Thursday, 30 April 2015

AIF relaunch legal highs campaign

Glastonbury, the Isle of Wight festival, Bestival and more than 40 other major summer music festivals are to black out their websites to highlight the dangers of “legal highs”. The 24-hour online blackout campaign will see organisers replacing their online presence with an image of a roulette wheel and the message: “You could lose the lot on legal highs.”  T in the Park, the Secret Garden party, Lovebox and Parklife are also taking part in the initiative organised by the Association of Independent Festivals. The homepage of each website will lead to an infographic showing key statistics, facts and advice about legal highs. It will include information and advice about nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”, whose widespread use has triggered serious health fears. Fields strewn with the metal canisters that are used to inhale the gas have become a familiar sight at many festivals with Glastonbury banning the gas this year after an exploding cannister caused an injury last year.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

LNE snaps up Bonnaroo

Live Nation has taken a controlling stake in American festival Bonnaroo. Current promoters Superfly and AC Entertainment will continue to programme and run the event. Confirming the deal, Live Nation's Michael Rapino told reporters: "The addition of Bonnaroo builds on Live Nation Entertainment's world leading festival portfolio of over 60 marquee festivals such as Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Reading, Leeds, T In The Park, Electric Daisy Carnival, Rock Werchter, and Watershed Music Festival to name a few. Bonnaroo is another crown jewel in this festival channel strategy, one that appeals to both fans and artists in uniqueness and experience". Superfly co-founder Rick Farman said: "We are strengthening our commitment to create the best possible experience at Bonnaroo. Through this partnership with Live Nation, we're even more empowered to enhance the festival while preserving the integrity of the event that we've thoughtfully built over the past fourteen years".

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Future Music festivals cancelled

In Australia, Future Music Festival has been scrapped indefinitely amid cancellations, licensing rows, "drug shame" and plummeting ticket sales. Originally launched in Sydney, Australia in 2006, Future Music toured between Australian cities in subsequent years and expanded to Malaysia last year and Singapore earlier this year. Organisers Mushroom Group, who bought in to the venture in 2013, said in a statement that “the day of the large scale travelling festival in its current form is unfortunately numbered”. The group posted the following statement on Facebook: “We’re very sad to say that we’ve decided 2015 was the last year for Future Music Festival. It’s been a difficult decision to make but in the end travelling the festival in its current form across Australia simply doesn’t make financial sense anymore.”  Chairman Michael Gudinski said “The decision to discontinue Future Music Festival was not made lightly. A point came though where it simply no longer made sense to continue. We believe in the festival industry in Australia and plan to announce an exciting new festival concept in the coming months.” More here.

MCT cancels TM contract over secondary ticketing

German promoter MCT Agentur has terminated its contract with Ticketmaster (TM) over the activities of resale platform Seatwave, recently acquired by TM. MCT founder and CEO Scumeck Sabottka cancelled the deal with TM after discovering tickets for his Katy Perry and Jonathan Jeremiah concerts being offered for resale at inflated prices on Seatwave.   Sabottka, a fierce opponent of secondary ticketing, told Audience that he signed a deal with Live Nation Entertainment (LNE)-owned TM in April 2014 and a joint statement pledged a “commitment to fans and artists to protect against unauthorised resellers”. 

May 20th: A Day Without Music in Spain

In Spain venues, shops, bars and restaurants will refuse to play music for 24-hours on 20 May in protest over increases in sale tax affecting live events. Un Día Sin Música (A Day Without Music) will be held across Spain ahead of regional elections, as live music industry professionals unite against what they say are unfair levies. The Government raised the top rate of value-added tax from 18 per cent to 21 per cent in 2012, prior to which it had been as low as 16 per cent in 2010 - and music and theatre tickets were re-categorised, moving from the middle band of tax to the top - rising from 8% to 21% overnight. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015


Musician Chris Hardman, best known as Lil Chris, has been found dead. He was 24. Hardman first found fame when he appeared in the second series of Channel 4's 'Rock School' in 2006, in which young musicians were mentored by Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. After the series ended, he signed to Sony/RCA, releasing his debut single, 'Checkin It Out', which went to number three in the UK singles chart.

Nick Mann. ASFAR Editor and Sometime Louder Than War Contributor has died. Louder Than War commented "The hardcore community have lost a gentle but stalwart soldier in Nick Mann and he’ll be greatly missed". A keen Shrewsbury Town FC fan, Nick died in tragic circumstances on the London Underground at Old Street attempting to save his brother’s life. Fans at the weekend's Shrewsbury's match held a minute's applause in honour of Nick. His brother Robert is still in a critical but stable condition at the Royal London Hospital.

Former Pentangle guitarist John Renbourn has died, aged 70. He was found by police at his home on Thursday morning, after he failed to appear for a live performance in Glasgow the previous evening. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Julian Lennon has released a new song as a tribute to his mother, Cynthia, who has died She had been suffering from cancer. The track was published via a new website at, and is titled 'In Loving Memory'.

Soul singer Percy Sledge died from liver cancer. He was 74. His hits included  'When A Man Loves A Woman', which would remain the song he was best known for throughout his career. Sledge inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005 and Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2007. He continued to record and perform until close to the end of his life. He played his final show last year, after undergoing surgery for liver cancer. He is survived by his second wife Rosa and twelve children.

Bob Burns, a founding member of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died in a car crash at the age of 64. The drummer, who played on the band's first two albums, was killed when his car left the road on Friday, striking a mailbox and a tree. Georgia State Patrol spokeswoman Tracey Watson said Burns, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was killed in the wreck.

Sir John Read, chairman of EMI at the time the Sex Pistols were signed to and then rapidly dropped from the label after public outcry after the release of 'Anarchy in the UK' and their appearance on the Today programme, has died aged 97. Sir John was also a senior executive for Ford and chairman of the TSB banking group.

Woman faces prison for selling fake Glastonbury tickets

Christine Babb, the East Grinstead "con woman" who sold non existent Glastonbury Festival tickets to scores of music fans, is now in custody pending a hearing on May 12th at Exeter Crown Court. On April 14th Hammersmith Magistrates Court heard that Babb's campaign of fraud lasted nearly a year, between August 2013 and July last year. Such was her notoriety, Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis had issued a statement warning: "Nobody called Christine Babb is either employed by Glastonbury Festival or has any tickets to sell for the Festival". She admitted 29 offences of fraud by false representation and the court heard that Babb has previous convictions for 'very similar' scams. For the defence, Jyothi Somavarapu explained in mitigation that her client suffered from borderline personality disorder, Crohn's disease and bulimia. Babb was released on unconditional ahead of sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court on 12 May but now Babb's case has been moved to Devon where one further charge was added. Babb pleaded guilty to a new charge of fraud at Exeter Magistrates Court on April 22nd, just six days after her earlier conviction. She is now in custody awaiting sentencing for all 30 offences at Exeter Crown Court on May 12. The North Devon Journal reported that Babb now lives in popular holiday and surfing spot Croyde, near Braunton in North Devon.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Booming UK independent festivals produce billion pound boost

Independent music festivals in the UK contributed almost £1 billion to the British economy during the five festival seasons that took place between 2010 and 2014, according to new research  from the Association Of Independent Festivals which now represents some 50 UK independent festivals, including Bestival, Kendal Calling, Womad, Wakestock and End of the Road. 

The group also says that 635,000 music fans attended its members' events in 2014, generating £296 million between them. The survey also revealed that 49% of those interviewed said they chose to attend an independent festival over taking a summer holiday, while 58.2% said "general atmosphere, overall vibe and character of event" was the single most important factor in choosing a festival to go to, compared to just 8.3% saying that "headline acts" impact on their festival decision making. 

AIF General Manger Paul Reed said: "Our extensive research clearly shows that the independent music festival sector is thriving and enjoying an extended period of fantastic growth. Over the last four years our members events have contributed an estimated £1bn to the UK economy, primarily through audience spend, which has benefited the entire country, particularly local businesses in the areas where these festivals take place". He went on: "To celebrate that success we have launched Festival Fever to highlight the importance of independent music festivals and to illustrate the huge diversity of wonderful events and experiences our members stage throughout the year".

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

EDM worth $6.2 billion globally

The EDM business in North America is worth about $1.9 billion according to research presented at IMS Engage in LA. That figure includes recorded music sales and streams, DJ technology sales, and festival and club income. Kevin Watson of Danceonomics said that North America now accounts for about 30% of the wider EDM industry, which he values at $6.2 billion. Watson said that his research showed that dance track sales accounted for 4.6% of overall track sales in North America last year, an all time high, while EDM was now the fourth most popular genre on streaming platforms, accounting for 7% of streams in the US and 10% in Canada. You can download the report in return for an email address at

AC/DC's Rudd to plead guilty to threats to koill

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has pleaded guilty  to charges that he threatened to murder two people and possessed methamphetamine, according to the New Zealand Herald. Earlier in December, he had pleaded not guilty to the threats charges, as well as charges that he had methamphetamine and 130 grams of marijuana on him when he was arrested. Originally charged with attempted murder, those charges were swiftly revised, later to threats to kill. He had originally pleased not guilty to the revised charges. Rudd will be sentenced in June. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

A right to guns at Festivals - only in the US of A

Most festivals do their utmost to ensure their events are peaceful, trouble free and that festival goers respect each other, and don't bring in weapons. Not so Norman, Okla, where a pro-gun group have successfully brought a court claim in the Cleveland County Court, challenging the Norman Music Festival's 'no gun' policy. Judge Thad Balkman issued a temporary restraining order (Friday 17th) against the city of Norman and the Norman Music Alliance, prohibiting enforcement of a gun ban at the upcoming Norman Music Festival. Judge Balkman ruled in favor of the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, whose attorney argued that banning licensed gun carriers from carrying guns to the festival was a violation of both state and federal law and an infringement on people’s constitutional rights. “The court gives great weight to constitutional rights issues,” Judge Balkman said. Judge Balkman said he was only ruling on the request for a temporary restraining order. He will hear further arguments at 8 a.m. on Thursday — the day the music festival opens — on whether an injunction should be issued.


Andy Chen, CEO of WiMP/Tidal since June 2013 has left the company, with Peter Tonstad - previously CEO and then Chief Commercial Officer at the streaming service's former parent company Aspiro - taking on the top Tidal job for the time being.

Direct To Fan group ReverbNation has announced the promotion of Simon Perry, previously SVP Creative, to the job of Chief Creative Officer.

Director John Singleton has said that, following his departure from a planned biopic about the life of rapper Tupac Shakur, he now plans to focus instead on his own film about the life of Shakur.

The Southbank Centre's Head Of Classical Music, Gillian Moore, has been promoted to the wider role of Director Of Music.

Olly Murs and Caroline Flack will jointly host the new 'X-Factor' serties in the UK. Murs and Flack had previously co-hosted 'The Xtra Factor' on ITV2

Warner Music has announced the appointment of Eliah Seton to the role of President at its label services company ADA Worldwide. Seton moves over to the services unit from Warner's core label business, where he was SVP International Strategy & Operations.

Noah And The Whale have announced that they are splitting after eight years and four albums together.  In statement issued via Facebook reads: "Noah And The Whale have decided to call it a day. We have had an incredible eight years together and are immensely grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way. There are too many people to mention in this short message but we would like to take this opportunity to give special thanks to all of our amazing fans, who have supported us so magnificently over the years and made everything possible"

Tim Kelly, who previously worked for independent labels includng One Little Indian and Rough Trade in the UK, before stints at Universal and Sony in Australia, is set to become MD of Sydney-based artist and label services outfit Inertia Music. He starts there later this month.

•Matador Records has hired Shira Knishkowy, formerly with Partisan Records, for the role of Director Of Publicity, working out of the indie's New York office. And Matador has promoted Natalie Judge to GM of Matador U.K. and Robby Morris to A&R director, with Rian Fossett and Blue Kirkhope joining as U.S. label coordinator and U.K. label coordinator, respectively. 

Downtown Music Publishing has appointed Taeko Saito to the role of International A&R. Previously, Saito served as an A&R executive at SONGS Music Publishing.

Artist management firm Middle West has expanded its reach to offices in Brooklyn, NY and Durham, NC, welcoming NY-based manager Chase Igliori, NC-based Martin Anderson, and Matt Watts in a continued advisory roll.

The Concord Music Group and Bicycle Music Company have formally merged to create Concord Bicycle Music. Concord Bicycle Music also announced  that it had acquired Vanguard Records and Sugar Hill Records from the Welk Music Group. Kevin Welk will remain as Chief Creative Office of both imprints. Though Sugar Hill will merge with Concord's Rounder Label Group, of which Sugar Hill Records General Manager Cliff O'Sullivan will become Chief Operating Officer, while Vanguard Records will become part of Concord's Fantasy Label Group.

ASCAP has promoted Christine Pepe to VP, Business and Legal Affairs.

Universal Music Group owner Vivendi has confirmed it is bidding for YouTube rival Dailymotion, currently owned by Orange, after Hong Kong-based telecoms group PCCW withdrew its offer for the video site, seemingly in protest at interference by the French government.

Peter Kadin, formerly a senior publicity manager at the Chamber Group, joined Def Jam as director of media and artist relations.

Gustavo Dudamel has extended his contract as musical director of the L.A. Philharmonic through the 2021/22 season. Dudamel will also take on the role of artistic director.

Rdio has hired Iain Morris, formerly with Warner/Chappell, to manage the streaming service's relationships with music publishers and collecting societies with the title VP Global Music Publishing. "

Lucy Jones has stepped down as's Deputy Editor in order to go freelance. She took on the role in 2012, joining from The Daily Telegraph.

UK Music has announced the appointment of a new Director Of Communications, James Murtagh-Hopkins, who has previously held in-house and agency PR roles as well as working in artist management and music film.

Warner/Chappell yesterday confirmed the appointment of Eric Mackay to the role of Head Of Digital for Europe. The new role sees Mackay returning to the rights owner side of the digital sector, following his stint as VP International Business Affairs & Business Development at Vevo.

And UK Music's Dot Levine has joined Vevo as communications manager at the entertainment platform's UK office.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

WME snap up Artist Voice

William Morris Endeavor IMG has announced the acquisition of Australian booking agency Artist Voice. Founded in 2010 by Brett Murrihy and Matt Gudinski as part of Mushroom Group, the company books artists throughout Australia and Asia, and now has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong. Artists on its roster include 5 Seconds Of Summer, Chvrches, Tegan & Sara, Empire Of The Sun, Neil Finn and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Announcing the deal, WME's Head Of Music Marc Geiger said: "We have admired what Brett has built at Artist Voice, and are incredibly excited to welcome him and his team to WME IMG. We share the same passion for our artists and entrepreneurial approach to business that made this partnership a natural fit. This addition will help us continue to elevate the level of service we are committed to providing our clients around the world". Artist Voice will be absorbed into WME IMG's music division, with Murrihy given the role of Head Of Asia Pacific For Music.

Florence breaks foot

Florence Welch, the face and voice of Florence + The Machine, has announced that she broke her right foot while jumping off the stage at Coachella. As a result, the group's upcoming live dates will have to be "stripped back" for the next two months, although they may not be necessarily cancelled. The singer announced the setback in a Facebook post, saying that she was "devastated" by the news that the promotional schedule of new album How Big How Blue How Beautiful, due out on June 2, will have to be rearranged" but added "By the time Glastonbury rolls around I should be back on my feet."

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

American terrestrial radio performance royalties for sound recordings move a step closer

The latest efforts by the American record industry to force terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to labels solidified around a new piece of legislation in the Congress:  The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act, is backed by four members of the House Of Representatives: Democrats Jerrold Nadler, John Conyers Jr and Ted Deutch and Republican Marsha Blackburn. While AM/FM radio stations do not pay royalties to labels, online and satellite radio stations do, because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act applied a 'digital performing right' to the sound recording copyright. The New Act would  provide for a general public performance right for all sound recordings that are still within copyright in the USA, including per-1972 recordings which a number of digital operators (including SiriusXM) have argued are outside of federal law. More here.

Cancellation news: Iommi in the pink, Kayne in shallow water

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi has denied that his health problems are to blame for the cancellation of the band's farewell gig at Ozzfest Japan in November. In 2012 Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, but last year told fans he was was nearing the end of his treatment. In a post on Facebook last week, the guitarist said: "Thank you for all the enquiries about my health, very kind. I'm not sure how the rumour of my being unwell started as I was away on holiday! Once you've had something like lymphoma the fear that it will return never leaves, all I can say is that right now I'm fine and have regular blood tests". Black Sabbath's planned show at Ozzfest Japan will be replaced with an Ozzy Osbourne solo set.

And a free Kanye West show at Swan Lake in Yerevan, Armenia was cut short by police after just six songs when the rapper jumped into the shallow waters of the lake (to be 'closer to the crowd') followed by many of the audience who mobbed him. The show lasted just 20 minutes.

IFPI publishes Digital Music Report 2015

The recorded music sector's international trade body, the IFPI, has  published its Digital Music Report 2015, detailing key trends in the recorded music sector over the last year - with the headline news that digital music revenues are now on a par with physical globally, that global industry revenues are marginally down 0.4 per cent to US$14.97 billion in 2014, and that subscription services at the heart of the recorded music portfolio business

Digital revenues rose 6.9 per cent to US$6.9 billion, representing 46% of all global music sales and underlining the deep transformation of the global music industry over recent years. Total revenues in  2014 were US$14.97 billion although it should be noted that there has been a reclassification of SoundExchange revenues in the US from “performance rights” to “digital”.  This has resulted in an upward adjustment in digital revenues and growth, and an equivalent downward adjustment in performance rights revenues and growth.

The new report shows the industry in continuing transition, with consumers embracing the music access models of streaming and subscription.  Another steep increase in subscription revenues (+39.0%) offset declining global download sales (-8.0%) to drive overall digital revenues, while the number of paying users of subscription services rose 46.4 per cent to an estimated 41 million. Subscription services are now at the heart of the music industry’s portfolio of businesses, representing 23 per cent of the digital market and generating US$1.6 billion in trade revenues.  The industry sees substantial further growth potential in the subscription sector, with new services advancing in 2015 led by three major global players: YouTube’s Music Key, Jay Z’s TIDAL and Apple’s expected subscription service.

To download the full report go to

The IFPI also released the 2014 Global Charts, with the soundtrack to the motion picture Frozen, Pharrell Willians and Taylor Swift topping the year If you're intersted - here they are:

Global top 10 albums 2014

Total units (m)
Various Artists
Taylor Swift
Ed Sheeran
Ghost Stories
Sam Smith
In The Lonely Hour
One Direction
Rock or Bust
Various Artists
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Pink Floyd
The Endless River
Pure Heroine
Source: IFPI. Physical and digital albums included. Streams excluded

Global top 10 digital singles 2014

Total sales (m)
Pharrell Williams
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
Dark Horse
John Legend
All of Me
Meghan Trainor
All About That Bass
Idina Menzel
Let It Go
Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
Enrique Iglesias feat. Sean Paul, Descemer Bruno, Gente De Zona
Source: IFPI. Units include single-track downloads and track-equivalent streams.

Global Recording Artist Chart 2014

Taylor Swift
One Direction
Ed Sheeran
Michael Jackson
Pink Floyd
Sam Smith
Katy Perry