Thursday, 30 January 2014

BRITS to go live on YouTube

This year's BRIT Awards ceremony is to be broadcast live worldwide via YouTube for the first time on the BRITs YouTube channel. Viewers globally will also be able to influence the new Best British Video Award. A shortlist for that will be announced - with votes accepted via Twitter during the broadcast and the winner announced towards the end. The awards can be seen live on terrestrial TV  - ITV - in the UK - where the stream will not be active. Acts including Arctic Monkeys, Pharrell Williams Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Bastille, Rudimental, Ellie Goulding, Lorde and Disclosure are on the bill for the event, which will take place on 19 February, hosted by James Cordon for the fifth and final time this year at London's O2 Arena. Disclosure and Bastille lead the nominations for this year's awards, having both been named in four categories each.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Young to launch PONO at SXSW

Noise11 reports that Neil Young plans to launch his new music player, PONO, at the SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas in March. PONO is a high-end digital music player that plays at studio quality and will be billed as the hi-tech alternative to low quality MP3 players such as the iPod.

Live sector needs to make tickets more accessible

Live music accessibility charity Attitude Is Everything has said that the live sector is missing out on 2.5 million ticket sales a year - equal to about £66 million in annual revenue - because while promoters make events accessible to deaf and disabled customers, they are not making it easy for those fans to buy tickets. In the group's latest State Of Access report, Attitude Is Everything says that 83% of the disabled gig-goers it surveyed were put off buying tickets because of inaccessible booking systems. So called 'accessible tickets' are often sold via telephone booking lines, rather than online, which make it harder for customers who require such tickets to make a purchase.  AIE is now working with the Society Of Ticket Agents & Retailers to facilitate a working party involving the likes of Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Ticketline and Eventim to tackle the problem.

SoundCloud confirms $60 million in new investment

Audio-sharing platform SoundCloud confirmed last week that it had raised further investment from the likes of Institutional Venture Partners and the Chernin Group. According to the Wall Street Journal, the digital firm secured $60 million in the latest round of financing, valuing the company at around $700 million

Daft Punk top Grammys

Daft Punk emerged as the winners of the most Grammys this weekend, with five including the all-important Album and Record Of The Year gongs, though four-prize winners Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who won Best New Artist amongst others, arguably stole the show with a live set that included the marriage of 33 gay and straight couples live on stage  - overseen by Queen Latifah - and a guest appearance from Madonna. Wow!

The main gongs that were given out went to:

Album Of The Year: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Record Of The Year: Daft Punk Feat Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers - Get Lucky
Song Of The Year: Lorde - Royals
Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Best Country Album: Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park
Best Pop Vocal Album: Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox
Best Rock Album: Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
Best Alternative Album: Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
Best R&B Album: Alicia Keys - Girl On Fire
Best Rap Album: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
Best Dance/Electronica Album: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Spotify launch merch app

A new Spotify feature that first appeared on Led Zeppelin's much hyped profile on the streaming service - merchandise sell-through - has now gone live for all artists. In partnership with Topspin, Spotify is now allowing artists to list merchandise next to their music commission-free.

Paradigm takes stake in Coda

CMU Daily reports that US-based talent agency Paradigm has announced it has acquired a 50% stake in London-based booking agency CODA. The two firms say that the deal grew from a "longstanding, successful relationship", and that it will "enable the two agencies to pool their expertise and resources on a global basis".

Confirming the alliance, CODA Director Rob Challice told CMU: "We have had an excellent working relationship with the guys at Paradigm for many years. We share similar philosophies and values and are particularly aligned in our views on developing artists' live careers. All the directors here at Coda are agents and will continue to be so. Our passionate, hands-on approach to our work and the way we run our business is not going to change at all".

Meanwhile Paradigm CEO Sam Gores added: "We could not be happier to start the new year with this partnership with CODA, a terrific group of agents who are dedicated to growing artists careers the right way. This furthers our strategy of aligning with agencies around the globe that share our values and our commitment to the highest quality representation".

Coda's directors now are Alex Hardee, James Whitting, Marty Diamond, Rob Challice and Tom Schroeder, supported by Greg Bestick, Dave Hallybone and MD Claire Horseman. The UK company's roster includes such acts as Bastille, Bon Iver, Disclosure, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sandé, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg, Rudimental and The xx. Paradigm has more than 130 agents across its Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville and Monterey offices, guiding the careers of an elite roster of clients in motion pictures, television, music, theatre, comedy, publishing, digital media, physical production, commercials and voice-overs. Among the acts on its extensive roster are Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Ed Sheeran, The Lumineers, Eli Young Band, fun., Imagine Dragons, Janelle Monae, Jason Mraz, Phish and Toby Keith amongst many others.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

European Festival Awards - and the winners are .....

The winners of the 2013 Festival Awards Europe have been announced at a sell out show at EuroSonic in the Netherlands in a show that featured live shows from Ireland's Kodaline, Milky Chance from Germany and Prata Vetra from Latvia - all hosted by that charming man, Ben Challis and sponsored by Eventbrite, IVS and lighting and staging bods Company NA - and most importantly voted for by 625,000 European festival fans. And without further ado the winners are:

Arctic Monkeys
headliner of the year

The Health and Safety Innovation Award (Jury Award) - Paleo Festival (Switzerland)
Best New Festival - (Hungary)
Festival Anthem of the Year - Daft Punk - Get Lucky!  
Best Indoor Festival  - Metal Hammer Paradise (Germany)
The Green Operations Award (Jury award) - Way Out West (Sweden)
Best European Festival Line-Up  - Berlin Festival (Germany)
Newcomer of the Year - Imagine Dragons
Artist’s Favourite European Festival (Jury Award) - Lowlands (Netherlands)
Headliner of the Year - The Arctic Monkeys
Promoter Of The Year (Jury Award)  - FKP Scorpio (Germany)
Best Small Festival - FUSION Festival (Romania)
Best Medium-Sized Festival - Melt! Festival (Germany)
Best Major Festival - EXIT Festival (Serbia)
Lifetime Achievement Award  - Marek Lieberberg

Last night also saw the presentation of the European Border Breakers Awards at Eurosonic at a show hosted by Jools Holland. The finalists were GuGabriel, Lukas Graham, Woodkid, Zedd, Asgeir, Jacco Gardner, Envy, Icona Pop and Disclosure but the Public Choice Award went to Irish rock boys Kodaline.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Revolving Door

Pearl Jam's former financial manager Rickey Goodrich is to be sentenced in February after admitting at King County Superior Court in Seattle just before Christmas to stealing f $380,000 from the band over the course of four years. He was fired in September 2010.

Former President of Capitol Records within Universal (and when it was part of EMI), Dan McCarroll, has been appointed to the same role at Warner Bros Records US.

Bauer Media last week announced that it had signed up that Neil Fox to two more years presenting the breakfast show on its Magic station in London

YouTube have appointed Christophe Muller to the role of Director Of Global Music Partnerships.  He takes over from Chris Maxcy, who has moved over to a broader role within Google. Muller has been with the web giant for ten years, most recently overseeing YouTube partnerships in Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In his new role he will manage the video site's global partnerships with its key music partners, including Vevo and Warner Music.

John Sharkey, CEO of the Scottish Conference Exhibition Centre will step down in April 2014 after 11 years with the SEC. His departure follows the successful opening of the new 13,000 capacity SSE Hydro  in Glasgow in September 2013 which will host the 20th MTV Awards in November.

UK indie label Cooking Vinyl has confirmed two new appointments, with Sammy Andrews, previously of 19 Recordings and her own company Sabotage New Media, being recruited for the role of Head Of Digital, and Chris Farrow, previously of EMI, Columbia and most recently Sunday Best, joining in the role of Product & Marketing Manager.

Rock magazine Rock Sound has announced that current Editor Ben Patashnik will depart in March, and will be replaced by his Deputy Ryan Bird, who has been with the title since late 2011, having previously worked for Kerrang!

Gemma Cairney is to take over the early breakfast slot on BBC Radio 1 from March 31st, filling the two and a half hours before Nick Grimshaw' Breakfast Show. She is urrently presenting the station's weekend breakfast show.

SoundCloud's VP Business Development Dave Haynes has announced that he is leaving the company after five years.

Alt-J have lost bassist Gwil Sainsbury, who has left on what seem to be good terms.

Troy Carter has confirmed that he has signed R&B soloist Miguel rock artist John Mayer to his Atom Factory artist management company. Both deals were apparently signed after his split from his biggest client, Lady Gaga, in November.

Universal Music's merchandising company Bravado yesterday announced that its UK boss David Boyne had been promoted to the new role of Head Of European Sales, as well as continuing to lead the British side of the business.

Friday, 10 January 2014

BRIT Awards 2014 nominations revealed

Bastille and electro brothers Disclosure lead the way at the Brit Awards with four nominations each and Ellie Goulding also picked up three nods at Thursday's nominations event - for best British female and twice for best single. She is nominated for her songs Burn, and I Need Your Love. Electronic music is also represented by drum and bass quartet Rudimental, who equal Goulding with three nods. David Bowie pocks up two nomination including best album alongside records by Arctic Monkeys, Bastille, Disclosure and Rudimental.

Best Producer
Ethan Johns / Flood & Alan Moulder / Paul Epworth

British Breakthrough Act
Bastille / Disclosure / Laura Mvula / London Grammar / Tom Odell

British Female Solo Artist
Birdy / Ellie Goulding / Jessie J / Laura Marling /Laura Mvula

Arctic Monkeys
British Group
Arctic Monkeys / Bastille / Disclosure / One Direction / Rudimental

British Male Solo Artist
David Bowie / Jake Bugg / James Blake / John Newman / Tom Odell

British Single (based on sales)
Bastille / Calvin Harris / Disclosure / Ellie Goulding / John Newman / Naughty Boy / Olly Murs / One Direction / Passenger / Rudimental

Critics' Choice Award
Chlöe Howl / Ella Eyre / and won by Sam Smith 

International Female Solo Artist
Janelle Monáe / Katy Perry / Lady Gaga / Lorde / Pink

International Group
Arcade Fire / Daft Punk / Haim / Kings Of Leon / Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

International Male Solo Artist
Bruno Mars / Drake/ Eminem / John Grant / Justin Timberlake

MasterCard British Album of the Year
Arctic Monkeys / Bastille / David Bowie / Disclosure / Rudimental

Sam Smith has also been chosen as the BBC's Sound Of 2014.  The complete Sound Of 2014 top five is as follows:

1. Sam Smith
2. Ella Eyre
3. Banks
4. Sampha
5. George Ezra

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Ticketscript reveals its best festive season to date

Self-ticketing software provider Ticketscript has revealed it had its most successful festive season ever saying seven thousand New Year’s Eve events across Europe chose to use Ticketscript’s software to sell tickets, with December's events generating gross tickets sales in excess of £10m. While in the UK specifically, tickets sold by existing clients increased by 58 per cent year-on-year.  Frans Jonker, CEO, said: “We are proud to finish 2013 on such a high and it gives us the fuel and enthusiasm to kick start what we know will be an exciting year for the company.  

More on Access All Areas

Ministry safe, Oslo to open

The Ministry Of Sound nightclub's future has been assured, after its owners reached an agreement with property developer Oakmayne over a new block of flats to be built opposite the venue. The Ministry team had successful convinced Southwark Council's planning department that the 41 storey building would cause problems for its business - predicting complaints from new neighbours about noise. However, London mayor Boris Johnson then agreed to review the decision, saying that the two sides should get together and work out a solution themselves. Oakmayne has agreed to adapt the design of its building to make it more soundproofed and Johnson approved the planning application on the 19th December, with building work due to commence shortly. In a statement, Ministry Of Sound Group's chief exec Lohan Presencer said: "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with [Oakmayne's business partners] Englewood Ltd that safeguards our future while allowing new development in Southwark. This is a significant planning breakthrough for London, setting a precedent for how new housing and existing businesses can live together. We are grateful to the Mayor for his efforts and look forward to welcoming our new neighbours to the area". Work on the new development is due to be completed in 2017.

And the new East London venue from DHP Family, Oslo in Hackney, will now open on the 17th January. The original opening date was missed after a neighbouring building suffered a structural failure.The new space will stage both gigs and club nights, as well as operating as a bar and restaurant.

HMV to close nine stores

HMV will shut nine UK stores this month, with new owner Hilco closing stores where rents cannot be renegotiated. Amongst the shops to be closed - according to local media reports - are Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington, Newport, Kettering, Islington and two in Edinburgh. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Venue news - NEC set for sale, Olympic stadium upgrades - and music gets racing lift

The Times reports that Birmingham City Council, the majority owner of the NEC Group, is panning to sell the National Exhibition Centre and its sister arenas, either through a flotation or trade sale. Te group comprises four main venues including Birmingham's Symphony Hall and the National Indoor Arena, a ticketing company and a catering business. The Council needs to raise money to replace funding cuts. Gross revenues last year topped £136 million.

Building group Balfour Beatty has won a contract worth £154 million to transform the Olympic Stadium in East London into a 'first class sporting and cultural facility for generations'.  The Stadium will become West Ham United's permanent home from 2016 and the improvemengts include a new roof. 

The Jockey Club, the owner of a number of UK race courses including Aintree, Epsom and Newmarket has teamed up with music industry veteran Andrew Wilkinson and sponsorship veteran Simon Haldern to launch a new 50-50 music venture - Jockey Club Live - to promote live concerts at race curses. The Jockey Club aready promotes 25+ race + music events each year.

Monday, 6 January 2014

UK record industry celebrates a healthy 2013

Sales they are a changing
The British record industry achieved revenues of £1 billion-plus in 2013 according to statistics published by record label trade body the BPI and the Official Charts Company. The figures also reveal, for the first time, the value of the subscription streaming market in the UK which now generates £103 million a year, up from £77 million in 2012. The BPI/OCC say that in 2013 twice as many tracks were streamed overall than in 2012, totalling 7.4 billion. This includes music consumed on both subscription and ad-funded platforms - with Spotify, Deezer, YouTube and Vevo all included - though revenues generated by the advertising-based services are in addition to the £103 million in subscription sales. As with the USA, the number of digital singles sold in 2013 was down on 2012, with 175.6 million tracks downloaded, compared to the record breaking 183.3 million in 2012. But digital album sales were up again, by 6.8%, to 32.6 million units.

Traditional revenue streams held up well, despite the downsizing of the HMV network and the closure of Amazon's main online competitor  CD sales did to decline, by 12.8% in 2013, but the decline has slowed and sales of this format still accounted for 64% of all albums sold during the year, at 60.6 million units. The vinyl revival continued in 2013, with sales of seven-inch singles, twelve-inch singles and vinyl LPs up 34%, 60.3% and 100.8% respectively, although overall numbers of units sold is very small in comparison to CDs and digital.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Revolving Door

Warner/Chappell have announced the promotion of Jon Platt, previously President of Creative for North America at the firm, to overall President of the music publisher in the region. He will report into Cameron Strang. 

Steve Martin, a near twenty year veteran at The Agency Group, has moved to APA as executive vice president of worldwide music.  In the wake of his departure Natalia Nastaskin becomes CEO of US operations and Steve Kaul becomes senior executive vice president. Eddie Clemens is promoted to director of marketing. Scott Galloway and Stu Walker join TAG's Nashville office, with both Walker and Galloway joining from APA.

Nine Inch Nails have split from their long-term manager Jim Guerinot according to Billboard. Billboard also believes that Trent Reznor's band How To Destroy Angels - who were also on the roster of Guerinot's management firm Rebel Waltz - have likewise moved on. It also seems like John Mayer and longtime manager Michael McDonald of Mick Management have parted ways, with McDonald saying "After 13 years, John and I are parting ways," McDonald said in a statement. "It's been a magnificent journey, which began before his debut album, and along the way has included seven Grammy awards, years of massively successful tours around the world, and over 20 million albums sold. I hold John's talent in the highest regard and wish him nothing but the best."

In a game of legal chairs, Warner Music UK  haveJames Radice, previously SVP of Business & Commercial Affairs for the Polydor to the top business affairs man for Warner UK. Although all this is yet to be confirmed, it's thought Radice will likely take over from Jonathan Cross, who stayed on as VP Business Affairs after the rejig that occurred at Warner UK earlier this year following the integration of its Parlophone acquisition. Radice's role at Polydor will be filled by Julian French, who joins from BMG, and BMG has announced the promotion of John Dobinson, previously COO for the firm's UK division, to a new globally-focused role overseeing rights and contract administration and "integration management, asset management, supply chain management and IT" on a worldwide basis. BMG has also promoted two senior execs within its UK division, with Alexi Cory-Smith becoming Exec Vice President of BMG Chrysalis UK and Mark Ranyard Exec Vice President and CFO and  Fred Casimir is promoted to the role of Executive Vice President International Repertoire for the recordings side of the music rights firm.

The Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) has appointed a new full-time General Manager, Paul Reed, who previously worked at music development agency Generator, as well as for various festival-related companies, and most recently for event management firm The Event Umbrella. Reed will oversee the day-to-day running of the growing trade body, while the group's previous GM Claire O'Neill will stay on as Senior Manager, leading on AIF events and development projects.

Former music journalist and  record label executive Dave Shack has has been appointed Managing Director of Phantom Music Management, which looks after Iron Maiden, reporting to founders Rod Smallwood and Andy Taylor.

Music content maker LoveLive has expanded its in-house tech expertise by appointing Remco Van Stiphout to the role of Chief Technology Officer.

Intellitix has appointed Ian Bennett as head of UK business development. Bennett will focus on growing the company’s UK client base from its London base. Former IQ editor Greg Parmley has said he is leaving Intellitix, initially to re-focus on the ILMC in early March.

Temporary power and temperature control supplier Aggreko will provide the power at this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Ownership of the Camden Barfly freehold has changed hands: The Soltaire Group have sold the building to a private Greek investor. The Mama Group run the venue on a 20 year lease.

Digital dips in the US

Sales of digital music dipped in the USA in 2013, the first time since iTunes launched in 2003. Nielsen say that US digital single tracks dropped from 1.34 billion in 2012 to 1.26 billion last year. The drop is being blamed on the success of music streaming sites such as Spotify.