Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Power back at Benicassim

Hot Press reports that Vince Power’s All Music Live Ltd has struck a deal to buy back Spain’s Benicassim festival from the administrators of his former company, Music Festival PLC, with Hot Press quoting Power as saying "“I’m delighted that we have entered into an agreement to acquire the shares of Benicassim Ltd that has secured the future of the festival”. Benicassim is based in the Valencian coastal town of the same name and  has a capacity of 50,000, In 2012 it was headlined this year by Bob Dylan, The Stone Roses and New Order.

Hurricane Sandy takes its toll on live sector

Hurricane Sandy has left the the US live industry counting the financial cost of one of the US's biggest storms ever, as gigs scheduled to take place in New York, and other towns and cities hit by Sandy were cancelled. But the extent of the impact the storm won't be clear until the scale of damage to venues and public transport infrastructure is clear, and the time scales for restoring power to the large areas currently without electricity are known. It will also take some time for air travel across the US to get back to normal after the shut down of airports down the East Coast. Asked about the impact of the then approaching storm, AEG Live President Randy Phillips told Billboard yesterday "A major weather occurrence like Sandy is, obviously, disruptive both in the daily lives of the communities we work in and the clients we tour. It will have an impact on our budgets and earnings - if even in the short term, since we average a couple of hundred shows a week in those markets that have had to hunker down while the storm passes through". Paul Bassman of entertainment insurance firm Doodson also confirmed to Billboard that he'd had many clients calling in the last 48 hours about their cover for storm-caused cancellations, although not every venue and promoter will be covered for storm-related losses, and while most artist contracts will not require fees be paid when extreme weather causes cancellations, any promoter canning or postponing events will incur losses.

8 Million on the East Coast remain without power and, more tragically, at least 46 people have died.

AIM awards out!

The Association of Independent Music has celebrated the very best that independent music has to offer at the second annual AIM Independent Music Awards. Hosted by BBC Radio broadcasters Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq, with live performances from Frankie and the Heartstrings, Big Deal and Land Observations, the Awards, held at the Brewery in Clerkenwell, has established itself as the event of the year for independent music talent.
The Prodigy proved their enduring popularity with the masses, receiving the Best Live Act Award as voted for by visitors to the-fly.co.uk. New mum, Adele, was also among those honoured at the event, winning the PPL Award for Most Played Independent Act, capping what has been a momentous year for her. Rising stars Alt-J took home Independent Breakthrough of the Year recognising their huge success in the past 12 months, which has seen them become one of the UK’s most popular bands. Enter Shikari, who led the nominations, landed the coveted Independent Album of the Year accolade, beating off stiff competition from Alabama Shakes and Liars. First Aid Kit’s ‘The Lion’s Roar’ was awarded Best ‘Difficult’ Second Album.  60 Days of Static won the hardest working band award and Leefest won the Golden Welly Award for best festival. 
It wasn’t just the artists having all the fun, with a wealth of the Independent sector’s behind the scenes movers and shakers also tasting glory. Black Butter Records, who scored a number 1 hit with Rudimental’s ‘Feel The Love’ earlier this year, claimed Best Small Label, Bella Union’s Simon Raymonde won Independent Entrepreneur of the Year and Ian Evans, IME Music accepted the prestigious Indie Champion Award.  The Independent Label of the Year trophy went to 4AD in recognition of their consistently strong A&R, with releases this year from Grimes, Twin Shadow, Purity Ring and Mark Lanegan Band.  
As previously announced, Edwyn Collins received the Outstanding Contribution To Music award, which was presented on the night by Edwyn’s long term friend Vic Godard of Subway Sect fame and Frankie & The Heartstrings, whose debut album was produced by Edwyn. Mute Boss, Daniel Miller accepted the Pioneer Award, recognising his huge influence on the independent sector and electronic music in a career spanning three decades.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Live Nation to quit Hyde Park

Live Nation has confirmed that it will not re-bid for the rights to stage festivals and concerts in London's Hyde Park, claiming licensing restrictions put in place in recent years have hindered the company's efforts to stage events there, and that the tender process put in place by the Royal Parks Agency for a new five-year contract to use the park for live events is "flawed".

The move would put an end to the Wireless and Hard Rock Calling festivals in the Park, as well as Live Nation's series of major summer concert events. The number of events in the Park is being reduced by The Royal Parks and Live Nation faced criticism after brining in tonnes of woodchip to counter flooding during the  awful English summer. Much criticised noise limits and a strict curfew were also put in place to appease local residents resulting in the plug being pulled on an overrunning Bruce Springsteen this summer.

Live Nation COO John Probyn confirmed that LN would  not promote in Hyde Park and told Access All Areas “Royal Parks has ignored everything else and gone for the money and we’re really good at walking away when something makes no sense” adding “Hyde Park is the most expensive venue in the country and the stakeholders just don’t want events in there. I’ve kept saying that it’s a fantastic site, and in its heyday it was, but for the last four years it’s been a nightmare. When you’re constantly looking to cut spend and make money elsewhere, the buck always has to stop with the ticket buyer," he said. "We have no desire to be involved with a loss-leading project, or to work with someone who doesn’t understand what we’re doing. Other venues that don’t have the same approach or the same noise restrictions are courting us now, which is nice after 15 years of battling with local residents and the Royal Parks."

Friday, 26 October 2012

StubHub launches mobile app

Ebay owned secondary ticketing company StubHub has announced the launch of a new interactive seating map for mobile devices. The advances to the mobile app and mobile website will allow consumers to choose individual seating sections and see the range of prices available throughout the section as well as view the sightlines from the section. The company bills itself as "the world's largest marketplace" and continues to build it's online and mobile platforms

Swift to Go, hold the streaming

Big Machine Media, Taylor Swift's record label, have confirmed that her new album 'Red'  will not initially available on streaming services. Label boss Scott Borchetta told Billboard "I personally struggle with that model - and I don't think that it should be free. We've spoken with the services, and spoken with Spotify in particular ... We just haven't hit on the right model that works for us. I don't have thousands and thousands of albums and hundreds and hundreds of artists, I have a finite artist roster and finite number of releases" and he  told Rolling Stone magazine "We're not putting the brand new releases on Spotify. Why shouldn't we learn from the movie business? They have theatrical releases, cable releases. There are certain tiers. If we just throw out everything we have, we're done". The CD album will also be available for $13 in the USA when ordering a pizza.from Papa John's.

Hadopi Budget cut

As expected, the French government body Hadopi agency which oversees the three-strikes regime has had its budget cut. Hadopi's annual budget has been cut to 8 million euros, having been 11.4 million euros in 2011 although it also additionally takes on responsibility for piracy issues in the gaming sector, increasing costs.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Pussy Riot duo moved to gulags

The two members of Russian rock band Pussy Riot who were each sentenced to two years in prison for religious hooliganism have been sent to separate labour camps. Defence lawyers said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been sent to Mordovia and Maria Alyokhina to Perm, part of a “Gulag archipelago” on the edges of European Russia. One supporter of the band tweeted: “Of all the possible options, these are the cruellest prison camps.”

BPI seeks to block three more sites

The BPI is seeking web-blocks against three more file-sharing websites. Following the blocking of The Pirate Bay by all of the UK's major internet service providers earlier this year, the BPI now has its sights on Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents which, according to Nielsen, collectively enjoyed over a million unique users in September. The record label's trade body has written to the major ISPs including BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2 and TalkTalk requesting that they voluntarily block their customers from accessing the three offending sites but a legal challenge is expected of the ISPs do not comply.

Live Nation to quit the park?

Live Nation has reportedly said that it will not re-bid for the rights to stage festivals and concerts in London's Hyde Park, claiming licensing restrictions put in place in recent years have hindered the company's efforts to stage events there, and that the tender process put in place by the Royal Parks Agency for a new five-year contract to use the park for live events is "flawed". The move would put an end to the Wireless and Hard Rock Calling festivals as well as Live Nation's series of major summer concert events.

Q Awards - and others - out!

The 2012 Q Awards have been made and the winners are:

Best Album: Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe
Best New Act: Django Django
Best Track: Plan B - Ill Manors
Best Video: Keane - Disconnected
Classic Song: Dionne Warwick - Walk On By
Classic Album: Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists
Best Act In The World Today: Muse
Best Live Act: Blur
Best Solo Artist: Emeli Sandé
Idol: The Killers' Brandon Flowers
Spirit Of Independence: The Cribs
Innovation In Sound: Underworld
Inspiration Award: Pulp
Icon Award: Dexys
Hero: Johnny Marr

The Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have announced that Radio 1's Zane Lowe will be presented with an Industry Champion Award at this year's Artist & Manager Awards, which take place on the 27th November in London.

And in more award news, the DJ Magtop 100 DJs are out ..... and the top 10 are 

1 Armin Van Buuren
2 Tiesto
3 Avicii
4 David Guetta
5 Deadmau5
6 Hardwell
7 Dash Berlin
8 Above & Beyond
9 Afrojack
10 Skrillex

MAMA take stake in ATP

The MAMA Group has announced it has taken a 50% stake in the All Tomorrow's Parties company, promoters of the holiday-camp based ATP festivals and the I'll Be Your Mirror events. ATP founder Barry Hogan was forced to restructure his company earlier this year, putting one business into administration, after a difficult time the UK festivals market. However, the restructuring did not stop any planned events from going ahead. The ATP team will also assist in the booking of talent for other MAMA Festivals, including Lovebox, Wilderness and The Great Escape.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Stage Miracles face PI claim

A roadie with Them Crooked Vultures, Joao Teixeira, has launched a reported £100,000 claim against Stage Miracles after being injured whilst loading equipment into the Brixton Academy in August 2009. 

New Jersey ticketing bill moves forwards

New Jersey took a step toward restructuring its state ticketing laws on October 16, when the New Jersey Senate Commerce Committee passed Senate Bill 875 The new bill would end the restrictive practices surrounding paperless ticketing and would allow for the trading, gifting, or resale of tickets to any event within the state. With regard to paperless ticketing, the purchaser would have the legal right to designate the tickets to anyone he or she so chooses. The bill would also move to ban ticketing "bots" from being used within the state. Finally, the bill would increase ticketing transparency throughout the state. It would require primary sellers to include information on event advertisements, including the price of the tickets, the surcharge, and how many tickets will be on sale for each price bracket. It would also prohibit primary sellers from removing tickets from sale for the secondary market. Those found in violation of the proposed bill would be liable for fines up to $10,000.00 for a first offence and up to $20,000.00 for each additional offence.   The bill will now head to the State Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Hyde Park 'eyesore' to be cleared up by Live Nation

Parts of Hyde Park in London remain an 'eyesore' after the series of outdoor concerts this summer - with a large area still covered by 8,000 cubic metres of wood chip, brought in by promoters Live Nation do deal with the excessively wet British summer. Only one event was cancelled, the now rescheduled Hit Factory Live event, and concerts by Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna and Blur all went ahead along with over ten other events based around the London 2012 Olympics. 

Whilst Live Nation will begin restoring the park in the spring, within a time frame agreed with the Royal Parks, the Times called the Park a 'royal mudbath' and said the site was a 'national disgrace' and was now a 'giant wasteland of mud, puddles and woodchips that was once the capital's grandest sward of grass', whilst also levelling criticism at the state of Regent Park after the Frieze Art Fair, saying the park currently 'looks like a building site'. More than 800,000 people attended the concerts. Next year the number of concerts allowed will be cut from 12 to 9. 

PRS name top 10 tours for 2011

PRS for Music have released their figures for 2011 showing the collections for the performance of music  music (TV, radio, live, cinema and digital) outside of the UK have reached £188 million, up 11% from 2010 (£169.6 million) and almost doubling in the last ten years. Royalties from live music have seen a near tenfold increase in the past decade from £2.1 million in 2012 to £21 million in 2011 representing artists such as The Rolling Stones, Adele and Muse.   The PRS have also released their top 10 tours based on worldwide ticket sales in 2011

1.  U2
2. Take That
3. Bon Jovi
4. Taylor Swift
5. Kenny Chesney
6. Katy Perry
7. Rihanna
8. Roger Waters
9. Foo fighters
10. Sade

Thursday, 18 October 2012


A Greener Festival have announced the first Greener Festival Awards for 2012, with twenty one European, American and United Kingdom Festivals winning the coveted badge alongside seven events in Australia. A final list of Awards with more winners will be made in early November before the UK Festival Awards. Winners in the ‘Outstanding’ category included The Oya Festival in Norway, The Croissant Neuf Summer Party, The Sunrise Celebration and Shambala Festival in the UK, We Love Green in France, Ilosaarirock in Finland and Boom Festival in Portugal.

Among the Highly Commended awards were the Cambridge Folk Festival in The UK, Bonnaroo in the US, Welcome to the Future in the Netherlands, Malmöfestivalen in Sweden, Primavera Sound, SOS 4:8 and Día de la Música on Spain, and the Falls Festival, Island Vibe and Splendour In The Grass, all in Australia. The full list of winners so far are:
The Open’er Festival (Czech Republic, Commended)
The Radio 1 Hackney Weekend (UK, Improving))
Larmer Tree Garden Festival (UK, Improving)
Planet Madrid (Spain, Improving)
Universo Parallelo (Brazil, Commended)
Manchester Christmas Markets (UK, Commended)
Deici Giorni Suonati (Italy, Commended)
Bonnaroo (USA, Highly Commended)
Primavera Sound (Spain, Highly Commended)
Día de la Música (Highly Commended, Spain)
Shambala (Outstanding, UK)
Cambridge Folk Festival (Highly Commended, UK)
Ilosaarirock (Outstanding, Finland)
We Love Green (Outstanding, France)
Welcome To The Future (Highly Commended, Netherlands)
Malmöfestivalen (Highly Commended, Sweden)
SOS 4:8 (Highly Commended, Spain)
Boom (Outstanding, Portugal)
Oya Festival (Outstanding, Norway)
Sunrise Celebration (Outstanding, UK)
Croissant Neuf Summer Party (Outstanding, UK)

In Australia, where a carbon tax was introduced in July 2012, seven festivals won the Award, all previously winners in earlier years: 

Bluesfest (NSW, Commended), 
Fairbridge Folk Festival (WA, Improving),
Woodford Folk Festival (QLD, Commended),
Splendor In The Grass (QLD, Highly Commended),
The Falls Music & Arts Festival (VIC, Highly Commended),
Island Vibe Festival (QLD, Highly Commended)
WOMADelaide (SA, Commended).  

The overall winner of Australia’s Greener Festival Award 2012 will be announced at the ‘Are festivals getting greener, or meaner?’ forum at the Eclipse 2012 Festival on Tuesday 13th November 2012. The overall winner of the UK's Greener Festival Award will be made at the UK Festival Awards on December 3rd at the London Roundhouse.

AGF have also announced the final ten nominations for new special awards for Green Inspiration nominated by their team of volunteer green auditors. The nominations are for green innovations at festivals and events around Europe which inspired the AGF team:

·      *    Shambala Festival for its Surplus Supper Club food recycling project
·       *   Africa Express for their UK tour, on board their own train
·        *  Planeta Madrid (Spain) for their on-site bicycle eco-tours
·        *  We Love Green in Paris (France) for their ‘immaculate’ and site wide compost toilets
·        *  Boom Festival (Portugal) for their on-site STAR waste water recycling scheme
·        *  Sunrise Celebration for their ‘thought provoking’ multi stream recycling stations
·        *  Dieci Giorni Sounati (Italy) for their inspired holistic green planning
·        *  Food and farming alliance Sustain’s Good Food Guide for Festivals
·        *  Eco Action Partnership for the ‘Love Your Tent’ Campaign to reduce campsite waste
·        *  Open'er (Czech Republic) for their on-site bio-digesters

Lighting rig collapse leads to Israeli arrests

Second Lieutenant Hila Betzaleli
Judges in Jerusalem have extended the detention of four people arrested on suspicion of involvement in the collapse of a lighting rig at Mount Herzl in Israel, which killed a woman soldier, 2nd Lt Hila Betzaleli and injured seven others. The rig was being installed for the Independence Day ceremony and the event was to be produced by Itzuv Bama, which was awarded a contract by the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry. The company is considered a leading player in its field and has been involved in organizing major events in Israel and abroad, from official ceremonies to rock concerts. Those arrested are: Alex Sela, the show producer, Oren Warshavsky, who was said to have been the engineer for the rig; Itzik Zucker, the site's safety manager; and Elad Lavi, the vice president for Itzuv Bama. 

Photo: IDF, and more images on the Jerusalem Post website here  http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=266546

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

AEG helps friends

CMU Daily reports that AEG's own ticketing enterprise, AXS, is launching a new service called AXS Invite, which will enable customers booking tickets at venues with allocated seating to reserve seats next to the ones they book, and to then promote those reservations to friends via Facebook and/or email, Initially available at certain specific US venues owned by AEG itself, it's the latest initiative by the live music giant to compete in the ticketing market, which it entered after its rival Live Nation bought Ticketmaster.

Tunesat say music needs fingerprinting

Audio fingerprint technology company TuneSat says that the majority of commercial use of music by the television sector is either unreported or misreported and says that broadcasters should utilise Shazam-type technology to better report music usage to rights owners or their collecting societies.Tune Sat says that up to 80% of music "played commercially" is not fully reported to rights owners and bodies and a spokesman said: "Musicians and songwriters all know that if their music is being played commercially, the reports they are getting back are more than likely wrong. Cue sheets and affidavits are routinely entrusted to interns to fill out - sometimes by hand. One misspelled song title and the artists wave goodbye to their royalties. In fact, over 80% of music played commercially is either unreported or misreported". with TuneSat recommending a digital fingerprinting system which ican detect the use of music on any television programme, even if the music is in the background and has speech on top.

Stones for O2

After massive hints from both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones have announced a number of 50th anniversary shows - two at London's O2 Arena and two at the Prudential Center near New York. Tickets for the UK shows will officially go on sale on Friday 19th October, though are available now to American Express customers. Tickets will be priced between £106 and £406 face value. The tickets were already being resold on Seatwave for up to £11,000. The shows are the first project for new global touring enterprise Virgin Live, a joint venture between the Virgin Group and the Dainty Group. It is thought the band will tour in 2013.

Hit Factory back on

The Hit Factory Live event, originally due to take place in Hyde Park during the summer, is back on and has been moved indoors, with a pre-Christmas date at The O2. the original date for Hit Factory Live, designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of Pete Waterman's pop label PWL, was cancelled after Hyde Park  became waterlogged after weeks of heavy rain and the midweek bash was called off to allow organisers Live Nation  to bring wood chip, to make the site usable for other weekend festivals which included Bruce Springsteen's infamous late running show, and the subsequent Olympics gigs.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Adele accelerates XL profits

The phenomenal global success of Adele's '21' saw the turnover of Beggars Group's XL Recordings, the singer's label, boom from £21.4 million in 2010 to £111.7 million in 2011, according to company accounts recently filed with Companies House. Profits were up tenfold, from £4.1 million in 2010 to £41.7 million in 2011

Microsoft tries music - again

Microsoft  has launched another new music service under the Xbox brand, rather than the Zune label, used by the company for its music ventures since 2006. Xbox Music will include a streaming service with an ad-funded "freemium" option, as well as a ten dollars a month ad-free subscription package that will also work with Xbox consoles and Windows smartphones.

German-based Spotify competitor Simfy last week withdrew its ad-supported freemium service from the Belgian market, telling users that licensing costs in the country were just too high. The subscription-based premium service will continue to be available in the country, where Simfy launched last November. And in other news, Spotify is planning a launch in Japan, and is in talks with labels with an eye in a launch in early 2013. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Ticketnews.com reports that former Ticketmaster customers who had signed onto a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster for charging excessive processing and shipping fees will have to wait a little while longer to receive their compensation, after Los Angeles Superior Court judge Kenneth Freeman rejected a proposed settlement agreement between Ticketmaster and the class-action plaintiffs' attorneys, which included a $16.5 million payment to the plaintiff’s lawyers. Judge Freeman said that the settlement of $1.50 or $5 coupons to class action members "represents a windfall for Ticketmaster and does not represent 'real value' for class members" adding that he was concerned that a failure to reach some 20%  of the estimated 50.7 million class members by email was a "significant concern".

Coke to invest in Spotify?

Coca-Cola, who highest profile venture into digital music, MyCokeMusic, was not exactly a success, may be investing $10 million into Spotify when the streaming service  raises new finance. The shareholding itself will be relatively small given Spotify's three billion dollar plus valuation, but given Spotify and Coke already have a marketing partnership in place, commentators see more potential crossovers and synergies between the two companies. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Kickstarter to launch in UK

Fan fundraising platform Kickstarter which famously delivered $1.2 million to Amanda Palmer for her latest album and tour has confirmed that it will go live in the UK from 31st October, and musicians and entrepreneurs looking for financial support for new projects can register with the service now. Previously non-US based individuals wanting to use the crowd-sourcing website needed a partner or company based in America.

Pengelly to leave Festival Republic

Festival Republic has announced that Neil Pengelly is to leave the company after nearly two decades working on the firm's events. Pengelly, who booked both the Leeds and Reading festivals,  will stay on in a consultative role until March next year. 

Festival Republic also announced that Natasha Haddad will join the company on 31st October and will have a particular focus on the firm's Latitude festival, joining from the MAMA Group, where she worked on various festivals, including Wilderness, Lovebox and The Great Escape. Replacing Haddad as the Great Escape programmer will Adam Ryan.

IFPI relaunch pro-music website

The IFPI have announced the re-launch of the newly redesigned www.pro-music.org website - a simple information resource for anyone looking to find out more about legitimate digital music services and copyright law across the world.

The IFPI also  welcomed the latest in a series of rulings by Russian courts against vKontakte, the country’s leading social networking site that facilitates the mass distribution of copyright infringing music. The Arbitration Court of St Petersburg and Leningrad ordered vKontakte to pay damages of 550,000 roubles (€13,718) to SBA Gala Records, an independent Russian record label and licensed distributor for EMI Music’s international repertoire, for its role in facilitating the illegal distribution of 11 unlicensed sound recordings online

One Pussy Riot member freed

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has been released from prison after her two year prison term for a conviction of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' was reduced to a suspended sentence on appeal yesterday. However, at the same appeal hearing her fellow band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina had their original sentences upheld and therefore will remain in prison, pending further appeals. Both continue to argue that their protests against Vladimir Putin were political and not religious.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Live From Jodrell Bank win Best Outdoor Event Award

The Best Outdoor Event award at the Event Awards has been won by Ear To The Ground for the Live From Jodrell Bank festival.  The 2011 event was headlined by The Flaming Lips and was the first time a music festival took place at the internationally renowned astronomical research centre which hosts the Lovell Telescope, an icon of science and engineering.  The 2012 festival doubled its capacity and the headline show with Elbow and sold out in 60 minutes. Live From Jodrell Bank is in collaboration with the team behind the Kendal Calling festival and the team behind The Warehouse Project. Live From Jodrell Bank won the award at the prestigious ceremony beating off competition in the category from Taste Of London, Naked Urban Surf, Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile, Jamie Oliver’s Big Festival and Talisker’s Sail In Cinema.

At BMI's European Awards in London, Adele and long time collaborator Paul Epworth won the BMI Song Of The Year Award for 2012 with 'Rolling In The Deep'. The Police picked up a special award for 11 million plays of 'Every Breath You Take' on US radio.

Primary adds three

Primary Talent International has just recruited three new booking agents, Howard Gray, Nick Reddick and Michael Harvey-Bray. All three specialise in dance genres, and have worked together for a few years, initially via Gray's Reprise Agency, and later at Mainstage Artists.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

AEG priced at $10 billion

The Anschutz Entertainment Group seemingly has a $10 billion price tag and it's thought the 25 page AEG information memorandum will go to dozens of interested parties this week, while those who sign non-disclosure agreements could have access to the live entertainment giant's books by the end of the month. Potential bidders tipped by Reuters include investment company Guggenheim Partners and private equity groups including Bain Capital, Colony Capital and Thomas H Lee Partners, the latter of which helped finance Edgar Bronfman Jr's acquisition of Warner Music in 2004. Liberty Media is also said to be interested - Liberty currently owns a quarter of AEG rival Live Nation.  LA-based billionaire surgeon and biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who has been investing in American sports teams, is also rumoured to be interested in leading a consortium to bid for AEG and Larry Ellison, co-founder of IT giant Oracle and America's third richest man, is also interested in buying AEG.

Meanwhile, back at the coal face, AEG boss Tim Leiweke has insisted that it's business as usual at the live firm despite the pending sale, adding that he expects the company's operations to continue unhindered once a transaction is completed.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Glastonbury 2013 sells out in under 2 hours

Tickets for the 2013 Glastonbury Festival have sold out in a record 1 hour and 40 minutes. Any returned tickets will be sold in the spring of 2013. Organisers Michael and Emily Eavis posted a notice on the official website saying  " We would like to say an enormous thanks to everyone who managed to buy a ticket - but we'd also like to extend our sincere apologies to the many thousands who missed out.  We're genuinely humbled by the sheer number of people who would like to come to the Festival, and we dearly wish we could have you all along. Sadly, that just isn't possible, which means a significant number of people have missed out. Tickets were being sold throughout the morning - but demand simply outstripped supply."  140,000 admission tickets were sold and the Festival's licensed capacity is 177,500 people including staff, traders, volunteers and performers. For more on the April returns sale see http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Friday, 5 October 2012

Jay Z launches his YouTube channel

Jay Z is launching his own YouTube channel today (Oct 6th) by webcasting a live stream of his  performance in Brooklyn at New York’s Barclay Center, the last of eight sold-out concerts in a row. The hip hop superstar  created the channel in partnership with Iconic  based on his personal website Life & Times and confirmed orogramming includes: The Road to Brooklyn, a docu-drama series about the Nets basketball team (in which Jay Z has a financial share), Roc Nation CheckIn featuring video portraits of artists managed by Roc Nation (which Jay Z co-founded); Well Dunn with Jourdan Dunn, a series about the English supermodel previously named Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards; and Blueprint, a documentary series delving into the craftsmanship of world-famous luxury brands.

AIF launch anti-touting charter

The UK's Association Of Independent Festivals has launched an anti-touting charter, and a wide and impressive number of organisations and companies have signed up to the initiative, including booking agencies,  festivals, management companies, record labels, artists and the Association of Festival Organisers.  The declaration says:

- We the undersigned believe that the growth of ticket-touting online - so-called 'secondary ticketing' - is bad for fans and bad for live entertainment.
- Ticket touting means real fans are deprived of the opportunity to attend events and see artists they love while speculators cash in.
- We believe there are strong arguments for legislation to curb the activities of unofficial ticket-sellers.
- Until such legislation is enacted we believe the entire live entertainment industry should further increase its efforts to protect fans.
- We affirm that we will be transparent with the pricing and distribution of tickets for events that we control.
- We restate our commitment to adopting ticketing processes and technologies which ensure tickets reach the hands of real fans rather than touts.
- We call on secondary ticket sellers to cease and desist selling tickets for events we control.
- We call on consumers to boycott ticket touts.

Redbox moves into tickets

Redbox, the US DVD rental kiosk operator owned by Coinstar has announced an expansion to live event ticket sales. The company is hoping to become a major  competitor in the industry, with “affordable service fees and easy access for consumers”.

Ads will fund mobile music

Over half of mobile music revenue in the U.S. comes from advertising, a figure that is set to significantly increase by 2016, according to new research from eMarketer. Advertising accounted for 69% of U.S. mobile music revenues this year, leaving 17.2% for subscription service revenues and 14.1% for music paid for per download. By 2016, 86% will be generated by advertising and mobile music revenues are projected to rise in the U.S. from $429.3 million this year to reach $1.68 billion in 2016.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

TOTP show tour cancelled

A new stage show built around the 'Top Of The Pops' brand has been cancelled because of poor ticket sales. Producers hoped to create a generic pop tribute musical show, with singers and dancers reliving moments of the BBC's one time flagship pop programme, with audience members voting on their favourite songs. The stage show was officially sanctioned by the BBC but producer Derek Nicol said "Ticket sales have so far been disappointing and we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the tour. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and wish to reassure anyone who has purchased a ticket that they can obtain a full refund".

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Crispin Aubrey 1946 - 2012

I was very saddened to hear of the sudden death of my friend Crispin Aubrey, the journalist, author and campaigner, who died of a heart attack on September 28th aged just 66. Far too young.
I have known Crispin for nearly twenty years in his role as a press officer for the Glastonbury Festival, where he will be hugely missed. Crispin had a keen interest in the environment and  Michael Eavis, the founder of the Festival,  described him as "a resolute campaigner for green issues who kept up the pressure on me constantly".


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Musion provide live holograms for BOB

On Friday 5th October 2012 Musion will help mark the beginning of Best of Britannia. This is a three day event celebrating the very best in British music, art, culture, design and manufacturing, with its holographic Best of British stage. It will be graced by a special musical guest as well as an extensive showcase of the very best upcoming talent in Britain. Exclusively curated by multi-platinum and award winning songwriter Guy Chambers, the stage will offer live entertainment during each evening of the three day event.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Live Music Act live!

Tim Clement-Jones

Lord Tim Clement-Jones’ Live Music Act 2012 comes into force today in England and Wales (Monday 1st October 2012) and hopefully will deregulate smaller live music events and free them from the bureaucracy of the Licensing Act 2003. For the Act to apply:

  • The premises must be open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises while the live music is being performed. If the music is amplified, the audience must be fewer than 200 (not including staff and performers) and the music cannot extend outside the hours of 8am to 11pm Monday to Sunday.
  • If the music is unamplified, whether or not it is performed on licenced premises, then there is no limit to the audience numbers, and it no longer requires any sort of licencing permission, provided the music finishes at 11pm.
The Act, a private members bill championed by the Lim Dem peer and MP Don Foster has been widely applauded by the live industry in the UK and is seen as a good tool for promoting grass root events, but to be clear the Act only applies to live music – it does NOT apply to DJ sets, discos or any other type of recorded music or other activities regulated by the Licensing Act.

An interesting history of the Act by campaigner Hamish Birchall here http://livemusicexchange.org/blog/hamish-birchall-on-the-live-music-act-2012/ on the Live Music Exchange website

Did Sony scupper iStream?

The New York Post has marked an interesting result of the recent SonyATV-EMI merger, saying the new music publishing giant effectively blocked Apple's new iStream project - the proposed iTunes streaming service. A number of commentators had warned that the combined might of Sony and EMI in music publishing and Universal and EMI in sound recording markets could block new entrants from the digital market - but this story is more complex - it seems that Sony simply refused to give Apple more favourable rates than those available from the US collection societies BMI and ASCAP or from SoundExchange, the body which represents sound record rights holders in the online radio space, and which also licenses services like Pandora.

CD reaches 30

The compact disc is officially 30 years old and to mark the occasion record label trade body the BPI and the Official Charts Company have released some new statistics which show that whilst digital accounts for most sales for urban and dance music albums, 77.7% of classical album sales are still on CD. The biggest selling CD of all time in the UK is ABBA's hits collection 'Gold', which has sold 4 million units to date. Second is Adele's '21', which has so far sold 3.5 million copies on CD and Oasis's 'What's The Story Morning Glory' is the third biggest selling disc, having sold 3.4 million units.

Nielsen reported that U.S. digital album sales are up 15 percent year-over-year, continuing an upward trajectory. Single track sales are up as well, already surpassing 1 billion sold so far this year. 2011 ended with a record 1.3 billion digital tracks sold, meaning that 2012 is likely to break that ceiling and set a new benchmark for digital track sales. Nielsen said smartphone and tablets have played a major role in this growth.

Anxious George cancels Oz

George Michael has cancelled the Australian leg of his current tour, admitting that he is suffering from "major anxiety" following his battle with pneumonia at the end of last year. Michael says that  he underestimated the mental strain of recovering from his life-threatening pneumonia, which saw the star spend a month in a hospital in Vienna, where he had been due to perform before falling ill at the time, and he has pulled all nine Aussie dates but is expected to go ahead with planned UK dates later this month.

Pussy Riot appeal delayed

The three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot jailed for two years in August for performing an anti-government "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral earlier this year will have their appeals heard later this month after one of the three, Yekaterina Samutsevich, sacked her lawyer, delaying the hearings planned for this week.