Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Digital drives music industry revival

The IFPI’s 2013 Digital Music Report is out and in the words of Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI:  “It is hard to remember a year for the recording industry that has begun with such a palpable buzz in the air.  These are hard-won successes for an industry that has innovated, battled and transformed itself over a decade.  They show how the music industry has adapted to the internet world, learned how to meet the needs of consumers and monetised the digital marketplace".

The headline stories are that global recorded music revenues up 0.3 per cent, boosted by downloads, subscription and other channels, digital revenues up 9 per cent, with major music services now open in more than 100 markets and that music is helping fuel the digital economy, but barriers to growth need to be addressed

Global recorded music industry revenues rose by an estimated 0.3 per cent to US$16.5 billion in 2012, the first year of industry growth since 1999.  Digital revenues saw accelerating growth for the second year running, up 9 per cent to US $5.6 billion, 34& of all revenues, with most major digital revenue streams – downloads, subscription and advertising-supported – on the rise.  The digital music business is globalising fast, as smartphones and new licensed services span new and emerging markets.  In January 2011, the major international download and subscription services were present in 23 markets.  Today, they are in more than 100. The number of people paying to use subscription services leapt 44 per cent in 2012 to 20 million.  Subscription revenues are expected to account for more than 10 per cent of digital revenues for the first time in 2012.

Despite the optimism, the IFPI says that key barriers to further growth remain – the biggest being unfair competition from unlicensed music services.  The IFPI say that governments have a key role to play in addressing this problem.  The key priority remains to secure effective cooperation from intermediaries including advertisers, ISPs and search engines, who have a major influence on levels of copyright infringement.

Canadian artist Carly Rae Jepsen topped the 2012 global singles chart with Call Me Maybe.  British singer-songwriter Adele achieved phenomenal success with 21, the first album to top the global albums chart for two consecutive years since IFPI began reporting global best sellers in 2001. Music is also helping power social media platforms: Nine in 10 of the most watched videos of all time on YouTube are music videos, led by PSY’s Gangnam Style which has been viewed more than 1.2 billion times.  Nine in 10 of the most liked people on Facebook are artists.  Seven of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter are artists.

Digital album sales 2012

1.            Adele  21  8.3 million
2.            Taylor Swift   Red   5.2 million
3.            One Direction   Up All Night    4.5 million

Digital singles sales 2012

1             Carly Rae Jepsen  Call Me Maybe  12.5 million
2.            Gotye  Somebody That I Used To Know  11.8 million
3             PSY   Gangnam Style  9.7

To download a copy of the Digital Music Report 2013 click here

Dolan departs Live Nation

The Executive Chairman of Madison Square Garden Company has resigned his seat on the board of Live Nation. James Dolan, also CEO of MSG's parent company Cablevision, follows Irving Azoff's recent exit from the live music giant.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Google "Must try harder" in the fight against piracy

The RIAA said Google should do more to stop illegal sites appearing in search results. The US record industry trade body said it had assessed the impact of a change in the Google search algorithm made last year, which was meant to downgrade unlicensed sources of music in Google search results, but had found the tweak had had little effect, and illegal music still appeared too high in Google search lists.  Google is,according to reports, is currently focusing on stopping pirates from using its ad networks which may well be a more effective remedy.  RIAA's EVP Steven Marks said "We recognise and appreciate that Google has undertaken some positive steps to address links to illegal music on its network. Unfortunately, our initial analysis concludes that so far Google's pledge six months ago to demote pirate sites remains unfulfilled. Searches for popular music continue to yield results that emphasise illegal sites at the expense of legitimate services, which are often relegated to later pages. And Google's auto-complete function continues to lead users to many of those same illicit sites".

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Police call for legislation against ticket fraud

The Metropolitan Police have called for new regulations and possible new legislation to tackle ticket fraud. The police authority highlights the issues around 'ticket crime' in a new report that capitalises on the work it undertook as part of Operation Podium to crack down on anyone selling tickets illegally for the London 2012 Olympics. Operation Podium will close at the end of March. The report, called Ticket Crime: Problem Profile, estimates that ticket fraud costs the economy around £40m a year. It says the lack of legislation around ticketing markets encourages "unscrupulous practices, a lack of transparency and fraud". It calls for new legislation to outlaw to the unauthorised resale of tickets, which is not currently illegal.  Apart from the resale of football tickets for designated matches, the resale of tickets is not illegal. However, the report identifies the need for an open and transparent ticketing market underpinned by regulation and/or legislation, which will help consumers to understand who they are buying from and therefore better protect themselves against ticket crime. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Emeli Sandé and Ben Howard head up BRITS 2013

Emeli Sandé and Ben Howard both picked up two gongs at a rather uninspiring BRITS show at the 02 Arena in London last night. Rather over polite host James Corden didn't seem to manage to annoy anyone, but it all went of very smoothly with live shows from One Direction, Muse and Taylor Swift amongst others - and it all finished on time which is nice. And the winners were: 

British Breakthrough Act: Ben Howard (Universal Music) 

British Female Solo Artist: Emeli Sandé (EMI Music) 

British Group: Mumford & Sons (Universal Music) 

British Live Act Coldplay (EMI Music) 

British Male Solo Artist: Ben Howard (Island / Universal Music) 

BRITs Global Success Award  One Direction (Syco)

British Producer of the Year: Paul Epworth

Special Recognition Award Winner: War Child UK

Critics’ Choice Award : Tom Odell (Sony Music)

International Group:  The Black Keys (Warner Music) 

International Female Solo Artist Nominees: Lana Del Rey (Universal Music) 

International Male Solo Artist Nominees: Frank Ocean (Universal Music) 

British Single: Adele ‘Skyfall’ (XL Recordings) 

MasterCard British Album of the Year:  Emeli Sandé ‘Our Version Of Events’ (EMI Music)

BRIT sales uplifts post show

1. Ben Howard - Every Kingdom (320%)
2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange (136%)
3. Mumford & Sons - Babel (110%)
4. Muse - The Second Law (103%)
5. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (95%)
6. Taylor Swift - Red (92%)
7. Justin Timberlake - Justified (76%)
8. Robbie Williams - Take The Crown (66%)
9. Emeli Sandé - Our Version Of Events (62%)
10. Lana Del Rey - Born To Die (52%)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Flemming Schmidt

We are extremely sad to hear of the death of Flemming Schmidt, who died on Saturday, Feb 16th. We understand that he had been suffering from cancer. Flemming was the head of Live Nation’s operation in Denmark. Before that he was well known as one of the two main partners of DKB – a promoting company that he began in the early 70’s with Steen Mariboe – and was responsible for the majority of major shows to take place in Denmark. Flemming was one of the founders of the modern live music industry, and his death is a huge loss to us all. Our sympathies go to his wife, Mette, and his three children.

Festival crime conference scheduled for month end

Festival Republic will again host a conference focussing on combating crime at major music events. The annual Crime At Major UK Music Festivals Conference is now in its fifth year, will take place in Reading on 28th February. Representatives from a number of British and Irish festivals, including Festival Republic's own Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals, and Download, T In The Park, V Festival, Secret Garden Party, Global Gathering, Womad, Lovebox and Oxegen, along with police chiefs who have major music events in their regions, will meet at the event which aims to share knowledge and best practice to cut down crime rates at festivals. One topic this year will be safety and liaison issues resulting from cancelled events

Monday, 18 February 2013

RIP Donald Byrd and Mindy McCready

Farewell to Donald Byrd, one of the most supremely gifted trumpeters of the Twentieth Century and leading exponent of jazz rock fusion. Donald was also a gifted educator and band leader, and more recently was sampled on more than 100 hip hop tracks: Nas sampled the musician on his 1994 hit NY State of Mind, while A Tribe Called Quest sampled his work on 1990's Footprints.  He has died aged 80. 

Troubled country singer Mindy McCready has died in an apparent suicide in Arkansas. She leaves behind two sons, Zander aged 6, and Zayne aged just ten months. Her long term boyfriend and father of one of her sons, record producer David Wilson, died last month.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

HMV gets new releases back

The administrators at UK high street chain  HMV have struck a deal with suppliers to get major new releases back on the retailers shelves.  

The deal, with suppliers including MGM and Universal, means that the remaining HMV stores will have current CD and DVD product available as well as being able to replenish stocks. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Ticketmaster and Facebook make online improvements

Ticketmaster has added a 'transfer' option to it's US-based platform, which means that American customers can transfer tickets to friends at no cost, with the barcode from the original ticket cancelled and a new bar-code issued to the friend.The process will enable consumers who buy tickets for a group to more easily distribute the actual tickets to each group member, and people who can no longer attend a show to transfer their ticket to another person within the Ticketmaster system - friends receiving transferred tickets will need Ticketmaster accounts. And Facebook is testing a 'buy tickets' button that could be added to event pages on the social network site, and which would link to primary sites selling tickets to the featured event. 

BMG buys Sanctuary

BMG has snapped up the Sanctuary catalogue, which includes recordings from Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, The Kinks, Donovan, Bert Jansch and Status Quo, and from classic former labels like Trojan, Sugarhill and Pye. The label one of the forced sales by Universal as part of its take over of EMI, although it was a UMG rather than an EMI asset. Warners had already announced it had acquired EMI's Parlophone label.  There are now two assets still to be sold as part of the conditions imposted by EU competition regulators: EMI's stake in the Now! franchise and the Co-operative indie distribution and marketing business: Sony is thought to be bidding for the former, while various independent labels and distributors are linked to bidding for the latter.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

PRS reaches out to EDM community

Collection society PRS For Music has launched a new initiative Amplify aimed at the dance music community after research showed that dance music producers and composers are often less connected to the rights body, meaning royalties they are due can't be paid out. PRS for Music found that while 15% of Radio 1 output in 2011 was 'electronic music', nearly half of the publishing royalties paid by the BBC for that output couldn't be distributed to the rightful copyright owner, either because incomplete information had been provided when the track was registered with the society, or because the composer or rights owner simply hadn't joined PRS. Dance acts may also be losing out from live events as DJs are less likely to submit set lists than their guitar-playing counterparts. Only 35% of set lists were completed at Creamfields and 15% at Glade in 2011. By comparison, at Reading Festival, a predominantly guitar-based event, 90% of set lists were completed. An average set list for a major electronic music festival such as Glade or Creamfields (approx 171 sets) can be worth £250 per set. This means a potential £85,500 is not being paid to the correct writers from these two events alone.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Tour Manager killed in accident

Paul McMullen, the Tour Manager for Fisherman's Friends, the ten piece Cornish shanty vocal group, has been killed and a band member seriously injured after a metal door fell on them at a concert venue. McMullen and Trevor Grills were believed to have been unloading gear for a show when the tragedy occurred at G Live in Guildford, Surrey, on Saturday morning. Grills is said to be fighting for his life in intensive care at St Georges Hospital in Tooting, London. The sea shanty group were given a £1m recording contract after being discovered by music industry bosses during a pub concert. They have since performed at the Glastonbury Festival and Ealing Studios has also been working on developing a film charting the rise of the a capella group.

UPDATE - sadly Fisherman's Friends singer Trevor Grills died on Monday evening from his head injuries. A tragedy for the close knit group, and of course friends and his family.

Angel gathers global branding

The now independent MAMA & Company, headed up by Dean James, is relaunching the company's Angel Music Group subsidiary as the GlobalGathering Group. The GlobalGathering Group will continue to operate the GlobalGathering, Godskitchen, FutureGods and Ec-lectricity brands and will seek new international expansion in the next two years. James will also be CEO of the GlobalGathering Group, while former Angel Music CFO Gary Turner will become MD of GlobalGathering UK and Paul Hugo becomes MD of GlobalGathering International. MAMA's Head Of Talent Richard McGinnis will also be responsible for talent booking across GlobalGathering Group's events.

Sony reduces losses

The latest quarterly financial report from Japan's Sony Corp show net losses down to 10.8 billion yen (£73 million) for the last quarter of 2012 (Q3), compared to losses of 158 billion yen for the same quarter a year earlier. Sales were also up 6.9% to 1.948 trillion yen.  A slump in the fortunes of the group's traditional cash cows of consumer electronics, and especially in the television set space, has hit the firm hard but restructuring and a sales recovery promoted by a weakening yen appears to have allowed the Group to reduce losses. 


Mumford & Sons, Fun and Black Keys top Grammys

Mumford & Sons topped British success at the 55th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles as their album Babel won Record of the Year - and they were given their award by another Brit pop darling, Adele, who joked that winning the prize means you go on to get "knocked up". The folk band won their second Grammy for Big Easy Express in the Best Long Form Music Video category as well as performing on the night with Sir Elton John. Sir Elton also performed a duet with fellow Brit Ed Sheeran.

New mum Adele took home her ninth Grammy, this time it was for Best Pop Solo Performance for Set Fire to the Rain (Live). Belgian/Australian Gotye won three awards including record of the year for his smash hit Somebody That I Used To Know, featuring New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra. Other big winners were Fun., who won Best New Artist and Song of the Year for We Are Young which featured Janelle Monáe. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys ended up the night's top winner with four trophies, including producer of the year and three rock category victories with band mate Patrick Carney

Kelly Clarkson walked away with Best Pop Vocal Album for Stronger, and Sir Paul McCartney won best traditional pop vocal album for Kisses On The Bottom. Beyonce won best traditional R&B performance, Franck Ocean picked up two Grammys for best Urban Contemporary album and best rap/spoken collaboration, Jay-Z picked up three Grammys in the rap genre including Best Rap Song, Skrillex picked up two Grammys in the Dance categories and Carrie Underwood topped the country genre with Best Country Solo and  Best Country Song.

A tribute to the late reggae legend Bob Marley was performed by Bruno Mars, Sting and Rihanna along with sons Damian and Ziggy Marley. Other stars who performed included Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys with Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake with Jay-Z and Frank Ocean.

Friday, 8 February 2013

HMV shuts up 66 shops

Administrators at HMV have said they will be shutting 66 stores in the UK,  one third  of the chain's 220 British outlets. Nearly 930 staff have had their jobs put at risk.  All 16 Irish stores have already been closed. Over 1 in 5 Brits no longer buy any for of physical carriers of music, relying on streaming and downloads for their music according to figures from the BPI. 

Another 60 jobs at the chain's HQ will also go in the latest round of cuts, adding to the 190 losses announced last week. They include the HMV's most recent CEO Trevor Moore, the former Jessops boss who joined the entertainment retailer last year after his predecessor Simon Fox jumped ship to Trinity Mirror.

Parlophone sold to Warners

Universal has sold EMI's Parlophone label to Warner Music in an estimated £480 million deal. UMG was forced to sell the iconic label by European regulators but presumably said competition regulators will not be too unhappy at the change is ownership as a bigger Warner may have some balancing effect on the duopoly in the music rights space developed by Universal and Sony. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/07/warnewr-music-parlophone-record-deal

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Welsh music dispute heads to Tribunal

The BBC is taking new Welsh language music collection society Eos to the Copyright Tribunal in a row about BBC radio royalties which began back in 2007 when the Welsh songwriters and music publishers were still members of PRS for Music before breaking away. Currently BBC Welsh language programming is denied the use of the 30,000 songs is Eos’s database – previously core to is Welsh services - making it hard for the national broadcaster to meet Welsh language targets – and of course Welsh music isn’t being played on the radio in Wales, meaning Eos songwriters and publishers are not getting paid.   

iTunes hits 25 billion sales

Apple has announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 25 billion songs from the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com), making it the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store. The purchaser of the 25 billionth song, Phillip Lüpke, will receive a €10,000 iTunes Gift Card. The service sells an average of 15,000 songs per minute.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Morrissey's list of ailments prompts US cancellations

Following his recent hospitalisation  with various health complaints including concussion, a bleeding ulcer and Barrett’s oesophagus, all of which resulted in US show cancellations, Morrissey has been advised "on doctors orders" to postpone additional dates on his US tour. He had hoped to resume touring at the Chelsea Ballroom in Las Vegas on the 9th Feb,  but that date has now been pulled along with Phoenix (10 Feb) and Sparks, Nevada (2 Mar) although Morrissey promises he'll still be able to play in El Paso on 12 Feb.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Reg Presley dies aged 71

The Troggs, with Reg Presley top left
Reg Presley, The Trogg's lead singer famed for Wild Thing, With A Girl Like You and Love Is All Around has died aged 71 after a long term battle with cancer. Wet Wet Wet's No 1 cover of Love Is All Around in 1994 allowed Presley to pursue his interest in UFOs and crop circles. Presley only stopped touring last year and he died surrounded by friends and family.

News also came in that Cecil Womack has died aged 65. Cecil was one of five brothers who sang as the Valentinos in the US in the 1960s and went on to have massive success with his wife Linda as Womack & Womack with hits such as Teardrops and Love Wars.

Friday, 1 February 2013

YouTube launches subscription channels

Google owned YouTube is preparing to launch several premium video channels, charging subscribers up to $5 a month to access content. AdAge reports that the company is also considering charging for pay-per-view events, advice shows and content libraries. “We have long maintained that different content requires different types of payment models,” and a Google spokesman told AdAge. “The important thing is that, regardless of the model, our creators succeed on the platform. There are a lot of our content creators that think they would benefit from subscriptions, so we’re looking at that.”