Monday, 23 June 2014

Live Nation Finland forced to restructure after $1.5m loss

Audience reports that The Finnish subsidiary of Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) has announced it will start a round of so-called 'cooperation talks' with its 40 employees and their representatives about restructuring the company, after posting a $1.5 million loss. The move is a legal requirement for companies that want to make staff redundant or make temporary lay-offs.

Now the Boileroom faces noise complaint

The Boilerroom venue in Guildford is the latest live music venue facing the prospect of losing its licence because a newish neighbour - who chose to move into a property next to a performance space - has filed a complaint with the local council. Following on from complaints against  Night & Day in Manchester and The Blind Tiger in Brighton - as well as the now seemingly solved threat to the Ministry Of Sound in London, the operators of The Boilerroom 
'Guildford’s only alternative and independent live music venue' say "Our family run venue was opened in 2006, and is managed by a collective of people who believe the venue provides a much needed creative space for the local community; encouraging and supporting local bands and nurturing upcoming talent" adding "Our fairly new neighbours, who rent the house adjacent to the venue, have put in an application to review our license, with the direct intention and request that the council revoke our license with immediate effect. Their message is very clear: they want to shut us down. They believe we are in breach of our license conditions. We believe we manage the venue to a high standard with significant consideration for the local community". A petition has been launched to support the Bolilerroom here and you can also still sign the separate petition calling on Secretary Of State For The Environment Owen Paterson to "carry out an urgent review of noise abatement legislation" which is threatening grass roots venues who enjoy good relations with the vast majority of their neighbours" here.

Blenheim to rock again

Live music events will return to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, for the first time in a decade, following a deal between the site's owner, John Spencer-Churchill (the Duke Of Marlborough) and music company Neapolitan Live Events, led by one-time Universal Music executive Ciro Romano. The deal will kick in with an events programme, with a capacity daily audience of 10,000, from next summer.

SFX tie up with Viagogo

EDM specialist SFX has announced a five-year alliance with Viagogo which will make the secondary ticketing firm the official ticket resale partner for SFX-promoted events. SFX have also  reported  revenues of $33.3 million for the first quarter (Q1), up from $10.2m in the same period last year, while the net loss of $63.6m increased from $19.3m in Q1 2013. Attendance at events rose over 100 per cent to approximately 175,000 in Q1 compared to four in the same period last year, but long-term debt jumped to $422.1m from $75m. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

YouTube says it will purge indie resistance

It seems that YouTube is going ahead with its threat to purge material owned by Indie labels who have refused to sign a new YouTube streaming agreement - and the labels will see content pulled "in a matter of days" - that's according  YouTube's Head Of Content And Business Operations, Robert Kyncl, in an interview with the FT.  The global grouping for indie label trade bodies, the World Independent Network and pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA have already announced their intention to take the dispute to the European Commission, arguing that YouTube's moves are anti-competitive - they also requested that the EC implement emergency measures. But Kyncl told the FT that the deal being offered would see the indie labels paid "fairly and consistently with the industry", and that YouTube's payouts to the music industry would hit $2 billion "soon". Responding, WIN said that the terms on offer are in fact "highly unfavourable and non-negotiable" and "undervalue existing rates in the marketplace from partners such as Spotify and Deezer". Meanwhile Alison Wenham, who heads up both WIN and UK indie label group AIM, disputed the suggestion that there are only a few stragglers causing a fuss who wouldn't be noticed if they were gone. For one thing, those stragglers include labels like Beggars Group and Domino who between them represent some major artists saying that indie labels who had agreed to sign the new deal are "very much in the minority", adding: "Put simply, by refusing to engage with and listen to the concerns of the independent music sector YouTube is making a grave error of commercial judgment in misreading the market. We have tried and will continue to try to help YouTube understand just how important independent music is to any streaming service and why it should be valued accordingly".

Monday, 16 June 2014

US teens are moking and fighting less, but texting while driving more

A new youth risk report from CDC shows that teens in the USA are smoking and fighting less, but a whopping 41% who owned a car admitted to texting or emailing whilst driving. The survey found some risky behaviours, such as teen sex, have dropped - and the rate of smoking is now 15.7%: the rate of fighting - teens who had been in a fight -  has dropped from 42% in 1991 to 23%  now: 34% of teens are sexually active, again down,  but condom use has dropped.

London's West End Theatres 'not fit for purpose'

Howard Panter, Chief Executive of the Ambassador Theatre Group has said that most theatres in London's West End are 'not fit for purpose' . Mr Panter's comments come after the recent collapse of the ceiling at London's Apollo Theatre and Mr Panter, whose group controls over 40 venues in the UK including 11 venues in London, said that many London theatres were over 100 years old and not equipped to deal with modern audiences and modern productions, joining with Andrew Lloyd Webber who has also previously commented on 'shocking' state of many theatres and who had been calling for the demolition and rebuilding of the Apollo before the roof collapse.

V&A to house Glastonbury Archive

The Victoria &Albert Museum has announced that it is the new home of the festival's archive. The London museum will store the 44 year collection of memorabilia from the event, adding to it further as more is created each year. Michael Eavis told reporters: "When I set out on this crazy hippy trip 44 years ago, little did I know how this rollercoaster would run. But now I have to pinch myself every morning when I wake up to the excitement of another day - heading up a team of the most creative artists anywhere in the world. The V&A is an inspirational space and feels like the natural 'home' for our ever-evolving archive so we can really show everyone, not just festival-goers, what we really do". Selected highlights from the archive will be displayed in the V&A's Theatre & Performance Galleries from March 2015 to January 2016.

The Revolving Door

Universal has promoted David Hawkes to head up the UK division of the major's e-commerce operations. He will also continue to work as Commercial Director of the mega-major's Island Records label.

Celine Dion's husband Rene Angelil is stepping down as the singer's manager, with fellow Canadian Aldo Giampaolo, currently CEO of QMI Entertainment & Sports, set to move to Las Vegas to take over the running of the singer's company Feeling Productions.

U2's Bono and The Edge, have been appointed to the board of directors of guitar manufacturer Fender.

The Agency Group has announced the recruitment of one-time Ferret Music boss Paul Conroy, who was most recently CEO of Dyrdek Enterprises in LA (and NOT one-time Virgin UK chief Paul Conroy). In his new job at the mega-booking agency he'll take the newly created role of Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer. 

Nicole Seligman, will become president of US-based Sony Entertainment which includes the firm's two main music businesses, the Sony Music record company and Sony/ATV music publishing. Seligman will retain her current position as president of Sony Entertainment's direct parent in the Sony hierarchy, Sony Corporation Of America. She will work alongside Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton in her new job.

Warner Music UK's CEO Max Lousada has been named as the new Chairman of the BRITs Committee. 

Entertainment PR firm LD Communications has announced two new appointments. Jade Lancashire joins the agency from the BBC where she was a publicist for Radio 1 and 1 Xtra. She becomes a Senior Account Manager at LD and will be focusing on the company's various festival clients over the summer.  Mohammad Qazalbash has been appointed as an Account Executive as the company further expands its digital team

Lady Gaga's current manager Bobby Campbell  has allied with Live Nation's artist management division Artist Nation, bringing the Gaga with him as his primary client. 

Editor-in-chief of Mojo and Kerrang!, Phil Alexander, has now taken up the same role at Q, Bauer Media has announced. Day-to-day running of the magazine will continue to be overseen by Senior Editor Matt Mason.

The BBC is making 65 employees within the Corporation's radio division redundant. The cutbacks are part of a move to restructure the BBC's national radio stations into two 'hubs', one consisting of all the 'pop' music services (Radios 1, 1Xtra, 2, 6 Music and Asian Network) and the other of classical and speech outlets (Radios 3, 4 and 4 Extra, and the Proms and orchestras that report into BBC Radio).

American booking agent Jbeau Lewis has departed CAA - after over a decade at the company -  to join rival agency UTA.

Mel B has been announced as the fourth judge on this year's UK outing of 'X-Factor', joining Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh.

There were a number of Birthday honours in the music community: Talvin Singh was made an OBE, while there were MBEs for both singer/radio presenter Cerys Matthews and folk musician Eliza Carthy. In the classical domain, John Berry, Artistic Director of the English National Opera, became a CBE, and there were MBEs for the conductors of two regional orchestras, Martin Binks of Leeds Symphony and Andrew Penny of Hull Philharmonic. Janis Susskind, MD of Boosey & Hawkes becomes an OBE,  Island Records President Darcus Beese, talent manager Jonathan Shalit and jazz promoter John Cumming of Serious all became OBEs and Mark Featherstone-Witty, principal and founder of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and Victoria Sharp of London Music Masters both became OBEs.

Paul Robinson has announced his resignation as Chief Executive of The Radio Academy after just ten months in the job. Robinson cited growing demands at his company Creative Media Partners for the decision. He will continue to work with the radio industry group on its 30 Under 30 awards and Radio Festival.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Festival News

Promoter FKP Scorpio has announced its Bråvalla festival in Sweden will go cashless this year. Customer's wristbands will contain an RFID chip. This chip can be loaded with money and all sales in the festival area will only be made through the wristband. “This means that the festival will become smoother and safer and quicker,” says a spokesman adding “the big difference is that during the festivals the ‘money’ on each wristband and cannot be misplaced. As soon as someone swipes the bracelet, they will also find out how much money they have left on the wristband.” Bråvalla festival takes place in Norrköping 26-28 June. Headliners include Iron Maiden, Kings of Leon and Kanye West.

and Intelligent venue Solutions (IVS) expects over £6 million cashless transactions at UK festivals this summer. The British Event Technology & RFID Specialist is confirmed to deploy at over 50 major live events in 2014 and the deployment of RFID enabled wristband technology is expected to increase by a huge 70% this year. With over 3.5 million smart wristbands being issued across the summer season, event organisers will be anticipating a significant increase in on-site spending. The UK-based company has this year already deployed its systems at UEFA Champions League Final in Lisbon, the French Open in Paris, the Grand National at Aintree as well as a debut appearance at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow recently which saw them deliver a managed fast card payment system for VIP guests.

Mobile phone carrier Orange has announced it will stream highlights from the 13-15 June Orange Warsaw Festival, following a partnership with music media company, LoveLive. Orange Music Live will be available across eight European countries including France, Poland, Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Armenia and Moldova providing selected live video streaming of performances by major international artists, to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Accessible across multiple screens including smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions, Orange Music Live will be enhanced by Orange’s 4G and fibre networks, where available.

In the UK the Police have launched a manhunt after a man died following a beating at the Parklife festival on June 7th in Manchester after his girlfriend was hit with an inflatable doll, police said. The BBC say that Robert Hart, 26, was knocked unconscious in front of the main stage at the Parklife Weekender on Saturday at around 9.15pm. He was given CPR at the scene by two off-duty medical personnel. He died on Jun 11 in hospital. The offender is described as a mixed race male, aged in his late 20′s and around 6ft 1 tall. He has a muscular build and short, dark hair which was shaved at the sides. He was also wearing shorts and a blue, bomber-style jacket with the letter ‘A’ in white on the front. Police have also issued an efit. Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 0161 85 69283 or by email (and please attach any footage): 

The 14,000-capacity We Love Green festival in France - The nature-centric opener of the Parisian festival season -  has again been powered entirely by eco-friendly fuel sources, according to organisers. The event is one of Europe’s most sustainable festivals set in the majestic scenery of Parc de Bagatelle in Paris and a winner of the Greener Festival Award. We Love Green has a wide range of environmental initiatives covering many aspects of the production including local service providers, saving water and energy, recycling, managing waste, car sharing, deposit system for glasses, providing free drinkable water fountains, safe storage for bikes and adopting renewable energy across the site.

Event organisers in the UK have called for a national ban on Sky Lanterns - branding them a danger to the public, livestock and buildings. Already banned at a number of events including the Glastonbury Festival after one of organiser Michael Eavis's cows died after ingesting the remains of a lantern, the new campaign by the National Outdoor Events Association has a three-pronged approach aiming to raise awareness among the public, event organisers and to gain a parliamentary debate in the bid for an outright ban. Launched in the South West at England’s biggest agricultural show, the Royal Bath and West in Somerset, the campaign is now being rolled out nationally. Susan Tanner, NOEA’s chief executive said: “In essence balls of fire are being sent into the air uncontrolled and unmonitored causing damage to animals and property. Ultimately there is a risk to human life; we have already seen firefighters injured while tackling a blaze caused by a lantern.” Back in 2011 Michael Eavis said that once the lanterns fall to the ground, the metal frames partially disintegrate: "The wire is then eaten by the cows and sheep and can actually kill them by causing bleeding or blockages in their stomachs. I have had a couple of my own cows die from eating the metal-like needles" adding "We're not arable farmers, but when the crops get tinder dry they will go up in no time if a lit lantern were to land on them. I would like to see them banned nationwide."

Amazon launches music streaming

Amazon has launched its much talked about streaming music service in the US, offering access to "over a million songs" to its Amazon Prime customers but seemingly launched without a deal with Universal in place - and the streaming service offers ad-free access to a relatively small catalogue of songs (compared to the likes of Spotify, et al), which is shrunk further by the absence of any Universal material.

Mills scoops AIM Pioneer Award 2014

Martin Mills
Beggars Group founder Martin Mills has been selected by the AIM Awards judging panel to receive this year's Pioneer Award, recognising a visionary independent label founder.  The award, sponsored by The Orchard, will be presented to Martin at the ceremony on 2nd September in London. Mills set up Beggars Banquet in 1974, initially as record shops in London, guiding its expansion into a record label in 1977, launching the careers of Bauhaus, The Charlatans, The Cult, The Lurkers and Gary Numan amongst others. The company has since grown in to a confederacy of successful record labels, operating from London and with offices in all major markets. The Beggars Group, which Martin chairs, currently comprises 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL Recordings and Young Turks, whose rosters include the likes of Adele, Alabama Shakes, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Grimes, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead, Vampire Weekend, Warpaint, Jack White, Yo La Tengo and The xx. Martin is the fourth recipient of the Pioneer Award, following previous winners Geoff Travis (Rough Trade), Daniel Miller (Mute) and Laurence Bell (Domino). "I'm delighted and moved to receive this honour from my peers" said Martin on the news of the award, "nothing can mean more than that".

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Azoff takes a comedy stake

Iving Azoff is buying another business via his Azoff MSG Entertainment firm, the JV between the former Live Nation top man and the Madison Square Garden Company. Following recent deals to take a 50% stake in marketing firm Pop2Life and brand partnerships agency Burns, Azoff is now buying half of comedy promoter and producer the Levity Entertainment Group. Levity books and promotes comedy shows across the US, runs its own network of comedy clubs and produces comedy content for TV and online.

Morrissey cancels remainder of US tour following new health scare

Morrissey has been forced to cancel the remaining nine dates of his US tour, after contracting a respiratory infection. The singers Facebook page expressed "great sadness", while semi-official fansite True To You said it was "unimaginable sorrow". This is the third time in the last eighteen months that Morrissey's health has caused him to cancel live shows. In March last year, he cancelled another US tour due to a variety of medical problems, including pneumonia in both lungs. The singer later revealed that doctors had advised him to retire from performing live altogether. In July, part of a South American tour was cancelled after Morrissey and his security guard contracting food poisoning in Peru, with the remaining dates later pulled due to financial reasons.

Coldplay's Royal Albert Hall show to air live on Absolute

Coldplay have announced a new deal with with Bauer Media, who'll broadcast the band's forthcoming 1st July show, at London's Royal Albert Hall,  over a number of its radio stations. The live date, which chimes with the recent release of Coldplay's new LP 'Ghost Stories', will be brloadcast on Absolute Radio, Magic, Kerrang! and Bauer's evening syndicate show In:Demand, which is aired by sixteen local stations around the UK. Absolute will be a the only station transmitting the whole show live though, In:Demand, meanwhile, will air selected tracks and a special Coldplay programme, whilst Magic will play a single 'highlight' on Neil Fox's Breakfast Show. Highlights and streams of the entire gig will then be available to listen to again online.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Miracles stop as Jesus Christ Superstar tour pulled

The all-star production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Jesus Christ Superstar', which was due to begin a 51 date tour of the US later this month, has been cancelled with low ticket sales being blamed. With a cast featuring Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams, Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd, JC Chasez of The Backstreet Boys and pil and ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon, the show's veteran producer Michael Cohl told The New York Times: "It became obvious the shows were in trouble, but we tried until the last moment to give it every chance to turn around. In the end, it just did not make business sense to continue, and we didn't want the cast to endure playing to disappointing audiences". Competition winner Ben Forster, who has been playing Jesus in the touring show elsewhere since 2012, tweeted: "I am so devastated. I'm sorry to everyone who got tickets and flights. Who ever fucked it up I hate you. But I forgive you, I'm Jesus... well I was".

PPL income up by 4%

The UK record industry's collecting society PPL has announced that the total monies it collected for its label and artist members last year were 4% up on 2012, amounting to £176.9 million in 2013.  41.3% of that money came from the UK broadcasters - radio and TV - which licence the rights to the sound recordings they use via PPL. Broadcast income was up 5% year-on-year to £73 million. Meanwhile 39.3% of the money came from British organisations and businesses who play recorded music in public spaces, with that revenue stream bringing in £69.5 million, up 7% on 2012.

The most played tracks were:

1. Daft Punk feat Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky 
2. Robin Thicke feat TI and Pharrell - Blurred Lines
3. Justin Timberlake - Mirrors
4. Bruno Mars - Locked Out Of Heaven
5. P!NK feat Nate Ruess - Just Give Me A Reason
6. Passenger - Let Her Go
7. Avicii - Wake Me Up
8. Naughty Boy feat Sam Smith - La La La
9. Olly Murs feat Flo.Rida - Troublemaker

10. Bruno Mars - When I Was Your Man

Belfast's Stiff Kittten closes its doors

Belfast's The Stiff Kitten venue has closed with immediate effect, with its owners Shine Productions citing lack of finances and a "problematic location". Shine, said it wasn't able to give the club the "attention and considerable investment it requires to thrive again", also blaming the fact that the city's night life has tended to migrate in recent times to a different area, the Cathedral Quarter.

A statement on the Shine website reads: "We hope these good times will live on in people's hearts but it is time for us to move on to other things. We managed to attract some world class acts to our quirky little venue, often badgering artists and their management for months on end until they caved in. It's hard to believe we had the likes of Mark Ronson, Disclosure and Calvin Harris (for £4 admission!) play at our little Belfast club over the years. To all who danced, worked and performed, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to do what we love for a living".