Monday, 25 March 2013

AEG's Wembley deal faces regulator scrutiny

AEG's deal to take over the running of Wembley Arena has been referred to the Competition Commission after an initial investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. Late last year AEG won the rights to manage the Wembley Arena venue, previously held by Live Nation, but concerns were raised because AEG also operates London's other arena venue at The O2 complex, as well as the Hammersmith Apollo.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Kili Live join AIF

Kilimanjaro Live has joined the Association Of Independent Festivals, with its top man Stuart Galbraith joining the trade body's board and bringing Wakestock, Vans Warped Tour and Sonisphere into the independent festival community. Alongside existing members such as Bestival, Glade, Truck, Kendal Calling, Nozstock, End of the Road, Cornbury and Secret Garden Party, a number of other indie festivals have also recently allied with AIF, including Tramlines, In The Woods, Greenbelt, London Summer Jam, Folk On The Water, Brecon Jazz, Larmer Tree, Festibelly, Imaginadium, Open House Festival, Blissfields and SWN.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

SFX snaps up ID&T and Tomorrowland

Robert Sillerman's rapidly expanding EDM business SFX has taken a 75% stake in European dance promoter ID&T, confirmed by the launch of a US edition of  ID&T'S massively successful Tomorrowland festival. The Belgium version of the  dance music festival is already sold out for 2013.  The US version will be called TomorrowWorld and will take place in Atlanta in September. According to the New York Times, the acquisition is worth $97.5 million. Tomorrowland won best major festival at the 2012 Festival Awards Europe.

And advertising and communications group WPP has taken an investment in SFX itself, saying it sees it as a valuable platform for the brands it represents with WPP saying the investment “underlines what we have believed from the start. There is a huge, global, fragmented audience of 16 to 34 year old dance music consumers that is very difficult to reach. In developing our global platform. We will be able to offer brands the opportunity to connect directly through events, festivals, online and mobile media”

YouTube tops 1 billion

YouTube now has a billion viewers a month, says the Google-owned video platform, up from 800 million monthly uniques in October 2011

Death in the museum is off

Napalm Death's planned show at London's V&A museum has been cancelled over fears that the noise generated by the band will "damage the historic fabric" of the V&A's exhibits and the the building itself. V&A staff say the decision was taken "with regret" and "This was due to take place in the Europe Galleries which are currently being refurbished, and a further safety inspection has revealed concerns that the high level of decibels generated by the performance would damage the historic fabric of the building. The V&A is committed to an exciting programme of exhibitions and events but the safety of our visitors and building remains our priority at all times". The V&A is currently hosting a sold out retrospective of David Bowie's career.

Girls Aloud gone for good

After completing a spectacular comeback tour, Girls Aloud have split for good. After finishing the final gig of the Ten Tour in Liverpool a message was put out via their official Twitter page saying  "Dear Alouders, we just want to say from the bottom of our hearts Thank you!! This tour has been an amazing experience and the perfect chance to say thank you for being on this journey with us through a decade. It has far exceeded any of our dreams and we hope we are forever your inspiration and reminder that dreams really do glitter!!"

The five piece all girl band had twenty-two consecutive top twenty singles, including four numbers one. They also put out six albums, reaching the top spot twice.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Bowie Back at No 1

David Bowie has scored his first UK number one album in 20 years - The Next Day, his first new material in nearly a decade, is his first chart topper since 1993's 'Black Tie White Noise', the Official Charts Company said. It's also the UK's fastest selling of the year so far - 'The Next Day' racked up 94,000 sales this week, beating Biffy Clyro's Opposites which sold 71,600 copies in its opening week in January.

AEG face $40 billion Jackson claim

TMZ reports that Katherine Jackson and the children of Michael Jackson are suing AEG Live for a whopping $40 billion, arguing that AEG Live - promoter of Michael Jackson's ill-fated 'This Is It' show - is liable for the singer's death because it hired and managed Dr Conrad Murray, the medic convicted of causing the late king of pop's death through negligent treatment. Having had some claims removed from the suit, AEG counters that Jackson himself chose Murray and was the doctor's day-to-day manager, and therefore it is not liable for his actions.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Guetta cancels after subsidy row

David Guetta has cancelled a concert in Marseilles after it emerged the show was being subsidised to the tune of E400,000 and 70,000 people signed a petition saying it was a waste of public money. 

The high earning Guetta made it clear that the tax payer's money was not a fee,  and was being spent to turn Borely Park in Marseilles into a concert venue.

Friday, 15 March 2013

AEG not for sale!

AEG, the venue operator, sports and tour promoter which has been up for sale since last year, is off the market. The live entertainment company, which runs the O2 in London and part owns the LA Lakers basket ball team will now remain part of the Anschutz company, with its top man Philip Anschutz playing a more active role moving forward. Its thought offers feel at least $1 billion short of the $8-10 million asking price. Meanwhile, in a surprise move, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke will depart the company, with CFO Dan Beckerman taking on most of his responsibilities. 

Boardroom changes at Live Nation

With the announcement that James Dolan, Exec Chairman The Madison Square Garden Company had departed the board of Live Nation following Irving Azoff’s exit at the end of 2012, MSG has sold its Live Nation shares, which amounted to about 2% of the company. 

Live Nation has also announced the appointment of a new Chairman of the board, Greg Maffei, who is also CEO of Liberty Media, the biggest single shareholder in the live music, venue, artist management and ticketing group.

eBay shifts tickets to StubHub

eBay UK has confirmed that it is in the process of shifting the ticket reselling that occurs on its online auction platform over to the UK wing of StubHub, the firm's secondary ticketing service which launched in the UK last year.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pirate Bay human rights appeal fails

Two of the founders of the Pirate Bay have failed in their final appeal against their convictions for copyright infringement in the Swedish criminal courts, with the European Court of Human Rights finding that Sweden had rightly convicted the pair. 

Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde were sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Stockholm District Court in April 2009 for crimes against the Copyright Act. Together with two other defendants they were also found liable for damages of approximately K30 million (US$4.3 million). Their prison sentences were reduced in November 2010 by the Svea Court of Appeal, but the joint damages were increased by that court to K46 million (US6.8 million). The Swedish Supreme Court denied them an appeal hearing in February 2012.  Neij and Sunde complained that their convictions infringed their freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention in Human Rights but The seven judge court unanimously rejected the application as "manifestly ill-founded"

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Retitling of songs means millions missing in unreported artist royalties

A new report, the State of the Music Licensing Industry: 2013” provides evidence that shows an increasingly problematic music licensing landscape for recording artists, labels and publishers and highlights that whilst the music licensing industry continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar segment of the global music industry, there remains some unhealthy practices, most notably the prolific practice of retitling. Retitling is where a music licensing company re-registers a song under a different title with a performing rights organization (PRO), allowing for the royalties to be separately tracked when that song is licensed for a specific third party use. This allows the music licensing company to control and earn a significant share of the royalties collected. The report states that 40% of music licensing companies retitle works for a share in royalties garnered from “sync” placements. “The practice of retitling is considered unhealthy for artists and for the music licensing industry. It can be very problematic, as one piece of music with many titles is confusing and can lead to multiple parties claiming ownership of the same work and ultimately artists not receiving royalties owed, if at all” said Winston Giles, CEO and founder of the newly set up Music Licensing Directory which produced the report.

Although the report concludes that  the practice of retitling may soon come to an end as “digital fingerprinting” provides more effective and accurate data, Giles adds  “Some royalty collection societies have begun the implementation of digital fingerprinting, however there remains no industry standard and the adaptation away from archaic cue sheets to the new technology has been very slow” adding “There are suggestions from within the industry from companies like Tunesat, who claim that up to 80% of songs are not reported properly. When you consider that in the USA the collection societies collect over 2 Billion dollars annually - there is potentially a lot of money owed to artists going missing.”

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Morrissey, Bieber and Rihanna all cancel

Morrissey has been forced to cancel more shows after being hospitalised again, this time with "double pneumonia" - pneumonia in both lungs. This follows another hospital visit for the singer earlier this year for a bleeding ulcer, concussion and a throat condition. The ilness has forced the cancellation of the first day of the the Vive Latino festival in Mexico which the ailing singer was meant to be headlining
And after an unexplained two hour  late running show at the O2, terrible press, collapse at a show and self diagnosed hospitalisation and then a fight with paparazzo in the UK, Justin Bieber has now cancelled a show in Portugal:  Although the 19-year-old performed on Monday night at Lisbon's Pavilhão Atlântico, Tuesday's gig has been called off owing to "unforeseen circumstances". 

And a laryngitis and flu-struck Rihanna has cancelled two dates on her US-based 'Diamonds' tour. Promoter Live Nation released a statement saying that the R&B star is "still recovering" from previously revealed ill health. The shows will be re-scheduled.

Glittering "Arthurs" top off another sell out ILMC

A breakfast meeting with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and packed 'Dragons Den' meetings with  live music industry legends Thomas Johansson, Leon Raemakers, Carl Leighton-Pope and Harvey Goldsmith were highlights of another sell out ILMC in 2013, with other panels focussing on new technology, festivals, the Russian market and EDM. The ILMC weekend kicked off with the ILMC Production Meeting and played host to the Green Events & Innovations Conference, as well as important meetings for the Concert Promoters Association, Yourope (the European festivals association), The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), The European Arenas Association (EAA) and the International Jazz Festival Organisation (IJFO)

And it was was top and and tails at the 'roaring 20s' themed ILMC Gala Dinner this year, held in the rather grand riverside Ballroom at London's Savoy Hotel. Hosted by Ben Challis, guests at the International Live Music Awards - or "Arthurs" - were treated to a marvellous night and the winners are .....

First Venue to Come Into Your Head:  The Royal Albert Hall (UK)

Services Above And Beyond: EPS

Liggers Favourite Festival: Rock Werchter

The Golden Ticket: The Ticket Factory

Most Professional Professional: Gillian Park (MGR, UK)

The People's Assistant: Charlie Renton (Primary Talent, UK)

Tomorrows New Boss: Oliver Hoppe (Wizard, DE)

Second Least Offensive Agent: Emma Banks (CAA, UK)

The Promoter's Promoter: Folkert Koopmans (SKP Scorpio, DE)

The ILMC Bottle Award: Ed Bicknell (Damage Management, UK)

Ed Bicknell and Herman Schueremans

Photos (c) 2013 ILMC

Festicket raises $680,000 for expansion

Hypebot reports that Festicket, the UK website for music festival travel packages, has raised $680,000 in a new round of funding. Festicket says the funds will be utilised to further build the platform and increase the range of products that it can offer, boost sales and marketing and speed up its plans for European growth. The company takes a 20% commission fee on all packages, which include ticket, transportation and accommodations. 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Florence goes to WME

Florence Welch (Florence & The Machine) has signed up with agents William Morris Endeavour for North America, and in "all other areas" elsewhere in the world. CAA will continue to represent Welch for personal appearances outside North America.

Power back on the Farm

Vince Power confirmed that the Hop Farm festival will return this summer. The previous company that ran the event, Kent Festivals Ltd, collapsed when its parent company, Power's Music Festivals plc went bust last year, but Power again owns the rights to stage the Hop Farm event, and will announce a line-up for a 2013 programme soon. Power had also bought back the rights to Spain's Benicassim festival from the short lived Music Festivals plc business.  Local newspaper Kent On Sunday published a story claiming that the Hop Farm owed £4.8 million when Music Festivals plc went under, and listed the debts owed by the company that included £100,000 owed to Peter Gabriel, £46,000 owed to Suede and  £22,000 owed to Kent Police.

Streaming news!

Soghu has reached a settlement with the major record labels in in China  who had sued Sogou and its owner over the MP3 search facility it offered, which the labels said was a gateway to illegal content. Under the agreement, the labels will forget past grievances, and Sogou will become a customer, licensing music for a new streaming and download service, which will be seemingly free to the user (and therefore presumably funded by advertising). The deal echoes that reached in 2011 with another once controversial Chinese search engine, Baidu: elsewhere in streaming news, Apple's much and long mooted streaming service is taking longer than the tech giant would like to reach market because of the firm's royalty offer, with the record labels unhappy with Apple’s current royalty plans; And streaming service Pandora has announced that its revenues were up 56% for the financial year ended 31 Jan, thanks mainly to an increase in mobile revenue, though losses were nevertheless up, from $16.1 million to $38.1 million, attributed to rising content costs. Finally on streaming, O2 has launched a massive £7.3 million ad campaign for O2 Tracks, an interesting mobile-based streaming service that went online last month.

Gaga takes on insurers over cancelled Jakarta show

Lady Gaga  is taking legal action against insurers at Lloyds Of London who are refusing to pay out over a cancelled concert that was due to take place in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta last summer – the event was cancelled because of statements made by the Islamic Defenders' Front, a  Muslim extremist group – and fears of violence. Indonesian police had also reportedly expressed concerns about the safety of both Gaga and her fans if protests got out of control. After the gig was cancelled, Gaga's promoters tried to recoup the losses caused by the axed show from their insurers, using clauses in their policy that allowed for compensation if cancellation was caused by "terrorism and/or sabotage or threat thereof". But the insurers have said that the Islamic Defenders' Front's statements were not sufficient to exercise that clause. The singer's management and promoters have now filed for litigation in the Californian courts.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Beats gets $60 million

Beats has secured $60 million in new investment to help develop and launch its new streaming music service, which should go live later this year. The venture, co-founded by Jimmy Iovine is being led by Topspin founder Ian Rogers with creative input from Trent Reznor. It will operate through a separate company, a subsidiary of the headphone-making Beats Electronics firm.

Sony sues Beyonce filesharer

Sony Music is suing a Swedish file-sharer who is accused of leaking  Beyonce's 2011 album '4' before its release. The man, from Gothenburg, is thought to have links to the music industry,and he also faces a criminal prosecution. Repotrts say that Sony is suing for 1.5 million kronor, or $233,000, claiming that the defendant's actions impacted on its marketing strategy and sales revenue and hindered the major's relationship with Beyonce and damaged her reputation

Lamb of God's Blythe found not guilty

Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe  has been found not guilty of manslaughter after the death of a fan. It was alleged he had pushed the 19 year old Daniel Nosek from a stage during a show at the 2000 capacity Abaton club in Prague. facing up to ten years in jail,the presiding judge in the Czech court  ruled Blythe's actions had not constituted a crime. In court an emotional Blythe said: "He was just a boy, I wish he was still here". Blythe served 38 days on remand before being granted bail. The prosecution have said they will appeal the court's decision.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Diminutive pop star Justin Bieber's two hour late on stage arrival at his show at the O2 in London on the 4th March has sparked angry outbursts, after thousands of young fans were forced to leave early. It seems Bieber was due onstage at 20.30 but didn't actually start until 10.22, meaning many fans had to leave, or risk being stranded in East London. Some fans slept rough at the O2. The venue apologised to fans.

Footballer Joey Barton tweeted that Bieber was a 'smack addiction waiting to happen'. Hmmmmmmm.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Greener, smarter, more sustainable – the GO Group credo is becoming more and more important to the European events industry. Festivals from all over the continent take part in the process and we really want to see all the others follow. That’s why GO Group set up this interactive, open and communicative workshop format to stimulate exchange, cooperation and inspiration – between event organizers, suppliers and science.

Now it’s time for the 3rd international GO Group workshop in Paris at the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall of the City of Paris), on April 8 and 9 2013. The workshop is kindly hosted by We Love Green Festival and supported by Azimuth Productions.

Register now at the Bucks New University online store
The third GO Group workshop for Sustainable Festivals and Events will focus on energy & power (day 1) and waste at events (day 2). Presentations, discussion and case studies from leading European festivals will deal with the problems, solutions and good practice.e. The workshop fee is EUR 200 (+VAT, on sale wed Feb 13). Fee includes lunch on both days. Yourope special offer: members get EUR 50 discount for 1 participant.

Program: (subject to change)
Day 1, Mon 08 April 2012
Main topic: Energy & Power incl.
A welcome to the City of Paris
We Love Green Festival – case study
The Power Behind Festivals
Green Music Energy
case studies
group work sessions and more
GO Group dinner in the evening of Mon 08 april (hosted by Yourope – The European Festival Association).

Day 2, Tue 09 April 2012
Main topic: Waste at events incl.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – a diverse topic
Do People Behave Better In A Clean Environment?
Camp site waste & love your tent update
case studies
group work sessions and more

Speakers (amongst others):
Jacob Bilabel, Green Music Initiative, DE
Stephane Harrouch, We Love Green Festival, FRA
Chris Johnson, 
Green Festival Alliance / Julie’s Bicycle / Shambala Festival, UK
Teresa Moore, Bucks New University, UK
Marie Sabot, We Love Green Festival, FRA
Holger Jan Schmidt, GreenEvents Europe Conference, DE & Yourope

Green Events & Innovations - live streaming announced - and Eventbrite join!

The  UK's leading annual summit for sustainable events, the one day Green Events & Innovations conference hosted in its fifth outing at the ILMC on Thursday March 7th, has announced that it will be near  "paper free" for 2013, with the Agenda, and all speakers biographies and all of the conference materials available to delegates to download using a QR code on the event pass, provided by ID&C. The downloadable materials can be found here.

The conference has also confirmed EVENTBRITE as it's main sponsor. EventBrite  empowers event organisers with simple-to-use but powerful tools to manage, promote, and sell out their event.

Finally, Green Events and Innovations will be streamed live for the first time, with streaming services provided by Etherlive, and cameras and crew provided by Pictureworks. Confirmed topics include reducing waste at festivals, sustainable power, managing water use at temporary events, green events in Finland and the 'green ticket' - looking at the carbon impact of ticketing. Confirmed speakers include Dave Newton (WeGotTickets). Holger Jan Schmidt (Green Events Europe), Jo Vidler (Secret Garden Party) and Chris Johnson (Shambala Festival).

The cost to receive the stream is £30.00 (Concessions £20). . For more information and to book a live stream please see here 

Alt-fest launches a second Kickstarter call

Alt Fest is set to make history when it becomes the first festival to not only be funded by its fans but that asks its fans how they want the money raised to be spent to create a festival for the fans by the fans.  Launching today on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, the Alt Fest campaign aims to raise a minimum of £30,000 that will be put towards creating several parts of the festival including the mainstage headline artists.  Every single person who contributes via Kickstarter will then be asked how he or she wants the festival to be developed. Taking place on August 15-17th August 2014 at the beautiful Boughton House in Kettering, Northamptonshire, organisers say "Alt Fest is going to be the UK’s first truly major outdoor festival celebrating alternative culture, art, music and lifestyles."

Having already raised well over £10,000 via their own DIY crowd-funding campaign and people signing up to Alt Fest’s exclusive Dismembership Scheme, Alt Fest has already booked over 30 bands that the fans asked for via polls on the festival’s website and Facebook profile. The next phase of funding will allow fans to contribute financially towards the budget for booking the main stage headline act, increase the attractions at the festival and increase the facilities on-site including more toilets than any other festival in the UK, more showers and custom built changing areas.

Already booked to appear at Alt Fest are Fields of the Nephilim, VNV Nation, Atari Teenage Riot,Covenant, Front 242, Eisbrecher, The March Violets, Suicide Commando, Diary of Dreams, Alec Empire, Die So Fluid among many others.

Friday, 1 March 2013

UK blocks another three bit torrent sites

The BPI won three more web-block injunctions, this time against Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents. Mr Jusice Arnold said that The UK's six main internet service providers - Sky, BT, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media - will have to block their customers from accessing these file-sharing sites. BPI boss Geoff Taylor said "blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow and labels can continue to sign and develop new talent", but the Open Rights Group said widespread web-blocking would "encourage new forms of distributed infringement" and that "the BPI should be mindful that their tactics may have the opposite effect to their intention, by legitimising and promoting resistance 


Kevin Ayers
Kevin Ayers, co-founder of psych-rock pioneers Soft Machine, has died at his home in France. He was 68.

From the classical world come the sad news that the acclaimed violinist Peter Mountain has died. Peter played with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the  English Chamber Orchestra and was a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. he was 89. And distinguished concert pianist Katherina Wolpe has died, She was 81 and her long career covered both classical and avant garde musical repertoire.

Former temptations singer Richard Street has died, aged 70. Doctors found a blood clot in his lung last Friday after he complained of back pain and breathing difficulties. His death comes just days after another former member of The Temptations, Damon Harris

Australian DJ Adrian Thomas, aka Ajax, was killed in a traffic accident in Melbourne last week, aged 41.  Ajax was also a founder of the Bang Gang DJs and in 2008 he launched his own label Sweat It Out Records, which signed the likes of Indian Summer, Loot & Plunder and Yolanda Be Cool.

Live Nation losses widen

Live Nation year end financial results show that losses for the year were up, from $83 million to $163.2 million. Declines in the European market and from artist management related revenues contributed to the widening losses - as well as costs related to the departure of Frontline founder Irving Azoff - with $5.5 million in costs directly relating to his exiting and another $62.7 million in write-downs on the talent division he led. CEO Michael Rapino remained upbeat, saying an overhaul of the company's Ticketmaster platform, an expanded festivals business and new ventures in Asia and Latin America provided great opportunities for future growth.