Friday, 29 May 2015

SFX share buy back approved by independent directors

Robert FX Sillerman moved closer to taking his EDM giant SFX back into private ownership, after the special committee of independent directors appointed to consider his proposals backed the plan, although at a higher than originally proposed offer silelrman had made. Sillerman floated SFX in 2013, but announced earlier this year that he now wanted to buy back all the shares he doesn't currently control - nearly 63% of the company - There was a mixed reception to the proposal on Wall Street, hence the appointment of the special committee. Sillerman originally offered $4.75 a share, which was above the going rate at the time; shares in SFX were selling for $4.12 on Friday. But the offer has now been increased to $5.25 a share, and it is that bid that the special committee unanimously agreed to back on Monday, leading to the company's board also recommending the deal to shareholders. SFX raised $260 million ahead of its initial public offering in October 2013, with the company being valued at over $1 billion after 20 million shares were sold at $13 a share, around 70% more than today's asking price.

More on Music Week here

Slovakia introduces domestic music quotas for radio

In Slovakia, private radio stations will have to broadcast at least 20 percent Slovak music starting next year, and at least 25 percent since 2017, as the result of an amendment to the law on broadcasting and re-transmission approved by the Slovak government May 27. The public Slovak Radio will have to give at least 30 percent of local music on the air in 2016 and at least 35 percent as of 2017, on each of its broadcast zones. One-fifth of that should be songs from the past five years.  Only songs played between 6.00 and 24:00 will be included in the quotas. A song or composition can be considered Slovak if at least one of the authors (writer, composer) or performer has, or had permanent residence in Slovakia

SGAE scandal looms

The former head of Spanish music collection society SGAE’s digital arm has been accused of orchestrating false payments worth €57,000 – and could face a substantial prison term. The case dates back to the three years between 2008 and 2011. Spanish singer José Ramón Márquez (Ramoncín) who was also a SGAE Board member, is accused of issuing false invoices to SGAE that allowed him to extract nearly €60,000 out of the songwriters and publishers organisation. Jose Luis Rodriguez Neri, who was Director General of Spain’s Digital Society Of Authors (SDAE) until 2011, faces charges of financial misappropriation – by consenting to Ramoncín’s invoices – and faces a maximum sentence four years and ten months of jail time if found guilty. Ramoncín, who potentially faces the same jail term as Neri, announced that he is aiming to “hang a sign” behind him in which “reads ‘innocent'”. The former MD of SGAE, Enrique Loras, faces over two years in prison  for ‘misuse’ or a fine of €20,866 euros for ‘mismanagement appropriation’. hTe former director of Legal Services for SGAE, Pablo Hernandez Arroyo, is also implicated. He potentially faces two years and nine months in prison or, alternatively, a fine of 40,356 euros for ‘mismanagement’.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Theatre ceiling collapse prompts new guidlines

New technical standards produced after the collapse of the ceiling at London's Apollo Theatre in 2013 have been launched. Various organisations, including the Society Of London Theatre, UK Theatre and the Association Of British Theatre Technicians, collaborated on reviewing health and safety procedures after the Apollo incident, and have now issued revised technical standards and specific new guidance on the monitoring of 'suspended fibrous plaster ceilings'. A memo from the ABTT notes that: "Although ceiling inspections are nothing new for theatres, the guidance identifies a baseline survey which, while remaining proportionate, is more comprehensive and thoroughly documented than previously required". It goes on: "The Health & Safety Executive have said they believe that by 31 August 2016, all theatres that have, or potentially have, suspended fibrous plaster ceilings should have completed their baseline survey, have had their ceiling competently inspected and put in place measures to ensure the ceiling is safe. Any concerns theatre owners have regarding this work should be addressed in the first instance to their local authority".

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Major publishers song catalogues now total 11 milllion

The number of copyrights now owned or managed by the World’s Top 5 music publishers is very close to 11 million, according to MBW analysisEarlier this month MBW calculated that Sony/ATV’s haul of copyrights – which it either directly owns or controls via admin deals – had topped 4m. Elsewhere, Kobalt has publicly stated that it now manages over 600,000 copyrights, while Warner/Chappell boss Cameron Strang recently told an audience at Canadian Music Week that the major now has “1.2m copyrights under management globally”. UMPG has confirmed that it’s in control of 3.2m copyrights. Wrapping up the Top 5 is BMG - the Berlin-based company says that it manages 1.9m copyrights worldwide


Clara Kim has been named as the new Executive Vice President and General Counsel at US collection and licensing group ASCAP, effective June 1, 2015.

Deborah Hyacinth has been promoted to the new role of SVP Digital Marketing Innovation. Based in London and reporting to UMG’s President of Marketing Andrew Kronfeld, Hyacinth will lead the development and implementation of innovative digital marketing strategies for Universal Music Group’s artists and labels around the world.

Jordan Zachary has been named Chief Strategy Officer of Live Nation Entertainment, reporting to President and CEO Michael Rapino. Zachary joins Live Nation from The Raine Group, where as a managing director of the merchant bank, he collaborated with Live Nation‘s team on its festival strategy, and was a key part of recent Live Nation deals, including the acquisition of C3 Presents and the programming partnership with VICE, where he also holds board affiliations.

SoundCloud has hired Facebook Ireland MD Sonia Flynn as VP of International. Flynn, also a former Google executive, will join the free streaming service at its HQ in Berlin in the coming months.

Sound Technology, Harman distributor in the UK / ROI, has announced the appointment of Stuart Strachan to the newly established role of Live Sound Project Engineer.

Martin Audio has boosted its UK sales force by recruiting Richard Van Nairn as its new Account Manager, working alongside Al Brown.

Sarah Boorman has been named General Manager of Universal’s UMTV label. Boorman is moving to UMTV from sister Universal Music label Island where she worked for 12 years, latterly as marketing director overseeing campaigns for artists including Jessie J, Taio Cruz, Jamie Cullum, Tinchy Stryder, Nicki Minaj and Drake.

Lorde has reportedly parted company with her manager Scott Maclachlan. According to the New Zealand Herald, the singer departed the man who helped kick-star her career last month, for unknown reasons. For a very good read why not try  Eamonn Forde's article on the history of the unfortunate fate of acts leaving their management when they make it big in the Guardian here.

Vevo's former CEO Rio Caraeff is joining former Sony executive Yair Landau at Vadio, a startup that helps add video to music-streaming services. Vadio recently announced it had raised $7.5 million in funding.

[PIAS] has announced the appointment of Luke Ellis, who will join the company’s in-house promotions team as national radio plugger.

Downtown Music Publishing has acquired London-based music publisher Eagle-i Music – and is subsequently expanding its UK operations. Eagle-i’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, Roberto Neri (pictured, left), has been named Managing Director of Downtown UK. Neri co-founded Eagle-i Music in 2011 as a division of Eagle Rock Entertainment. When its parent firm was acquired by Universal Music Group in April last year, Eagle-i went fully independent under Neri’s charge. Downtown UK will also be welcoming Eagle-i’s Head of Administration, Joe Woolmore, Sync Coordinator Luke Montague and Creative Coordinator Ninon Coletti into the fold. The team will be joining Downtown UK’s A&R Manager, Tom Graham.More on MBW.

Amy Dietz (EVP & General Manager, INgrooves),Darius Van Arman (Co-Founder & Co-Owner, Secretly Group ) and Martin Mills (Founder and Chairman, Beggars Group) have been elected onto the board of US independent music trade boy A2IM for the 2015-2016 year.

East London-based smokehouse H Forman and Son has announced the recruitment of three new senior team members to continue developing its reputation as one of London’s top food producers and events spaces on Fish Island, Hackney Wick. Executive chef Lloyd Hardwick has recruited a new director of events, Michael Hetherston, formerly executive chef of Absolute Taste, to ensure that Forman’s Fish Island continues to develop a reputation as one of East London’s leading events venues. He is joined by Matthew Smith, former executive chef for the Venice Simplon Orient Express, who will run Forman’s bespoke production kitchen Holly Burrows has also joined Forman’s Fish Island as head of events, sales and marketing.

Classical music website Sinfini Music has announced the appointment of Freya Hellier, a former BBC Radio 3 producer, to the new role of Head Of Content.

MS Live has announced the appointments of two new venue operations managers. Dan Bell and Victoria Smith will be responsible for the south and north respectively for the venue management company, whose clients include Manchester Academy, Portsmouth Pyramids and Arena Racing Company.

Michelle Jubelirer has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Capitol Music Group (CMG) in the US. Jubelirer continues to report to CMG Chairman & CEO Steve Barnett.

Global recorded music trade body IFPI has appointed Jørn Dalchow, managing director of Norwegian independent record company daWorks, to its Main Board – alongside Norman Abdul Halim, one of the pre-eminent figures of the music industry in Malaysia.

And finally, Variety reports that Samsung’s Media Solutions Center America, which is responsible for the company’s Milk Music and Milk Video services, has been hit by layoffs and a key exec departure over the last couple of weeks. These events have occurred as Samsung executives take a closer look at many of its business units, which could spell trouble for the company’s content plans going forward. Kevin Swint, Samsung’s VP of content and services, had already left the unit, 

Monday, 25 May 2015

YouTube delay Music Key launch but Apple push ahead in Russia

The launch of one of the most anticipated new streaming platforms - YouTube Music Key - has been delayed until mid-September, as the Google-owned firm extends its beta test period. The news comes just one week after Spotify added video to its app. 

Apple plans to launch its streaming service in Russia. However, the sluggish economy and competition might become obstacles for a successful launch. The business daily Vedomosti  says that Russia is going to be among the first countries where Apple will launch its music service, and negotiations with local labels about expanding digital rights to streaming are in progress.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Ivor Novello Awards

The Ivors Novellos awards have been handed out, honouring the good and the great in the world of music publishing and song writing. The Most Performed Work was "Rather Be"
written by Jack Patterson (Clean Bandit) and James Napier (Published in the UK by Universal Music Publishing/Salli Isaak Songs and Sony/ATV Music Publishing) and the Album Award went to "So Long, See You Tomorrow" Written by Jack Steadman
(Published in the UK by Imagem Music) and recorded by Bombay Bicycle Club. The Best Song Musically And Lyrically was "Take Me To Church" Written by Andrew Hozier-Byrne (Published in the UK by Sony/ATV Music Publishing/The Evolving Music Company) and the Best Original Film Score was '71,Composed by David Holmes (Published in the UK by Universal Music Publishing)

Outstanding Song Collection went to Albert Hammond. The Ivors Classical Music Award: went to Judith Weir. Boy George picked up Outstanding Contribution to British Music and the  Songwriter Of The Year was Ed Sheeran. The Ivors Inspiration Award went to James Dean Bradfield, Sean Moore and Nicky Wire (The Manic Street Preachers) and  the Ivors Special Anniversary Award went to  Bob Geldof and Midge Ure,  The Lifetime Achievement award went to Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward (Black Sabbath), the Special International Award went to Paul Williams and the prestigious BASCA Fellowship was awarded to Annie Lennox.

For the ten funniest speeches from the Ivors see

Friday, 22 May 2015

Soapbox and 360 combine

Sydney-based Soapbox Artists, which grew out of the Australian wing of Ministry Of Sound, is merging with the Melbourne-based 360 Agency. The merged EDM agencies will be a significant player in the dance market, representing a large roster of DJ and producer talent.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Spotify adds new features

Streaming service  Spotify has announced new moves into video and original content, hoping to expand its reach beyond music. Spotify said it was updating its platform to support videos and would offer news and other non-music content provided by major media companies. The eight-year-old Swedish company's founder and chief executive Daniel Ek said that Spotify was responding to the all-encompassing importance of smartphones in modern life calling this "the biggest chance since the inception of sound recording,"  Spotify said it would also work to personalize streaming, including a mobile phone based feature that would select music to match the pace of running. Ek said that the updated platform would be available immediately in the United States, Britain, Germany and Sweden, and would be rolled out to other countries in the coming weeks.

With Apple soon to join the streaming market along with the newly revitalised and Jay Z led Tidal, The Verge opined "Adding video and fitness could save Spotify from the terrible economics of streaming music".

Site security staff on trial over festival death

A 32 year old male attendee at a music festival died after being hit by a number of cars, when he was dumped on a road by security guards who had ejected him from the event, a court has heard. Paul Wickerson had been attending the Brownstock Festival in Essex in 2013, when he was found by security guards Gregory Maxwell and Brian Atkins, wandering through a field in a disoriented state.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that rather than directing Mr Wickerson – who had taken a cocktail of cocaine, ketamine and LSD – to medics, Maxwell instead handcuffed him and bundled him into the back of a Land Rover to see if he could make his way back via a four-mile 'bush tucker trial'. Maxwell and Atkins, of Essex and east London respectively, both deny false imprisonment and kidnap. The trial continues.

More on the Huffington Post here

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Goldschmidt calls for UK tax breaks for music

Cooking Vinyl boss Martin Goldschmidt has called on the UK government to provide tax breaks for music, in a keynote speech at The Great Escape. Noting that there are tax scheme that help investors, he said these still did not directly benefit the recorded music sector itself saying "why don't we have something that directly benefits the record business, rather than doing so via those private investors and their funds" adding "The obvious move is to have a tax break on recording itself. There's support for R&D in many other industries - the pharmaceuticals industry, for example - and far closer to home we see tax breaks for film, games, theatre, and there's one coming in for orchestras in April 2016. So you've got big tax breaks in the creative industries. But the one for orchestras specifically excluded rock and pop, because they don't want to give money to Coldplay. But if you have 25% tax break on recordings, and 50% of the money had to be spent in the UK, that would have so many benefits. It would definitely benefit record companies, but that's a naïve way to look at it. Most of the records we release are funded by the artist and licensed to us, and they would benefit too" and "it would help the whole recording industry sector, create jobs and then extend benefits to the wider creative industry".

Festival Republic launch 'Community' in Shoreditch

Melvin Benn
Festival Republic has announced plans to launch a new festival in London's Shoreditch in November called Community, championing new talent and taking over unusual venues in the London district. Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn told reporters: "This is an urban, multi-venue emerging talent event inspired by our love of the fact that live music just never stops getting better. But we want to present it in the Community; in the butchers and bakers and the basement offices and loft bedrooms as well as some of the more established venues of Shoreditch. It will represent the energy of our musical culture and the innovation of one of the most innovative and vibrant areas in the UK". Adding to this, Festival Republic's Jon Mcildowie, who is set to curate Community said: "As promoters but above all music fans we are constantly looking out for new and emerging talent. Community is an opportunity for us to share the music that we are all excited about and to introduce new artists to the public before anyone else. I'm delighted to be working with the Live Nation team to help bring the programme together".

Monday, 18 May 2015

Rumours swirl around Eurorock 'fiasco'

A story is unfolding in the Belgian press related to the 'fiasco' at the Eurorock industrial rock and metal festival which was held held last weekend in Neerpelt (Limburg), with reports that anything up to eighty thousand euros were stolen over the festival weekend (14/15/16 May 2015); that the main organiser Rudi Donckers was admitted to hospital part way through the weekend with heart problems; that a number of bands cancelled; and that the event only actually finished due to the actions of numerous volunteers who took on new roles or worked for free. Other reports, including a report from Het Nieuwsblad, say that attendance levels were well below what was expected with just 2,000 visitors on the Friday and 4,000 on the Saturday with Rudi Donckers telling reporters "Of course I had hoped for a few more thousand." However the official Eurorock website said that weekend tickets had completely sold out.

A number of reports say that police are investigating the theft of 80,000 euros from the event. The theft allegedly took place on Saturday. "The envelopes with money are gone in five minutes" Donckers told Het Nieuwsblad: "The envelopes were backstage in a storage room. Of course I hit panic. I got it straight to my heart." adding "Some say that I am the cashier and that I ran off. I resent that. I immediately informed the police of the theft. I think the sums involved are in order of €45,000. But it can be more."

A number of headliners including Front 242, Fields of the Nephilim, Neon Judgement and Praga Khan cancelled and the event was seemingly initially halted at 13.00 on the Saturday. A spokesperson for the festival Bernard Van Isacker is reported as saying: "We explained to the public that we met a number of practical problems," and Van Isacker added "The whole organization of the festival has been based on the work of volunteers for a day. But some groups have nevertheless agreed to play out of respect for the public". @eurorock_fest tweeted at 16.15 on the 16th "We are running on volunteers now due to circumstances, but the show goes on, thanks to the bands that have agreed to play!" later tweeting "Forget the drama: KILLING JOKE and THERION will play 100% ! This is the Belgian Woodstock!". Peter Hook tweeted that he was having a "chaotic day" in Belgium but that "we did it". The final official tweet to date is "Hi, in order to keep the line open here, I'll continue to tweet with factual info about what happened. Don't shoot the messenger please. - B".

Bernard Van Isacker's blog can be found here

SFX revenues up in Q1 2015

EDM specialist SFX Entertainment’s revenue increased  56.6% to $52.2 million in the first three months of 2015, despite start-up costs for Rock in Rio USA of $4-5m according to Music Week. SFX produced and promoted 251 festivals and events in the period, attracting more than 751,000 fans, including 12 festivals with capacities of over 10,000. Live revenue of $40.2m accounted for 77% of total earnings, while net loss was $41.6m, compared with $56m year-on-year. SFX expects revenues for the year to be around $500m. Its digital dance music service Beatport sold $11.7m of music downloads in the first quarter of 2015, slightly up on $11.6m in the same period last year. Its "sale of products" revenue came to $12.2m. SFX chairman and CEO Robert FX Sillerman said: "The progress SFX continues to make with our operating initiatives, including the successful re-launch of Beatport as the leading mobile and streaming app for EDM fans around the world, reinforces my belief that value is being created in the business".

CMU's take on the Great Escape Data

As part of the 'Music Licensing: Explained At Last!' strand at CMU Insights @ The Great Escape, the IFPI's Alex Jacob presented a guide to the organisation's global music industry figures for 2014.

Here are five interesting points CMU took away from his presentation:

1. The enduring physical market

In 2014, digital revenues matched physical sales globally for the first time, increasing by 6.9%, driven by subscription revenues (+39%) and ad-supported revenues (+38.6%). However, physical remains the dominant format for music in a number of markets:
Japan (78%)
Poland (71%)
Germany (70%)
Austria (65%)
South Africa (62%)
France (57%)

2. The vinyl revival?

The growth in sales of vinyl has been a big topic in the music industry and the media in the last few years, with revenues increasing 54.7% last year. However, it remains a niche product, making up just 2% of the global market.

3. The changing digital market

Download sales declined by 8% in 2014, compared to a 2% fall in 2013. They still account for 52% of digital revenues. However, streaming revenues have overtaken download sales in 37 markets. Music subscription services are now worth $1.57 billion, some 23% of the global digital market.

Ad-supported streaming services revenue growth accelerated from 16.6% in 2013 to 38.6% in 2014 and are worth $641 million.

4. Emerging markets to watch

For the last 30 years, the industry made 80% of its revenues in ten countries... that is set to change.

Brazil (+2%) and South Korea (+19.2%) are both top ten global markets. The industry believes China, India and Russia have the potential to be top ten markets in the future. There is strong digital growth in many smaller markets such as Argentina (67.7%), Colombia (+94.9%), Indonesia (+129%), Peru (+96.5%), South Africa (+61.5%) and Venezuela (+272.8%)

5. The future

The recording industry has stabilised after years of decline, but still has to achieve sustainable growth. Record companies have transformed their business models and offer music in a portfolio of formats. We are still in the early stages of building a mass market around music subscription and streaming. The industry's revenue base is coming from a wider pool of countries as digital helps light up new markets.

Read more coverage of CMU Insights @ The Great Escape on CMU's special microsite here.

Swift triumphs at Billboard Awards

Taylor Swift dominated the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, winning eight of the 14 categories in which she was nominated. Among her prizes were Best Female Artist, Best Streaming Song for 'Shake It Off' and Artist of the Year. One Direction came away with two trophies, for Best Group and Best Touring Artist, dedicating the latter to "our brother Zayn" Malik, who left the band in March. British star Sam Smith won Best New Artist - and accepted his trophy using flash cards after having vocal surgery. He also won Best Male Artist. Australian rapper Iggy Azalea won Top Rap Song for 'Fancy', her collaboration with Britain's Charli XCX, while John Legend won Top Radio Song for 'All Of Me'. Meghan Trainor's 'All About That Bass' was named top digital song and top Hot 100 song, recognising its US chart performance. Coldplay won best rock album for 'Ghost Stories', while Irish singer Hozier picked up best rock song for 'Take Me To Church'. In tribute to the late singer Ben E King, rock band Imagine Dragons performed 'Stand By Me' to an audience that included the late singer's daughters and granddaughters. Presenter Ludacris also gave a touching tribute to the recently departed  blues legend BB King. Scottish rockers Simple Minds took to the stage to perform 'Don't You Forget About Me', marking the 30th anniversary of teen movie 'The Breakfast Club', which featured the song in its closing moments. Kanye West was booed as he closed the show with a medley of hits. Audience members jeered as the rapper's sisters-in-law, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, introduced his set; and the booing continued during his performance and the audience at home voiced their frustration after broadcaster ABC censored over a minute at the start of his short set.  

Friday, 15 May 2015


Phil Miller 1947 - 2015
Phil Miller, Glastonbury Festival's Head of Infrastructure, has died after a short illness. Festival organiser Michael Eavis said "his concern and dedication to this job of organising all the infrastructure was exemplary. Nothing was left to chance, and as a result, we have the Glastonbury we have now. We owe you so much Phil, for these incredible years, and all of the people you trained to walk behind you are now well placed to maintain your incredible record. Thank you to you and Claire for being here, and for being such a big part of what we do."  Emily Eavis added "Phil had enormous amounts of energy and poured endless love into our Festival and farm, without ego or needing everyone to know. A great man whose name is carved firmly into the Festival’s history. It’s a very sad day for Glastonbury Festival. Phil will be sorely missed and never forgotten.

Jazz FM chairman and presenter Richard Wheatly has died week following a short illness.  He was also co-founder and director of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, and presented a weekly show on Jazz FM called 'Jazz Notes'. He was 69. 

Ben E King
R&B and soul singer Ben E King, has died at the age of 76. King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me before moving on to a successful solo career best known for the classic hit Stand By Me. BBC Radio 2 DJ Bob Harris said on Twitter: "So sad to hear that Ben E King has passed away. More than almost anyone, he fired and inspired my love of music. #StandByMe #ThereGoesMyBaby."

Stan Cornyn, the revered ad man and writer of both piercing liner notes and Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group, who was a definitive force at Warner Music Group, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Bruce Lundvall, the former CEO of Blue Note Records and a key figure in jazz music, has died. He was 79 years old.

Errol Brown
Hot Chocolate lead singer Errol Brown has died aged 71. Brown had had liver cancer and died at his home in the Bahamas. Hot Chocolate had hits in more than 50 countries worldwide, including You Sexy Thing, It Started with a Kiss and Everyone's a WinnerBrown was made an MBE in 2003 and received an Ivor Novello award for his outstanding contribution to British music in 2004.

BB King at Glastonbury 2011
And a true legend, BB King, has died aged 89. Known as the 'King of the Blues' his hits included My Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby. King  died in his sleep in Las Vegas. Born in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians, and working with the likes of Eric Clapton, U2, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. He recorded more than 50 albums and toured the world well into his 80s with his trusted Gibson guitar 'Lucille',, often performing 250 or more concerts a year. Although he had continued to perform well into his 80s and played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2011, the 15-time Grammy winner suffered from diabetes and had been in declining health during the past year. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October, later blaming dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Spotify has a 49% share of the subscription streaming market

Spotify now has a 49% share of the paid-for music streaming market, according to new MBW research – just as Apple and YouTube ready new services to tackle its dominance. The Swedish streaming platform released its full-year financial results last week, posting a €162m net loss despite revenues of €1.08bn in revenues, of which €982.9m ($1.11bn) came from subscriptions and €98.9m ($113m) was derived from free users.

In terms of ad-funded or ‘freemium’ streaming users – including YouTube and Vevo, as well as Spotify’s free tier – the IFPI concluded that these equated to $641m in 2014. Spotify’s own ad-funded revenue in 2014 stood at €98.9m – $113m ($111m)  - giving it just a 12% share.

And with the debate abouts subscription vs freemium streaming services a hot topic, Rdio has launched what some aer calling a 'medium' streaming service - a $3.99 package called Rdio Select. Rdio boss Anthony Bay, speaking to Buzzfeed, said: "We've all been flying airplanes that had business class only. There is no coach".

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

PRG to acquire XL Video

PRG chairman & CEO Jeremiah J. Harris and Lucas Covers, the group CEO of XL Video have announced that PRG will acquire XL with PRG saying that the acquisition expands its access to the wide range of creative video technology and services that they already enjoy. “By combining XL Video with PRG, we are creating a tremendously valuable resource for event and entertainment producers anywhere in the world”, said PRG’s Harris. “The integrated company will be able to offer an exceptional breadth of production technologies and depth of industry expertise.”

Universal post digital growth in Q1 as streaming booms

Universal had posted an 8% rise in digital music income in the first quarter of this year (Q1 2015) to €459m. UMG said recorded music revenues grew 2.4%  and the growth in subscription and streaming revenues more than offset a decline in both digital download sales and physical sales. Music publishing revenues (at UMPG) grew 3% (13% in actual terms) to €184m, also driven by ‘increasing subscription and streaming revenues’. UMG’s overall revenues – across recorded music, publishing, merchandise and more – were up 11.6% year-on-year in Q1 to €1.1bn.

Interestingly and given the news that Apple has allegedly been pushing the major labels to clamp down on 'freemium' streaming services - Warner Music Group’s CEO Stephen Cooper broke ranks with Sony and UMG to encourage the recorded music industry to exercise caution when it comes to dismissing the value of ad-funded music services saying "First of all, there are a lot of models out there, and all of those models — ad-based, subscription-based, or with both — are better than piracy" addng “You know to be crystal clear, piracy is zero revenue, it’s the theft of intellectual property, and it’s not good for anyone. So all of these models are better than piracy, that’s number one" and “Number two, the freemium models, if they encourage the adoption of subscribers… form ad-based [paths] to subscription-based models over time. We at Warner believe that’s good news". Cooper went on to say he would like to see the move from ad based streaming to subscriptions models to be 'turbo charged'. 

Music on TV - Live Nation launches new Awards show

Live Nation is launching a new televised awards ceremony in the US on October 1st which promises to ‘connect fans with their favorite artists in an unprecedented way’. The Live Nation Music Awards will honour the best live musical performances of the year. It will be simulcast on the night by TNT and TBS. The event will be produced by Live Nation Entertainment in collaboration with IMG and Dick Clark productions and award catergories  will include Live Performance of the Year, Best On-Stage Collaboration, Road Warrior of the Year, and Best Special Effects in a Festival. The ceremony also promises ‘unique, never-before-seen collaborations and special appearances’. More here

Simon Cowell has called his time on American Idol "a blast" after it was announced the TV talent show would end after its 15th series.

And more music on TV - the BBC's coverage of the Glastonbury Festival in 2014 has picked up a prestigious 'Bulldog' Award which is voted for by the UK TV industry and organised by Televisual Magazine. The Award is for best live event coverage.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

T-in-the-Park gets a green light

T In The Park has been approved by Perth and Kinross Council after the development management committee held 90-minute hearing that saw supporters and opponents of the planned event outline their positions. It's the first year the DF Concerts promoted festival will be staged at Strathallan Castle, although there was resistance from concerned locals worried about the festival's impact on the grounds and the risk to wildlife, in particular a pair of nesting ospreys. Conditions have been imposed. RSPB Scotland, which worked with DF Concerts on plans to mitigate disturbance to the birds, welcomed those. No councillors spoke against the plans, despite 1,600 letters of objection being lodged. Councillors discussed a report from development quality manager Nick Brian, who had recommended they give a short-term green light to the event. During that period the impact of the festival on the area will be assessed in detail, informing a decision on its longer-term future at a later date. DF's Geoff Ellis said "It is our intention to work closely with all residents to ensure that we are excellent neighbours and minimise any disruption to local life. Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith claimed the planning process had been "very badly handled" by the council and event organisers adding "This is a decision which has clearly divided local opinion over many months."

T in the Park, which attracts 85,000 music fans each day, was forced to move from its home at Balado, near Kinross, after an underground pipeline sparked safety fears.

The event takes place 10 to 12 July. Kasabian, The Libertines and Noel Gallagher are all headlining the event and other acts include Avicci, Twin Atlantic, David Guetta, The Prodigy, Jessie J, Paloma Faith, St Vincent, Jessie Ware, Fatboy Slim and Rudimental.

Spotify's revenues and losses up

Spotify saw both revenues and losses rise in 2014. Revenues were up 45% to 1.08 billion euros. As a result payouts to the music industry rose proportionally to 882 million euros. Spotify itself remains a loss-making business, with net losses up 190% year-on-year to 162 million euros.

Spotify has reportedly secured another $350 million in its new round of fundraising, new investment that gives the streaming firm an $8 billion valuation.

A2IM calls on the US to relax visa rules for Canadian acts

CMU Daily reports that American indie label trade group A2IM has used the Canadian Music Week conference in Toronto last week to call on the US to remove visa requirements for Canadian artists who wish to tour the States. The Canadian government last year axed the red tape American artists used to have to navigate to tour north of the border, and A2IM says its home country should return the favour, which seems reasonable. The trade group said on Friday: "Under current legislation, Canadian artists are only able to tour within the US after securing a P Visa, a practice that is mandated to be processed in two weeks but can often stretch to six months time. This can stall tours and result in artists, US clubs and restaurants losing revenue. Relaxing visa requirements would allow for an open exchange of ideas and cultural reciprocity between two neighbouring countries". Noting how this impacts on its members, A2IM added: "Our diverse membership nationwide with Canadian artists on their roster has been impacted by this practice and support eliminating the visa requirement".

Eight injured as choir falls through stage in China

According to Chinese state television, eight choir singers have been injured after the stage they were performing on collapsed. Around 80 singers were rehearsing on stage in Bijie city in Guizhou province. 

Video on the BBC News website 

Monday, 11 May 2015


Pandora has appointed two new board directors, Tim Leiweke, former CEO of live music giant AEG and now chief at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Roger Faxon, former boss of EMI Music Publishing and, in its final chapter as a standalone music company, the entire EMI Group.

Vevo has a new CEO. The Universal/Sony-led music video site has appointedErik Huggers, most recently with long-in-development online pay-TV service OnCue and at the BBC.

Music PR agency Ooh Brilliant will close on 1 May, founder James Penycate has announced. Since launching five years ago, the company has worked with artists including Mark Ronson, La Roux, Bloc Party, Manic Street Preachers, Tom Odell, Icona Pop and Gold Panda.

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson is to launch his own record label as an imprint of Syco. The new label's first signing is Jack Walton.

The British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors has announced Dan Moore as its new Head Of Marketing And Membership. He has previously worked for Warner Music UK and US collecting society ASCAP, as well as in artist management.

Booking agent Cris Hearn has moved from Primary Talent to join rival agency Coda as a Senior Agent. 

Duncam Sutterheim, co-founder of Tomorrowland promoters ID&T, now part of SFX, is stepping down after 23 years with the company he set up.

AEG Brazil has appointed Venancio de Castro as its new executive diretor, based in Sao Paulo,

Rob Prinz and Nikki Wheeler have both joined ICM - Prinz becoming a partner and co-head of worldwide concerts.

Shazam's Senior Music Manager Stephen Titmus has announced that he is leaving the company after eight years and is set to take up a new role as Head Of Product at Resident Advisor.

The Music Producers Guild has announced a new board of executive directors, the previous bunch, led by former chairman Steve Levine, having reached the end of their five year tenure. The new line-up is Dan Cox, Bruno Ellingham, Cameron Craig, Andrew Hunt and Mick Glossop. 

Music Business Worldwide reports that four Radio 1 execs,  including Zane Lowe's former producer James Bursey have followed Lowe to Apple to work on Apple's new music platform.

Warner Music has appointed Alix Kram zx VP Global Brand Licensing at its artist and label services arm in the US.

Universal Music has appointed a new SVP Marketing, Consumer Engagement & Digital Partner Management for its South East Asia division, Florian Jungbauer.

The Prodigy might be retiring - we dont know as yet - but they might be! As they prepare to begin touring in support of new album 'The Day Is My Enemy', The Prodigy fear that the band will "end before we want it to", with all three members now in their 40s. Liam Howlett agreed with Keith Flint's assessment that "the band's gonna come to an end at some point. And it's got to be soon" saying: "There comes a point where you don't want to be Uncle Alan at the wedding reception".

Following the departure of Sarah Osborn as CEO of the Music Publishers Association, the trade group announced on Friday that Jane Dyball - who heads up the MCPS as well as sister organisations IMPEL and PMLL - will take on the MPA top role on an interim basis.

Kevin Jackson has resigned from George P Johnson, after a four-year period as the company's vice-president of sales and marketing, EMEA.

Rights management firm Sentric Music has announced former Radio 1 presenter Ally McCrae as its new Head Of A&R & Strategic Development.

SoundExchange – the collective licensing body that administers royalties collected by the record industry and recording artists from US services has announced the addition of David Byrne to its board of directors.

London venue Roundhouse has announced the appointment of Jane Beese as its new head of music. Beese joins after 15 years at the Southbank Centre, where she is head of contemporary music. She has been the Meltdown festival’s lead programmer since 2010.

John Whittingdale MPhas been named as the new Secretary Of State For Culture, Media And Sport in the UK. A long-term chair of Parliament's Culture, Media And Sport Select Committee, he has been supportive of the creative industries in the past, and pushed for provisions to prevent illegal file-sharing to be included in the 2010 Digital Economy Act.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Una launches new ticketing pass

A new start up in the ticketing space called Una Tickets , which aims to put tickets to concerts and other events onto a special card that music fans could use at multiple events, has announced a funding round of £1.1 million from private angel investors, in addition to £250,000 awarded by the government's Innovate UK funding. The new system tackles various issues in the ticketing space, including ticket fraud and touting. Stating that "what the Oyster Card did for transport, the Una Pass is about to do for ticketing", the firm says its new system can "abolish prolific ticket crime, unethical touting and extortionate admin fees by completely reinventing the ticket". While for the live industry, Una offers "ticketing, access control, cashless payments and real-time onsite analytics" and the Una Pass model also hopes to put an end to unpopular booking fees in the live space. 2,000 early adapters will get a free pass.

Download goes cashless

Live Nation's Download Festival is going cashless, having revealed plans to exclusively use RFID-chipped wristbands for taking payments for food, drinks and merchandise on site this year. Download Festival's cashless service will be powered by German firm YouChip, with the chipped wristbands called Dog Tags.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Apple face FTC investigation into market dominance

Allegations that Apple is using its iTunes market dominance to put pressure on the major record labels to force the likes of Spotify to abandon their 'freemium' music streaming models to give Apple's Beats service an leg up have resulted in the US Department of Justice interviewing high-level executives at the major labels about Apple's business practices. According to The Verge, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now taking the lead. The New York Post had already claimed that the European Union's Competition Commission is probing the tech firm regards its alleged meddlings in the streaming music space - and it will be interesting to see how the Google owned YouTube, which pays comparatively low royalties, will be considered. The Verge now cites one label source as remarking regards Apple's negotiating tactics: "All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat".

Spotify has reportedly secured another $350 million in its new round of fundraising, new investment that gives the streaming firm an $8 billion valuation.

New study charts the evolution of music

The evolution of western pop music, spanning from 1960 to 2010, has been analysed by a team from Queen Mary College (University of London) and Imperial College London who looked at more than 17,000 tracks from the US Billboard Hot 100 and found three music revolutions - in 1964, 1983 and 1991: in 1964 the invasion of British bands - from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones - introduced a radical new rocky sound; New technology, synthesisers, samplers and drum machines, drove a second major style shift in 1983; The third revolution, - the biggest change - came in 1991, came about when rap and hip-hop went mainstream.

Researchers found that music constantly evolved and change throughout the 50-year period.  In the early 1960s, chords called dominant sevenths, found in jazz and blues, started to die out. Minor seventh chords were introduced through funk, soul and disco in the 1970s and whilst this wasn't a 'revolution', they haven't gone away and new songs still heavily use these chords, but the homogenisation of pop began in the 70s.  Drum machines, synthesisers and the rise of arena and stadium rock in the 80s led to a lack of music diversity - 1986 was the most repetitive year on record.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Russia financed punk - honest!

Alexandrov Varennikov Voloshin, a retired KGB agent, has (allegedly!) admitted on national TV in Russia that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was behind the creation of the 1970s punk scene and financed major punk bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Ramones. Well that's according to that ever reliable source of news, the apparently Tel Aviv based World News Daily Report, "dedicated to covering biblical archeology news and other mysteries". It seems that the USSR government spent “hundreds of millions of roubles” on this covert operation destined to “create utter chaos” and “pervert the Western youth to nihilist, anti-establishment and anti-American ideologies”. Famous punk songs of the legendary punk band the Sex Pistols were even scripted by a team of psychologists and war propagandists from the USSR. “I Am An Anarchist”, “God Save The Queen” and other anti-establishment lyrics were intended to unleash a wave of cynicism towards authorities, promote the use of heavy drugs and entice the youth with revolutionary, counter establishment ideas.

Royal Albert Hall announce financial results for 2014

The Royal Albert Hall has announced revenues of £18.8 million in 2014, marginally up from 2013 (£18.6 million). Sponsorship revenues of £1.9 million and 397 events at the venue including Cirque du Soleil, The Proms, Coldplay and the ENB's Romeo & Juliet helped produce a surplus of £5.1 milllion. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Live Nation's revenue in Q1/15 down 0.6%

Live Nation’s revenue for the first quarter of 2015 fell year-on-year, but the company recorded growth in a number of areas. Revenue was down 0.6% to $1.12 billion for the three months ending March 31, but increased 4% on a constant currency basis, led by strong growth in its ticketing business, while sponsorship and advertising revenue rose by more than 20% in both categories. Net loss more than doubled to $66.5 million from $30.2 million. The firm is staging around 20 of the top 25 global tours, including U2, Maroon 5 Luke Bryan and Ariana Grande and Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said: “2015 is shaping up to be another year of growth and record results for the company, and we remain confident we will deliver the final year of our three-year plan."