Monday, 29 April 2013

Morrissey should crowdsource says Palmer

After a recent interview where Morrissey was bemoaning the fact that labels were no longer interested in releasing his new material, Amanda Palmer has written an open letter urging the singer to follow her lead and to finance a record release via a Kickstarter-style crowdsourcing campaign, advising the somewhat ill of late misery that record labels are no longer needed and that "You have some of the most fanatical fans in the world; caring and devoted people from countries far and wide who would be really, really happy to support you at levels far beyond $5 just to have the songs in their ears. You're possibly one of the best candidates on the planet to use crowdfunding, because of who you are and what you mean".

Friday, 26 April 2013

ATP call time on holiday camp fun

All Tomorrow's Parties is to slimline its large-scale live activities, it's been revealed. The promotions co has billed a pair of 'End Of An Era' events featuring Television and Loop as its last ever 'holiday camp festivals', meaning its city-based I'll Be Your Mirror festivals will become the firm's core business.

Roger the Mascot win Croatian trip

Mansfield band Roger the Mascot have won the All About The Music competition to find a UK band to play at Croatia’s InMusic Festival. The four piece fought off stiff competition from Birmingham’s Cold Fields, Day Release from Coventry, Sheffield’s Twin Bears and London based The Strangers to win the trip in June. Other acts appearing on the night at the Assembly Rooms in Leamington Spa were exciting new Croatian band Achromatic Attic and local heroes The Antics, with the shebang sponsored by EU Fest and Band Crusade. InMusic, held at Lake Jarun in Zagreb is headlined by the Arctic Monkeys, Basement Jaxx, Bloc Party, Editors and Iggy & The Stooges in 2013.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, who designed album artwork for many bands from the late 60s up to the present day including Pink Floyd's classic Dark Side of The Moon has died aged 69. He had been suffering from cancer.

Folk singer Richie Havens, assured a place in music history as the opening act at the original Woodstock festival, has died of a heart attack aged 72

Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer with Australian band Divinyls, probably best known in the UK for their 1991 hit 'I Touch Myself', has died after losing a battle with breast cancer.

Chi Cheng, bassist with Deftones, has died nearly four and half years after a car accident left him in a semi-conscious state. You can see a beautiful letter from his mother here

A&R executive Jo McCormack who worked at Virgin  and then on the 'Pop Idol' TV franchise has died at the Wellington Hospital in London, aged 50. She had been suffering from cancer. Will Young and Simon Fuller and her family all expressed their deep sadness at her passing at such a young age, after the great success in her life.

Blues guitarist Jimmy Dawkins, nicknamed 'fast fingers' who was very popular on te European blues festival circuit has died aged 76. His albums included Fast Fingers and All For Business.

And finally we are sad to have to report the death of Edwin Shirley, the founder of Edwin Shirley Trucking. He died on April 16th while undergoing investigative surgery as part of his ongoing cancer treatment. He will be missed

US courts take a close look at "safe harbor"

US District Judge Louis Stanton has stood by his original decision in the 2007 billion-dollar lawsuit brought by entertainment giant Viacom accusing Google-owned website YouTube of knowingly profiting from pirated video clips. The suit was dismissed in June 2010 by Judge Stanton on the grounds that YouTube was protected against Viacom's claims by 'safe harbor' provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Judge Stanton confirmed his original decision in the case after being instructed by the The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to take another look saying "There is no evidence YouTube induced its users to submit infringing videos, provided users with detailed instructions about what content to upload or edited their content, prescreened submissions for quality, steered users to infringing videos or otherwise interacted with infringing users to a point where it might be said to have participated in their infringing activity."  Viacom have indicated a further appeal.

And in a case involving the controversial website Grooveshark, a New York state appeals court has held that the safe harbor defence found in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act does not apply to pre-1972 recordings. a panel of five judges in the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals found in favor of Universal Music Group (UMG) in its copyright suit against Grooveshark, reversing a lower state court decision favoring Escape Media Group Inc., the operators of Grooveshark. The case seems to conflict with the earlier but still recent decision  in Capitol Records v. MP3tunes, where the Manhattan Supreme Court found "no indication in the text of the DMCA that Congress intended to limit the reach of the safe harbors provided by the statute to just post-1972 recordings."

Beyoce bans the smudgers

Beyonce is reportedly banning professional photographers from her entire 'Mrs Carter Show' world tour, which began in Serbia earlier this month. Purportingto be taken from information for media outlets wishing to cover the shows, Facebook page Music Photographers has posted a paragraph of text saying: "There are no photo credentials for this show. Local news outlets, including print and online, will be given a link to download photos from every show. They will need to register to access the photos". Those official photos are apparently all taken by one photographer, Frank Micelotta for Associated Press. The move seemingly stems from  the incident this year in which Buzzfeed posted, and then refused to take down, photographs from Beyonce's Super Bowl performance, which Beyonce’s PR team deemed to be "unflattering".

Thursday, 18 April 2013

PRS for Music restructures

PRS for Music has announced a new plan to restructure the existing business partnership behind the UK music collection society, with the joint boards of PRS and MCPS saying that the moves will enable significant cost saving within MCPS, the society that  represents mechanical rights, while continuing licensing administration, royalty processing and account management for members.  The move comes as MCPS has faced a significant decline in income as the consumer market moved from CDs and DVDs to downloads and streaming, despite collecting £176 million in 2012, out of a total PRS for Music income of £641.8 million.  The key components of the plan agreed include a change in the ownership of the operating company known as PRS for Music and MCPS has agreed to sell its shares to PRS and PRS, as owner of PRS for Music, will deliver royalty processing services to MCPS members under a service agreement.

Amazon download market share up to 22%

A new NPD Group report shows that while Apple iTunes still dominates the digital music download market with 63%, AmazonMP3 continued to increase its market share  to a very healthy 22% of the market. NPD cites the launch of Amazon's own tablets and competitive pricing as factors in the increase. The report also shows that despite a widespread belief that streaming service subscribers and users don’t need to buy music because of streaming options,  streamers are actually much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Spotify Launches in Asia, Mexico and Eastern Europe

Spotify has launched in right new territories :  Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Expansion into Singapore and Hong Kong was first rumoured last August, when the company set up subsidiaries in the two countries. Spotify is now available in 28 countries.

UK album sales up in first quarter of 2013

Combined digital and physical album sales in the UK increased slightly in the first quarter of 2013 according to new figures from the BPI and Official Charts Company. This is the first increase since the final quarter of 2009. Total sales for January to March were 23.3 million, up 1.4% on the same period last year. Download albums accounted for 38.5% of all sales (up 17.8% on last year), with CD sales decreasing by 7.2%. Vinyl sales, meanwhile, were up 78.1% year-on-year.

PRS concludes new commercial radio deal

The UK music publishing sector's collecting society PRS has announced that it has reached a new licensing deal with the commercial radio sector, which will cover the royalties paid by 300 commercial stations for the rights that exist in the songs they play. The new minimum five year deal means stations will continue to pay rights owners a percentage of net revenue and an annual lump sum. The licence covers each station's main output plus online simulcast and catch-up services.

PPL income up 11% on 2011

The UK record industry's collecting society PPL has issued its financial results for 2012, confirming that its earnings increased by 11% year-on-year to £170.8 million. 

Public performance income was up 17% to £64.8 million and international income rose 13% to £36.6 million; broadcasting and online income was up 5% to £69.4 million. The report also revealed a small decrease in cost-to-income ratio, from 14.4%, compared to 14.9% in 2011.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Viagogo publishes top 10 'scammed' UK shows

A new report from secondary ticketing website Viagogo, titled Scam Nation 2013, says that up to 4.7 million people paid for non-existent tickets last year, of which about a quarter probably never got their money back with fraudsters pocketing £50 million. The new report, based on a survey of 2000 consumers and some estimates about average ticket prices, echoes that issued by the London Metropolitan Police in February which also raised concerns about the growth in ticket fraud in the internet age who p/ut the loss to consumers at £40 million. Of the 4.7 million tickets fraudulently sold in 2012, Viagogo says music events accounted for the highest number, followed by comedy, theatre, football and rugby in that order. The report also reckons in the region of 240,000 fake tickets for Olympic events were sold. 

The top 10 scammed events were:
1. Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto Tour
2. Rolling Stones - 50th Anniversary Tour
3. One Direction - Take Me Home Tour
4. V Festival 2012
5. Jay Z and Kanye West - Watch The Throne Tour
6. Bruce Springsteen UK Tour
7. Stone Roses - Reunion Tour
8. Madonna - MDNA Tour
9. Michael McIntyre - Showtime! Tour
10. One Man Two Guvnors

IFPI report confirms modest growth in recorded music revenues

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has published its annual Recording Industry In Numbers report for 2013. The global recorded music industry saw its revenues increase very slightly by 0.2% in 2012, the first increase since 1999. Growth in digital revenues, including those from the rapidly expanding subscription and streaming service domain, coupled with boosted income from a number of emerging markets, combined to help compensate for the continued decline in physical product sales. Digital now accounts for 35% of the wider record industry's global trade revenues, and of this paid for downloads account for around 80% - although in Europe subscription and streaming are now bringing in a third of digital income. Physical products bring in 57% of the money worldwide. The remaining income is from other licensing-based revenue streams, chiefly performance (PPL) rights, which now account for 6% of income overall. Sync licensing saw modest growth in 2012.

Brazil, India and Mexico have all seen market growth since 2008 (of 24%, 42% and 17% respectively). The US, Japan, Germany, UK and France remain the biggest markets in the world (in that order).

Commenting on the Report, IFPI boss Frances Moore said "This is a must-read publication for anyone following the global music industry. It is packed with the latest data and analysis, broken down by formats, revenue streams, regions and countries. Recording Industry in Numbers also reveals the sheer diversity of the modern music business. Notable highlights in this year's edition are the increasing role of subscription services and the growing importance of emerging markets in driving the industry's recovery".

Love Live looks for £10 million funding

Love Live is looking to raise £10 million to fund its business - streaming live concerts. The company, based in Shoreditch, London, expects to report its first profit this year and works with companies including Ford and BT. CEO Richard Cohen says the company has streamed pay per view concerts by Madonna, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Rhumble in the trade mark jungle

It seems that Ant and Dec's "Lets Get Ready To Rhumble", the UK's new number one, after selling 84,000 downloads in a week after the pair resurrected their teenage years hit in their ITV Saturday night show "Saturday Night TakeAway" was forced into the unusual spelling of its name because of a pre-existing trade mark owned by US sports TV presenter Michael Buffer. The two sides reached a confidential settlement when the track was first released in 1994. Ant and Dec are donating all of their profits from the single to children's charity Childline.

Earl Spencer named in RAH ticketing row

Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, has been named in the Times for 'touting' tickets in his debenture box at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets in his twelve seat box for the upcoming 3A promoted Eric Clapton concerts are being sold on Viagogo for £315 - the face value is £95. The tickets are outside of promoter's control and the position on re-selling tickets in boxes is complicated - debenture sellers can re-sell tickets they do not want to use, but as a charity the Royal Albert Hall has been warned that excessive profiteering may challenge it's charitable status. Sharon Hogson MP called for debenture holders to prevent the sale of tickets "above face value". 

2,600 jobs saved in HMV UK rescue deal

Administrators Deloitte have confirmed  that HMV UK has been sold to Hilco, the restructuring company that already owns HMV Canada, and which will now take the British business out of administration. Hilco will take over 140 HMV stores, including the Fopp network, in a deal thought to be worth £50 million. The move will save 2,600 jobs at the UK's only remaining high street CD, games and DVD retailer. A small number of the flagging retailer's shops that have already been closed during the administration will reopen but over 70 others will shut with the loss, of 1,500 jobs. The chain owed £347 million when it failed, including £237 million to unsecured creditors who will remain unpaid. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Metal Hammer moves home

The publisher Future has sold it's catalogue of music magazines to Team Rock. The £10.2 million sale includes Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, AOR and Blues. Future pans to concentrate on digital expansion.  

Team Rock, headed by former GMG Radio chief executive John Myers, and Billy Anderson, will launch a digital radio station in May and is also likely to be a candidate to buy another rock station, Real XS, in Manchester and Scotland

Glastonbury new talent streamed live

The eight finalists of the 2013 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition will all be live on stage on Saturday 6th April at the Pilton Working Men’s Club – and the whole shebang will be streamed live on the Glastonbury Festival website. The eight finalists are: A Band Called WandaBlack BalloonsBridie Jackson & ArbourThe DancersIsaiah DreadsLillian Todd JonesPort Isla and Rhys Lloyd Morgan.

The eight acts were selected by Glastonbury judges from the long list of 120 artists which was compiled by 40 blogger judges, who themselves chose their selections from over 8,000 entries. The winning act will get the chance to play a main stage set at this year's festival.

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis said "This year the standard was particularly high and we had a real struggle to cut it down to only 8 finalists, but we are extremely happy with the finalists and have had them on repeat here in the farmhouse for the last few days. We look forward to the live finals next month. Thank you to everyone who entered - and to our amazing panel of blogger judges for narrowing down the thousands of entrants to such a great long list." Previous finalists include The Subways, Stornoway, Treetop Flyers, Scouting for Girls and folk hero Liz Green.

Photo  Ben Challis 2011

PRS 2012 collections up overall, but live music slips

UK collection society PRS for Music have announced a record £641.8m collected for songwriter, composer and music publisher members in 2012, equating to a 1.7% rise on 2011. A focus on efficiency resulted in a £3.6m reduction in overall costs, equivalent to 4.6%, meaning a total of £571.9m was paid to members (up 2.6% on 2011).

Royalties from online and digital services topped £51m for the first time, up 32.2% on 2011. Royalties from online services now provide a larger income stream for music creators than radio, live or the pub sector, but perhaps unsurprisingly, royalties collected from live music fell by 14.2% to £19.3m as fewer live events occurred in 2012. Collections from CD sales were also down, but overall PRS's 'recorded media' income was up slightly.

International revenue, which has seen considerable growth in the last decade, was down 4% in 2012, a result, in part, of exchange rate losses. However, this income stream is still the biggest single revenue generator for PRS members, bringing in £180.1 million.

2011 figures here:

SIA celebrates 10 years

The UK's Security Industry Authority is celebrating 10 years as the regulator of the UK’s security sector – after it was established as a result of industry lobbying and was created by The Private Security Industry Act 2001. The core purpose was to contribute to the Home Office’s crime reduction agenda: with the vision to reduce criminality and raise standards in the private security industry so that the public is, and feels, safer. The SIA was launched in London on 2 April 2003. Since 2003 the SIA has worked with industry to: license individuals, recognise excellence with the Approved Contractor Scheme, prevent unsuitable people from working in the security industry, and to ensure that those individuals who flout the law are removed from working in licensable roles.  Since its launch the SIA has issued almost one million licences across seven sectors, with over 900,000 licence-linked qualifications awarded.

Jake Bugg and C2C top ETEP's EuroSonic success story

ETEP and CEETEP , The European Talent Exchange Programme and the Central European Talent Exchange Programme, have released their figures from January’s EuroSonic Noorderslag festival and conference which brings together leading European festivals, radio and other media and stimulates them to exchange European artists and repertoire: The new figures detail how many shows featured artists are playing at the participating festivals. ETEP said that it had 133 confirmed shows by 55 artists from 18 different European countries and CEETEP detailed 11 confirmed shows by 9 artists from 8 different European countries. 

Jake Bugg
Topping the list was the UK’s Jake Bugg (UK) with 10 shows, Closely followed by the European Border Breakers winner C2C (France) with 7 shows. Other successful bands included SKIP&DIE (NL) 7, Kodaline (IE) 6, Efterklang (DK) 6, Palma Violets (UK) 6, AlunaGeorge (UK) 5, Chvrches (UK) 5, Mø  (DK) 5 and Netsky (BE) 5. Topping the CEETEP figures were Djaikovski (MK), Shutka Roma Rap (MK) , Afterphurikane (SK), Grand Mexican Warlock (HU), Très.B (PL) and Vlasta Popić (HR). Organisers also welcomed a number of new member festivals including  Winterthurer Musikfestwochen (CH), Les 3 éléphants (FR), Best Kept Secret Festival (NL) and Galapagai (LT).

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

LeeFest kickstarts fundraising

Independent UK festival LeeFest, winner of AIM's 'Golden Wellie' award last year, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise £50,000 to help grow the annual event, which began as a party in Lee Denny's back garden in Bromley in 2006. Various options are available for potential investors, including a seat on the event's 'campfire cabinet', that helps make creative decisions about the festival: Tickets, t-shirts, dinner with Denny and the option to have the LeeFest team organise a festival in your own back garden are amongst the other things on offer.

 Alt-fest's similar Kickstarter funding campaign raised £61,672, over double what was needed - the event's team had originally asked for £30,000.

Muse ‘concept copy’ claim thrown out

A New York judge has thrown out a lawsuit that targeted Warner Music over the 2009 Muse album 'The Resistance' in a case brought by American songwriter Charles Bollfrass who claimed that the last three tracks on that album, a trilogy under the title of 'Exogenesis', were copied from a concept he had devised in 2005 for a rock opera of the same name. Bollfrass had said he had contacted Muse but the band called the claims "complete nonsense", and denied having previous knowledge of Bollfrass or his 2005 project. The court ruled that the 'plot' was too abstract to constitute any sort of infringement of the songwriter's rock opera screenplay, even if the band had been previously exposed to the claimant's work.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Horseman joins Coda

London-based booking agency Coda has announced the appointment of Claire Horseman as their new Managing Director. Claire has a primarily record industry background, although for the last two years she has worked as a music business consultant.

Tokyo Rocks crumbles

A new Japanese festival called Tokyo Rocks has been cancelled just over a month before its scheduled dates.  The event was being staged by a local promoter called Takashi Yano, but won worldwide attention thanks to the involvement of Alan McGee who put together a line-up which included Creation alumni Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, alongside other Western acts like Blur, Carl Barat and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Re-digi lose US copyright case

The future of Re-digi, the online retailer of ‘used’ music  downloads is under threat after a federal judge ruled that the re-sale of previously owned MP3 files was not covered by the ‘first sale’ doctrine. In a case brought by  Capitol Records, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan said the doctrine did not apply to digital goods 


Peter Banks, guitarist and founder member of Yes who played on both Yes (1969) and Time and a Word (1970)  has died aged 65.  Legendary Jazzman and trumpeter Kenny Ball has died aged 82. Jason Molina, frontman of both Magnolia Electric Co and Songs has died. He was 39 and Molina died of natural causes, though his record label's website noted the detrimental effects alcoholism had had on him in recent years.

American songwriter and producer Deke Richards  has died aged 68. He had been suffering with oesophageal cancer. And Veteran record producer Phil Ramone has passed on, having been hospitalised in late February with an aortic aneurysm, his family have confirmed. He was 79.

Johnny Borrell has said Razorlight will be no more after an April 3rd show in Paris and My Chemical Romance have split after 12 years. My Chemical Romance have also split, saying "Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing. We've gotten to go places we never knew we would. We've been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We've shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure."