Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Live Nation and Yahoo! team for stream

Live Nation has announced an alliance with Yahoo! that will see the web company stream Live Nation's concerts live, with a gig a day for a year. The project will be funded by sponsorship.

New lawsuit tests 'volunteer' status at US events

A class action lawsuit in the States has put the focus on the use of volunteer labour at music festivals, something many large scale music events depend on. According to ClassAction.org, a new lawsuit is aimed at Live Nation and its festival promotion partner Insomniac Events, and has been brought by an individual who volunteered at the Californian edition of dance music festival Nocturnal Wonderland. The plaintiff claims that the event's organisers violated America's Fair Labor Standards Act by recruiting volunteers to "carry out the work of paid employees" - here in return for a free ticket.

Festival News

Promoter Marcel Avram is launching a new electronic music festival in Switzerland, Turkey and Israel. Isle of Dreams will feature local DJ talent alongside the biggest international artists. Each event will take place over a three day period in August 2014 and are planned as the major electronic music event for each country. Confirmed artists include Above & Beyond, Alesso, Apollonia, Avicii, Axwell, Calvin Harris, Chuckie, Fedde Le Grand, Gareth Emery, Jamie Jones, Nervo, Paul Oakenfold, Paul van Dyk, Pete Tong, R3hab, Sebastian Ingrosso, Sasha, Steve Aoki and Zedd.

Hungary's Sziget Festival has moved its dates a week later from the busy first weekend in August period, in order to attract more international artists.

Irish festival Oxegen will not take place this year, its organiser MCD have confirmed, citing a "lack of suitable headline acts" combined with an increasing financial strain on the event.

AAA tells us that Liverpool Sound City is going cashless. The May 1-3 event has teamed up with ZNAP, a global mobile business platform, and hopes to improve the Sound City experience by offering mobile payment services. To use ZNAP at Sound City, ticketholders must download the app (available from the Google Play or Apple App stores) and register their credit or debit card details. Once they have arrived at the festival, they can pair their near field communication (NFC) wristbands with the ZNAP app. Wherever a ZNAP sign is displayed, punters can tap their wristbands on the NFC reader to pay.

Croatia's INmusic festival have announced the finalists of their talent contest organised by festival travel company eufest and Band Crusade - All About the Music. the 500 emerging acts from across the UK have been whittled down to just five for the final on May 2nd -  soul/rock outfit The River 68s, indie-pop trio Faitala, electronic rock act Stop Drop Robot, blues rockers The Black Hands and Manchester based alternative rock band BÊTE.

Monday, 28 April 2014

AIF launches The Festival Congress

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has announced details of a brand new annual flagship event, The Festival Congress, which it will be bringing to Cardiff this Autumn. This event is set to be the largest gathering of UK independent festivals to ever take place. The Congress will take place on 17th and 18th October - the same weekend as Cardiff’s NME award-winning Sŵn Festival.
Keynote speakers confirmed  include inspiring figures from the independent festival industry such as Jude Kelly (Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre), Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury / The Great Escape), Rob da Bank (Bestival) and John Rostron (Welsh Music Foundation and Sŵn Festival). There will also be a number of emerging artist showcases throughout the event and the conference will be exploring issues including programming, marketing, creative and immersive elements, sustainable event management and much more.    The AIF expects that up to 400 people will attend over the two days – including festival promoters, crew and suppliers from all over the UK. The Congress "offers an excellent and affordable opportunity to network with fellow festival organisers and to participate in panels and discussions, alongside attending the ultimate celebration following a busy festival season.
The AIF also plans to open up the event to students and those wishing to work in the festival and events industry. There is a huge wealth of expertise and professionalism in this thriving and buoyant sector.
The Festival Congress will launch at the BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales Millennium Centre following the AIF AGM. The second day of the conference will take place in Cardiff’s Angel Hotel. A very special event is being planned for the Festival Congress celebration and will be announced soon.
The AIF now represents 50 festivals from around the UK, including Bestival, Womad, Sonisphere, Wakestock, Secret Garden Party and End of the Road. The Festival Congress is presented by AIF and supported by the Welsh Government and the British Council. Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “Music festivals are a key part of our strategy to enhance Wales’ reputation as a destination for major events. Wales is already home to many successful events attracting a variety of different audiences helping to draw in tourists and boost the economy. So it is appropriate that Cardiff is hosting the first ever Festival Congress and I’m sure they will get off to a good start in Wales.”

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

AC/DC to retire?

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that AC/DC founder, guitarist and songwriter Malcolm Young, 61, has returned to Australia with his family and is believed to be unable to continue playing due to illness. Young is the older brother of lead guitarist Angus Young, and is said to have suffered a stroke. The newspaper said the band, which has sold more than 200 million albums in a forty year career, could announce its demise within days as the Sydney based band have reportedly had made a “pact” that they would not continue if a member was forced to leave. 
Update from The band's official website: http://www.acdc.com/us/home:  confirmed: "The band will continue to make music" but that Young would be taking a break after "forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC", but did not reveal details of his illness saying "Malcolm would like to thank the group's diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support" and the band said"In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family's privacy be respected during this time."

Monday, 14 April 2014

Beckerman sets out AEG's growth plan

Dan Beckerman, the newish CEO of AEG, has told the Wall Street Journal  of plans for further expansion, having regrouped after the aborted attempt to sell the company for an estimated $8 billion plus just over a year ago and having learnt from the failed sale. AEG's focus is now on AEG's venue real estate and on better utilising the the AEG Live concert promotion business to support its venue network as well as further expanding the company's relatively new ticketing venture - the AXS.com ticketing platform - and other digital assets.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Revolving Door

Maria Miller has resigned as the UK's Culture Secretary, following days of mounting public and political pressure on the MP over an expenses scandal and a botched apology to the House of Commons over the same. She was made to repay some £5,800.oo in expenses wrongly claimed. Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that Sajid Javid MP, most recently Financial Secretary to the Treasury, will replace Miller at the DMCS. With the recently formed All Party Parliamentary Group on ticket abuse set up as a forum for the discussion of issues relating to the sale and resale of tickets for events, with a particular focus on devising solutions to the problem of ticket touting in the estimated £1 billion secondary ticketing market, Javid is, to the consternation of the sports, arts and live events industry (amongst others), a firm supporter of ticket touts - having previously called them 'classic entrepreneurs' arguing that they should be allowed to operate without any interference - a position CPA chair Stuart Littlejohn described as 'naive'.

Jason Iley has been confirmed as CEO for Sony Music UK. He will report to both Sony Music top man Doug Morris and Sony Music International CEO Edgar Berger, and work alongside Nicola Tuer, who was recently promoted to the role of UK COO after Nick Gatfield's exit.

Warner Music Group has announced Ben Cook as the new President of Atlantic Records UK. Cook moves from another smaller Warner UK imprint Asylum Records, where he held the same position.

Music rights firm BMG has announced the promotion of sync and licensing exec Patrick Jöst, who has been with the company since 2009, to the role of Executive Vice-President Licensing & Marketing International.

Swedish publishing rights collecting society STIM has announced Alfons Karabuda as its new acting CEO. He takes over from former acting CEO Helena Woodcock who is returning to her position as STIM's General Counsel. Karabuda has been Chairman of the Swedish Society of Songwriters, Composers And Authors (SKAP) since 2007, and was on STIM's board of directors.

Kim Shillinglaw has been named the new Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, replacing Janice Hadlow. Shillinglaw is currently the Beeb's Head Of Science And Natural History Commissioning.

Billboard owner Guggenheim Media Entertainment Group has announced Tony Gervino as the new Editor-in-chief for the music business title. Gervino was previously Executive Editor at Hearst Magazines International and takes up his new role officially on 28 April.

Warner Music has announced the appointment of Alain Lanceron as President of its classical music division reporting to Warner Recorded Music's international President Stu Bergen. His team will include Jean-Philippe Rolland as Executive Vice President International A&R and Business Development; Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Operations Markus Petersen; Vice President of International Catalogue Bertrand Castellani; and Director Of Creative Services Patrick Gamblin.

Kylie Minogue has said she will step down as a judge on 'The Voice UK' following the show's 2014 finale as the next series will clash with planned tour dates.

Former Director Of Artistic Planning at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Huw Humphreys, has been named the new Head Of Music at The Barbican Centre in London.

Allen & Heath has announced the appointment of Christian Luecke as its new Sales and Marketing Director. Luecke has 15 years’ experience in the consumer electronics market.

Charles Garland has announced that he is leaving his post as CEO of Syco Entertainment, Simon Cowell's joint venture with Sony Music.

Friday, 11 April 2014

SEE take on Wembley Arena's title sponsorship

London's Wembley Arena will henceforth be known as the SSE Wembley Arena after AEG, which took over the running of the venue last year, secured a ten year deal to grant its naming rights to Scottish And Southern Energy. SSE already sponsors the Hydro Arena in Glasgow.

Guardian goes Live

The Guardian has allied itself with LoveLive and Spotify and will host a number of live streams on their site over the next few months, including Haim, John Newman and Disclosure. A single track from the Disclosure show, from their headline set at London's Alexandra Palace on 8 March, will go live via www.theguardian.com on Monday 14th April, with the whole set made available to stream the next day. The 'Guardian Live Lock-up'  is planned for twelve weeks in all.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Agency Group team up with Pledge

The Agency Group has signed a deal with PledgeMusic, which will see some of the company's artists fund tours through the crowd funding platform. Announcing the deal, Pledge founder and President Benji Rogers said: "The partnership between PledgeMusic and The Agency Group is a perfect fit, and a part of what we see as a growing ecosystem for artists. We both truly value the power of fan connection and The Agency Group shares our commitment to creating sustainable careers for the talent that we work with". Agency Group Director Of Marketing Eddie Clemens added: "This relationship with PledgeMusic is a natural next step in our continuing efforts to be right where our artists' fans are. At The Agency Group we are always looking ahead, and partnering with PledgeMusic furthers us always being at the forefront of breaking new talent".

SFX and UMG on acquisitions trail

SFX Entertainment has announced three more acquisitions: TMWRK Management, design company The Meta Agency and digital branding and marketing firm Learned Evolution will expand SFX's marketing platform FX-1.

And Universal Music Group have announced that UMG have acquired music film producer and distributor Eagle Rock Entertainment who recently filmed and released the DVD from the Rolling Stones Hyde Park extravaganza.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Beggars to review digital royalty rates

Many musicians argue that not only do streaming companies not pay enough either to songwriters or to recording artists (or more usually to music publishers or collection societies and record labels), record labels in particular pay over only a meagre share of those revenues they do actually get, based on the old style 'per unit' sales from the physical era. Many heritage acts are tacking their labels to court to get a bigger share of the pie. 

Now Beggars Group digital chief Simon Wheeler has told the latest MusicTank event that the independent music firm was now reviewing the cut of streaming income it passes on to its artists at a session that featured Billy Bragg whose focus is not so much what royalties the streaming services are paying to the labels, but again on how much of that money the record companies are passing on to artists. Bragg argues that with the costs and risks associated with digital content much less than when pressing and distributing physical product, labels should be paying a higher cut of that income to the artist - and like others argues for a 50/50 spilt of this income between label and artist. The major labels have (juding from the law suits) seemingly been paying a much lower artist royalty on digital income, certainly for downloads, and often for streams too, sometimes opting for the same revenue cut as with physical record sales. 

Simon Wheeler
Beggars seemed to stand out as a 'fair' label and opted for the 50/50 split, but Wheeler confirmed that that policy was now up for review. "As I said at that MusicTank event two years ago  .... as a company we felt that as the streaming music market first emerged it was appropriate to share this new income stream with our artists on a 50/50 basis. But we were always clear that if and when streaming became a significant part of our overall business, that was something we would have to review". Streaming now accounts for 40% of the company's overall global digital income and the company is looking to reduce the artist's share. Wheeler confirmed adding "The costs of running the company need to be covered by sales income, and the streaming revenue stream now needs to bear its share of those costs. So we will be reviewing our policy on what split of streaming income we pass onto the artist. That rate, once decided, will likely be applied to all existing contracts, and all new contracts moving forward. I can't say what rate we will decide on, though we will seek the best possible rate for artists that also enables us to provide the kind of global resources our artists require".

Briton dies at Snowbombing

A 25 year old British man has died at the Snowbombing Festival in the Austrian Alps. The unnamed male dies after complaining of chest pains just after 16.00 in the Mayrhofen ski resort in the Zillertal valley. Paramedics attended but the man died at the scene. The 5,000 capacity event is organised by Manchester based Outgoing Limited and is now in its 15th year combining skiing, snowboarding, parties and live music from the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Chase & Status and Rudimental. A statement from the organisers said "We have offered every assistance and our thoughts are with the man's family. His next of kin are being contacted. We cannot comment further at this point."

Monday, 7 April 2014

PRS for Music financial results reveal a record year

PRS for Music saw its income grow to £665.7m in 2013,  a 3.7% increase on 2012. There was an 11.7% increase in international revenue, with total international royalties breaking the £200m barrier for the first time, with Mumford and Sons, Arctic Monkeys and EllieGoulding enjoying exceptional success.  Across international markets, North America delivered strong (10.7%) growth for PRS for Music members due to the growing cable TV market and internet streaming services. Australia also saw strong growth (18%) thanks to improved deals with local television. Despite the challenging climate in Europe, a strong performance resulted in 15% revenue growth overall. Results in the Asia-Pacific region exceeded expectations across the board with 8.9% growth. Online revenues reached £61.2m in 2013, an increase of 18.3%. Contributors to this growth were new licences and key licence renewals, such as Deezer and YouTube, and some new mandates.  The online market continues to evolve apace, with the increasing transition from downloads to streaming. Television and radio continues to provide significant income to PRS for Music songwriters and composers. New licensing deals for services such as BT Sport, renewal of key licences such as Sky and strong sales for TV productions using PRS for Music repertoire resulted in revenue of £160.4m, an increase of 4.8%. In 2013, the challenging retail landscape and the closure of HMV branches contributed to the further decline (21%) of the recorded media market. Despite this decline, the recorded media market still provides significant income of £80.7m. 

PRS Royalty revenue by source:

£ Million 
Public Performance
Recorded Media 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Russia's homosexuality laws prompt fears of attacks on performers

British performers have raised concerns that Russia's recently introduced laws on homosexuality have increased the risk of homophobic attacks, and dance and theatre groups are speaking with the British Council about the possibility of cancelling planned trips - or individual members not attending. Leading choreographer Matthew Bourne said that Russia had 'gone backwards' and now "equated homosexuality with paedophilia". The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Scottish National Theatre and the Royal Ballet all have trips planned as part of a cultural exchange programme planned by the British Council.  In June 2013, Russia received international criticism for enacting an anti-homosexual propaganda law, which purportedly was to prevent distribution of "non-traditional sexual relationships" ideas among minors. The law is an amendment to an existing child protection law.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Are Russian connections putting Helsinki dates at risk?

The BBC report that scheduled performances at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki by Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake, Nine Inch Nails and Aerosmith may be cancelled, due to US sanctions against Russia. The Finnish venue is part owned by Gennady Timchenko and brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, all of whom appear on a list of "members of the Russian leadership's inner circle" who are in the US Treasury list of 27 of those closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and subject to sanctions in response to Russia's intervention in the Crimea.

Industry insiders have said that the BBC's report is probably inaccurate and that it's 'business as normal' at the Hartwall Areena as the contentious ownership is below the 50% threshold needed for sanctions.

Photo by Indrek Galetin

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Twickets and the Ticket Trust team up

Mobile secondary ticketing platform Twickets and the Association Of Independent Festivals (AIF) backed ethical ticket exchange The Ticket Trust have announced a strategic alliance. Together, the two platforms will aim to offer better access to face-value ticket resales as the summer festival season kicks off. Ben Turner, Co-founder and Vice Chair of AIF, which launched The Ticket Trust in partnership with direct-to-fan platform Sandbag in 2011 said: "As we move into 2014 secondary ticketing continues to dominate the live music agenda, pushing up prices for music fans and potentially stunting independent festival growth. This partnership is a fantastic step in combating secondary ticketing and gives any tickets listed on our Ticket Trust exchange platform added exposure, to the tune of 200,000 fans!"

MTV partner up with Tomorrowland for broadcasts

MTV has announced that it will be the exclusive broadcast partner for Belgium’s dance music festival, Tomorrowland. The entertainment channel will air original content incorporating live event and documentary footage as part of its MTV World Stage franchise. The partnership facilitates the televising of the Tomorrowland festival for the first time. Tomorrowland now runs across two weekends; 18-20 July and 25-27 July 2014 and  two hours of the festival will be broadcast across MTV’s 60+ international channels in nearly 170 territories. The two 60-minute specials are scheduled to premiere in August 2014 and MTV has also announced that it will be developing a documentary celebrating Tomorrowland’s 10-year history, due to be aired in late 2014

Colorado dope fest goes legal

Organisers of Denver's annual marijuana festival have announced that B.o.B and Wyclef Jean will headline the event which will become more mainstream, and reflecting the changes in Colorado since voters legalised the recreational use of the drug in 2012. Organisers have hired a professional event management firm for the April 19th and 20th shows. They also are fencing the perimeter of the park in front of the State Capitol where the event occurs, relying on private security to screen entrants and are announcing acts ahead of time rather than handing over the mic to musicians who "happen by".

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


As part of a major campaign to encourage event and festival organisers to reduce plastics at their events, Raw Foundation and Kambe Events have launched their first Plastic-Free Festival Guide. The free guide, showcased recently at this year’s Green Events and Innovations Conference in London, provides expert and practical advice on what steps can be taken by event organisers to deal with a pressing global concern.
The Guide aims to reduce the amount of plastic at festivals, by raising awareness about the true extent of plastic pollution and its impacts. The Guide also provides information to promote sustainable re-use solutions and improve recycling practice.
During the last 10 years, global plastics production equalled production of the whole of the 20th century combined. Last year, 288 million tonnes of plastic was produced globally and it is estimated that global plastic production could triple by 2050. On average, nearly 50% of all plastic in the EU goes to landfill, most of it packaging. The majority of plastics for recycling are exported from Europe to Asia and in some countries burning waste in the open air is commonplace. In the UK, 70% of plastic packaging for reprocessing was exported for downcycling abroad in 2011. Plastic waste has become one of the fastest growing hazardous waste streams on the planet. Vast quantities of long-term plastic debris and particles can be found littering all the world’s earth and floating in all the world’s rivers and oceans - In 1992, a container ship lost 30,000 rubber ducks off the coast of China. Fifteen years later, some of these turned up on the shores of the UK.
Covering everything from the stark reality about plastics and useful resources to festival-specific advice, tips and case studies, the Guide aims to give organisers a single source reference to the things they need to take into consideration when putting on and managing an event, but without being prescriptive.
Recent successes in the industry such as Shambala’s Bring a Bottle campaign, where festivalgoers, staff and artists were encouraged to bring a re-usable bottle with them, and sales of bottled water were prohibited, have shown that audiences strongly support this issue. This year Glastonbury has launched an initiative to reduce disposable plastics which includes promoting stainless steel bottles. Other events such as Latitude, Open Air St Gallen and many European festivals already use re-usable cups at their bars, massively reducing the amount of disposable plastic produced.
The Making Waves guide is published by Raw Foundation, a Not For Profit committed to raising awareness about the hidden consequences of our everyday stuff, in partnership with Kambe Events (the company behind Shambala Festival), a sustainable event management consultancy, as a free resource.
At the launch Melinda Watson from the Raw Foundation said “Most people remain completely unaware of the devastating hidden consequences of their everyday plastic purchases.”  Chris Johnson from Kambe Events and the Shambala Festival added “Recycling is important, but it is only part of the only solution. Many of our impacts are embodied in the materials we use, and so at Shambala we are examining our supply chain to remove materials with negative impacts.” 
The guide is available online as a PDF download or to view online at http://kambe-events.co.uk/campaigns/making-waves/
www.rawfoundation.org For further information about Raw Foundation please email info@rawfoundation.org

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Revolving Door

The UK's recorded music collection society, the PPL, has announced that its long-standing communications chief Jonathan Morrish is standing down, though he will continue to work for the rights body in a consulting role on a two-day a week basis.

Kobalt's neighbouring rights business has extended its US presence by appointing a new Business Development Manager to be based in LA, Jesse Willoughby, who previously worked with US collecting society ASCAP.

The UK's Concert Promoters Association has announced some changes to its executive committee, which oversees the organisation that represents the interests of promoters from across the live sector to government, the wider music business, and the public. Standing down from the committee are CMP's Chas Cole and Kennedy Street Enterprises' Danny Betesh. Meanwhile new recruits to the committee include Live Nation's Phil Bowdery, Green Man Festival's Fiona Stewart and Anton Lockwood of DHP Family.

Record label trade body the BPI has announced the promotion of Lynne McDowell to the role of Head Of Public Relations. The BPI have also announced the promotion of Giuseppe De Cristofano to the new role of Head Of Digital. Finally with the BPI, it has been announced that its long-serving Chairman, the former EMI UK MD, Tony Wadsworth, will step down later this year. 

Sony Music US has announced that one-time Universal exec Sylvia Rhone is to become President of its Epic Records label, reporting into the unit's CEO LA. Sony Corp has announced  that it will replace its Chief Financial Officer, with Kenichiro Yoshida taking over from Masaru Kato.

Apart from a "conscious uncoupling" from Gwyneth, it seems Coldplay frontman Chris Martin is joining the US version of 'The Voice' as an advisor to the show's four judges. The show announced the news via Snapchat yesterday. 

Billboard has a fashion editor. Tasha Green joins from The Wall Street Journal and will lead on the US music business trade mag's fashion coverage

Music publishing giant Sony/ATV has announced that former Music Week Editor Paul Williams will become its new VP Communications next month. Based in the company's London office, Williams will oversee all corporate communications and media relations globally, reporting direct to CEO Marty Bandier.

Warner Music's CFO Brian Roberts is stepping down. Roberts, formerly with the original BMG publishing business, joined Warner in 2007, initially heading up the finances of the mini-major's publishing unit, before becoming CFO of the wider group in 2012. Roberts will actually depart at the end of the firm's current financial year on 30 September. Also at Warners, Kazuyuki Kobayashi will take over the CEO role for Warner in Japan, joining from Sony Music Japan, and Shuji Utsumi, who will become the COO of Warner Music Japan, joining from gaming company Q Entertainment.

BBC Director General Tony Hall announced a new strategy for arts and music coverage across the BBC including the creation of two new jobs, Director Of Arts and Director Of Music, the former going to Jonty Claypole and the latter to current Radio 2 / 6 Music boss Bob Shennan. The two new appointees will respectively oversee arts and music coverage across the BBC's TV, radio, iPlayer and other online platforms. And The BBC has announced that BBC Radio 5 Live's Daytime Editor Louisa Compton is to become the new Editor of BBC Newsbeat and 1Xtra News. And Controller of BBC Radio 3 and Director of the BBC Proms, Roger Wright has announced that he will step down from both roles, after almost fifteen years with the Corporation, in September to take up the position of Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music.

Music app developer Disciple Media has announced that it has hired Matthew Tilley as its new Executive Vice President of Business Development. Tilley was previously Senior Vice President of International Marketing at EMI Music.