Sunday, 30 November 2014

Monkeys alert fans to non existant show

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


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Private copying exception faces challenge from UK Music industry

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

Spotify still at a global loss

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

More on Spotify's business model here

Take That take Google Play option

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

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

Vinyl sales surge in UK

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

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

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Morrissey mobbed and show cut short

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

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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

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

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

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

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

AMAs out

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

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

UK's anti touting law moves forwards

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

e-Petition calls for newbies to waive noise complaints

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

The call for a review of noise abatement legislation here

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

Thursday, 20 November 2014


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

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

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

AXS TV to cover more festivals in US

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

AIF festival survey - win tickets!


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

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

Apple will go head to head with Google and Facebook

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

Bono bike crash bad but recovery prospects good

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

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

RE:IMI write an open letter to Bob Geldof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More opinions from Africans here

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

And an amusing take on well meant but pointless volunteering here 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warners take the plunge in China

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

More UK venues at risk

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

SFX revenues up but staff cull planned

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

Monday, 17 November 2014

Band Aid 30 premieres

The new Band Aid single has been broadcast for the first time featuring One Direction, Rita Ora and Ed Sheeran singing the reworked Do They Know It's Christmas? The video was shown on ITV's X Factor.Other artists taking part included Emeli Sande, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Chris Martin, Elbow, Seal, Jessie Ware, Fuse ODG, Sinead O'Connor, Angelique Kidjo, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, Queen drummer Roger Taylor, Clean Bandit and Foals. Bono, who featured on the original 1984 version, was also involved, as were YouTube video stars Zoella, Alfie Deyes and Joe Sugg. All money raised (including VAT waived by the UK Government) will go to aid the fight against Ebola in Weste Africa.

Damon Albarn spoke to Cathy Newman at Channel 4 News about why he's didn't take part in Band Aid 30 - "There are problems with our idea of charity...sometimes giving money creates another problem". 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Azoff takes on YouTube

Some 20,000 works composed by popular musicians including The Eagles, Pharrell Williams, Boston, Foreigner, John Lennon, Smokey Robinson, Chris Cornell, and George and Ira Gershwin could soon be removed from YouTube - just as the Google streaming giant launches it's YouTube Music Key, it's much-anticipated subscription service that will compete with Spotify and Pandora. why? Well band manager, ex Live Nation chief and now boss of  Global Music Rights (GMR) Irving Azoff (right) has told The Hollywood Reporter that he is prepared to take 42 of his clients away from YouTube. Azoff had already fired a shot accross the bows of US music colleciton societies BMI and ASCAP saying "The way fans listen to music is evolving daily" adding "GMR is going to give songwriters and publishers an opportunity to engage in meaningful licensing for their intellectual property. The trampling of writers' rights in the digital marketplace without any regard to their contribution to the creative process will no longer be tolerated."

Vice and Live Nation team up for online content

Live Nation and Vice have entered into a new joint venture to "launch a revolutionary new digital content platform delivering the voice of live music to millions of online and mobile audiences". Vice CEO Shane Smith: "This partnership rethinks the live music experience, offering unprecedented access to the world's biggest stars and emerging artists, and groundbreaking content that will be distributed across the holy trinity of mobile, online and TV. Today the content world is in upheaval, with new brands being created in real time, and mainstream media seeing its audience migrate in record numbers".

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rolling Stone’s Australian tour cancellation claim in dispute

L’Wren Scott’s tragic and unexpected suicide prompted the Rolling Stones to cancel a number of Australian dates and resulted in a claim against the bands $23.9 million insurance policy and Mick Jagger was "diagnosed as suffering from acute traumatic stress disorder" and advised by doctors not to perform for at least 30 days. However, underwriters have apparently argued that Scott might have been suffering from a pre-existing but undeclared mental illness at the time the insurance policy was agreed, which would, they argue, render cover in relation to her death invalid. It's emerged that the insurers have currently refused to pay out $12.7 million on the claim – resulting in a further legal claim in the London courts by the band.  However the matter has come to wider attention because of legal efforts in the US by the insurers to gain papers relating to Scott's mental health prior to her death. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, a court in Scott's home state of Utah have given underwriters permission to gather testimony and documents from her brother Randall Bambrough and that similar court filings have been made by the insurers in the federal courts in new York to gain access to documents held by Scott's former PA, the executor of her estate and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It also appears that the underwriters are also arguing that it appeared that Jagger had not actually been personally examined by the doctor who provided the medical note and further that doctor and was not a psychiatrist. In addition, the underwriters pointed to provisions in the policy that Scott’s death by suicide by her own hand was "not beyond her control", invalidating the claim.

The Stones recently cancelled a November 8th Australian concert after lead singer Mick Jagger was diagnosed with a throat infection, promoters said. Tour promoter Frontier issued a statement on their website saying the 71-year-old Jagger was under a doctor's strict order to rest his vocal chords for the next few days to recuperate for the remainder of the tour with the band saying they were 'disappointed'.

UPDATE. The Times (15.11.14) reported that the Stone's multi million pound claim had been settled but the band said that they were "deeply upset" that confidential details were made public. 

Tennessee’s anti scalping laws have never been used

For six years, Tennessee has had a law making it illegal to use special computer software – bots - to buy large quantities of tickets to popular concerts and sporting events. But despite the apparent prevalence of the practice, no one has been prosecuted for this hard-to-prove crime in Davidson County according to records obtained by the Tennessean from the Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk. The law made computerised scalping a class A misdemeanor punishable by $500 per ticket, or any profits made from each instance, whichever is higher. There have been no prosecutions in Nashville since the law took effect in 2008. 

Ek talking up Spotify in battle with Swift

Spotify's Daniel Ek has responded to Taylor Swift and other critics in a lengthy blog post reigniting the debate prompted by Swift pulling her catalogue from free (freemium) streaming services. Ek begins by saying 

"Taylor Swift is absolutely right" (referring to remarks the singer made in a Wall Street Journal  and Yahoo interview) adding "Music is art, art has real value, and artists deserve to be paid for it. We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time". Ek then detailed how the Spotify payment model works and revealed that Spotify has now paid out $2 billion to the music industry since launching in 2008, $1 billion of that in the last year and that Spotify now has 50 million active users, 12.5 million of whom are paying subscribers - an increase of ten million and 2.5 million respectively since the last lot of official figures released back in May of this year. However Ek somewhat failed to address why a relatively small share of these streaming royalties are shared out to artists once the money has left Spotify's bank account, not least as the labels who seem to be keeping the lions share of streaming revenues are key partners in his business, both as content providers and shareholders. 

Ek says "The music industry is changing - and we're proud of our part in that change - but lots of problems that have plagued the industry since its inception continue to exist" ading "As I said, we've already paid more than $2 billion in royalties to the music industry and if that money is not flowing to the creative community in a timely and transparent way, that's a big problem. We will do anything we can to work with the industry to increase transparency, improve speed of payments, and give artists the opportunity to promote themselves and connect with fans - that's our responsibility as a leader in this industry; and it's the right thing to do".

Swift and her label Big Machine has pulled the singer's entire catalogue off Spotify (and others) seemingly because of those platform's freemium tier, which allows users to access music without direct payment. "If this fan went and purchased the record, CD, iTunes, wherever, and then their friends go, 'Why did you pay for it? It's free on Spotify', we're being completely disrespectful to that superfan who wants to invest", said Big Machine's Scott Borchetta last week.

Ek points out that, while consumers can access music at this level for free, the artist does still earn a royalty from each play their music receives a stream and compared that  to terrestrial US radio station where labels and recording artists earn nothing for a play (although songwriter earns a royalty from American radio.). In other countries such as the UK both PPL (for labels and recording artists) and PRS (music publishers and songwriters) collect from radio stations. Undeterred Ek continues  "Here's the overwhelming, undeniable, inescapable bottom line: the vast majority of music listening is unpaid", noting that Spotify's main competitors are radio, YouTube and piracy. "If we want to drive people to pay for music, we have to compete with free to get their attention in the first place". Spotify's free tier is vital to driving people to pay, he continues, saying: "More than 80% of our subscribers started as free users. If you take away only one thing, it should be this: No free, no paid, no $2 billion" - not least with a 14% global decline in download sales so far in 2014. 

Ek also looks as Swift as a case study: "At our current size, payouts for a top artist like Taylor Swift (before she pulled her catalogue) are on track to exceed $6 million a year, and that's only growing - we expect that number to double again in a year". Ek added  "People's listening habits have changed - and they're not going to change back" and "[Swift's] songs are all over services and sites like YouTube and SoundCloud, where people can listen all they want for free. To say nothing of the fans who will just turn back to pirate services like Grooveshark" (the 'pirate' label was subsequently objected to by Grooveshark) before concluding "The more we grow, the more we'll pay you", adding: "We're going to be transparent about it all the way through".

The UK's Music Managers Forum followed this by issuing a statement saying that the organisation is a "big supporter of streaming services", and suggesting Taylor Swift and her label  are taking a short-sightedness for pulling her content from Spotify, although the MMF also hit out ar Non Disclosure Agreements that hide the deals between streaming services and the major labels. "Few markets are perfect and yes the 'low rate issue' has conflicted many, but above all, streaming services are a fabulous tool that connects artists and creators with fans", the statement reads. "No longer restricted by physical barriers, streaming gives a voice to those that want to be heard and a platform from which to build multi-revenue businesses that cross borders. There are no guarantees of success but the opportunity is there for all that want to give it a shot".  Finally, the statement concludes: "Non Disclosure Agreements hide how the major music corporations license streaming services and we have grave concerns that the deals contain stipulations that both significantly reduce the amount artists ultimately get attributed and damage the growth of the streaming economy. The real fight is more likely between opacity and transparency, and we call on all major music corporations to take note and react in the best interest of their artists and shareholders".

Ek's blog post in full here

Cuts force ENO to cancel

The English National Opera has been forced to cancel a planned production of Monteverdi's Orfeo - the first time 'i recent memory' funding cuts have promoted the pull out. The production, a co-production with Bristol's Old Vic was planned for 2015 in the West of England - its first ENO trip for a UK show outside the capital for 15 years. Cancellation was said to be "the last resort" in the face oft a cut in the ENO's Arts Council grant from £17.2 million to £12.4 million next year.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

European Festival Awards final shortlists announced!

The votes have been counted and we can now reveal the finalists in this year’s European Festival Awards, as decided by Europe’s festival-goers. This year – the 6th edition - saw a new record set with over 1.2 million votes cast by fans for their favourite festivals and artists, an astonishing 100% increase on last year’s figures. Some of the more specialists categories are decided by panels of industry professionals, including Artists’ Favourite Festival, Green Operations Award and Promoter Of The year, and this panel also exercises a 25% say in the final outcome of the public-voted selection. The winners will be announced on-stage at the European Festival Awards gala ceremony which returns to crown the opening night of Eurosonic Noorderslag in Groningen, The Netherlands on Wednesday 14th January 2015 hosted by Ben Challis.

Best Major European Festival
in association with PlugGo

Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic)
Electric Picnic (Ireland)
EXIT Festival (Serbia)
Hurricane & Southside (Germany)
NOS Alive (former Optimus Alive) (Portugal)
Rock am Ring/ Rock Im Park (Germany)
Rock Werchter (Belgium)
Roskilde Festival (Denmark)
Sziget Festival (Hungary)
Tomorrowland (Belgium)
Wacken Open Air (Germany)
Woodstock Festival (Poland)

Best Medium-Sized European Festival

Audioriver (Poland)
Berlin Festival (Germany)
Best Kept Secret (The Netherlands)
Electric Castle Festival (Romania)
Hideout Festival (Croatia)
Lovefest (Serbia)
MasterCard Balaton Sound (Hungary)
OFF Festival Katowice (Poland)
Pohoda Festival (Slovakia)
Sea Dance Festival (Montenegro)
Volt Festival (Hungary)
Way Out West (Sweden)

Best Small European Festival (Hungary)
Feest in het Park (Belgium)
Festival Tauron Nowa Muzyka (Poland)
Grape Festival (Slovakia)
Happiness Festival (Germany)
Indiependence (Ireland)
Into The Great Wide Open (The Netherlands)
Jazz in the Park (Romania)
PLAI (Romania)
The Garden Festival (Croatia)

Best New European Festival

Bergfestival (Austria)
Down The Rabbit Hole (The Netherlands)
Festival The Brave (Holland)
Imaginarium Festival (France)
MS Artville (Germany)
Sea Dance Festival (Montenegro)
Serbia Wonderland Festival (Serbia)
Signal Festival (Czech republic)
Sunscape Festival (Malta)
Your'in (Belgium)

Best Indoor Festival

Blues in Hell (Norway)
I Love Techno (Belgium)
I Love Techno (France)
Metal Hammer Paradise (Germany)
Reeperbahn Festival (Germany)
Rolling Stone Weekender (Germany)
Sensation (The Netherlands)
Sonar (Spain)
TiMAF (Romania)
Waves (Austria & Slovakia)

Newcomer Of The Year
in association with Eurosonic Noorderslag

Birth of Joy
George Ezra
London Grammar
Mighty Oaks
Milky Chance
Royal Blood

Best Headliner

Arcade Fire
Arctic Monkeys
Imagine Dragons
Jack White
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Pearl Jam
The Black Keys

Festival Anthem of the Year

Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine
Atomic Bomb! - The Atomic Bomb! Band and Special Guests 
Black Keys - Lonely Boy
Calvin Harris - Summer
Ellie Goulding - Burn
George Ezra - Budapest
Outkast - Hey Ya
Pharell Williams- Happy
Royal Blood - Come on Over
Stromae - Papaoutai

The following awards are decided purely by our jury of industry experts:

Best European Festival Line-Up

Best Kept Secret (The Netherlands)
Glastonbury (United Kingdom)
Open'er Festival (Poland)
Hurricane/Southside (Germany)
Oya Festival (Norway)
Pinkpop (The Netherlands)
Primavera (Spain)
Rock am Ring / Rock im Park (Germany)
Rock Werchter (Belgium)
Sziget (Hungary)

Artist’s Favourite European Festival 

Glastonbury (United Kingdom)
Hove (Norway)
Oya Festivalen (Norway)
Primavera Sound (Spain)
Pukkelpop (Belgium)
Rock en Seine (France)
Rock Werchter (Belgium)
Slottsfjell (Norway)
Sziget (Hungary)
Way Out West (Sweden)

Promoter Of The Year

FKP Scorpio (Germany)
Friendly Fire (The Netherlands)
Live Nation (Belgium)
Metropolis (United Kingdom)
ID&T (Belgium)

The Green Operations Award

Boom (Portugal)
Cabaret Vert (France)
Cambridge Folk Festival (United Kingdom)
Fusion (Germany)
Ilosaarirock (Finland)
Isle Of Wight (United Kingdom)
Maifeld Derby (Germany)
Melt! (Germany)
Mysteryland (The Netherlands)
Northside (Denmark)
Øya Festival (Norway)
Rock Am Ring (Germany)
Roskilde (Denmark)
Shambala (United Kingdom)
We Love Green (France)
Welcome to the Future (The Netherlands)

The following categories do not have shortlists. The winners will be announced at the gala ceremony in Groningen on 14th January.

YES Group H&S Innovation Award In association with the YES Group and ICM&SS

Award For Excellence And Passion

Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Yourope

Monday, 10 November 2014

Marvel man victorious over Killah

Ghostface Killah
Jack Urbont, who created music for 'The Marvel Super Heroes' television show in the '60s has won a lawsuit over sampling. The three-year-old copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Urbont against rapper Ghostface Killah ended with a New York judge entering a default judgment in favour of the plaintiff. According to Urbont's 2011 lawsuit, Ghostface Killah (real name: Dennis Coles) sampled the "Iron Man Theme" on two tracks of the rapper's second album, Supreme Clientele

It was no easy matter suing Coles - initially he could not be located and the court allowed service by a publication notice - and then his lawyer requested permission to withdraw from the case on the grounds he hadn't been paid and that his client refused to communicate with him. Ghostface then failed to show up for a deposition, which led to a warning from the judge about sanctions and a default judgment. With Coles still AWOl,  Urbont sought a default judgment as well as fees and expenses, and this was granted by U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald. Urbont's attorney Richard Busch said "As far as Mr. Coles (Ghostface) is concerned, we will now submit evidence on damages to establish actual and statutory damages for willful infringement of Mr Urbont's composition, and to establish our entitlement to actual and punitive damages for the willful infringement of Mr. Urbont's sound recording. The default judgment does not apply to Sony, so the claims against Sony remain to be litigated."

Busch has also indicated that word that he will be pursuing punitive damages for the wilful infringement of the sound recording. As the recodings are pre-1972 and protected by state and Urbont case will now figure out what damages are owed for misappropriating a pre-1972 sound recording. Coles may be hard to pin down but any damages awarded may be easier to collect from his royalties from his solo career and his share of Wu-Tang Clan royalties.

Ticketmaster buys Seatwave

Ticketmaster has bought the 'operating assets' of secondary ticketing firm Seatwave which will enable the ticketing giant to extend its resale business into a number of new European markets, including Germany, Italy and Spain. Under the new deal, Seatwave will continue to operate separately but as "a Ticketmaster company". According the official statement, this move "builds on Ticketmaster's successful strategy of creating best-in-class, consumer-friendly resale platforms in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States".

Radio Academy restructures

The UK's Radio Academy has announced some radical changes that will see the axing of its two key events - the Radio Festival and Radio Academy Awards (for most of its history know as the Sony Awards) - and the axing of its London office and staff of four. It seems that the loss of Sony as a headline sponsor of the annual awards show triggered  a "strategic review" but BBC Radio 1's Ben Cooper, who is Chair of the Academy, said: "I'm confident and determined that as an industry we can create an exciting and modern event that retains the gravitas of over 30 years of Awards".

MTV EMAs handed out

The MTV EMAs have been handed out in Glasgow and the winners are 

Best Song: Ariana Grande feat Iggy Azalea - Problem 
Best Song With a Message: Beyonce - Pretty Hurts
Best Video: Katy Perry feat Juicy J - Dark Horse

Best Female: Ariana Grande
Best Male: Justin Bieber
Best Live: One Direction
Best New: Five Seconds Of Summer
Worldwide Act: Bibi Zhou

Best Pop: One Direction
Best Rock: Linkin Park
Best Alternative: 30 Seconds To Mars
Best Hip Hop: Nicki Minaj

Best Look: Katy Perry
Best Push: Five Seconds Of Summer
Best World Stage: Enrique Iglesias
Biggest Fans: One Direction

Global Icon: Ozzy Osbourne

Did Plant reject Branson's Led Zeppelin plans?

Rumours swirl that Robert Plant has turned down an offer worth 'hundreds of millions of dollars' from Richard Branson. The Virgin entrepreneur has reportedly offered Plant, Page and bassist John Paul Jones £190 million each to reform the Led Zeppelin for 35 shows, but Plant refused. An unnamed source told the tbe Daily Mirror "Jimmy, John and Jason (Bonham) signed up immediately. It was a no-brainer for them but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it. When he said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given, there was an enormous sense of shock. There is no way they can go ahead without him".

Writing on the Virgin website, Branson said: "I've been left dazed and confused by a story doing the rounds this week about us apparently offering Led Zeppelin £500 million to reform and carry out a tour. As much as I love the band, there is absolutely no truth to the story".