Friday, 30 August 2013

First Momentum Music Funding announced

The Wytches
The PRS For Music Foundation has announced the first ten artists to benefit from the Momentum Music Fund, the new Arts Council-funded initiative providing grants to bands looking for help getting to the next level. They are: Brolin, Dutch Uncles, Esco Williams, Floating Points, Hacktivist, Hannah Peel, Kindness, Teleman, Thumpers and The Wytches. They were selected by an industry panel from around 500 submitted applications. There are eight more Momentum funding rounds between now and October 2014 and each band can receive up to £15,000.

Grooveshark announced a deal with Sony/ATV

Grooveshark, the often controversial streaming service which had already reached a settlement with EMI Music Publishing, which had sued the digital firm,  now has a licensing deal in place. with Sony/ATV, the company that now controls EMI Music Publishing. Details of Grooveshark's deal with Sony/ATV/EMI are not known, though it does give the digital set-up a little more legitimacy as it continues to fight litigation from all of the major record companies. 

Good news for UMG and BMG

Having completed its acquisition of the EMI record company last autumn, sales at Universal Music shot up 16.3% year-on-year in the first half of 2013, from 1.92 billion euros to 2.24 billion euros, though the costs of integrating the former British major meant that profits were down. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were 143 million euros, down from 156 million euros in the same period a year earlier. UMG said that continued sales of Rihanna's last album, the debut from US alt-rock band Imagine Dragons, the 'Les Misérables' movie soundtrack, and the new acoustic version of Justin Bieber's 'Believe' played a key role in generating mega-sales during the first half of the year. Meanwhile major releases from both Eminem and Lady Gaga should assure a successful second half of the year.

German media group Bertelsmann has reported operating profits for the first half of 2013 up 5.2%, an uplift very much aided by the firm taking full control of the BMG music company in April. As previously reported, Bertelsmann bought business partner KKR out of BMG earlier this year.

Bands and promoters fight Canada’s Introduction Of "World’s Worst Music Law"

Canada has introduced strict new laws that have increased fees for international bands who wish to tour across the country, up to as much as $425 per band member at each venue they play, as part of legislation enforced by the Ministry of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism, as the Calgary Herald reports. Promoters in Canada hit out at the recent changes in the rules governing foreign workers in the country which will make it much more expensive to put non-Canadian talent on stage in small bar and coffee shop-type venues. Spencer Brown, booker at Calgary haunt The Palomino, says the changes came without warning, and are "anti arts and culture" and "anti small business".

Where previously, touring artists paid a one-off fee of $150 to enter the country to perform, the new regulations – which became effective as of Wednesday 31st July – now sees any venue whose primary income is not from music (rbars and clubs that serve alcohol who “happen” to book bands) charging a $275 application fee per band member and for their crew (eg. managers, publicists, roadies and son), and an additional $150 for a work permit for each member. Worse still these application fees are non-refundable fee, meaning another payment upon re-submission.

To illustrate the now "ridiculous" costs of touring, if one of Canada’s own musical successes – the Grammy-winning Arcade Fire – were to hypothetically tour their own country as foreigners, the eight-member strong lineup would be staring down the barrel of $3,400 per show, and that’s before even considering finances for their road crew and live team. Sydney metalcore five-piece Northlane, who toured Canada at the tail-end of 2012, and actually recorded part of their breakout sophomore album Singularity in the country while on the road, has urged their fans to fight the excessive new Canadian touring fees. The  Employment And Social Development Canada and Citizenship And Immigration Canada, state that the new laws will "ensure that owners and managers of those types of establishments look to hire Canadians first before hiring temporary foreign workers", adding that "musicians in a band performing several tour dates in Canada and musicians and buskers coming to Canada to perform in festivals" will be exempt from the additional charges, the main stipulation being they don't play in bars and restaurants.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Student dies after Reading visit

Esme Blore, from Stevington in Bedfordshire, has died after leaving the Reading  Festival two days early. She was admitted to hospital on Saturday after reporting she felt unwell. The 17-year-old was discharged from hospital but collapsed at home on Sunday night and was rushed back to hospital in the early hours of Monday morning. The privately-schooled teenager, whose cause of death is still unknown, died later on Monday. Police are investigating.

The Revolving Door

The Orchard has announced Jim Leavitt as its new Director Of Sync And Licensing, working out of the firm's New York office. Leavitt was previously Director Of Licensing And Royalties at VP Music Group.

Digital music seller 7digital yesterday announced the appointment of Gunnar Larsén, most recently with Dolby Laboratories, to the role of VP Product. He will be "responsible for defining and driving 7digital's expanding portfolio of music products across the B2B and B2C market".

Beggars Group's Head Of Marketing David Emery has announced that he will leave the company after eight years at the end of this week, and joining Kobalt Label Service as Director Of Marketing.

Kobalt has announced the promotion of its LA-based Exec VP Creative Sas Metcalfe to the new position of President Global Creative.

Former Ticketmaster Global President Nathan Hubbard has been appointed Head Of Commerce at Twitter. In a new role for the social media firm, Hubbard will be tasked will pursuing e-commerce opportunities for the micro-blogging platform.

Warner's music publishing business Warner/Chappell has made three digitally-focused appointments. New York-based Ann Sweeney has been named Executive VP for Digital Strategy & Policy and Stephen Dallas has been appointed VP Digital Legal Affairs & Business Development, charged with negotiating licensing agreements with digital service providers and investigating new digital business opportunities. Iain Morris has been promoted to the new role of Head Of Digital, Europe. Based in London, he will become the primary point of contact for digital licensees across the region, and will also lead Warner/Chappell's Pan-European Digital Licensing initiative.

Spotify has appointed Jorge Espinel, previously a digital strategy man at News Corp, to the role of Head Of Global Business Development, seemingly basically replacing Gerrit Meier, who departed the steaming firm nearly a year ago.

Gatecrasher reorganises

Clubbing business Gatecrasher has announced a restructure following a 'pre-pack administration'. Under this arrangement, some of the UK club venues previously operated by the Gatecrasher business will be spun off into a separate company, with Gatecrasher itself focusing on its flagship venue in Birmingham, and major dance music events under the Gatecrasher banner in the UK and around the World, which will include a new event at Donnington Park.

VMAS out

The headlines were all about Taylor Swift dropping the 'F-bomb' over her ex Harry Styles - but the VMAS are out and here they are 

Video Of The Year: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors

Best Female Video: Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble.

Best Male Video: Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven

Best Pop Video: Selena Gomez - Come & Get It

Best Hip-Hop Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us

Best Rock Video: Thirty Seconds To Mars - Up In The Air

Best Collaboration: Pink & Nate Ruess of Fun - Just Give Me A Reason

Best Video With A Social Message: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert - Same Love

Best Song Of The Summer: One Direction - Best Song Ever

Artist To Watch: Austin Mahone - What About Love

Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Justin Timberlake

Best Direction: Justin Timberlake's Suit & Tie (Director David Fincher)

Best Visual Effects: Capital Cities - Safe And Sound

Best Choreography: Bruno Mars - Treasure

Best Art Direction: Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu - Q.U.E.E.N.

Best Cinematography: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Ray Dalton - Can't Hold Us

Best Editing: Justin Timberlake - Mirrors

Friday, 23 August 2013

Unsecured HMV creditors lose out

The banks that lent money to the old HMV Group plc have recovered £38.6 million after the sale of the flagging entertainment retailer to Hilco earlier this year, while financial and legal advisors to the defunct company will earn £15 million for their work. Unsecured creditors, including suppliers and landlords, will likely see nothing, while the old HMV pension fund will lose out on £26 million it was due , though a spokesman for the fund said that this will not affect members of the pension scheme

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Ticket fraudster gets four more years in prison

Convicted fraudster Alan Scott has had an additional four years added to his seven year prison sentence after failing to pay back £500,000 of ill gotten gains that was ordered by the judge at Southwark Crown Court. Scott and partner in Xclusive, Terence Shepherd, were masterminds behind a £5 million fraud where thousands of customers applied for but never received tickets for events including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Victims included double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington's parents and many sports and festival fans. Shepherd received an eight year sentence - and has also now failed to meet a deadline to pay back the £1.25 million he received from the scam, with a default sentence of six years if he fails to pay.  

More here

Are gig tickets too cheap?

This is the fascinating headline for an article in the Observer (The New Review, 18.08.2013) where Music Week editor Tim Ingham takes on columnist and music writer Jude Rogers over the thorny issues of ticket pricing, touting, the secondary market and fans .....  with " thousands of tickets being bought then sold for huge profits via online resale platforms. This 'secondary market' has become its very own parasitic industry: technologically endowed racketeers snap up all the best seats, freezing genuine music lovers out of any chance of paying face value"

Well worth a read

Live Nation laps up Tuborg

Tuborg will remain the official lager at Live Nation promoted festivals in the UK, including Download, Wireless and Creamfields, after brewer Carlsberg signed a new five year deal with the live music major. Under the new arrangement Somersby Cider will also become the official cider at these events too. The deal also covers events organised by Live Nation subsidiary Festival Republic, and venues operated by the live firm, including the Manchester Apollo, Southampton Guildhall and the Academy Music Group venue network. Carlsberg's Nigel Bryant said "This new deal will position Tuborg as the leading UK festival lager and also provides a high-profile platform to drive awareness and trial of Somersby Cider which has an important role to play in our beer and beverage portfolio".

German record industry posts modest growth

Following the news earlier this year that the global record industry saw slight growth in 2012, for the first time in over a decade, the trade body for the German record industry says that revenues there were up year-on-year for the first half of 2013, again the first time there has been growth in over ten years. According to BVMI, digital revenue was up 16% for the first half of the year, helping offset the latest 2.5% decline in physical product revenues, so that overall monies were up 1.5%.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Beyoncé sticky at V

After her triumphs at Glastonbury and T-in-the-Park in 2011, Beyoncé made a less than auspicious return to UK festivals at a wet and windy V Festival at Chelmsford on Saturday. The American star was 20 minutes late on stage and technical issues reportedly plagued her set and fans voted with their feet  - and it seems at the last minute she refused to let Channel 4 television broadcast any of her set although the broadcaster said it was hopeful to be able to show highlights in their coverage.

This week the UK's major festivals are the Reading and Leeds joint events headlined by Green Day, Eminem and Biffy Clyro, with weather forecasters predicting good weather for the sold out festivals .

Ellie the UK's Number One

Ellie Goulding has hit the number one slot in the UK for the first time with her song Burn, selling 117,000 copies of  the track, 40,000 more than the next nearest track Wake Me Up by Avicii and knocking Miley Cyrus' We Cant Stop of the top slot. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

In Sickness and In Health

Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos collapsed backstage at the Sziget festival in Hungary this weekend, after suffering an allergic reaction. Kapranos was treated for what Cribs frontman Ryan Jarman described as "a peanut incident".

Having already cancelled festival dates in Belgium and Japan, Beady Eye have announced that they have cancelled their planned performance at this year's V Festival, as guitarist Gem Archer continues to recover from a serious head injury sustained earlier this month.

And Frank Sampedro, guitarist in Neil Young's band Crazy Horse, has broken his hand, meaning Young and Crazy Horse won't play any of the British/European live dates they'd planned to play this month, the last of which was a show at London's O2 Arena on  the 19th August.

The Revolving Door

The BBC has announced a shake up of the Saturday night simulcast schedule on Radio 1 and 1Xtra, which will see MistaJam, Charlie Sloth and DJ Target get new shows, and Tim Westwood leaving the BBC's youth broadcasting services after 20 years.

Live Nation's ticketing business Ticketmaster has announced the appointment of a new MD for the UK, Simon Presswell, who previously worked for both BSkyB and the Universal Television and theme park companies. He replaces Chris Edmonds who, as previously reported, was recently promoted to the globally focused role of VP of International Strategic Partnerships. And seismic movements are occurring elsewhere at Ticketmaster, with the news that President Nathan Hubbard is on his way out. The ticketing giants top man in the North American market, Jared Smith, will take over the role, according to the Wall Street Journal. And Live Nation's share price, which had hit a 52 week high, had a wobble  following the news that CEO Michael Rapino had sold over a third of his shares in the company, which would have netted him in the region of $11.7 million. Rapino said the move was for 'estate planning purposes'.

HMV has announced the appointment of Dan Truscott, formerly of Barclaycard and GE Money, to lead the relaunch of the flagging retailer's loyalty scheme Pure.

Universal Music yesterday announced the appointment of former Roadrunner President Jonas Nachsin to the role of General Manger Worldwide for Spinefarm Records, the originally Finnish metal label that has been part of the mega-major since 2002.

London-based live music firm MAMA & Company has parted company with CEO Dean James, seemingly pushed out by backer Lloyds Development Capital. It's thought the company's Chairman, Richard Thompson, also boss of sports-focused talent agency M&C Saatchi Merlin, is taking an executive management role in the interim while a new management structure is put in place.

Classical composer Errollyn Wallen has joined the roster of artist management company, The Music Management.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Live Nation and Warners upbeat on financials

Warner Music Group and Live Nation have both issued upbeat statements after bth forms latest financial figures were released. Live Nation said it had seen revenues 8.3% year-on-year in the last quarter to $1.7 billion in the quarter to the end of June, with net income of $59 million above analyst expectations with CEO Michael Rapino calling a 'record summer'.

Warner Music Group, meanwhile, had seen revenues increase by 1.8% in the same period, but losses had almost doubled to $63 million. Recorded music revenues increased by 3.3%, while digital revenues on recordings were up by 9.8% on the same quarter last year, representing 44.8% of total recorded music income. Comparatively, revenues on physical releases dropped by 5.8%.

Elsewhere HMV confirmed it was moving back into its original store on London's Oxford Street which it first occupied in 1922 until 2000 when the store moved to larger presmises, which were then given up t to Sports Direct earlier this year. New HMV owner Hilco confirmed the return this week

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Sony rule out split

A push to split Sony's electronics division from its film and music operations has been rejected by the Japanese giant's Board. Daniel Loeb who runs the Third point hedge fund had tried to force the split having spent $1 billion buying a 7% stake in Sony Corp. 

Russian anti-gay laws target Gaga and Madonna

Lady Gaga and Madonna are facing prosecution in Russia for performing without having the proper visas after allegations that both artistes supposedly broke Russia's increasingly controversial 'gay propaganda' laws during performances in the country last year, which make it illegal to 'promote' homosexuality to minors. The accusations stem from comments by one of the key writers and proponents of the law, Vitaly Milonov. Commenting on this via her Facebook page, Gaga said: "Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia? The Russian government is criminal. Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom. Why didn't you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia? Because you didn't want answer to the world?"

The new laws are also facing opposition in the run up to the next Winter Olympics and winter Paralympic games , which are due to be held in Sochi in Russia in 2014.  Milonov has already suggested that homosexual athletes and spectators could be arrested if they attend the event and may athletes have called on International Olympic Committee and other world leaders to speak out.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

AIM Award nominees announced

The nominees for the third annual AIM Independent Music Awards are out – the winners will be announced at the AIM Awards ceremony, taking place at The Brewery in London on 3rd September. 

Best Live Act
voted for by visitors to
Enter Shikari
Johnny Marr
The National

Independent Breakthrough of the Year
sponsored by 7digital
The 1975
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Palma Violets
Public Service Broadcasting

Hardest Working Band or Artist
The Computers
Enter Shikari
Frankie & The Heartstrings
Sam Lee

Best 'Difficult' Second Album
in association with Xfm
Ghostpoet - Some Say I So I Say Light
John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
Major Lazer - Free The Universe
Villagers - {Awayland}
The xx - Coexist

Best Small Label
sponsored by Disc Manufacturing Services
Alcopop! Records
Gringo Records
Rocket Girl
Too Pure Singles Club

Special Catalogue Release of the Year
in association with Amazon
Bonobo - The North Borders
Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights 10th Anniversary Edition
The Horrors - Higher
Various Artists - Kenya Special
Various Artists - Scared to get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-89

Golden Welly Award for Best Independent Festival
sponsored by UK Music in association with AIF & DIY
Hebridean Celtic Festival
In The Woods
Truck Festival
Y Not Festival

Independent Video of the Year
sponsored by Vevo
Childhood - Solemn Skies
David Byrne & St Vincent - Who
Django Django - WOR
Grimes - Genesis
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Thrift Shop
The Ramona Flowers - Lust & Lies

Indie Champion Award
sponsored by Consolidated Independent
Gilles Peterson - BBC 6music
Joe Sparrow - A New Band a Day
John Kennedy - Xfm
Lauren Laverne - BBC 6music
Lawrence Montgomery - Rise Music

Independent Track of the Year
in association with Spotify
Daughter - Youth
Jagwar Ma - The Throw
Palma Violets - Best of Friends
Passenger - Let Her Go
TNGHT - Higher Ground
Vampire Weekend - Diane Young

Independent Album of the Year
in association with Record Store Day
Daughter - If You Leave
David Byrne & St Vincent - Love This Giant
Ghostpoet - Some Say I So I Say Light
Jagwar Ma - Howlin
John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
Jon Hopkins - Immunity
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
Public Service Broadcasting - Inform-Educate-Entertain
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
The xx - Coexist

Independent Label of the Year
in association with Coutts
Bella Union
Cooking Vinyl
[PIAS] Recordings

PPL Award for Most Played New Independent Act
The 2 Bears
Alabama Shakes
Alt J
Django Django

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Artist cancellations hurt festivals- festival cancelltions hurt artists

Chief Keef has been ordered to pay damages of almost a quarter of a million dollars to Washington DC-based promoter Team Major over a performance in London which he failed to turn up for last year. The rapper was due to play at IndigO2 in the O2 dome complex on 29 Dec 2012, but failed to emerge on the day and never gave any reason for his absence. Damages were set at $230,019 to cover the advance payment of $75,000, lost earnings and harm to the promoter's reputation.

Beady Eye (by Nick Cordes)
In other news, Beady Eye have been forced to cancel festival shows in Belgium (Lokerse festival) and Japan (Summer Sonic) after guitarist Gem Archer suffered an injury. A statement on the band's website explained "Following an accident on the evening of Thursday 1st August, Beady Eye guitarist Gem Archer was hospitalised with severe head trauma. He is currently in a stable condition but continues to stay in hospital under observation". We say 'good luck' and get well soon Gem. 

And Syrian artist Omar Souleyman has been denied a visa by Swedish authorities, and so, as things stand, will have to miss Gothenburg's Way Out West festival this weekend. The singer has already had to cancel an appearance at the Stockholm Music & Arts Festival after being told its currently Sweden's national policy to not admit Syrian citizens.

CMU Daily reports that "noise-rap clique" Death Grips have cancelled a pair of US-based live appearances in Boston  and New York, having also failed to show at an official Lollapalooza afterparty last week, nor did they play as billed at the festival itself.

Finally,  ATP, has voided the already re-scheduled Grizzly Bear-headlined edition of its I'll Be Your Mirror all-dayer at London's Alexandra Palace. Fans who held joint tickets for this and the previously staged Yeah Yeah Yeah's IBYM event will get a partial refund.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Ticketmaster launches new US resale platform

Audience had reported that Ticketmaster is launching a new 'integrated' primary and secondary ticket re-sale platform in the US called TM+ saying the site can prevent ticket fraud and provide customers with a "safe, secure transaction" and greater transparency for buyers according to Live Nations COO Joe Berchtold. Ticketmaster are also opening a Vienna office to build a presence in the Austrian market. And Live Nation itself has set up a new venture with BDG Music in the Baltic States. Headed up by BDG's Peeter Rebane, the new venture will be be called Live Nation Baltics and operate in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. 

Rock nad Volgoy attracts 691,000

691,000 people made it to the Rammstein headlined 5th annual free Rock nad Volgoy festival in Samara in June, a Russian record. Organisers, St Petersburg based NCA, had expected 400,000 but say order was maintained.  

Sound and lighting was from EuroShow, and the stage from Install Profi. 

Wizard joins DEAG, ABC with CTS

Ossy and Olliver Hoppe's Wizard Promotions have joined the DEAG group, selling a 75.1% stake to the German giant. In separate news, Andre Bechir's new ABC Productions has offloaded a 80% stake to CTS Eventim. 

Huge Ticket Fraud in the UK

A massive ticketing fraud in the UK continues to claim victims with over 3,000 counterfeit tickets already cancelled or confiscated from shocked event fans. Shows by Bruno Marrs, Neil Young, Beyonce, Michael Buble, Kings of Leon at the 02 in London and LG Arena in Birmingham along with Live Nations's Wireless Festival have been targeted, with the tickets seemingly sold on secondary ticketing re-sale sites such as Viagogo, StubHub and GetMeIn and the popular GumTree site. Police are investigating.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Wylie vs Pagans - rapper says he won't pay fee back

Wiley has said he has no intention of returning his (self) reported fee to promoters of the CockRock Festival in Cockermouth, Cumbria, after organisers of the charity event said they were planning legal action after the rapper walked off stage after just fifteen minutes of his 45 minute set and referring to the audience as 'pagans'.  Wiley (real name Richard Kylea Cowie) had received a hostile reception at the event partly because he had been criticising the festival on Twitter ahead of his arrival with one tweet saying "Just the name makes me not wanna go," with Wylie adding: "My agent knows that there are cool places to play and other places are just not worth the hassle

The rapper says he left the stage early because the audience were throwing things at the stage, adding that staff at the festival had advised him to walk if that happened.Organisers have countered that the atmosphere during the short Wiley set was not as hostile or dangerous as the rapper has claimed, and that security had it under control. The rapper told the BBC: "They say it's a charity event and they want their money back. I've just stood on stage and been coined and bottled. Obviously I'm not giving the money back". Adding that the critical tweets ahead of the show were aimed at his agent, not the CockRock audience, he continued: "When I went on I knew some people were going to be unhappy ..... after fifteen minutes I looked at the floor and it was covered in coins. Any one of those coins could have taken my eye out". 

The rapper had previously been a no show at the Glastonbury Festival in June, and has fallen out with his label, Warners, admitting he was unhappy with their choice of next single from the record, he tweeted in April: "My label are doing 'Lights On' next but I do not like that so you will not see me in the video. "If my first two singles were dance and third was drum and bass, why am I doing a dance single fourth. my musical mind is better than that." He later added: "I am walking out of Warner today, I don't need em anymore. [I've] rinsed majors for every penny, enough is enough. He had asked his agent not to book him into any more 'farms' as he is a 'yardie'. 

Spotify revenues - and losses - up

Spotify has doubled its revenues in 2012, but losses also rose as the streaming music platform seeks to expand in an increasingly competitive market. The Financial Times reports that the latest financial filing from the digital firm in Luxembourg shows that revenues in 2012 went up from 190.4 million euros to 434.7 million euros, with the number of 'active users' rising to 20 million worldwide, over a quarter of which are paying premium service users. However, overall losses widened to 58.7 million euros, up from 45.4 million euros the previous year.