Monday, 29 July 2013

Ocean cancels Oz outing, Blondie to call it a day?

Frank Ocean has torn one of his vocal cords, forcing him to call off the last part of his Australian tour with promoter Live Nation saying "Frank Ocean's remaining Australian dates will not go ahead due to illness. After last night's concert in Melbourne at Festival Hall, it was necessary to seek medical advice due to vocal issues Frank Ocean experienced during the show" adding "It has subsequently been confirmed that Frank has suffered a small tear to one of his vocal cords and has received medical advice that he must rest his voice. This makes the completion of his remaining Australian dates impossible".

And Blondie drummer Clem Burke has told reporters that Debbie Harry is thinking about retiring from the band after four decades. The Daily Mail quotes Burke saying: "Debbie is eleven years older than the rest of us, so it's on her mind. We've tried to keep it going for as long as possible, but it's not just up to me. Nothing is finalised yet, but obviously there's no Blondie without Debbie Harry".

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Madison Square under threat?

Is Madison Square Gardens under threat? The lease for the iconic sports and music venue runs out in 10 years, and it seems New York City wants to remodel Penn Station, below the Manhattan venue.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The revolving door

The incoming Parlophone label and existing Warner Bros UK label will be united under one management team led by long term EMI man Miles Leonard and although a number of execs will have combined Parlophone/Warner Bros responsibilities, the two units will seemingly retain some autonomy, with overall Warner UK chief Christian Tattersfield keeping a Co-Chair role atop Warner Bros. The mini-major's Atlantic and Rhino UK divisions will be unaffected.

Leonard's team will include Mandy Plumb, who will become SVP Marketing for the Parlophone/Warner Bros division, while Kevin McCabe will be SVP Media for the combined label unit. Both come to Warner via its PLG acquisition. Elsewhere in the Warner UK mini-empire, Max Lousada will continue to be Chairman of Atlantic Records UK, while Dan Chalmers will continue to oversee the company's catalogue, distribution and artist services operations. Jeremy Marsh, until now Vice Chairman of Warner Bros Records UK, will take on the new role of VP International Marketing for the whole of Warner Music UK, taking over from the departing Mike Allen. Also with roles at a Warner Music UK level are Bob Workman, who becomes VP Brand Partnerships; Rich Robinson, who will become VP Sync for UK and Europe; and Derek Allen, who will be SVP Sales.

Live Nation has announced the appointment of Robb Spitzer to the role of MD for the live giant's Chinese division. 

Kobalt Label Services has appointed sync expert Bree Nevin to the role of Creative Brand & Synchronisation Manager, giving her a role in seeking sync and brand opportunities for the labels the Kobalt division represents.

Universal Music has appointed David Rowe to the job of GM A&R & Commerce within its UK catalogue division. Rowe previously ran catalogue campaigns for EMI.

Secondary ticketing helps ticket fraud

A report by BBC Radio 4  'You and Yours' programme says that ticket fraud is on the rise and the secondary ticketing sites are being utilised by the fraudsters. The BBC programme investigated claims that some fraudsters use ticket resale sits like Viagogo, Seatwave, Ticketmaster's Getmein and eBay's Stubhub to sell their non-tickets. 'You And Yours' says that sellers on the secondary sites can get their money before an event happens if they gain 'trusted status' by regularly selling genuine tickets. Fraudsters exploit the system, touting legitiate tickets for a period and then utilising their trusted status to commit a flurry of fraudulent sales and the report alleged that one such seller had sold thousands of fraudulent tickets after gaining trusted status before complaints caused him to be cut off. And while the secondary sites will provide a refund to anyone who is sold a non-ticket via their platform, that doesn't stop the buyer from having the disappointment of showing up to a gig venue and being turned away.

Brands pump £100 million into UK Music

Brands such as Coca Cola, O2, Blackberry and Volkswagen spent a record £100m on music in 2012, PRS for Music research revealed.
Statistics published by PRS for Music and music and entertainment strategists, FRUKT, showed the spend for music use in festivals, online and in artistic endorsements reached £104.8m, an increase of 6.09% from 2011.  

Artist endorsements or ‘sponsorship’, such as those between Coca Cola and Mark Ronson for the Olympics or Mastercard and Emile Sande at the BRIT Awards, saw a 33% increase in brand spend from the previous year and brought in over £4.5m. Digital campaigns including the launch of the new Spotify app, YouTube’s new LoveLive channel and events that offered fans real-time interaction via social media and mobile like AmEx Unstaged meant digital spend on music reached £10.4m. Sponsored music events still thrived despite the dominance of the Olympics in 2012. Live music sponsorship accounted for the largest share of the market at 35% and netted over £33m. High profile campaigns included Coca Cola’s Olympics Torch Relay with 66 live music shows across the UK, Rihanna’s infamous Budweiser 777 tour and Blackberry’s Summer Daze which featured eight UK festivals and was broadcast on Channel 4.

Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive PRS for Music, commented: “Innovative companies understand the power of a good song and how a memorable music experience inspires and connects with fans. Historically, sport was where big brands put their money, but the last 12 months have demonstrated the unique power of music to convey brand value and how the right partnership can benefit music lover, songwriter and business alike.”

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Boss Bus Busted

A council has accepted that putting parking tickets on Bruce Springsteen's tour trucks ahead of a landmark gig by The Boss was "a little embarrassing". A parking attendant stuck the tickets on the lorries as Springsteen prepared to play the first-ever gig at the brand new £60 million Leeds Arena.

Florida boycott grows

George Zimmerman
The fallout from the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida in February 2012, has now led to an impressive list of artists boycotting Florida because of the controversial Stand Your Ground law. The protest, led by Stevie Wonder,  now includes Usher, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna,  Justin Timberlake, R. Kelly, Wale, Jay Z, and supposedly the Rolling Stones.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Arturo Vega, The Ramones' artistic director - spokesman, logo designer, merchandiser, lighting director, friend, confidant -  and 'fifth member' - has died aged 65.

Stage designer Mark Fisher, known for his groundbreaking work designing stage set-ups for the likes of The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, U2 and many others, has died aged 66, following a "long and difficult illness".

Bernie Nolan has died aged 52 after a long battle with cancer. The singer, actress and TV presenter was diagnosed with cancer for the second time last year after previously beating breast cancer in 2010. As lead singer of the hit Irish girlband, The Nolans, Bernie toured the world with her siblings. She leaves behind husband Steve Doneathy and daughter Erin, 14.

The gifted and versatile jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller has died aged 57 after a stroke.

T-Model Ford has died. The blues musician, the son of a sharecropper who grew up in the segregated Deep South, came to music late in life and was self taught, and only began recording albums such as Jack Daniel Time and Taledragger at the end of his career. His precise date of birth was unknown, but he was thought to be 93 when he passed away.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Vivendi reject UMG offer

Vivendi has reportedly rejected a $8.5 million offer for the Universal Music Group from Japanese telecoms group SoftBank. It's thought the telecoms giant was attracted to Universal because of the increasing importance of music services in the mobile market. 

Avicii tops UK charts

Swedish DJ and producer Avicii has scored the fastest-selling UK single of the year which went straight in at number one today, the Official Charts Company said. Wake Me Up sold nearly 267,000 copies this week - its first week on sale - which beats the previous record set by Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines in May by around 76,000. It is also the biggest single-week sale since The Justice Collective's cover of The Hollies' He Ain't Heavy claimed the 2012 Christmas number one with sales of more than 269,000.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ed Money and the Doobie Brothers settle digital royalty claims

Both American rocker Eddie Money and the Doobie Brothers have reached out of court settlements with their record labels, Sony Music and Warners respectively, regarding the payment of royalties on digital revenues. The cases were two of the many that US heritage artists have brought against all of the majors following the landmark ruling in the case between FBT Productions and Universal Music over whether download money should be treated as record sales or licensing income - artists usually get a much bigger cut of the latter than the former.

Music Licensing Directory goes crowdsourcing

The Music Licensing Directory, ( the global music licensing marketplace and resource,  has launched a music crowdsourcing service where music supervisors, advertising agencies, production companies and Individuals who need music for any purpose can launch a contest and find music to license for their needs.  Since launching in December last year, The Music Licensing Directory has "rapidly built an extensive global community of artists, bands, labels, publishers, producers and composers". The new crowdsourcing platform allows anyone fast and simple access to this global community and an easy way to find both customized music and existing tracks to easily license for just about any purpose.   “Music Licensing can be a time consuming, expensive, daunting and complex process for anyone who needs to find good music for their specific purpose. By utilizing the reach of our global community of music providers, we have come up with a solution that allows for confidentiality, particularly for clients in advertising, whilst still maintaining a fast, simple and personalized service” said Music Licensing Directory CEO Winston Giles.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

UK Music Skills Academy launched

UK Music has launched the UK Music Skills Academy, a new strand of the National Skills Academy: Creative & Cultural Skills. The new body aims to "build an infrastructure enabling the music industry to engage directly with skills and training providers", with a view to better informing those educating the next generation of music business professionals as to what skills are required. The new venture will also operate a UK Music Apprenticeship scheme and stage an annual Skills Festival.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

EDM surge continues

Sales of dance music single tracks  were up nearly 20% in the first six months of 2013, while dance music albums were up nearly 34%. Dance music accounted for one in six of the singles sold in the UK in the first half of this year, or 16.3% compared to 14.1% in the same period in 2012 and EDM is now the third most popular genre behind pop and rock. Releases from Rudimental, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Disclosure, Duke Dumont, Calvin Harris and, Daft Punk  all helped dance remain a strong genre in terms of record sales in the UK this year. 

Motorhead cancel after Lemmy health scare

Motörhead's Lemmy Kilminster has been "immediately advised to rest", having had a defibrillator fitted to fix an irregular heartbeat meaning all of Motörhead's remaining live dates are cancelled. The band cancelled several shows in June apparently as Kilminster was having treatment for a severe haematoma. Lemmy posted a note saying  "I'd like to thank everyone who wish me well, it was a tough decision for me [cancelling the shows] as I don't like to disappoint the fans, especially in times where economy is bad and people spent their money to see us. But sometimes you can't do anything else than following doctor's orders, but be sure we will be back and kick everybody's ass".

And Morrissey has said that doctors feared he might die earlier this year as the singer battled double pneumonia, a bleeding ulcer and throat condition Barrett's oesophagus. He was forced to cancel a string of live appearances because of ill-health, that seemingly began when he collapsed in a hotel room in January.

SJM and Desmond buy into Benicàssim

SJM Concerts and Dennis Desmond are buying into Vince Power's Benicàssim festival to in a deal designed to assure the future of the popular Spanish event amid fears that
the flagging Spanish economy was again affecting ticket sales. Power said in a statement: "The difficult economic climate coupled with the bad year suffered by Music Festivals plc has prompted my decision to sell a major shareholding in Benicàssim festival. I am pleased that two of Europe's best known festival promoters are now taking part".

'Legal High' caused festival fan's death

A coroner has ruled that a 35 year old man died by slashing himself after suffering a paranoid reaction to a 'legal high' which he took at Bestival last year. Daniel Parks from Tunbridge Wells took a product called 'magic crystals' which contained a prohibited substance believed to be 4-Methylethcathinone and was found by his wife locked in a toilet having inflicted several wounds to his arms with a kitchen knife. The Isle of Wight coroner ruled Mr Parks had purchased the drugs in advance and was unaware they contained prohibited substances. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Croatia joins EU

Croatia has formally joined the European Union. The country, now home to a number of successful music festivals including InMusic, Outlook, Garden, Electric Elephant, Hideout, Ultra and Soundwave, has been badly hit by the recession, and the move to join the EU comes two decades after the brutal civil war in former Yugoslavia. One in five are unemployed and the country's debt classified as 'junk' but politicians are hopeful that EU membership will strengthen the country's economy.

"Glastonbury Effect" pushes Monkeys and Stones back into the charts, and Mumfords to No1

Mumford & Sons are on course for a number one album this week after their headline performance at Glastonbury. Nearly two million viewers saw the band on BBC2 and Babel is already the best-selling album of the week so far and they have sold nearly four times as many copies when compared to the same period last week. Their first album, Sigh No More, has gone back into the Top 10, with a similar increase in sales.  Their set has been watched 163,650 times since Sunday on BBC’s catch-up platform iPlayer. The Arctic Monkeys and The Rolling Stones have also seen a marked rise in album sales since performing at Glastonbury. Watched by 1.5 million pepole on TV, all four of Arctic Monkey's studio albums are back in the top 100 and their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not has risen from 180 two weeks ago to now standing at number 15. The Rolling Stones, who played to over 100,000 people on site with 2.5 million viewing at home, have sold more than three times as many copies of their compilation Grrr, while Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones has also doubled its sales. Grrr has climbed up to number 17, with a sales increase of 334%

Jake Bugg also looks likely to remain in the top 5 having seen a very healthy gain in sales, with demand of his self-titled debut album up +253.3 per cent on last week. Bastille's Bad Blood and Rudimental's Home are also set to return to the Top 10 whilst Chase & Status, who headlined the Other Stage on Saturday night, are this week's highest climber, moving 136 places to number 36 with No More Idols.

Mumford & Sons are also having success in the Official Singles Chart with seven tracks in the Official Singles Chart Top 200. The Arctic Monkeys have six in the Top 200, as do Chase & Status. Gennaro Castaldo of UK record labels body, the BPI, comments: "We know that high profile awards shows, such as the Brits, and music festivals can have a huge galvanising effect on artist sales, but in recent years the 'Glasto effect' seems to have become even more pronounced, particularly now that so many more of us can use our mobile devices to gain instant access to our favourite tracks and albums."

Monday, 1 July 2013

Reeperbahn keynotes announced

Dave Stewart will deliver this year's keynote address at the Reeperbahn conference and showcase festival in Hamburg this September. With a speech entitled 'Where Is The Money?', Stewart will discuss using technology and innovation to build a stronger economy for the creative sector. Also confirmed for the conference this year are American investor Shaun Abrahmson, CD Group founder and CEO Catherine Barba, artist manager Sat Bisla, Kobalt Label Services MD Paul Hitchman, Gamesbrief founder Nicholas Lovell, Vice President of Fojo Media Institute Anette Novak, Topspin UK Director Stephen O'Reilly and Kristina Rothe of Microsoft Germany.

Live event challenges highlighted in Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

Venues and promoters are not doing enough to ensure that disabled people can easily attend live music events, a new report by UK charity Muscular Dystrophy Campaign has found.
Often, says the report, disabled tickets for shows are only available via premium rate telephone numbers, rather than online, and sometimes an event has passed before venues agree to accept 'proof of disability' required when providing some tickets. Those who do make it into venues often find that they are unable to sit with friends and family, due to limited number of extra seats in accessible areas, and toilet facilities are often lacking. The study also says that in some cases people in wheelchairs have been asked to leave before a performer finishes in order to "avoid disruption" for able-bodied customers.

The Academy Music Group last week confirmed that eight of its venues have now achieved silver status with the Attitude Is Everything scheme to make live music venues and events accessible to deaf and disabled gig-goers; the remaining six have bronze plus status.
Reconfirming his company's commitment to the scheme, AMG's COO Graham Walters told CMU: "Ticket sales for disabled patrons to our venues have increased significantly over the last two years. By working with Attitude Is Everything, we have created a realistic action plan to work through each stage of their Charter. A number of our venues were built in the early 1900s, thus we identify solutions for the best practical options that are achievable with each General Manager, taking on board feedback and training from Suzanne Bull and her team at Attitude Is Everything".

Glimmer twins re-sign

Keef at Glastonbury by Nick Cordes
BMG has announced a new partnership with the Rolling Stones which will see the music rights firm represent Mick Jagger and Keith Richards' songs catalogue. 

It is the first time the Stones songwriter duo have appointed an external music publisher in over four decades, they having operated their own publishing set-up since their alliance with EMI Music Publishing, which began in 1971, ended in 1983.

Stones Storm Glastonbury, baby born!

Photo by Nick Cordes
The Rolling Stones pulled off a blinding two hour set on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, starting with Jumpin Jack Flash and ending with Satisfaction with other classics such as Paint It Black, Wild Horses, You Cant Always Get What You Want, Brown Sugar and 2000 Light Years From Home. 2.5 million watched on BBC2 and organisers said the Pyramid Stage had the biggest crowd in the history of the 43 year old event and the arena had been expanded to meet the expected demand. The Other Pyramid Stage headliners were the Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons both of whom received ecstatic receptions,and headiners on other stages included Portishead, Chase & Status, Bobby Womack and The XX. Special guests included Beady Eye, Damn Albarn and FatBoy Slim. Organiser and farmer Michael Eavis said the two-hour performance - complete with fireworks and a burning phoenix on top of the stage - was worth the wait. He claimed it was his highlight of his time running the festival, which was first held in 1970.

As a treat to the 100,000 plus Pyramid crowd Mick Jagger had reworded Factory Girl as Glastonbury Girl  but a festival-going couple welcomed the arrival of their very own Glastonbury Girl on-site.  Heidi Wesson and Sean Crothers's daughter was born in the Ivy Mead medical centre centre on Worthy Farm – and they then decided to call the baby Ivy."