inside and outside Congress. Alongside these arrests, NZ police seized several million dollars worth of assets and NZ$10 million from financial institutions. The Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand said they would work with US Authorities to enable extradition proceedings to proceed. Those arrested have been remanded in custody after a court hearing in Auckland. In response hackers took down the US Justice Department's websites and the websites run by Universal Music and the websites run by music and film trade organisations the RIAA and the MPA

London 2012 ticketing woes continue

The official London 2012 ticket resale site, which went offline for a whopping 12 days after failing on its launch day, is back up and running. Initially the site simply failed to work with users reporting difficulties in uploading tickets to the exchange to sell, whilst buyers discovered at checkout that their selected tickets were no longer available. On January 17th Ticketmaster finally got the site up and running again but it now seems to be just a refund site, not the face value swap site originally planned by games organiser LOCOG. The site will now just buy back tickets at face value in the next two and a half weeks until February 3rd. Re-sale of Olympic tickets outside of the official system and windows is illegal in the UK. The London 2012 ticket sales have been beset with a number of problems, not least when tickets sales were restricted to Visa debit and credit cards only (the official credit card sponsor) and a large number of Visa cards were rejected and sales cancelled because of approaching expiry dates. In December it transpired tickets for the synchronised swimming dates had been oversold. Any returned tickets and a final batch of 1.3 million tickets will be put on sale in April and Olympic football and Paralympic tickets remain on sale until 6th February.

Fowlie to head up AudienceView

Toronto-based solutions provider AudienceView Ticketing has announced the appointment of Mark Fowlie as its president and COO. In the newly created position, Fowlie will report to company co-founder, chairperson and CEO Kevin Kimsa. Fowlie most recently served as the CEO of information management solutions company El Fresko Technologies

Thursday, 19 January 2012

SOPA stalls in US

The controversial planned US ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) has been put on hold in the face of fierce opposition from internet users and technology companies such as Google and Wikipedia, which ‘blacked’ itself out yesterday (18th January) in protest against the SOPA and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) web blocking laws.

AEG launches new platform with Seacrest and CAA

AEG will expand its AXS.com brand beyond just a ticketing portal with the launch of a new entertainment TV channel which also counts talent agency CAA and American TV and radio star Ryan Seacrest as partners. AXS TV will replace existing cable network HDNet in the US, which is owned by business mogul Mark Cuban, who is also a partner in the new broadcasting venture. It will be an entertainment network, airing mainly live lifestyle and entertainment magazine programmes. Seacrest will be an investor and advisor, though he isn't expected to appear on the network himself.

Toto Merch re-launch online service for bands

London-based direct-to-fan company Toto Merch, which has previously specialised in printing clothing and posters on demand for bands, reducing the up front investment required to offer such merchandise, has re-launched its online platform to provide a wider range of services.

Last Kiwi Big Day Out

This weekend’s Big Day Out in Auckland will be the event's last outing in New Zealand. The Kiwi leg, added to the touring festival's line-up of locations in 1994 two years after the festival franchise first launched in Sydney, is being pulled after organisers blamed financial constraints for the decision to scale the event back to just Australian dates from 2013.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Reid joins Live Nation

The former European chief for Warner Music, John Reid, has a been appointed President Of Concerts for Live Nation Europe with Reid saying "I'm very pleased to join Irving Azoff, Michael Rapino and Simon Lewis at Live Nation. Having spent a number of years navigating and leading the transition of the recorded music business to digital, and to full rights management, this is a great opportunity to join the largest live music, management and ticketing businesses at a very exciting time for the company".

Friday, 13 January 2012

Snoop off

In other Snoop news, Snoop Dog has cancelled his European tour meaning his much anticipated appearance at the SnowBombing festival in Mayrhofen in Austria in 2012 has also been cancelled. Organisers said "We are extremely disappointed but we are now working around the clock to replace him. We will have an update for you soon". More at http://www.snowbombing.com/en/

Coachella headliners named

The Black Keys, Radiohead, and Dr. Dre with Snoop Dogg will headline the upcoming 13th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA. 2012 marks the first time that the festival will be held over two weekends mid-April. More than 100 musical acts have already been booked for the six-day event, which will feature the same lineup on both weekends — April 13-15 and April 20-22. Other confirmed acts include Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Them Crooked Vultures, Muse, Tiesto, Gorillaz, Pavement, Public Image Ltd, At The Drive-In and Refuse.

Olympic ticket sale halted

Official ticket sales for the London Olympics were suspended as organisers and Ticketmaster frantically tried to fix a system failure. Sales were halted from January 6th to 8th following the crash of the authorised ticket resale site on its very first day live. Officials with the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) stopped all ticket sales from its sites as a precaution

Sabbath's Tommy Iommi in cancer fight

Tony Iommi, lead guitarist with Download Festival 2012 headliners Black Sabbath, has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma. The 63-year-old from Birmingham is currently working with his doctors to determine the best course to treat the cancer and according to a statement he "remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery."

Thursday, 12 January 2012

European Border Breakers out!

More from EuroSonic in Groningen where the European Border Breakers Awards were handed out in a ceremony hosted by Jools Holland and filmed for Dutch TV and a number of other EBU countres. The Awards go to new or emerging European artists or groups who have had success in reaching audiences outside their own country with their first internationally-released album. The public could also vote for their overall winner, and the Public Choice Award went to Belgian act Selah Sue. The final list of winners of EBBAs is:

Elektro Guzzi (Austria)
Selah Sue (Belgium)
Agnes Obel (Denmark)
Ben l'Oncle Soul (France)
Boy (Germany)
James Vincent McMorrow (Ireland)
Afrojack (Netherlands)
Alexandra Stan (Romania)
Swedish House Mafia (Sweden)
Anna Calvi (UK)

Anna Calvi said "I am really honoured to have won this award. My father is Italian, my mother grew up in Switzerland. I don't just feel English, I feel very European and it's been really important for me that the record has done well in Europe as a whole". Ireland's James Vincent McMorrow who performed two songs at the Border Breakers Awards ceremony said "This is fantastic. I was here at Eurosonic last year and it was here where it all began. From then on it led to incredible things and this award means a lot to me".

European Festival Award winners announced

The best European festivals, artists and promoters of 2011 were revealed last night at a sold out ceremony, featuring performances from James Vincent McMorrow, Selah Sue and Dog is Dead. Taking place at Groningen’s De Oosterport in The Netherlands as part of the EuroSonic event, the third edition attracted over 350,000 public votes and had more than 200 festivals taking part from 32 different countries. The final winners, decided by a combination of public vote and industry juries, are:

Best Major European Festival – Sziget Festival (Hungary)
Best Medium-Sized European Festival – Off Festival (Poland)
Best Small European Festival – Haldern Pop (Germany)
Best New European Festival – Extrema Outdoor (Belgium)
Best Indoor Festival – I Love Techno (Belgium)
Best European Festival Line-Up – Rock Werchter (Belgium)
YOUROPE Green ‘N’ Clean Festival Of The Year – Melt! (Germany)
Artist’s Favourite European Festival – Southside / Hurricane (Germany)
Best Newcomer association with Eurosonic Noorderslag – James Blake
Best Headliner – Coldplay
Festival Anthem of the Year - Coldplay ‘Viva La Vida’
Virtual Festivals Europe presents Promoter Of The Year – FKP Scorpio (Germany)
YOUROPE Lifetime Achievement Award – Michael Eavis, Glastonbury (UK)

Fruzsina Szep from Sziget festival made an impromptu offer to all of the guests at the Awards after receiving the Best Major Festival award , inviting everyone to join her in a drink of Palinka: “We were very much hoping to win this award and it really means a lot to us because 2012 will be the 20th edition of our festival.”

On receiving his lifetime achievement award Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis said: “42 years ago I started something on my farm towards the end of the flower power era in the 60’s and we had less than a thousand people and now we have 150,000 people registered to buy a ticket for 2013. Thank you very much to everyone and thanks to all the people who have been involved in our show and thanks to all the people who buy tickets every year. I hope there are a few more years to go yet, another 10 years maybe.” James Drury, MD of Festival Awards Ltd, which organises the Awards said: “The further growth of the European festival awards and another record-breaking event highlights just how important festivals are to people across the continent. It’s testament to the hard work and passion of everyone involved with festivals that they continue to be so popular. With Glastonbury being the inspiration for so many festivals, I was especially delighted to welcome Michael Eavis to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been seminal in the success of the festival scene in the world.” Christof Huber, General Secretary YOUROPE added “Michael Eavis is an icon in the European festival scene and in my view, Glastonbury is the mother of all European festivals. He is just the right person to get the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Festival Awards Europe.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

UK police face fresh discrimination claims over urban music

The UK police have been accused of discriminating against the urban music scene by booking agents, umbrella trade group UK Music and even MPs, with commentators saying that the Metropolitan Police's risk assessment of live urban music gigs is based on the ethnicity of the audience and artists, adding that the Police can ask for strict safety measures to be put in place on the basis of this risk assessment, and can cancel gigs at short notice. Sarah McKinley, founder of Xtreme Talent Agency, an urban booking agency, said the risk assessment, using the controversial Form 696, was not being conducted sensibly. "Often the risk assessment happens after the night has been advertised. People have already spent money and then the night can get pulled." and John ho chairs the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons, said he continued to call for the "discriminatory and draconian" form 696 to be scrapped, after his committee first demanded its abolition in 2009. More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jan/08/police-accused-discriminating-urban-music?newsfeed=true

HMV has another bleak Christmas

UK high street retailer has announced a like for like drop in sales of 8.1% in the five weeks running up to December 31st 2011. However the new move into technology and gadgets seems positive, with 500,000 headphones and 20,000 tablet computers sold.

RIP Bob and Sultan

Bob Weston, lead guitarist with Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970s has died aged just 64. And farewell to Sultan Khan, the expert Sarangi player who also composed music for films including the epic Ghandi (1982) and played with George Harrison, Alla Rakha and Ravi Shankar. He has died aged 71.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Gig cancelled, deposit not paid back .... no problem ....

The promoter behind a cancelled Nas concert due to take place on New Year's Eve in Angola was allegedly kidnapped last week by one of the failed event's financial backers. According to TMZ, a rather angry "concert impresario" called Henrique 'Riquhino' Miguel,kidnapped Patrick Allocco of AllGood Entertainment and his son, and demanded the return of the $300,000 advance paid to Nas and his support act Jemiah Jai and also an additional $50,000 to cover his expenses. It seems Nas was happy to pay back the $300,000, but didn't want to have pay the $50,000. Nas also wanted confirmation from Miguel that if the advance was returned he would not be subsequently held liable for any other losses relating to the cancelled show. A statement issued in Allocco's name last week read: "The hope is that Nas and Jemiah Jai will return all of the monies that were wired to them immediately so that our ransom may be paid and our safe return to the United States may be facilitated". It appears that the father and son remain 'semi' kidnapped after the intervention of the US Embassy in Angola - they have been handed over by the actual kidnappers and are now staying in a hotel, but Miguel is apparently able to block their leaving the country until the matter has been resolved.


Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cradle of punk doesn't need to be listed

London's 100 Club, home to early gigs by the Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Sex Pistols and the Clash, has failed in an attempt to get a heritage building listing from the UK Government, despite support from English Heritage in the Grade II listing building category. A statement from John Pemrose, Minister for Tourism, said "there's no denying the club's place in British pop music's history but in the end its only a stage and signage ... I can't help but feeling that giving the cradle of punk listed building status would not be quite in tune with the movement's driving spirit". Here here!

French fans launch Jackson action

In another bizarre twist in the Michael Jackson story, a group of French fans of the King of Pop are launching a legal action in France against Dr Conrad Murray, who has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the singer's death in 2009 in the USA. They are each claiming symbolic damages of one Euro for the 'emotional damage' the death has had on them. Murray was sentenced to four years in prison.

EMI launch ReDigi claim

EMI has filed a lawsuit against digital track reseller ReDigi, alleging that the company’s plans to enable the selling of “used’’ digital music constitutes copyright infringement. On its website, ReDigi claims that the marketplace that it created to resell digital music is as legal as someone reselling an album to a used-record store. “Once you sell a song, you no longer have access to it,’’ the company says on the site. “This is how ReDigi stays legit, and how you now have access to an incredible marketplace where rights long accepted in the physical world may now be applied to digital goods.’’ http://bostonglobe.com/business/2012/01/07/emi-sues-cambridge-digital-music-reseller/bwemnUEMuWS6k9GKkJINdI/story.html and see http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=427

US recorded music sales show digital growth and a first rise in album sales since 2004

Following hot on the heels of the UK recording industry statistics for 2011 come the US figures with the Billboard / Nielsen Music Industry Report showing that digita now accounts for 50.3% of all sales in the USA, marking the first time digital has overtook physical. Another interesting statistic is that vinyl album sales grew 36% compared to 2010, selling more than any other year in the past two decades and that catalogue sales are still substantially more important than current releases - with the statistics pointing to the fact that whilst consumers are losing interest in physical product overall, when they do purchase they’re increasingly likely to choose something that they connect with on a personal level. Total music purchases were up 6.9% for the year against 2010 - the first rise since 2004. for the year. Digital sales were up 8.4% from the previous year while physical album sales declined 5%. As in the UK, Adele topped the sales chart selling more than 5.8 million copies of 21 which became the best selling digital album of all time (1.8 million). She also had the best selling digital song with “Rolling in the Deep” and most played song on the radio with the same recording. She also tops BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which factors in music fans enjoy regardless of whether it was enjoyed via legitimate channels or piracy. Lady Gaga was the number one streamed artiste, although the most-streamed individual track was Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass". Universal and Sony Music each had approximately 30% of the total album sales, Warners 19%, EMI 9.5% and independent labels approximately 10%.


Friday, 6 January 2012

BBC names top five

The BBC's Sound Of 2012 poll's final five have been announced, hopefully predicting which newcomers will have a good year in 2012. And those top five are:

1. Michael Kiwanuka
2. Frank Ocean
3. Azealia Banks
4. Skrillex
5. Niki & The Dove

UK record sales continue their downward slide

The BPI has released figures showing that despite a growth in digital sales, overall record sales in the UK continued to decline. It was another record breaking year for singles sales which were up 10%, the vast majority being sold digitally, with just one million CD singles sold in 2011 accounting for less than 1% of the singles market. Digital albums also saw significant growth, up 26.6%, though that wasn't enough to compensate for the continued slump in CD sales, with album sales overall down 5.6% to 113.2 million. The figures do not include revenues from either the performance of sound recordings (from PPL), from band’s own sales or from the new and growing streaming services.

Top Ten UK Singles Of 2011
1. Adele - Someone Like You (Beggars/XL)
2. Maroon 5 feat Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger (Universal/Polydor)
3. LMFAO feat Lauren Bennett & Goonrock - Party Rock Anthem (Universal/Polydor)
4. Jessie J feat BoB - Price Tag (Universal/Lava)
5. Rihanna feat Calvin Harris - We Found Love (Universal/Mercury)
6. Pitbull feat Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer - Give Me Everything (Sony/J)
7. Bruno Mars - Grenade (Warner/Atlantic)
8. Ed Sheeran - The A Team (Warner/Atlantic)
9. Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Beggars/XL)
10. Jennifer Lopez feat Pitbull - On The Floor (Universal/Mercury)

Top Ten UK Albums Of 2011
1. Adele - 21 (Beggars/XL)
2. Michael Bublé - Christmas (Warner/Reprise)
3. Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Warner/Atlantic)
4. Adele - 19 (Beggars/XL)
5. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto (EMI/Parlophone)
6. Rihanna - Loud (Universal/Mercury)
7. Lady Gaga - Born This Way (Universal/Polydor)
8. Jessie J - Who You Are (Universal/Lava)
9. Ed Sheeran - + (Warner/Atlantic)
10. Rihanna - Talk That Talk (Universal/Mercury)

EMI joins battle against Grooveshark

EMI has joined fellow majors Universal, Sony and Warner in suing Grooveshark. But in a slight twist, EMI Music Publishing filed a lawsuit against Grooveshark operators Escape Media claiming the digital firm is in breach of the licensing agreement reached in 2009 at the conclusion of a previous legal dispute for the non-payment of royalties and according to reports, the legal papers filed with the New York State Supreme Court claims Grooveshark "hasn't made a single royalty payment to EMI, nor provided a single accounting statement" under the existing licensing deal, and that the digital firm now owes at least $150,000 in royalties. Responding to the EMI action, the streaming platform said in a statement "This is a contract dispute that we expect to resolve".

MAMA up for sale?

It seems that beleaguered UK retailer HMV has put its live music division, in reality the MAMA Group, up for sale. It is thought AEG are amongst those interested, and that long term CEO Dean James may also consider fronting a bid.

Burkle buys AGI

US based booking agency Artist Group International (AGI) which represents the likes of Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart and Linkin Park, has been bought by Yucaipa, the equity group led by Ron Burkle which was linked to bids to buy both Warner and EMI during 2011.

Viagogo to fight on despite second court loss

Viagogo has vowed to fight on despite losing a Court of Appeal decision in the UK ordering it to hand over details of suppliers of rugby football tickets which were resold on Viagogo. In a statement, the ticket resale platform said "We are committed to vigorously defending our customer's rights and private information, therefore we will appeal today's decision" adding "In the meantime, no customer information has been shared and we are confident that no customer information will ever be shared." At the time of writing no specifics have been given of any appeal. RFU spokesperson Sophie Goldschmidt said that “placing tickets for sale on secondary ticketing sites is in direct contravention of the RFU's ticketing terms and conditions, and if the seller can be identified, they face tough sanctions including possible court action" adding "Individuals who believe they have anonymity by trading their tickets through such secondary sales sites are no longer invisible, and we will do our utmost to ensure that tickets go to genuine fans."

Monday, 2 January 2012

Eurosonic sets green agenda in 2012

EuroSonic Nooderslag, Europe’s most important live music showcase, is all set for a record year in Groningen in the Netherlands this year from Wednesday 11th to Saturday 14th January. The whole show kicks off this year on Wednesday 11th January at 18.00 with the European Border Breakers Awards (hosted by Jools Holland and live on NTR TV in the Netherlands) and then at 20.00 its time for The European Festival Awards – and the special recipient this year is Michael Eavis, organiser of the Glastonbury Festival who wins the Lifetime Achievement Award. Live shows in 2012 include Border Breaker Awards winners James Vincent McMorrow (IE), Anna Calvi (UK), Elektro Guzzi (AT), Boy (D) and Selah Sue (BE) along with many many others including the Medics, Animal Kids, Death Letters, Lilian Hak, Blaudzun, Baskerville, Effi, Haas, Krystl, Bombay Show Pig, LeMaitre, We Are Evergreen, Wolfendale, The Cyborgs, Pinkunoizu, Lucy Rose, Tove Stryke and Reptile Youth.

Eurosonic also features a cross sector music industry conference which is attracting more and more delegates. With a special focus on green issues in 2012, looking at 'green communications' and international standards for green events, here are highlights of some of the other panels at the conference which might be of interest to our readers:

Thursday 14.30 - 15.30 THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MAJOR EVENTS ON LOCAL REGIONS: Do you know the full economic value of your event and how to use this information effectively? Economic impact can form a persuasive argument when dealing with local authorities, sponsors and suppliers and others. This session will look at different ways to measure the economic impact of your event and why this is becoming increasingly important. Using real case studies, the discussion will focus on practical applications you can adopt and use. With Chris Maughan (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK), Colin Rodger (T In The Park Festival, UK) and moderated by Teresa Moore (Bucks New University, UK).

Thursday 15.00 – 16.00 ACTS OF GOD – ISSUES FROM WEATHER AT FESTIVALS: With Sabine Funk (Rheinkultur/IBIT, D), Henrik Neilsen (Roskilde Festival, DK), Gary Latham (DF Concerts, UK) and moderated by Professor Chris Kemp ( Buckinghamshire New University ,UK)

Thursday 16.30 – 17.30 NEW EURPOEAN UNION SUPPORT FOR THE CULTURAL AND CREATIVE SECTORS with Ann Branch from the EU Commission, moderated by Willem van Zeeland (VPRO, NL)

Friday 12.30-13.30 LESS TOURS, LESS TICKETS? With Rob Chalice (Coda UK), Charlie Presberg (Pollstar, UK), Eric van Eerdenberg (MOJO, NL), Sebastien Vuignier (Paleo Festival, CH), Stephan Thanscheidt(FKP Scorpio, D) and moderated by Allan McGowan (UK).

Friday 13.30-14.30 GREEN FESTIVAL COMMUNICATION with Julia Gudzent (Melt! Festival D) and Carlijn Lindmulder (ID&T, NL) moderated by Holger Jan Schmidt (Rhienkultur, D)

Friday 15.00 – 16.00 THE DEBATE ABOUT DISCOUNTING TICKETS with Stewart McKie (UK) and Will Page (PRS for Music, UK) and moderated by Greg Parmley (Intellitix, UK)

Saturday 12.30 – 13.30 GREEN INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS IN EVENT MANAGEMENT WITH Rachael Saunders (Sustainable Events, UK) and moderated by Jacob Bilabel (Green Music Initiative, D)