Wednesday, 24 December 2014

An alternative Christmas message to the music industry from Ministry's Lohan Presencer

Ministry Of Sound CEO Lohan Prescencer has issued a strongly worded alternative Christmas message to the music industry criticizing the likes of Apple, Youtube and Spotify as undermining the value of music and damaging the industry, saying this:

“Companies often fail to move with the times. That’s different from self-harm. But this is exactly what the record industry has done. Not just once, but many times. 

Imagine a supermarket offered a £100-a-month all-you-can-eat service. Then imagine it offered free food to 75 per cent of its customers as a kicker. This is Spotify. Amazing for customers. A disaster for the music industry. Why? Because when you’re not getting paid, the talent well begins to run dry. 

Who’s to blame? 

Music is a subjective business by definition. Then there are the drugs, the lifestyle and the egos. The industry is a million miles away from the likes of Unilever and its commoditised products. So there’s no prize for guessing the type of person that is attracted to the music business. 

When Napster first blew up the industry with free music, record executives panicked. What they should have done was calmly get together and agree a digital platform controlled by the industry. What they did instead was abdicate responsibility for working it out to Apple. Strike one.

Strike two – YouTube. What an amazing idea! A great opportunity for people to watch music videos, gain critical exposure and break new artists. Except… YouTube was making all the money. In another panic, the industry cobbled together VEVO. Five years on, it has lost a fortune and is up for sale. 

Strike three – Spotify. All the music you could ever want. Brilliant! But again there’s a wrinkle. Three quarters of Spotify’s users don’t pay. The more Spotify grows, the more free users – 37.5 million at the last count. This is why it loses so much money – €93 million in 2013. And if Spotify doesn’t get paid, who takes the hit?

Keen observers may remember Ministry of Sound sued Spotify over its use of our compilations on its playlists. We settled out of court and some of our music is now on Spotify. But that doesn’t address the root problem. 

In ten short years, music has gone from being valued and paid for to being commoditised and free. Industry revenues have declined from $30 to $15 billion. Profits have been even harder hit.

We in the business only have ourselves to blame. And long-term the trend looks dire. Add Spotifiers to YouTube’s one billion users to countless millions using other free music services, and what do you get? A generation who’ve never paid for music.

Now for strike four – the new iTunes subscription service due to launch in 2015. Having acquired Beats, Apple plans to pulverise Spotify by offering subscription at half its price. There will also presumably be a free introductory offer. Again, you don’t need to be a genius to guess how the music industry will respond. The terms are probably already agreed.

Around and around we go. Will there be a strike five? Almost certainly. Six and seven? Why not? The answer from the industry’s lacklustre executives is always that ‘we must support progress’. And that ‘progress’ means free music.

As Chief Executive of Ministry of Sound, one of the world’s largest independent labels, my Christmas message is short but simple. Stop giving it away! We’re smart enough to work things out between us. To control our own destiny. To stop the rot.

More than anywhere else in the world, the UK punches way above its weight in music. We’re home to some amazing talent – Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Adele, London Grammar, George Ezra to name a few.

Let’s put our numerous suitors on hold, invest in developing our own platforms and routes to market. Let’s seize back the keys to the music kingdom.”

Kylie deposits in dispute after cancelled German tour

Negotiations over the status of advance payments made in respect of Kylie Minogue’s cancelled German tour are taking place between the interim receiver for the bankrupt promoter CT Creative Talent , the artiste’s UK-based agent CAA and her management company Roc Nation in the US. Carlos Fleischmann’s CT Creative Talent was placed into receivership in September, following a cancelled Backstreet Boys tour and other setbacks, and slow ticket sales for Minogue's Kiss Me Once tour.

McManus raided after cash find

Audience reports that Australian police have raided two properties linked to Australian concert promoter Andrew McManus following claims he was the owner of A$702,000 (US$575,000) cash found in a hotel room in Sydney in 2011. McManus’s business premises and home were searched by detectives from New South Wales and Victoria police last month after warrants were issued, a police spokeswoman confirmed, reports The Age newspaper.

SXSW faces legal claims from car crash

The families of the victims of a fatal car crash at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, are suing its organisers. According to AP, the lawsuits accuse them of serious safety lapses. Rashad Charjuan Owens has been in jail on murder charges since March after four people died when his car broke through a barrier at the music, film and interactive festival. The crash, which happened outside the Mohawk venue, also injured 23 people. Among several wrongful deaths lawsuits was one from the family of Steven Craenmehr, a Dutch music executive, who was knocked off his bike. His widow and mother claim that SXSW organisers didn't put enough traffic safeguards on the roads for pedestrians during the event, which sees thousands of bands performing at venues across Austin. "A festival organiser or traffic design consultant of ordinary intelligence would have anticipated the danger," the lawsuit says. Lawyers for SXSW released a statement which read: "What happened on Red River was a terrible tragedy, caused by Rashad Owen's utter disregard of human life.

Utsick extradited from Brazil

Former international promoter and entrepreneur Jack Utsick hasd been extradited from Brazil to Miami (on 6th December) to face federal charges for operating a Ponzi (pyramid) scheme according to reports in the Miami Herald. Designated a fugitive in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had charged him in 2006 with defrauding investors out of $300 million and, despite agreeing a deal to repay some of the money, he fled to Brazil in 2007. Utsick, who had been under arrest in Brazil while fighting his extradition over the past two years, appeared Monday on nine counts of mail fraud in Miami federal court. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman ruled that the 72-year-old Utsick would be held before trial, until he resolves his choice of defense attorneys.

Read more here:

Friday, 19 December 2014

Skinny Puppy Demand $666,000 From US Military Over Guantanamo Bay 'Torture Music'

Industrial band Skinny Puppy has invoiced the US government for $666,000 after it was revealed their music was used to torture detainees in Guantanamo Bay. The group, from Vancouver in Canada, claims that the US Department of Defense used the music illegally.

More here

And enjoy Skinny Puppy here 

WMG streaming income grows

Warner Music Group's income from streaming grew by $215 million in the year up to 30 September - up from $86 million the previous year. Most of the increase - $200 million - came through the company's recorded music division. The smallest of the music majors saw annual revenues increase to just over $3 billion, 40% of which came from digital services. 

Fabric saved from closure after police call for licence review over drug deaths

London nightclub Fabric has been saved from closure, following a licence review by Islington Council last night (19.12.14). The review was prompted by police, due to what was described as a "wholly unacceptable number of deaths and near death incidents at the venue". The was widessread support from clubbers and more than 25,000 people signed an online petition in a bid to save the nightclub from closure. In a report, police noted that in the last three years, eight people had collapsed in the club due to ecstasy use, four of whom died - the two most recent deaths in the last few months - including that of an eighteen year old girl whose death in September, police said, the club did not inform them about. Although Fabric was told that revoking its licence was being "seriously considered", the club was saved from closure at last night's meeting of decision makers at Islington Council after venue bosses agreed to tighter checks, including hiring seven sniffer dogs and their handlers to patrol the venue at a cost of £300 each per four hour shift. All clubbers will be subject to ID checks on entry, and the club agreed to increase CCTV coverage of the venue and to step up drug searches at the door - although the club said it would apeal against some of the measures which it did not agree with and put the four deaths in the context of 6 milllion visits over 15 years and a nationwide problem with dangerous MDMA.

Wiley shows cancelled after shooting ar Garage 'disturbance'

North London venue The Garage was closed temporarily after a shooting took place outside it on Monday night. The victim, a 25 year old man, was admitted to hospital with non-threatening injuries, and is said to be in a stable condition. Police  confirmed to the NME that officers were called to the Highbury venue following a "disturbance" shortly before midnight. Whilst no arrests have yet been made, and investigation by Trident officers and Islington Police is ongoining. A show due to be headlined by grime MC Wiley was subsequently postponed, as have additional December dates (in Birmingham and Manchester) celebrating the recent release of his 'Snakes & Ladders' LP. A spokesperson for the show's promoter SJM Concerts has confirmed that replacement dates will be revealed "soon".  In a statement to press, SJM added: "Following an incident which took place outside The Garage in London last night, the main venue is unable to open this evening. It is with regret that the venue has no option other than to cancel tonight's Wiley show, which is a decision in no way related to Wiley, his management team nor his support acts".

Also cancelling -  Tove Lo's forthcoming shows at London's Koko (22 Jan) Manchester's Academy 2 (23 Jan) have been postponed whilst Tove recovers from an ongoing inflammation of her vocal cord, which she says means she'll be inactive for two months and The Who cancelled to December dates at the O2: The two dates at the London's O2 Arena, set for December 17 and 18, had had to be postponed after lead singer Roger Daltrey wemt down with a throat infection..

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


The Chemical Brothers' Ed Simons has confirmed he won't join the duo's other half Tom Rowlands to play any live shows for a while following their headline DJ set at 2015's Bugged Out Weekender, as he wants to instead concentrate on his career as an academic.

UK Music has launched a new Internship Code Of Practice for the music industry, in partnership with action group Intern Aware. The guide informs employers of their responsibilities when hiring interns - including how much they should be paid - and offers young people advice on how to avoid poor quality or unpaid positions.

Lawyer Rebecca Bains has quit her job and is aiming to become a country music singer. She has already produced her debut single. 

Sony Music UK has announced the appointment of a new Director Of Communications. Indy Vidyalankara comes to the major from the BBC.

Ticketmaster's new operation in Poland will be headed up by Iwona Żuber-Fiuczek with Live Nation boss Michael Rapino saying: "This provides another market for Ticketmaster to further build on its global base. Leveraging on its scale and expertise as the industry leader in ticketing, expanding into Poland continues building the company's global share and expands the opportunities for Live Nation's adjacent sponsorship and concert promotion businesses".

The NFL has confirmed that Katy Perry will be the headliner of the 2015 Super Bowl half time show.

Sinead O'Connor has a new manager former Wham! man Simon Napier-Bell of Snap-B Music, and has a deal already in place to release a memoir.

The BPI has announced former Sony Music UK CEO Ged Doherty as the replacement for Tony Wadsworth as its Chairman.

Live-streaming platform Boiler Room has hired FACT/The Wire writer Joe Muggs as its Editor-In-Chie and Boiler Room boss Blaise Bellville said of his company's new direction: "This is about developing a clear voice for Boiler Room. We do so much great shit, but people might not be aware of the thinking behind the programming, or how it fits into a wider context, because we don't have that central editorial voice".

The Cooking Vinyl Group is backing a new music royalties company called the Music Royalty Co which is a joint venture with Ray Bush, who has been Head Of Finance for the CV Group's Essential Music & Marketing business for the last four years, 

Essential Music & Marketing has signed up some new clients;  Full Time Hobby, Peacefrog and Paul Hartnoll, the latter of which will work with the company on his new '8:58' project.

Double bass player Gerald Newson, best known for his time performing with the London Symphony Orchestra, has been re-elected to the performer and main boards of record industry collecting society PPL .

Universal Music UK has announced the promotion of Rebecca Allen to the role of Managing Director at its classical label Decca Records.

Producer managers Erik Eger and Paul Adams, of Erik Eger Entertainment and Bang The Drum respectively, have announced a new alliance which will bring both their management rosters together under one brand, THREEE, which will have offices in LA and New York.

American entertainment firm The Collective, which has Kelly Rowland, Slash and Staind as clients, is closing down its artist management wing, and moving its emphasis entirely over to its digital-content-making, YouTube-channel-operating, multi-channel network business Collective Digital Studio. The move to kill the artist management side of the company follows the firm's decision to shutter its film and TV talent management agency last year, and the news that one of The Collective's highest profile music clients, Linkin Park, had opted to manage themselves.

Audio-sharing platform Mixcloud has confirmed the addition of Fred McIntyre and Richard Cohen to its board of advisors

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento has announced his retirement after seventeen years in the role and 33 at the American collecting society. "I am able to retire with tremendous confidence in ASCAP's future", he said in a statement. He will officially step down on 1st January.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Benn honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at the EFAs

Melvin Benn
Melvin Benn is to be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's European Festival Awards at EuroSonic in Groningen in January. Melvin Benn is a music promoter and Managing Director of Festival Republic, the company behind UK and overseas festivals including Latitude, Reading & Leeds and Electric Picnic, and the production of live music events including the BBC Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park events Proms in the Park and Festival in a Day and Longitude, Summer Nights at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham and the Marlay Park Concerts in Ireland. Benn is also a director of environmental campaign group Julie's Bicycle and has been a leader in sustainable event production: three of Festival Republic's events hold the highest Creative Industry Green rating, 3 stars (Latitude, Reading & Leeds).

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pharrell tops BBC Music Awards

The BBC Music Awards are out - and in a star studded show featuring Coldplay, One Direction, Gregory Porter, Clean Bandit, Paloma Faith, Ed Sheeran, Take That and George Ezra amongst others. International artist of the year was Pharrell Williams and the US producer-songwriter won song of the year for his exuberant, gospel-inspired single Happy, the only award that was voted for by members of the public,  Ed Sheeran was named British act of the year, and played a rousing version of his Pharrell-produced single, Sing, using just a guitar and loop pedal. Newcomers Catfish and the Bottlemen also played to their biggest-ever audience, after winning the BBC Introducing award for best new act, in a music rather than awards focussed show at Earls Court in London. Radio 1 DJ Greg James dismissed the worries that the BBC were out to compete with the BRITS, hosted by rival channel ITV, saying the BBC ceremony was "not really just about the awards" and the BBC also made use of its Concert Orchestra to embellish some of the year's biggest hits and the BBC said the main message from the night was how the BBC supports and promotes new music.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

12 Bar Club forced to vacate Denmark Street

The 12 Bar Club has been given notice to vacate Denmark Street by the middle of January 2015, The 12 Bar Club says it "will live on" and will announce details of a new location shortly

Arts Council England confirms 2015 support for the Momentum Music Fund

The UK's Momentum Music Fund is being extended for another year beyond its original two year pilot, so that's groovy. the Fund was the first Arts Council England initiative that directly funded artists outside of the jazz, classical and folk genres, and it offers grants to enable artists and their business partners to pursue career-enhancing projects that may include live or recording-based work, seeking to complement investment made in new talent by existing music industry players such as labels and publishers. Confirming that a third year of funding was now assured, outgoing Arts Council boss Alan Davey told reporters: "I'm proud of what Momentum has achieved and excited about what it can do."

Monday, 8 December 2014

Business rate demands for festival sites set to be challenged

Festival magazine reports that festival organisers and landowners who host festivals have reacted angrily to recent demands from local authorities for business rates on lane formerly classified as agricultural - with some demands being back dated to 2010. In Valuation Office Agency has said that it was "reviewing unassessed festival sites to ensure that all are correctly rated. This treats all businesses equally and ensures they pay their fair share of the overall rates bill. Local authorities have a discretion to reduce the rate by up to 100% on events that benefit the local economy. The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) are set to challenge the new approach with festival organisers pointing out that land use is sometimes for just a few days a year, and services and amenities that a town centre music venue might receive as part of is business rates - such as refuse collection, street lighting and recyling services - are not available to festival sites,

Friday, 5 December 2014

UK move towards asky lanterns ban

After years of protest and pressure from campaign groups including AGreenerFestival, local authorities across the UK are now looking to ban 'Chinese' or 'sky' lanterns. The sky lantern, also known as Kongming lantern, are paper balloons with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended. It is currently estimated that over 200,000 sky lanterns are launched in the UK every year. The Glastonbury Festival has prohibited the use of sky lanterns for some years to protect Worthy Farm and the surrounding countryside - one of Michael Eavis's cows died after ingesting metal wiring from a burnt out sky lantern and Eavis said "I am surrounded by farmers and when Glastonbury Festival takes place it's sky lanterns they get angry about." Earlier this year Knebworth House also banned the use of sky lanterns, ahead of Sonisphere 2014. Knebworth managing director Martha Lytton Cobbold said the danger posed by sky lanterns to property, livestock, and the environment is something organisers have been aware of for a long time. The lanterns have been blamed for fires on farms and in woodland, deaths of domesgticv animals and wildlife and for causing unnecessary call outs for emergency services such as the Coastguard when lanterns are mistaken for distress flares.Lanterns are banned in Austria, Argentina, Chile, Spain, Brazil, Australia and some areas of China. The UK government has not ban sky lanterns, but the Trading Standards Institute has an industry code of practice to provide guidance for manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of sky lanterns, covering their manufacture, and warnings and instructions that must be provided. 

Parklife’s ‘from Mum’ text backfires big time

The Warehouse Project, organisers of Manchester's Parklife Festival in Heaton Park have been fined £70,000 after they sent out a promotional text message ahead of this year's event which was set to appear on the recipient's phone as if it had come from the recipients’ 'Mum'. Promoting a series of post-festival club nights, the text read: "Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your going, make sure your home for breakfast! xxx" There was then a link to a web-page listing the after parties. After a substantial number of complaints (not least from those whose mothers were ill or had passed away)  Parklife organisers initially responded in a flippant matter, tweeting - according to the BBC - "so this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt” but then amended this and admitted that their text campaign may have caused "unnecessary personal distress" to some recipients and adding that they would like to "apologise to them directly". They later added: "The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone". The promotion was subsequently investigated by the Information Commissioner's Office which oversees data protection issues who fined the festival under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations on the grounds that the tweet breached data rules because the identity of the actual sender was "disguised or concealed"


Jonathan Athon from Black Tusk has died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. The band posted a message on Facebook saying "It is with deep regret and saddened hearts that we must tell you that Athon passed away this morning from injuries sustained from his motorcycle accident. Doctors told us that he suffered irreparable brain damage shortly after the accident.". He was 32 and his bandmates added that he would be "forever missed". 

Big Bank Hank (Henry Jackson) of the Sugarhill Gang, whose pioneering hit "Rapper's Delight" brought hip hop to mainstream audiences 35 years ago, has died aged 57 from complications from cancer.

Jeffrey Fletcher, 36, the guitarist with Northern Uproar has been killed instantly in a road traffic accident with a lorry in Stockport, Greater Manchester. His family said in a statement: "We wish to remember our loving, caring, gentle giant Jeffrey Fletcher for his love of music, his talent on lead guitar and most of all, his infectious laugh. The outpouring of love and wishes from friends old and new shows us how loved he has been and this is a comfort to his family."

Mowtown legend Jimmy Ruffin has died aged 78.  He was signed to Berry Gordy's label and had a string of hits in the 60s including 'What Became of the Broken Hearted' and in the 80s released the the top 10 hit 'Hold On To My Love'.  

Alexis 'Leki' Gotts, perhaps most widely known as one half of Yorkshire's Wet Nuns and latterly of new band Baba Naga, has died having taken his own life.

The Rolling Stones have said that they are devastated over the death of Bobby Keys, who played saxophone for them. The 70 year old Keys played with Buddy Holly, John Lennon and Eric Clapton but  was most famous for his work with the Stones on the classic track Brown Sugar and their album Exile On Main StreetHe played on every album from 1969 until 1974 and from 1980 to his death, and performed on all Stones tours from 1970. Keys played during the band's Glastonbury headline slot in 2013, although later was forced to pull out of dates in New Zealand and Australia due to poor health. Keys released two albums of his own in the 1970s: a self-titled instrumental album on Warner Bros. Records that featured Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Eric Clapton in 1972; and Gimme the Key on Ringo Starr's record label Ring O'Records in 1975.

Clive Palmer, the virtuoso banjo player, multi instrumentalist, songwriter and founding member of the mid-60s avant-garde folk group the Incredible String Band has died aged 71. Clive later brought his songwriting and instrumental talents to the Famous Jug Band.and ten Clive’s Original Band and was a mainstay of the Cornish folk scene.

Ian McLagan, the legendary keyboardist who was a member of the Small Faces and the Faces, has died. He was 69 years old. The popular London-born musician also brought his Hammond and Wurlitzer sound to acts including Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry and McLagan co-wrote a number of Faces songs including Cindy Incidentally, You’re So Rude, Bad’n’Ruin and Three Button Hand Me Down.

Nick Talbot, a.k.a. Warp Records artist Gravenhurst, has passed away. A statement from Warp reads: “We are shocked and saddened to share the news that Nick Talbot has passed away aged 37. An immensely talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and journalist, he will be hugely missed. " Talbot was due to begin the UK leg of a tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of his signing to Warp in Leeds. Last month he played the first three dates of the tour in Europe, performing his debut album for the label, 'Flashlight Seasons', in full.

Attitude is Everything hits 100!

Attitude is Everything (AIE), the charity that campaigns to improve accessibility at live music events for deaf and disabled fans, is celebrating the 100th sign-up to its Charter of Best Practice. Guildford venue The Boileroom – capacity 300 – has joined the likes of Glastonbury, Reading Festival, The O2, The Roundhouse and Brixton Academy in committing to attracting and welcoming disabled audiences.  “For Attitude is Everything to be awarding the 100th sign-up to the Charter is a real milestone, and I’m particularly excited that we’ve recognised a small venue like The Boileroom,” said AIE founder Suzanne Bull MBE.

More on AAA here

Scarlet Mist fades away

Ethical ticket exchange Scarlet Mist has closed down, founder Richard Marks announced via its Facebook page. Launched in 2003, the website acted as a means for music fans to sell unwanted gig and festival tickets at face value, in reaction to the increasing numbers of tickets being sold at high mark ups by online touts. The site previously closed in 2011 because of "unacceptably high levels of fraud carried out [on the platform] by a small number of criminals", but reopened again early the following year. In a statement about this week's closure, Marks explained that whilst fraud remained an issue: "I've been running Scarlet Mist more or less single-handedly for the past eleven years, as a part-time hobby whilst doing my day job as a hospital doctor. It has been fun to run it, and it has been a useful service. Unfortunately my wife is now disabled and I need to devote more time to caring for her and my family".

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Creative industries amongst the biggest employers in the EU

A new report by EY, commissioned by the European Grouping Of Societies Of Authors And Composers  and backed by pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA, amongst others, says that the cultural and creative industrie (CCIs) are amongst the biggest employers in the European Union, and that they have experienced sustained growth even through the recent recession.  According to EY's stats, the combined CCIs in Europe have annual revenues of 353.9 billion euros and employ more than seven million people, a fifth of whom are under the age of 30. That makes CCIs the third biggest employers in Europe, just behind construction and food/drink sectors. The creative industries employ 2.5 times more people than car makers, with visual arts alone employing more people that the telecoms industry. Overall employment by the CCIs has risen in recent years, while employments levels at large in the EU have slipped a little. The report also warns the EU about ongoing copyright reforms

Alle creatieve beroepen in de cultuur- en mediasector in de Europese Unie zijn samen goed voor 7,06 miljoen jobs en een jaaromzet van 535,9 miljard euro, zo leert een nieuwe studie van consultant EY.  Volgens EY is de ‘creatieve sector’ daarmee de derde grootste verschaffer van werkgelegenheid in Europa, na de bouwsector (15,4 miljoen jobs) en slechts nipt na de horeca (7,27 miljoen). Om tot die indrukwekkende cijfers te komen, moest EY wel de optelsom maken van elf subsectoren, zoals boeken, kranten en tijdschriften, televisie en film, maar ook de productie van videogames, architectuur en de hele advertentiesector. Die laatste is in zijn eentje goed voor 17% van de totale omzet. De allergrootste creatieve sector is, enigszins verrassend, die van de beeldende kunsten, goed voor bijna een kwart van de omzet en ruim 17% van de tewerkstelling. Het gaat om een samenraapsel van (al dan niet gesubsidieerde) activiteiten zoals fotografie, kunst, design, kunst en de uitbating van musea. De resultaten van de studie sluiten aan bij een gelijkaardig onderzoek in Duitsland enkele jaren geleden. Ook daar kwam de creatieve industrie uit de bus als de derde sector van het land, na de auto-industrie en de machinebouw, maar met een groter gewicht dan de chemiesector. Hervorming copyright De voorstelling van de studie ging vanochtend gepaard met een politieke boodschap. De creatieve sectoren zijn ongerust omdat de nieuwe Europese Commissie een hervorming van de copyright-wetgeving op zijn prioriteitenlijst heeft geplaatst. Die wetgeving wordt vandaag nog grotendeels nationaal ingevuld.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Glastonbury, Shambala and Calvin Harris amongst winners of the UK Festival Awards 2014

The 11th annual UK Festival Awards presented indie icons The Libertines with the title of ‘Best Headline Performance’ for their British Summer Time, Hyde Park set at a ceremony at The Roundhouse in London on Monday 1st December hosted by Fun Lovin Criminals frontman Huey Morgan. Also picking up awards were events including the mothership-like Glastonbury, crowned ‘Best Major Festival’, Creamfields for ‘Best Dance Event’ and Festival Number 6, a relative newcomer whose success saw them collect the ‘Line-up Of The Year’ prize.  Elsewhere in the artist categories global dance megastar Calvin Harris’ appropriately titled ‘Summer’ was chosen as the ‘Anthem of The Summer’ whilst up-and-coming Rock four-piece Wolf Alice were awarded ‘Best Breakthrough Artist’.  The popular Dorset bash Camp Bestival collected the trophy for ‘Best Family Festival’ meaning that Rob da Bank made two trips to the stage, his other being to collect the evening’s biggest honour, the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Festivals’ award, presented to him by none other than Michael Eavis. Dance music further dominated the winners list this year, in addition to awards for Creamfields and Calvin Harris with both We Are FSTVL and The Zoo Project Festival collecting prizes for ‘Best Medium-Sized Festival’ and ‘Best Small Festival’ respectively, and Shambala picked up the Greener Festival Award for their outstanding  contribution to sustainability in 2014.
Shambala's Chris Johnson with their award

The Awards followed on from a full day conference which also had a green theme and Alison Tickell from Julie's Bicycle moderated a knowledgeable panel which featured Rob Scully (Croissant Neuf Summer Party & Glastonbury), Penny Mellor (A Greener Festival), Chris Johnson (Shambala), Melvin Benn (Festival Republic) and Katie Madison in a Powerful Thinking sponsored panel titled 'The Show Must Go On'.  Other panels covered drug use at festivals, new technologies, secondary revenues and in the wake of a number of event bankrupcies in 2014, the problems inexperienced entrants to the festival scene can cause to fans and suppliers alike.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Monkeys alert fans to non existant show

The Arctic Monkeys had to resort to Twitter to alert fans in Malaysia about a  "fraudulent promotion" of a 2015 stadium show that was never scheduled to take place. The tweets were in response to posters for a show supposedly taking place on February 28 but the band wrote "Following our show in Rio, there are no further live shows planned. Please disregard fraudulent promotions." A poster for the fake gig was also posted alongside the announcement.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Private copying exception faces challenge from UK Music industry

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cross-industry trade body UK Music, working with the Musicians' Union and British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors, is set to fight the private copy exemption added to British copyright law earlier this year through the courts saying "The MU, BASCA and UK Music welcome the purpose of the new measures, namely to enable consumers to make a copy of their legally acquired music. However, this is a bad piece of legislation as it incorrectly implements the law by failing to include fair compensation for musicians, composers and rightsholders" expaining "The private copying exception will damage the musician and composer community. It contravenes Article 5 (2) (b) of the [European] Copyright Directive which includes a requirement that where a member state provides for such a copyright exception - as the UK now has - it must also provide fair compensation for rights holders". Nowt about compendation for consumers though - who are left with redundant formats when technology changes.

Spotify still at a global loss

The Guardian reports that Spotify's global revenues were up 73.6% in 2013 to 747 million euros (£593 million.  91% of that income cake from paying subscribers rather than users of the streaming service's ad-funded freemium tier. Operating losses also grew by 16.4% to 80 million euros (£63 million). It was recently confirmed that Spotify's UK and French businesses both went into profit in 2013 but at a global level, given the firm's continued rampant worldwide expansion (plus it's hard to know what costs are covered at a national and global level) the rising losses were exoected. The parent Spotify company is based in Luxembourg.

More on Spotify's business model here

Take That take Google Play option

Take That's first album as a trio, 'III', will be available for streaming (as opposed to downloading) exclusively on Google Play Music (and therefore also to those experimenting with the YouTube Music Key beta) for the first month after its release on the 1st Decdember, it has been announced. 

The Google version of the album that streams will also feature three bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere, and will also be sold through the Google Play download store.

Vinyl sales surge in UK

Endless River
More than one million vinyl records have been sold in the UK so far this year - the first time the milestone has been achieved since 1996. Earlier this month, Pink Floyd's The Endless River became the fastest-selling vinyl release since 1997 (see image).

The Official Chart Company told the BBC it will soon launch a weekly vinyl chart and  Martin Talbot, managing director said "Only five years ago this business was worth around £3m a year. This year it's going to be worth £20m."

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Morrissey mobbed and show cut short

Morrissey has had a concert cut short in Germany after his concert descended into chaos when revellers invaded the stage. The former The Smiths frontman was performing at the Colosseum Theater in Essen  when "a band of overzealous gig-goers jumped up on stage". The 55-year-old tried to continue performing as security personnel rushed to get the offenders back in the pit, before one security guard decided to remove the singer altogether. The concert was then cut short due to safety concerns.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Record labels say they invest $4.3 annually in A&R and marketing

Record label body the IFPI has published a report saying that record companies’ total investment in A&R and marketing tops US$4.3 billion annually and more than US$20 billion over five years. The IFPI’s Investing in Music report says that labels’ investment in A&R and marketing is up from 26% to 27% of industry revenues over the last two years. The report was unveiled at ‘Friends of Music’ evening for MEPs in Strasbourg, hosted by IFPI chairman Plácido Domingo.

Interestingly the Report details the costs of breaking an artist in a major market remain substantial at between US$500,000 and US$2 million.  The cost typically breaks down as payment of an advance (US$50,000-350,000), recording costs (US$150,000-500,000), video production costs (US$50,000-300,000), tour support (US$50,000-US$150,000) and marketing and promotional costs (US$200,000-700,000). It may be worth noting that artists themselves pay for some of this - as labels seek to recoup a good chunk of those payments - something the Report skirts around. yes indeed - its ARTISTS who pay for a lot of this!

The Report also argues that liive performance has not replaced recordings as the driver of the music industry.  While record companies invest US$2.5 billion in A&R, there is little evidence of such substantial investment in new music coming from any other source saying "All of the five top grossing live tours of 2013 were by artists who first released albums nine or more years previously, with one group having recordings going back 50 years.  Few artists can achieve a scalable, sustainable music career without producing recorded music."

Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, says: “Investing in Music highlights the multi-billion dollar investment in artists made every year by major and independent record labels.  It is estimated that the investment in A&R and marketing over the last five years has totalled more than US$20 billion.  That is an impressive measure of the qualities that define the music industry, and which give it its unique value.” Alison Wenham, chair of indie label's group WIN, says: “Most artists who want to make a career from their music still seek a recording deal.  They want to be introduced to the best producers, sound engineers and session musicians in the business. They need financial support and professional help to develop marketing and promotional campaigns.”

AMAs out

The 42nd American Music Awards have been and gone - hosted by Pitbull - and with performances from Charlie XCX, Imagine Dragons, Jennifer Lopez, 5SOS, Mary J Blige, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Lorde and Fergie

This year’s winners included One Direction, who nabbed the artist of the year award and two other trophies; Iggy Azalea, who cleaned up in the hip-hop categories and Katy Perry, whose stomping Dark Horse took home single of the year and who won trophies in the pop/rock and adult contemporary categories. Sam Smith won best male artist and Taylor Swift picked up the Dick Clark award for Excellence from Diana Ross.

UK's anti touting law moves forwards

The UK's House Of Lords has voted to include a new clause in the Consumer Rights Bill that would force people touting tickets online to provide buyers with  extra information, a move designed to make it clearer who exactly it is reselling tickets, how big a mark-up is being added, and what the risks are to the consumer by buying tickets on the secondary market. The amendment stems from a report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse back in April, which hoped to speed up the prospect of some ticketing touting regulation by amending the in-development Consumer Rights Bill, rather than having to promote bespoke ticket touting legislation to government or via a private members bill. The amendment, which was approved by a small margin - 183 votes to 171 by the Lords - would oblige a ticket seller using a resale site like Viagogo, Seatwave or StubHub to reveal their identity, declare the face value of tickets they are selling, provide seat numbers and booking references associated with the ticket, and state whether the terms and conditions of the ticket being sold give the promoter the right to block entry to the event if they discover the ticket was resold. The secondary sites would also be obliged to ensure this information is given. APPG co-chair Mike Weatherley MP said: "It's been clear for a long time that this market is not working in the interest of genuine fans or the people who put in all the hard work and investment to put on live events. Anyone operating honestly has nothing to fear from these changes, but they will make a big difference for ordinary fans. It's imperative that the government doesn't try to reverse this amendment when the bill comes back to the Commons".

e-Petition calls for newbies to waive noise complaints

A new official e-petition has been launched in the UK to "Introduce mandatory noise complaint waivers for anyone who buys or rents a property within close distance of a music venue". At over 8,000 sign ups already, the suggestion seems popular and usually once past 10,000 signatures, the responsible department (here the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) would comment on the proposals which say "There are innumerate cases of people knowingly moving within close proximity of live music venues, only to try to have their licenses revoked or have them closed completely when they take exception to the noise." and "It is extremely detrimental to the UK's entertainment industry, particularly on a grassroots level, when all the music venues start disappearing. Music is a key British export and to endanger our strong national artist community is to endanger a key British industry" and concludes "As such, anyone who wishes to buy or rent a property within a determined distance of a music venue should have to read and sign legislature that waives their right to complain about the noise from the nearby venue. If they do not wish to be bothered by something that was a fixture of the community long before they arrived, they should not move there in the first place."  if the petition gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The call for a review of noise abatement legislation here

UPDATE - just one day after we posted this item, the campagn srarted to go viral - see the new image above that we grabbed from Facebook - and as of 26/11/14 at 11AM had 17,398 signatories

Thursday, 20 November 2014


AIF reports that Justin Vernon, founder and frontman of the critically acclaimed Americana band Bon Iver, has announced that he has received the necessary permits to launch the first Eaux Claire Music and Arts Festival in his hometown of the same name. 25,000 punters are expected to attend the primarily indie rock festival, and the event could bring “eight or nine million dollars” of tourism money into the area according to Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce President Bob McCoy. According to a permit application, which passed through its final round of approvals on Tuesday night, the Eaux Claire Festival will take place July 17th and 18th at Foster Farm in Eau Claire. The plan calls for three performances spaces — two stages and one 6,000-person capacity tent, featuring artists personally curated by Vernon. Taking place “in a vast, remote, wooded setting,” the festival will also offer attendees on-site camping. A native of Eau Claire, Vernon expects the festival to have a positive impact on his hometown. The line-up of the event has yet to revealed. 

Glastonbury, Africa Express, Arcadia Spectacular and Yourope lawyer Ben Challis has written an article on the Live Music Exchange about the changing face of contracts in the live music industry focussing on how artistes are engaged for concerts, tours and festivals - and the ever contentious topic of artist 'riders' and which explores the topics covered by Ben in his recent talk at the AIF Fesival Congress in Cardiff. You can find it here

Temporary power supplier Aggreko has announced the acquisition of Golden Triangle Generators (GTG). GTG provides rental power solutions to customers throughout Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales. Aggreko UK managing director Dan Ibbetson said “During 26 years of operations, GTG has developed a loyal customer base throughout the northwest oF England and North Wales,” adding “Their reputation for delivering a high-quality product via an experienced and professional team makes GTG a natural fit with Aggreko.”

AXS TV to cover more festivals in US

AEG has announced details about US festival coverage that will be aired on AXS TV, the channel in which it has a stake during 2015 and which shares its brand with AEG's ticketing platform, AXS TV broadcast from the second weekend of Coachella earlier this year, and will do so again next April. AXS TV will also be filming content at the Stagecoach, Jazzfest, Rock On The Range and Firefly festivals next year too, amounting to about 70 hours of coverage. AXS TV Founder Mark Cuban said in a statement: "AXS TV is committed to delivering the best in live music, and we're proud to continue that legacy with this groundbreaking line up. Nothing compares to a live music event, and now our audience will get a front-row seat to five incredible festivals, as we bring the ultimate concert experience to our viewers".

AIF festival survey - win tickets!


Fill out the annual AIF Audience Survey for a chance to win 2x tickets to an AIF festival! Thats it - so you can get filling in by using this link
And if you win you can choose from 

2000Trees / ArcTanGent / Beat-Herder Festival / Barn On The Farm / Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival / Bestival / Blissfields / Bournemouth 7s / Brecon Jazz / Brownstock Festival / Camp Bestival / Cornbury / Deer-Shed Festival / Eden Sessions / Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru / End Of The Road Festival / Evolution Festival / Festibelly / The Fling Festival / Fire in the Mountain / Glastonbudget / Greenbelt Festival / Hebridean Celtic Festival / In The Woods Festival / Isle of Wight Festival / Kendal Calling / Larmer Tree Festival / LeeFest / London Remixed / Loud Sound / Meltdown No Tomorrow / Nozstock the Hidden Valley Festival / Pangaea / Rhythm & Vines / The Secret Garden Party / Shambala Festival / Sonisphere / Starry Skies /Stockton Weekender / SWN Festival / Tramlines / Truck / Village Green Festival / Wakestock / We Are FSTVL /  Y-Not Festival 

Apple will go head to head with Google and Facebook

Apple has now confirmed to the FT that it will offer a Beats subscription music service into its iOS operating system early next year in a move set to put Apple head to head with Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Soundcloud and Google. The move will mark the company's first big push into subscription music, at a time when downloads from its iTunes platform are in decline. Google Inc said last week that YouTube will rolling out a long-awaited paid monthly music subscription service called YouTube Music Key. Apple bought music streaming and audio equipment company Beats in May for $3 billion.

Bono bike crash bad but recovery prospects good

Bono's cycle crash in New York, which forced U2 to cancel their planned 'Tonight Show' residency has also resulted in the singer undergoing extensive surgery.  NYC based trauma surgeon Dean Lorich has revealed that there were fractures to Bono's eye socket, shoulder blade, little finger and his upper arm and he had to insert three metal plates and eighteen screws into the singer's elbow. Releasing all the details in the form of a statement via Rolling Stone, Lorich added that Bono "will require intensive and progressive therapy, however a full recovery is expected". 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

RE:IMI write an open letter to Bob Geldof

Last week RE:IMI (Race Equality: In Music Industry) noted that Bob Geldof was recording a new  'Do They Know It's Christmas?' single by Band Aid 30 and acknowledged that the profits going towards the ebola response in west Africa. However RE:IMI went on to say this:

"Whilst we appreciate this initiative and the many less high profile efforts by African community organisations in Britain, it is a shame that 30 years on, Geldof, a man who seems to have a passion for Africa, has not widened his address book to include African artists.

To the best of our knowledge the only African included in the Band Aid 30 lineup is Emeli Sande. Is it that Geldof is not aware of the numerous African British artists with commercial success such as Tinie Tempah, Leona Lewis, Dizzee Rascal, Beverley Knight, Corrine Bailey Rae, Omar, Sade Adu, Alexandra Burke, to name a few who could have been included?

Whilst this is not a personal attack on Geldof, the reality is that for all the good intentions  of the Band Aid 30 project to help Africans, what many within the African British and black music communities see from the published lineup is another form of Eurocentrism - the European off to help the African, without engagement with African musicians in Britain, let alone on the African continent.

If the music industry is serious about engaging with diversity, particularly race equality, which is the reason RE:IMI has been formed, then that message needs to feed through more, and be reflected in a British collective of artists such as Band Aid 30. As it is, whilst Emeli Sande's place in the Band Aid 30 lineup is well-deserved, as she is one of Britain's top selling recoding artists, her inclusion as the only African could be perceived as a tokenistic effort.

We hope that this open letter comes to the attention of the organisers of the recording session in order to redress the situation for future efforts. It would be helpful if today's multi-cultural Britain was better represented in the Band Aid 30 lineup. 29 years on, perhaps lessons can still be learnt from  Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones, whose ‘We Are The World’ effort was performed by a truly multi-cultural collection of artists known as USA For Africa.

Outside of Band Aid 30 and the big charities and NGOs, there are initiatives led by Africans both here in Britain and on the African continent. In London, the newly formed collective Elbow Out Ebola has a conference at Zanzibar in south London on December 5 to find out where ebola-hit countries are at, and how Diasporan Africans can help, and community groups BTWSC and African Histories Revisited are organising  a dinner fundraiser on December 6 at Best Western Cumberland Hotel in Harrow in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières UK's ebola response.

Interestingly, a number of African artists on the continent have recorded songs to raise awareness about the ebola virus, but as the organisers or artists do not have the same profile or media access as Geldof, you've probably not of heard of them. One of the songs is  'Africa Stop Ebola', which features singers well-known on the so-called world music scene, such as Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, and rapper Didier Awadi.

The song is a message about what people can do to help stop the spread of ebola in Africa, and is performed in French and local languages widely spoken across west Africa to ensure that the message is understood.

RE:IMI encourages Geldof, if he would like to help Africans, to engage with them and work with them rather than merely doing things for their benefit. We thank all the Band Aid 30 artists, but we are now wise to the rise in sales and profile which charity records, and concerts, provide."

And Fuse said that "Saying no to Bob Geldof is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make this year. However, seeing what looked like the corpse of an African woman being carried out of her home on primetime TV when the video was premiered on X Factor crystallised my concerns about this strategy to combat the Ebola crisis. For me it is ultimately flawed." Fuse went on to tell the Guardian that when he got the proposed lyrics just two days before the recording was due to take place in London "I was shocked and appalled by their content. The message of the Band Aid 30 song absolutely did not reflect what Africa is truly about and I started to question whether this was something I wanted to be a part of.

More opinions from Africans here

And "Why Adele was right to ignore Bob Geldof and Band Aid" Over on the Telegraph Bryony Gordon wonders why, when it comes to charity, the rich and famous donate their precious time while the rest of us must donate our money

And an amusing take on well meant but pointless volunteering here 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Self-service ticketing platform Ticketscript has appointed Nick Wells to the role of Country Director UK. He will lead the firm's UK commercial team

Direct-to-fan platform and pre-order campaign specialists PledgeMusic has announced the appointment of Dan Ghosh-Roy to the new New York-based role of Head of Marketing & Digital Strategy

Ticketmaster UK has appointed Andrew Parsons as its MD , succeeding Simon Pressell, who had held the post for just over one year.

Matt Bates who represaents the Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, Azaelia Banks, Metronomy and alt-J has joined the board of Primary Talent International. 

The CEO of music video platform Vevo, Rio Caraeff, is stepping down. CFO Alan Price will head up the company while a full-time replacement for Caraeff is recruited.

The Agency Group has acquired electronic music-focussed US booking agency, Bond Music Group which is headed up by Kris Krajewski.  Amongst the artists on Bond's books are Moby, Dirty Vegas, Francois K and MNDR.

Country star Tim McGraw has parted company with Red Light Management after a five year alliance with the firm. Billbard report that rhe singer's ex-manager Scott Siman is reportedly filling in.

Decca Records boss Dickon Stainer has been handed the additional role of Universal's President and CEO of Global Classical. He will report into Universal Music Group International CEO Max Hole, who has previously overseen the company's classical division.

PRS for Music has announced two new appointments: its new Commercial Director is Paul Clements and the new Executive Director of Membership and International is Karen Buse.

StubHub president Chris Tsakalakis has stepped down from the position, leaving the secondary ticketing firm with immediate effect. 

Ex MAMA boss Dean James has launched his new Sixth venture with ex Shazam mann Matt McCann. Dan Fraser is a non executive director. 

Fruszina Szep has stepped down as programme director for the Sziget Festival in Hungary and joined the Berlin Festival as director.

Dean DeWulf is returning to the USA from the UK but will continue to work for ticketing company AXS, now in a music development role. 

After 32 years Sheelagh Allen has retired from the Glastonbury Festival where she ran the Farm office and was Michael Eavis's trusted aide. 

AEG Live's Goldenvoice has taken on Metropolis promoters Oscar Tuttiet and Laura Davidson.

AC/DC's Angus Young has commented that the band's drummer Phil Rudd who was recently arrested had "got himself in a pickle". Young has said that he and the rest of the band have had no contact with on-off drummer adding "We had a few problems", he explained adding "The situation he's in - that took everyone by surprise. We had a few issues before with him, even when we were recording it was hard even to get to him to do the recording" and "then he was supposed to show up to do promos with us, to do video shoots and a few shoots and a few other things, and he never showed up for that either. So, at this stage, it's a pretty tough call for us". Rudd did not featurein trhe band's last photo shoot.

PRS for Music has announced the appointment of Stephen Davidson as an external Director and Executive Board chair. Stephen replaces Peter Bamford, who left PRS for Music at the end of October after six years of service, during which time he made a major contribution to the governance of the organisation.

Sinead O'Connor has split with her latest manager for personal reasons. Poting on her blog  O'Connor says: "Shit day from hell. Have had to leave my manager. Not that we didn't get on well, we got on too well, both fell equally in love. Had a month long affair, but he has a girlfriend, so naturally I gotta vanish. Extraordinarily sad and depressing, but there it is. Another manager bites the dust". Interested applicatants can email

Warners take the plunge in China

Warner Music has announced an alliance with Chinese internet giant Tencent which, says the major label, is the "first-ever master distribution partnership between a major music company and a leading internet provider in Mainland China". Tencent will distribute Warner's catalogue and new releases (including music from Chinese label Gold Typhoon, which Warner acquired earlier this year) to all domestic non-tel-co-based online audio services in China, while the major will also develop promotional partnerships with various platforms operated by the net firm, including the QQ Music streaming service and various video and gaming based channels.

More UK venues at risk

North London's Buffalo Bar in Islingon is to close on 31 Dec after over fourteen active years. Two othwer independent music venues, the Kazimier - and also Cream-hosting nightclub Nation - in Liverpool may also be 'at risk' under plans reported by the Liverpool Echo for "multi-million pound plans" to devekop "Wolstenholm Square" to create new apartments, shops and leisure facilities".  Plans will be submitted to the local council next week.

SFX revenues up but staff cull planned

SFX is planning to streamline its operations with redundancies likely even though the EDM focussed group saw revenues up almost 200% in Q3. SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman said in an earnings call last week that the company now plans to "consolidate many of our operations" with a "reduction in workforce" likely. SFX's Q3 financials saw revenues increase by 194.5% to $134.5 million, boosted mainly by is festivals business. Just 20% came from sources outside its live events, such as the Beatport download platform, marketing businesses and ticketing system, reports Billboard. 30 of the 82 festivals the company owns took place in the period being reported.