Monday, 24 June 2013

AXS TV to screen British Summer Time

AXS TV, the US TV channel owned AEG, talent agency CAA, Ryan Seacrest and Mark Cuban's HDNet, will broadcast coverage of AEG’s British Summer Time concerts that take place in London's Hyde Park next month. The Barclaycard-sponsored event includes various concerts between 5-14 July, with Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Lionel Richie and Jennifer Lopez all set to play. AXS TV's broadcasts will air on American cable networks on 13 and 14 July.

Sled Island, Love & Peace both cancelled

The Sled Island Festival in Calgary has been cancelled mid way through after severe flooding in the Canadian city. A note posted on the event's website says "in light of the current emergency situation and in line with our commitment to the safety of festival goers and the citizens of Calgary, all remaining Sled Island Festival events are cancelled”.

Sweden’s 40,000 capacity Love & Peace Festival has been cancelled after poor ticket sales. The annual end of June event, due to be headlined by Depeche Mode , Pet Shop Boys, Queens of the Stone Age and Iggy Pop had sold just 9,000 tickets. It is understood the organising company is in administration. 

The Isle of Man Festival which would have featured Johnny Marr and Primal Scream has also been cancelled, again because of poor ticket sales. The event was scheduled to take place on 6 July at Nobles Park and the line up also included Paloma Faith, Wretch 32 and Laura Mvula.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Revolving Door

Andria Vidler will leave the Parlophone Label Group once its sale to Warner Music is completed later this year.

Adele, P J Harvey and Aled Jones were all made Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday honours. Also becoming MBEs in the Queen's birthday honours were Attitude Is Everything's Suzanne Bull, soundLINCS' Nicola Heyes, the Montgomery Holloway Music Trust's Laurie Holloway, and the EMI Music Sound Foundation's Margaret Orr along with Carolyn Date of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Timothy Evans from Only Men Aloud, Martin Brophy from Sing Out and Various Voices London, and Brent Holder from the CSI Steel Band Trust. Meanwhile OBEs went to Wigmore Hall Director John Gilhooly, Opera North General Director Richard Mantle, and opera singer Alan Opie. Songwriter and Dramatico chief Mike Batt was presented with the Royal Victorian Order. 

Warner Music Group announced on Friday that it had promoted Stu Bergen to the position of President, International of Warner Recorded Music. He moves up from the dual position of Executive Vice President International and Head of Global Marketing

Sony Music UK yesterday announced the promotion of Richard Connell, previously head of the central marketing division at the major, to the role of MD of Associated Labels. In his new job, Connell will oversee many of the smaller labels that sit under the Sony Music UK banner - ie outside the Columbia, RCA and Syco trinity - including Epic UK, Phonogenic, Relentless, Search & Destroy, Ultra and Xenomania.

Venues troubled in East End

The Macbeth
Two venues in East London are under threat of permanent closure. The nightclub East Village, has already been temporarily shut down pending a police investigation whilst The Macbeth, is fighting a planning application to build a residential block directly behind it.

A notice posted outside East Village states that its licence has been revoked by Hackney Council, pending a review within four weeks, due to suspicions that two men involved with the venue are "connected to serious crime".  Two men were arrested under the Proceeds of Crime Act following a joint operation by the Hackney Metropolitan Police's Money Laundering Team and Licensing Unit.

Meanwhile, the nearby Macbeth pub has launched a petition against a planning application that could see its live music nights curbed, or possibly ended altogether.

AEG and Live Nation announce new projects

AEG has announced plans to build a 20,000 seat arena venue in Las Vegas in partnership with MGM Resorts

And Live Nation has confirmed another move to expand its global operations by acquiring a majority stake in BDG Music Group, the biggest concert promoter (according to Live Nation) in the Baltic region. The Lithuania-based company will continue to be run by its existing management team, but will rebrand as Live Nation Baltics.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Glastonbury Weather Watch



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sabbath Back!

Black Sabbath have reclaimed the number 1 spot in the UK albums chart - 43 years after their last No 1 - a new record. Berating modern day 'manufactured bullshit', frontman Ozzy Osbourne put the bands longevity down to the knowing its craft. 

The new album, 13, sold 13,000 copies more than Beady Eye's new release, BE, in at No 2. 

The band also picked up two gongs at the Metal Hammer Golden God Awards

Best UK Band: Black Sabbath
Best International Band: Stone Sour
Best Live Band: Gojira
Best New Band: Bleed From Within
Best Underground Band: The Algorithm
Breakthrough Artist: Asking Alexandria
Best Album: Black Sabbath - 13
Best Song: Coheed And Cambria - Dark Side Of Me
Best Video: Avenged Sevenfold - Carry On
Best Event: Heavy Metal Census
Dimebag Darrell 'Shredder': Eric Calderone
Metal As Fuck: Burgerkill
Riff Lord: Scott Gorham
Spirit Of Hammer: Brian Blessed
Inspiration: Paradise Lost
Legend: Doro
Icons: Alice In Chains
The Golden God: Motörhead

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mumfords cancel again

Mumford and Sons have had to cancel more appearances on their current US tour to give bassist Ted Dwane time to recover from brain surgery: the band were forced to cancel the remainder of their dates last week, including a headline appearance at the Bonnaroo festival on Saturday. They headline the Pyramid Stage on the final night of Glastonbury on the 30th June.

Picture: Cass Williams (c) 2011

Thursday, 13 June 2013


It is with great personal sadness that I heard of the death of Gavin Taylor, an outstanding director in the world of live music TV, and a man I was honoured to call a friend. Gavin Taylor was one of the few directors who could capture both the intimacy and the theatrical power of the world's greatest performers live on stage. He started his career as a cameraman with the fledgling Tyne Tees Television, and ultimately Gavin established a reputation for directing high quality offerings like "Alright Now" for the ITV network and "Saturday Shakeup" for the ITV regions. By 1982 Gavin Taylor was helming Channel 4's anarchic music flagship programme "THE TUBE", directing every major solo and band act live on a Friday night for 5 years - beginning with The Jam on November 5 1982 and ending with Duran Duran in the final 1987 transmission.  Whether it was PIL, Tina Turner, Cameo, or Twisted Sister, Gavin was a true professional.

His friend Chris Phipps writes: It was U2 live at Red Rocks in 1983 that put Taylor’s name in the music history books and Gavin was the go to choice  for the world's top acts and broadcasters. His visual flair is epitomised in the definitive Queen Live at Wembley 86 and Gavin enjoyed an especially creative relationship with Queen. Gavin filmed  Eric Clapton and Friends, as well as gigs by everyone from  Michael Jackson to Bob Dylan to Dire Straits . Gavin's talents also ranged beyond classic rock – his credits included the Princes Trust Rock Galas,  Les Miserables, The Royal Variety Performance, the first live coverage of Glastonbury on Channel 4 in 1994 and 1995, and many Montreux Jazz  Festival performances . Gavin pioneered a unique style where he dispensed with vision mixers and literally cut the images live himself, co-ordinating up to 18 cameras , most memorably for  Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballet in Barcelona in 1992. Gavin Taylor - director and colleague extraordinaire. Gavin was 72 and will be so missed by his wife Margaret, his two daughters, friends, family, and many many of us in music and television.

Live Nation prevail in battle with CTS

Live Nation Entertainment, Inc has reported that it has prevailed in its arbitration against Germany-based CTS Eventim AG. . The arbitration proceedings related to the former ticketing software license agreement between the two companies, and had been pending with the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce since its initiation by CTS in April 2010. The decision removes an estimated $210 million potential  charge for Live Nation: The company terminated a 10-year contract with CTS in 2010 that covered ticketing systems in the U.S., Canada and some European countries. Live Nation, also the world’s biggest concert promoter, saying CTS failed to deliver a “world-class ticketing system,” according to a company regulatory filing. The arbitrator ruled that the company validly terminated its ticketing software license agreement with CTS in June 2010, and therefore has no liability to CTS. "We are very pleased with, but not surprised by, today's ruling. The arbitrator's final decision vindicates Live Nation's steadfast position that we justifiably terminated our contract with CTS," said Michael Rapino, president and chief executive officer of Live Nation Entertainment. Whether CTS take the matter further remains to be seen. Shares Live Nation Entertainment Inc. rose 17 percent to $16.17 at the close in New York, the most since March 2009. Including today’s gain, the stock has climbed 74 percent this year.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

PRS for Music presents Women in Music

PRS for Music has announced it will present ‘Women in Music’ at the Red Bull Studios in London Bridge On Wednesday, 19 June to debate the role of gender within the industryWomen have dominated the music charts for the past few years but PRS for Music’s membership of over 95,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers is only 13 percent female. The latest statistics from Creative & Cultural Skills? also show that the divide across all music industry related jobs is 67.8 percent male to 32.2 percent female.

The round table is moderated by Sophie Heawood, VICE columnist and writer for The Times, Guardian, Independent and NME. The other names confirmed are:
  • Gemma Cairney (presenter, BBC Radio 1)
  • Mira Calix (composer, Warp Records)
  • Deborah Coughlin (composer and director, Gaggle Choir)
  • Elizabeth Sankey (singer/songwriter Summer Camp)
  • Kate Hutchinson (music writer for Guardian Guide, Q, Time Out and Mixmag)
  • Laura Martin (director, Real Life PR, ex Anorak Director)
  • Emily Cooper (director Everything Counts PR, ex-Anorak director)
  • Kate Riding (co-founder Bang On PR)
  • Angie Somerside (general manager, Red Bull Records)
  • Katrina Larkin (co-founder The Big Chill)
Paulette Long, PRS for Music Foundation Vice Chair, commented: “I know as a music publisher how much the industry is evolving but there is still an inequality which doesn’t quite add up. So many women are developing big talent or writing enormous worldwide hits but PRS for Music research still shows a vast divide. We can work together to help women into the industry and this event is a perfect place to start, especially given the collective wisdom and experience of those involved.”

PRS for Music presents Women in Music will run from 10am – 2pm, focusing on songwriting, production, live music, festivals and music journalism. Lunch will be provided and guests will be given an opportunity to look around the Red Bull studios. to attend  please email: olivia.chapman@prsformusic.

Pandora goes 'old skool' to reduce royalties

Pandora, the US based digital innovator which has spearheaded the development of online radio services stateside and led the 'interactive radio' side of the expanding streaming music market, has bought a good old fashioned FM radio station in South Dakota. The acquisition of KXMZ-FM in Rapid City gives Pandora a seat at the table of the Radio Music Licensing Committee and seemingly would enable it to reduce the royalties it pays to the American music publishers via the music collecting societies, in particular ASCAP, in an escalating row over the 'favourable' treatment given to the major US terrestrial broadcasters such as Clear Channel.

In parallel news,  at the World Creators Summit in Washington, DC, the US Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, confirmed that she's looking to "provide a full public performance right for sound recordings" in the USA in a move which would see terrestrial radio stations pay to use sound recordings - internet and satellite stations already do -  which will cheer record labels and recording artistes.  

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Dot Tickets Passes Critical Watchdog Evaluation

The ILMC website reports that  Dot Tickets Organisation has become the first independent firm to pass internet watchdog ICANN’s evaluation criteria, taking it a step closer to revolutionising online ticket sales and protecting purchasers.

The UK-based company last year became one of thousands of applicants in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) process to create hundreds of new internet addresses alongside .com. Dot Tickets is aiming to secure the “.tickets” top level domain (TLD), which it hopes it can use to eradicate online ticket fraud for the live music industry and beyond. The Dot Tickets Organisation proposes that new “.tickets” domain names should only be available to vetted ticket websites which meet industry agreed standards of consumer protection to give peace of mind when purchasing tickets.

Following the initial application period, each of the companies seeking to operate a new TLD has been reviewed extensively, including the five companies that applied to operate the registry for the “.tickets” TLD. Their business models, technical capability and corporate structures have been subject to extreme scrutiny by the teams of consultants from KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, appointed by ICANN to ensure that the companies participating are capable of operating to the highest standards in order to service the security and stability that ICANN requires.

HMV back in Eire

HMV will return to the high street in Ireland: The entertainment retailer is reportedly in the process of recruiting about 100 staff ahead of the reopening of three of its Irish stores, two in Dublin and one in Limerick.

iTunes Radio launched

Having secured agreements with all three major labels, Sony, Warners and Universal, Apple has announced it is launching its long awaited streaming music service at its World Wide Developers Conference yesterday. The service will be called iTunes Radio (iRadio is already used by another company) and will provide users with a personalised stream of music but only limited on-demand functionality. It will be free to use, funded by advertising, though subscribers to Apple's premium digital locker service iTunes Match will be able to access an ad-free version. Agreements with indie labels are expected to follow.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Live Nation charged over fatal stage collapse

CMU Daily reports that the Ministry Of Labour in Ontario is pursuing charges against three companies and one individual in relation to the stage collapse that occurred ahead of a Radiohead show in Toronto last June which resulted in the tragic death of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson. Mr Johnson was killed after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage before any audience members had been admitted. Live Nation, and the company and its Ontario subsidiary both face four charges under the Canadian province's Occupational Health And Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc has also been charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while engineer Dominic Cugliari faces one charge. Live Nation have denied the charges.

In separate news, Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe has again beenheld not guilty of causing the death of a fan in 2010. The appeals court in the Czech Republic upheld an earlier ruling.


Playground organisers go into administration

London's Playground Festival has been cancelled after poor ticket sales - with the festival's seven year-old promoter Mediaground Ltd going into administration.

Are micropayments the future for digital music?

The boss of digital music company, Psonar, has heralded a payment system based on micropayments as the futire of streaming for many customers. Psonar has been trialling a pay-as-you-go system, where users pay a tiny sum every time they stream a track. Martin Rigby, told CMU: "The vast majority (something like 93%) of the world's population have no access to debit or credit cards so micropayments via mobile are the obvious way to pay for many digital goods and services (and even some physical ones) online. This also applies to a sizeable minority of consumers in the developed world. In the way that pre-pay revolutionised access to mobile, micropayments can revolutionise access to online products and services" adding that 
subscription streaming was a great product - but only for relatively wealthy music fans who want to listen to 60 hours music or more on a subscription service - and at £120/$120 per year, unaffordable for the majority of people worldwide, both in the developed and developing worlds. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Isle of Wight looks beyond rain

The Isle of Wight Festival has stepped up its weather defences in light of the floods that caused major problems in 2012, turning car parks into quagmire and leading to log-jammed local roads. Organiser John Giddings told the NME "I've expanded the car parks and created some proper roads into the entrances and exits so I can never have a repeat of what happened last year, where it was so wet the car park entrances collapsed" adding that in 2012  "We had a month's worth of rain in 12 hours. People told me it was freak weather, but we have to prepare ourselves [nevertheless]." The Isle of Wight Festival takes place at Seaclose Park from June 14 to 16 headlined by The Stone Roses, Killers and Bon Jovi.

US music industry will grow, fuelled by live

The American music industry is set to grow by about 1% a year through to 2017 according to new predictions from PricewaterhouseCoopers. The predicted growth will be driven by the live sector, with the music rights side of the industry still likely to see some declines overall.
According to the report, PwC analysts say that the US concert business will continue to expand, with a 'compound annual growth rate' of 3%, meaning the sector would be worth in the region of $10 billion a year by 2017. Revenues from digital music will continue to grow despite various signs that the download market may have peaked in the US, and music rights owners could see digital revenues increase 5.1% per year across the board, which would equate to $4.6 billion a year by 2017. There will be an ongoing decline in CD sales, the format now being in "terminal decline", according to the report and physical product would be worth just $1.4 billion by 2017.

Stats from French record industry trade group SNEP showed that recorded music sales were down 6.7% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2013. CD sales were down 7.3% in the quarter, but digital revenues had also dropped, for the first time since such a revenue began, down 5.2%. 

There was some optimistic stats in a new report this week commissioned by Norwegian streaming music firm WiMP, which assessed consumer "willingness to pay" for streaming services such as those operated by WiMP, Deezer and Spotify. The survey, which focused on five Northern European markets, found that on average a third of those surveyed expressed a willingness to pay to access a decent streaming music platform (ranging from 25% in Germany to 48% in Norway), while only a quarter said they'd never consider paying for such a service.

And in the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has hailed the global success of British music as new BPI figures revealed big-selling albums by Adele, Emeli Sandé, Mumford & Sons, One Direction and Ed Sheeran boosted UK artists’ share of album sales globally to 13.3% in 2012, the highest on record.  One Direction smashed records in the USA in 2012, becoming the first UK group to have their debut album enter the US chart at No.1.  Both 1D albums –Up All Night and Take Me Home - made the global year-end top five. Two debut albums, Emeli Sandé’s Our Version Of Events and Ed Sheeran’s +, also featured in the global top 20.  Strong worldwide sales were also achieved by albums from established British acts including Coldplay, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin and Muse. In the USA – the world’s most competitive music market – British music  accounted for 13.7% of artist albums sold in 2012, and UK artists increased their share of the French albums market to 18.3% - the highest since 2003. British bands continued to do well at home, taking a 51.9% albums share, with seven of the top ten selling artist albums of 2012 and the entire top three.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

ABBA said no to a billion dollar reunion

Agnetha Faltskog, one of the original four members of ABBA, has confirmed that the Swedish quartet were offered £1 billion to reform in 2000 by a British-American consortium - but turned the offer down because they felt the 250+ shows in 100 cities was too much.

Kili up for laughs

UK-based promoter Kilimanjaro have announced that it is stepping up its activity in the comedy sector - hiring the former GM of the [PIAS] comedy business, Steve Tilley, who has been part of [PIAS] since 2008. Tilley will become a director and minority shareholder in Kili. The developments come just over a year after the live company's management, led by CEO Stuart Galbraith, bought founding shareholder AEG Live out of the business, taking the firm into independent ownership.  Commenting on its first year as an independent player, Kilimanjaro said in a statement: "Despite the current economic downturn, the company has had an excellent start to this next phase of its development, working with major established artists such as Robbie Williams, The Rolling Stones, Andrea Bocelli, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Donny & Marie Osmond, as well as seeing investment in developing artists begin to bear fruit with the likes of Bastille and The 1975".

O2 appoints StubHub for resales

eBay's secondary ticketing service StubHub has become the official resale platform of London's O2 Arena. Confirming the StubHub/O2 partnership, the London venue's General Manager Rebecca Kane told CMU: "By partnering with StubHub we are working with a resale marketplace that has a proven pedigree in serving fans and providing an innovative service for our customers. Integrating our own ticketing platform means that fans can buy in confidence and enjoy the best in live entertainment at The O2".

Monday, 3 June 2013

Goldsmith blames Glastonbury for lack of Beyonce coverage

Veteran UK promoter Harvey Goldsmith, has blamed the BBC's "obsession" with Glastonbury as the reason why the Beyonce led 'Chime for Change' concert didn't get live TV coverage in the UK, despite Goldsmith saying 1 billion other people watched the concert around the world. The concert, which has already chalked up post show stories of Jennifer Lopez's diva excesses (stemming fro, tweets made by fellow performer John Legend's fiance), also featured Ellie Golding, Florence & The Machine, Jessie J, Mary J Blige, Timbaland, Rita Ora and Jay-Z, who joined his wife for the finale.  Goldsmith told the Daily Mail "The idea behind the concert is to launch a charity which will help millions of women and young girls around the world. In a lot of countries it went out live. In fact in most of them" adding "‘I am disappointed that the BBC did not broadcast the event live. I think all the BBC is interested is in Glastonbury. They have got about five million people working on it. It’s their jolly and everything else gets short shrift."

The concert, produced by a US led team headed up by Kevin Wall, was screen for one hour at 10.50pm on BBC1 as edited highlights, just twenty minutes after the show ended, and the show  included a addresses from Madonna, Desmond Tutu and actress Salma Hayek. A spokesman for BBC1 said it had taken the decision to broadcast only highlights from the concert because the show had commercial sponsors, including Gucci, whose creative director Frida Giannini, co-organised the event.

UK pop bubble bursts, but superstars still dominate global music market

Beyonce - one of the "Team USA" superstars!
Only six countries in the World are net 'exporters' of music - with the USA dominating a list of 23 international superstars which includes Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Lopez, Eminen and Usher - but its Sweden that is the most successful for its size when comparing the size of the country's global music market against global GDP. Sweden comes in at 59% above its share of GDP whist the UK's share is 52% above global GDP share and the USA 33%. The only other three countries on the list are Finland, New Zealand and Canada although the list of superstars includes Shaikira (Colombia), TATU (Russia), Nelly Furtatdo (Canada), Lars Ketchup (Spain), Kylie Minogue (Australia) and Shaggy (Jamaica). The UK's only two superstar entrants are Dido and Robbie Williams. The data comes from a study by Joel Waldfogel and Fernando Ferreira at the University of Minnesota which also showed that many smaller countries are now starting to consume more domestically produced music when looking at chart data compiled between 2001 and 2007 which featured more than 23,000 artists - but with just 31 featuring in more than 18 national charts globally for more than one year. Post ABBA, Sweden's stars have included Roxanne, Ace of Base, Wannadies and the Cardigans. 

The Report, published in the Economic Journal, credits the growth of the internet and MTV as helping to 'democratise' music and help increase the popularity of home-grown artists. Although, the study does not include digital sales in the past six years, the trend suggests the internet will continue to help artists, such as South Korea's Psy, reach a global audience.

Pop Internationalism: Has Half a Century of World Music Trade Displaced Local Culture?

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Bots batter box offices

The New York Times has thrown the spotlight on the software that automatically buys up tickets to in-demand events, usually for resale on the secondary ticketing market in an article highlighting the problems it is causing big players in the US live sector, and on how the big primary ticketing providers lie Ticketmaster are trying to combat the auto-buy phenomenon. Ticketmaster has introduced a system i which can spot users on its website most likely to be 'bots' and (at least) slow their progress down although Jim Glancy of independent promoter The Bowery Presents explained "There are sold out shows in reserved seat houses in New York City where we will have 20% no show, and that 20% will be down in the front of the house. It's speculators who bought a bunch of seats and didn't get the price they wanted".  Michael Rapino, chief of Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation, expressed his frustration saying  "As with hackers, you can solve it today, and they’re rewriting code tomorrow,” said Michael Rapino, Live Nation’s chief executive. “Thus the arms race.”

Last month Ticketmaster sued 21 people for buying tickets using bots, with one accused of buying up as many as 200,000 tickets per day before the general public could get to them. CMU Daily says the cases could provide some insight on how American law might be used to counter one of the main problems with the burgeoning secondary ticketing marketplace

Terra Firma gets a second chance in EMI claim

Guy Hand's Terra Firma has been given a second chance at reclaiming an estimated $4 billion in damages from Citi-Group after a New York appeals court ruled that the jury in the case brought by Terma Firma after their disastrous purchase of EMI had been wrongly directed by the Judge. Terma Firma have alleged that they were tricked into the purchase of the music group after Citi had told Hands that Cerberus were also bidding for EMI, artificially pushing the price up as there was no such offer - made more complicated as Citi were advising both EMI and Terra Firma. The appeals coirt said the judge erred and should have directed that the fraud allegations should have been assessed under English law and that Citi would have needed to rebut Terra Firma's claims. Terra Firma lost an estimated £1.75 billion on the purchase of EMI which was subsequently reclaimed by Citi and its recorded music division sold principally to Universal and Warners, and its music publishing division acquired by a Sony led consortium.