Monday, 31 March 2014

Fence collapse injures security guard

A security guard is in an "extremely critical" condition after being injured during an incident at the flagship edition of the Ultra dance music festival in Miami this weekend. According to local media, Erica Mack is suffering from brain haemorrhaging and a broken leg after fans with no tickets pushed down a chain link fence to gain access to the Miami event on Friday. A representative from the local fire-rescue department told the Miami New Times: "She was doing what she was supposed to do, telling them to stop [trying to break into the site]. When they pushed [the fence] down and it fell on top of her... They just trampled her". Miami mayor Tomas Regalado told reporters "What happened this weekend is an event that could have been avoided. The organisers of Ultra did not follow the police directive to re-enforce the fence, even though they knew that this year, and the year before, some kids have tried to over run the fences" and says he now wants to stop the event.

At the 2013 edition of Ultra a section of an LED screen fell and injured two workers.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Rockness and Kenwood cancel

Organisers of Scotland's RockNess festival have announced that the event will not go ahead this year. In a statement the events promoters said: "Due to the addition of a number of events alongside the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games we've decided to take a year off. We're using this break to make the event bigger and better than ever in 2015 so have an amazing summer and see you back at the Loch next year".

And there will be no summer concerts at Kenwood House in Hampstead, London,this year after organisers decided to pull the plug after 'major losses' in 2013.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Stones cancel in Australia

The Rolling Stones have cancelled at least the first date of their planned Australian tour after the tragic death of Mick Jagger's partner, L'Wren Scott. The 49-year-old model and designer, who had been dating the Rolling Stones frontman since 2001, was apparently found hanged at a New York apartment. Sir Mick will attend the funeral. Frontier Touring, the promoter of the band's world tour, posted a message on its Facebook site to confirm a concert in Perth tomorrow will not go ahead.


20.03.14  The Rolling Stones have announced that they are postponing their whole tour of Australia and New Zealand. The remaining band members have now returned home.

Monday, 17 March 2014


The youngest of the Everly Brothers, Phil, who has died aged 74. His wife Patti said the family were “absolutely heartbroken” as she revealed he had died from lung disease, the result of a lifetime of smoking. Phil and his brother Don, 75, made up the singing duo the Everly Brothers, one of the biggest pop acts of the 1950s and early 1960s. In their heyday they had 19 Top 40 hits, including Wake Up Little Suzie, Cathy’s Clown, Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream. Rolling Stone magazine called the Everly Brothers "the most important vocal duo in rock".

School Of Seven Bells guitarist Benjamin Curtis died at the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York on 29 Dec, aged 35. He had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma in February 2013.

Frontman of 60s garage rock band The Monks, and mayor of Turtle River, Minnesota, Gary Burger died on Friday, aged 72. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer

The folk singer and activist Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94. Seeger gained fame in The Weavers, formed in 1948, and continued to perform in his own right in a career spanning six decades. Renowned for his protest songs, Seeger was blacklisted by the US Government in the 1950s for his left wing stance. US President Obama  paid tribute saying "Once called 'America's tuning fork', Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song" adding "But more importantly, he believed in the power of community .... to stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be."

The musician and director Roger Pomphrey has died aged just 60. A guitarist with the Eurythmics,  Roger went on  to direct a number of high profile music videos with artists including UB40 and George Harrison, and documentaries including seminal programmes on Jimi Hendrix and Damien Hirst.

Devo guitarist Bob Casale, a founder member of the new wave group, has died from heart failure aged 61. The news was announced by his brother and bandmate Gerald Casale on Facebook.

Iggy & The Stooges drummer Scott Asheton has died. The cause of death has not yet been announced. He was 64.

Mick Jagger's partner, designer L'Wren Scott, has died at the tragically young age of just 49.

GWAR frontman Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, has died aged 50.

And very sadly, the co-founder of music company the SPZ Group, Jill Sinclair, wife if Trevor Horn, has died from cancer, aged 61.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Gaga charity spending under the microscope

Latest figures from Lady Gaga's Born This Way foundation show that only $5,000 (£3,000) of the charity's $2.1 million (£1.2m) have gone to good causes. The Born this Way foundation was set up in 2011 with the aim to "foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated." However, the Foundation spent over $400,000 on legal fees, with $808,8661 on  "other" expense. The foundation, which is run by Lady Gaga's mother Cynthia Germanotta, who is president, revealed expenses in 2012 of $300,000 on "strategic consulting (web, digital), $62,836 on "Stage Productions (Harvard, LA, UN)", $50,000 on "social media" and a further $50,000 on "event coordination", according to Showbiz 411. Around $72,000 was spent on salaries and Lady Gaga herself had to step in to loan the charity $10,000 for expenses. Writing on the Huffington Post, Cynthia Germanotta pointed out a "misinterpretation" of the purpose of the Foundation, as the charity was never meant to hand out money directlym but was designed to help "empower youth" through their events and services saying "Every dollar spent across these categories, including the legal fees towards the safe and effective implementation of each initiative, directly serves Born This Way Foundation's core mission of empowering youth" and "Each of these initiatives was funded via monies detailed on the 2012 Form 990. And a true examination of this form, not to mention a clear understanding of the differences between a grant-making organization and one that carries out its work directly would have made this a non-story."

Azoff goes acquisitive

Former Live Nation co-chief Irving Azoff's new venture  has bought 50% of a US-based experiential marketing agency called Pop2Life. Having departed Live Nation right at the end of 2012, Azoff announced the launch of a new music business in partnership with the Madison Square Garden Company last September. Having kept on some of his long-term artist management clients after exiting Live Nation, at the time Azoff said his new venture would also work in TV production, live event branding and digital marketing.

Two dead in SXSW DUI crash

Amateur video has captured the aftermath of the crash at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, that left two people dead and over 20 others injured, 5 critically. The suspected drunk driver of the car was fleeing from police and crashed at high speed into numerous pedestrians. The driver's car hit a taxi, before the suspect was pursued fleeing on foot and being tasered by police. 


Dutch company MassiveMusic have announced the sad news that one of the people killed was its Creative Director Steven Craenmehr. He died after driver Rashad Charjuan Owens crashed into a bike he was riding. The other fatality was reportedly a local woman, who was knocked off her moped.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

UK Music Export funding deadline looms

The next deadline for the Music Export Growth Scheme funding programme from UK Trade & Investment and the BPI is Monday 17 Mar. The scheme was set up to support independent music companies seeking help to market their artists overseas, with grants from £5000 to £50,000 available.

More details about the scheme is available here.

Bath Moles closed by fire

Bath live venue Moles will stay closed until at least August for repairs and renovations following a fire. Moles shut its doors this past Saturday after an electrical fault on the premises caused a blaze in the club's upstairs bar and smoke damage throughout the building - with water from the fire service efforts to stem the blaze flooding the basement venue where bands perform.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Fly swatted

Having just held what appeared to be a very successful Awards show in London, MAMA Group have announced that they are closing the Fly magazine saying: "After nearly fifteen years of pioneering new music journalism, the owners of The Fly are officially closing the magazine as a result of current market conditions surrounding publishing. We offer gratitude to and wish well all the staff and contributors that have allowed us to deliver the UK's longest serving monthly freesheet. To the multitude of artists and musicians that have graced our covers, the advertisers and sponsors who have supported us and our loyal readers, we salute you" adding "Ownership of the digital and online brands will now pass to the magazine's longest-serving member of staff, editor JJ Dunning. We wish him luck in taking the brand forward". 

Hilltop grows into festivals

South Africa's Hilltop Live will launch three new festivals in 2014 including XOOXITY - planned as a 30,000 capacity multi day event in Johannesburg - alongside a technology conference called Tech4Africa. Hilltop are also looking to launch a touring night time festival called Afro Nista  - alongside Africa's first "black music camping festival".  Hilltop already promote the 20,000 capacity Oppikoppi festival and 20,000 capacity RAMfest.

Depeche Mode cancel in Kiev

A planned concert by Depeche Mode in Kiev has been cancelled as the country faces an uncertain future after the former President left office and with Russian forces occupying the Eastern Crimea region At least 77 people were killed in the unrest and a planned concert on 26th February at the 10,000 capacity International Exhibition centre was cancelled over fears for "the safety and security of the band, crew and fans". 

Losses down at Live Nation

Live Nation Entertainment has released its full year figures for 2013, which show an 11% increase in revenues of $6.5 billion, and a reduced net loss - with revenues boosted by successful EDM and country music concerts. The net loss was reduced to $36 million in 2013, down from $162 million in 2012. Ticketmaster sold nearly 400 million but the Group's revenues from artiste management decreased from 9% from $101.3 million in 2012 to $91.8 million in 2013 reflecting the departure of former executive chairman Irving Azoff on December 31st 2012.  Long term debt is $1.5 billion and short trem debt $284 million. 

The ILMC Awards 2014 - The Arthurs are handed out

The International Live Music Awards - the Arthurs -  have been handed out  at the ILMC Gala Dinner, hosted by Ben Challis and Emma Banks - and with a guest appearance by David Hasslehoff (yes - the Hoff - of all people) at the London Savoy Hotel Ballroom - and a marvellous group of circus performers  who reflected the circus themed ILMC 26. A great night and some worthy winners, who are (drum roll!) ............

First Venue to Come into Your Head: The O2 London

Services Above & Beyond: Beat The Street

Most Professional Professional: Tina Richards (T&S Immigration Services)

Liggers’ Favourite Festival: The Glastonbury Festival

The Golden Ticket: Ticketmaster

The People's Assistant: Claire Utting (The Agency Group)

Tomorrow’s New Boss: Roel Coppen (Friendly Fire)

Second Least Offensive Agent: Rob Chalice (Coda Agency)

Promoters’ Promoter:  Herman Schueremans (Live Nation/Rock Werchter)

The ILMC 'Bottle' Award: Barry Dickens (ITB)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Read and Leeds on the road

UK Reading & Leeds festivals will be going on tour in March, bringing a taste of the festivals to cities across the UK. The club nights, hosted in venues across the country, will give fans a taste of the summer with playlists featuring a mix of rock, indie, dance and alternative artists including those already announced to play at the Festivals. Held in conjunction with leading club promoters, the nights will offer an audiovisual mix from the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Blink-182, Jake Bugg, Disclosure, The 1975, Courteeners, SBTRKT and more, and will offer Festival fans the chance to win a pair of weekend tickets to Reading & Leeds each night.

Spotify picks up Echo Nest

Spotify has announced that it will acquire the music intelligence company, The Echo Nest. This deal will allow Spotify to leverage The Echo Nest’s in depth musical understanding and tools for curation to drive music discovery for millions of users around the globe. With Amazon streaming looking as a real and ;possible threat with reports saying that Amazon is in talks with record labels to offer a music streaming service similar to Spotify, Rhapsody or Beats. It is thought that this music streaming would be bundled into Amazon Prime Instant Video to make it more attractive following price rises for the service. In turn, in January Apple said that digital music sales had  dropped for first time since advent of iTunes Store, with execs blaming the new streaming services.  Full-year sales of digital music tracks and albums for 2013 have decreased  for the first time since Apple launched the iTunes Store in 2003, and industry executives blaming streaming music services like Pandora and iTunes Radio for the drop. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of digital tracks fell from 1.34 billion units in 2012 to 1.26 billion in 2013, a drop of 5.7 percent, reports Billboard. Digital album sales also fell 0.1 percent to 117.6 million, down from 117.7 million units the year prior. With 63% of the download market compared to second placed AmazonMP3 at 22%, Apple dominates the download sector but  has also fielded its own streaming service in iTunes Radio, 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Birmingham Council to seek offers for the NEC Group

Birmingham City Council will seek offers for the NEC Group following a strategic review. In a statement, the council said “bringing the NEC Group under private ownership will enable the business to take full advantage of its growth opportunities and reach the next stage of its development.” The city council will invite potentially interested buyers to participate in a pre-qualification process while sale preparations are finalised. In structuring a transaction, the council wants to ensure that the existing uses of the exhibition centre, International Convention Centre and two arenas – LG Arena and National Indoor Arena – are preserved. The NIA is currently undergoing a revamp. The sale will also include the Ticketing Factory. The Council needs to raise funds to meet liabilities for underpaying women employees.

Festivals face new challenges from legal highs

The boss of Festival Republic, Melvin Benn, has said that so called 'legal highs' present a new challenge for festivals and highlighted the health resources needed to care for people who people affected by them. Benn stressed that increased information sharing had had a positive impact on reducing festival crime, and that at his events (Reading, Leeds and Latitude in the UK) they had seen a reduction in mobile phone thefts. Benn was speaking ahead of the Crime at Major Festivals Conference he will host at Reading's Madejski stadium  on February 27th. Speakers will include a representative from the new National Crime Agency.

New support for UK ticketing controls

Stella Creasy MP, the shadow minister for Competition  and Consumer Affairs, has called for the introduction of transparency measures for secondary ticketing in the new Consumer Rights Bill currently being debated in the House of Commons. The call echoes comments made by Mike Weatherly MP, one of the members of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse. The news broke as Londoner Terence Shepherd, sentenced to 8 years in custody in 2011 for his part in the £5 million Xclusive ticket fraud that targeted the Beijing Olympics and Reading, V and Leeds festivals amongst other events, faced an additional jail sentence after failing to repay any of the £1.25 million he was ordered to pay from the proceeds of the crime and which he used to fund a luxury lifestyle and to provide £600,000 worth of 'tainted' gifts to his wife and daughter. 

AMP call for a fair share for artists

The newly formed Artists, Mangers & Performers coalition - AMP - an alliance between the Musicians' Union, the Music Managers' Forum and the Featured Artists Coalition, has confirmed that it is pushing for all streaming income from the digital sphere to be shared by labels with their artists on a 50/50, rather than paid over on standard terms for manufactured record sales and download revenue. Justifying that argument, MU General Secretary John Smith said "It is no longer necessary for a record company to pay to manufacture, store and distribute physical product. In the pre-digital era, artists understood that these costs went some way to justifying the low royalty rate. There are none of these costs associated with streaming, so why are the labels paying a royalty based on a physical sale?" AMP has been mainly formed so that the MU, FAC and MMF can present a united front on royalty issues in the European Commission's latest review of the EU Copyright Directive, the public consultation for which has just reached its conclusion. The three trade groups have submitted a joint statement on the digital income debate to European officials.

Eventbrite launch reserved seating service

Ticketing firm Eventbrite has announced the launch of new reserved seating functionality within its platform, which will allow promoters and event organisers who sell their tickets via the service to set up venue plans and allocate specific seats to punters as they buy. Down the line the new widget will also likely allow customers to choose their own seats.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Goa cancels Russia fest

The  Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, has  justified the state government's action in the last minute cancellation of a planned Indo-Russian musical event , saying that had the event taken place there could have been could have been law and order repercussions. Whilst permission had been given for the Great Live Music Festival to take place on January 31-February 1, 2014 at Candolim, rhe permission was withdrawn and the event  cancelled as the venue was close to a church. Parrikar told the Goa Legislative Assembly that the state-level permission committee (SLPC) had given its green light for the event when the situation was normal in the area, but cancelled it when tension started brewing there.  The evnt was organised by a Russian company in association with the Russian Consulate in Mumbai, and well-known bands from India including Indian Ocean and Parikrama as well as Russian bands were to perform at the festival.  Russian consulate officials held a press conference econdemning the state government's action. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Revolving Door

Nick Gatfield, the CEO of Sony Music UK, has left the company with Sony saying   "It was an amicable decision for Nick to leave the company at this time. We wish him the best in his future endeavours". And
Sony Music has confirmed that, as expected, Nicola Tuer will  take over from Gatfield, becoming Chief Operating Officer, rather than holding the CEO role Gatfield had.She will report directly into Edgar Berger, CEO of Sony Music International

BMG has appointed former Warner man Mark Robinson to the role of SVP and General Counsel for its US business. BMG also said that  Zach Katz had been promoted to the role of Chief Creative Officer within its US division. Katz has been with the music rights firm since 201

Universal Music UK has announced that Matt Allard has been made the company's  first ever Head Of Streaming. Allard joined Universal in 2011 as Digital Account Manager. In New York Maria Ouellette joins as Senior Director of International after four years running a consulting and marketing firm providing services to metal and hard rock acts, and Darren Dalessio joins from rock management firm 5B Artist Management as Director Of A&R. And Universal Music's label services business Caroline International has appointed a new head of its Scandinavian operations, Aslak Klever.

Nicole Scherzinger has ended her stint as a judge on the X-Factor, choosing to sign a new recording deal with RCA. And TOWIE hero Joey Essex has signed a deal with Warner Music, to front a compilation of 'Essex Anthems'.

The boss of the Swedish music publishing sector's collecting society, STIM, has stepped down with immediate effect, it's been announced. Kenth Muldin has been CEO at the society since 2003, having previously been Chief Legal Officer.

Warner Music Japan's Chairman and CEO Kei Ishizaka has announced his retirement.

Beats Music has appointed Dave Allen, formerly of Gang Of Four, and recently vocal on the music industry's digital dilemmas, as an Artist Advocate. His role will be to represent within Beats and to speak for the digital firm to the artist community, especially those musicians concerned about the royalties paid out by streaming platforms.

Pearl Jam's former accountant has been jailed for fourteen months after admitting in a Seattle court late last year that he embezzled $380,000 of the band's money in 2010. The theft came to light after it was uncovered by a private investigator hired by the company to look into "cash flow issues" from the previous year.

Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye have parted ways with their manager, Quest Management's Scott Rodger, on seemingly good terms. Rodger said that the band had reached the end of their most recent album cycle, and the completion of his management agreement with the outfit, and that all parties have therefore decided now is a good time for a change.

Drake's ill-thought-through outburst the Rolling Stone cover, when he was bumped in favour of a shot of Philip Seymour Hoffman who had just died,  has resulted in him parting company with his US PR company, ID-PR. According to Billboard, it was the publicity company which took the decision to drop the rapper from their books, only a year into their partnership.