Friday, 29 July 2016

Universal parent Vivendi enters the festival world

French mass media giant Vivendi, parent company of See Tickets and Universal Music Group (UMG), is providing financial and marketing support to 10 French music festivals. As part of the partnership, television channel D17 (operated by Vivendi subsidiary Canal+) is broadcasting footage from Brive Festival, Déferlantes, Eurockéennes, Garorock, Hamac Festival, Hellfest, Mainsquare, Musilac, Marciac Jazz Festival and Vieilles Charrues, and the festivals are promoted via UMG, ticketing company Digitick, TV stations D17, D8 and i-Télé and video-sharing website Dailymotion. The company  will receive an allocation of festival tickets to be handed out to subscribers to loyalty programmes includingCanal’s Premier Rang (‘Front Row’). in May and June Vivendi bought two businesses from bankrupt dance music promoter SFX Entertainment: Flavorus, via Vivendi Ticketing (See Tickets and Digitick), and Fame House, through UMG.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

SGP runs out drugs testing

Secret Garden Party festival has become the latest in the UK to let festival goers test class A drugs without fear of arrest. Run by charity The Loop, the scheme offered confidential forensic testing of drugs at the festival to let attendees know exactly what they were taking. Fiona Measham, co-director of The Loop and director of its drug testing programme, told AAA: “My research shows that MDMA crystal remains the most popular party drug amongst festivalgoers and clubbers, but purity and contents can vary considerably in illegal markets.”

More on AAA here

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


It seems SFX Entertainment, which lost its CEO back in March, when founder Robert Sillerman stepped down, may have a new boss. Rumours say former AEG live boss Randy Phillips, who left Global Entertainment last year after just seven months in charge, is the man to lead the EDM group out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After falling into bankruptcy in February, SFX is aiming to emerge in October "as a streamlined world leader of live events and digital entertainment content"

Mickey Curbishley, chief executive of PRG Music Group, has announced he will be leaving the company at the end of this month, bringing the curtain down on an 18-year career at the head of the production services outfit.

United Talent Agency has promoted Alice Hogg to the position of live agent. Since joining UTA as assistant to agent Natasha Bent in 2013, Hogg has played a key role in the growth of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, RY X and Chvrches. She has also been working alongside Bent on up and coming new artists Youngr and SHELLS. In addition to these artists, Hogg’s roster of talent will now include All Tvvins, Jarami, Majik and Tom Misch.

Rebecca Kane Burton, the General Manager at the O2, has stepped down and will, as of 1st September, take over as managing director of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatres Group.

Mike McCormack has been named Managing Director of Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) UK. He succeeds Paul Connolly, who is stepping down from his role as President of Europe and Managing Director UK after an unbroken 28 years with the company.

Universal Music Germany has appointed one of Apple’s star music executives in Europe, Patrick Mushatsi-Kareba as General Manager of Marketing & Digital. he was prebviously Head Of Apple Music & iTunes Music in GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria), as well as Italy and PAN-Europe. He joined the tech giant in 2008 following three years as Director of Music Programming at Napster.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has promoted David Gray to the role of Executive Vice President/Head of West Coast A&R. Based in Los Angeles, Gray will report to Jody Gerson, UMPG Chairman and CEO, and Evan Lamberg, UMPG President – North America.

Warner Music UK (WMUK) has promoted Andy Prevezer to the position of VP Press for Warner Bros. & Parlophone UK & SVP Press Strategy WMUK.

Warner Music Group has hired a senior executive from Sony to head up its business development team. MBW reports that that Ole Obermann – who has been with Sony for a decade – is joining WMG as EVP of Business Development, and will report into CEO Stephen Cooper.

Warner Music Nashville (WMN) has made two changes to the senior management team. Effective immediately, Peter Strickland, currently Executive VP/General Manager of WMN, has been named to the newly-created post of Chief Marketing Officer. And effective January 1st, Matt Signore, currently President of WEA, Warner Music Group’s global artist and label services division, will assume the post of Chief Operating Officer.

Johnny Tennander has stepped up to MD of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Scandinavia, replacing Patrik Sventelius who has left the company to pursue other opportunities.

And Sony/ATV Music Publishing has promoted Michael Abitbol to SVP, Business & Legal Affairs, Digital, based in the company’s New York head office.

Sony-owned The Orchard has appointed Tucker McCrady as EVP & General Counsel, leading its Business & Legal Affairs functions. McCrady was previously with Greenberg Traurig,and was attorney for SoundCloud. Based in New York, he will report to Brad Navin, CEO of The Orchard.

After a string of lukewarm movie releases from its Hollywood studio, Sony Corporation of America (SCA) has laid off 100 from its 700-person workforce as it looks to consolidate back-office functions, sources said.

The Royal Albert Hall's CEO, Chris Cotton has retired. 67-year Cotton has been at the helm of the iconic London venue for seven years.

Jockey Club Live, the joint venture between live music firm Music+Sport and UK racecourse group Jockey Club Racecourses, has appointed Nicky Dunn OBE as Chairman. Before becoming CEO of Belfast Odyssey (now SSE) Arena, where she stayed for ten years, Dunn was Commercial Director of the London Docklands Arena.

The Royal Parks, the body that manages British Summer Time (BST) venue Hyde Park and London’s seven other Royal Parks, has appointed a new chairman. Food critic, TV personality, musician and conservationist Loyd Grossman CBE, who is also chairman of the Heritage Alliance and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, takes over for a four-year term replacing outgoing Chair Apurv Bagri.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed Justine Simons OBE as his deputy mayor for culture and creative industries.

The Beggars Group of Labels (4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade Records, Young Turks and XL Recordings) has appointed Abby Rubin as Licensing Director in the US.

Spotify has landed a netful of BBC staff to bolster its UK programming and curation team: BBC Radio 1xtra music chief Austin Daboh becomes Spotify's Senior Editor, Content Programming UK. Joining Daboh at Spotify UK is Dexter Batson, an Assistant Producer at BBC Radio 1. And Sara Sesardić is headed to Spotify UK as Music Editor. Sesardić currently works as a Producer at radio content creator Wise Buddah, contributing to a range of shows at BBC Radio. The trio will join Rob Khan in the Spotify UK playlist team, previously an Assistant Producer at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, as well as James Foley - the former Deezer exec who became Spotify UK's Senior Editor: Product Programming in May last year.

Multi-platinum songwriter and producer Crispin Hunt has been appointed chairman of BASCA. Crispin will take over the role from Stephen McNeff who steps down as chairman to concentrate on a major new commission with Welsh National Opera to be televised in 2017.

The Chief Executive Officer of streaming service Guvera, Darren Herft, is set to resign from the role - according to its co-founder, Claes Loberg.

The co-founder of MTV Networks, American businessman John Sykes, has stepped down from the board of Shazam, MBW has learned.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Bomb blast leaves 12 injured and 1 dead by German festival

At least one person is dead after a suspected IED, or improvised explosive device, was detonated at Eugene’s Wine Bar in Ansbach, Germany. The explosion occurred as an outdoor music festival, attended by 2,500 people, was held nearby.

The blast was caused by a bomb, possibly an improvised explosive device, or IED, according to the German newspaper Bild. SWAT police teams could be seen in the aftermath of the explosion, with helicopters overhead, but it is believed the dead person was the attacker and authorities said the 27-year-old Syrian had been denied asylum a year ago and had a history of making attempts on his own life. Three of the twelve  injured are in a serious condition. Speaking at a press conference early on Monday morning, Bavarian Interior minister Joachim Herrmann said the man was carrying a backpack at the time of the blast, at about 10pm on Sunday, but was turned away at the entrance to the festival because he didn’t have a ticket.

Sunday, 17 July 2016


Hot Chocolate lead singer Errol Brown has died aged 71, his manager has said. Brown had liver cancer and died at his home in the Bahamas, said Phil Dale. Hot Chocolate had hits in more than 50 countries worldwide, including You Sexy Thing - which Brown co-wrote - It Started with a Kiss and Every 1's a Winner. Brown was made an MBE by the Queen in 2003 and received an Ivor Novello award for his outstanding contribution to British music in 2004.

Tony Barrow, the longtime Beatles press officer who coined the term “Fab Four,” died at his home in Morecambe, England. He had turned 80 just three days prior. Barrow served as press officer for the legendary band during their heyday, from 1962-1968, and worked with a string of Hall of Fame acts through his career. 

Dave Swarbrick, best known for his work with influential folk group Fairport Convention, has died at the age of 75. Known as "Swarb", the musician performed mainly on the violin and wrote many of the group's songs. The band posted a tribute on their website calling him the "fiddler supreme".

Christina Grimmie, the singer best known for competing on The Voice has died after she was shot after a concert in Orlando. Grimmie and the pop/punk band Before You Exit were signing autographs and selling merchandise after their show at the Plaza Live Theater when a man walked up to her and shot her. Grimmie's brother tackled the assialant, who then shot himself.

Adrian Posse, the veteran composer, producer and industry exec who for years led the A&R departments at BMG and EMI Latin, has died. The cause was pulmonary fibrosis, diagnosed after doctors recently found a tumor in his lung. Posse produced albums for Juan Gabriel, José José, Alejandra Guzmán and Rocío Durcal, among others and also had key roles in Alexander Pires’ crossover into Spanish and Christina Aguilera’s extremely successful Spanish-language album. He was 67 years old.

Nicola Thorold OBE, executive producer at London music and arts venue the Roundhouse, has died aged 51 after a battle with cancer.

News has emerged tonight (July 16) that Alan Vega, founder of electronic proto-punk duo Suicide, has died at the age of 78. Vega was born Boruch Alan Bermowitz, and helped pioneer a new sound and style of electronic music, in particular with Suicide’s influential 1977 self-titled debut album. “RIP to the KING,” 

Matthias Müller, founder and president of Swiss festival Baloise Session, has died aged 51 after a long illness. Session Basel CEO Beatrice Stirnimann – who has, with artist liaison Kerstin Elgass, booked the festival for the past two years – says the festival will continue “according to [Müller’s] wishes, as we have done for the last 30 years, and thus honour his memory”.

Dan Panaitescu
And tragic news from the Sziget Festival: "Our colleague and friend, Dan Panaitescu, who has worked on Sziget and all of our festivals from the very beginning and who is one of the most well-known promoter, has died in a car accident last night. Dan was the one, who booked all those great artists to all of our festivals! Moreover, we can also thank him the ‘Best Line-up’ Award at the European Festival Awards for Sziget. We are speechless. We have always envied him for not getting older, but we have never ever thought that he would not get old… For hours now we are receiving condolences from musicians, managements, agencies and bookers from all over the world. The whole festival industry is grieving. Dan was an acknowledged professional, a great colleague, our friend and a caring father to two children. You will be missed, Dan! Rest in Peace!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Dainty sells up to expanding TEG

Paul Dainty has sold his decades-old promotions company to live events and ticketing business TEG.  TEG already owns Ticketek, TEG Live, Softix, Eventopia and Sydney's Qudos Arena and has been on the hunt for acquisitions through its Hong Kong-based owner Affinity. Now, it’s made its most notable purchase since it bought Nine Live from Nine Entertainment for $640m last April. The Dainty Group has toured big-name acts like The Rolling Stones, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Queen and ABBA in Australia and New Zealand. The compay will now sit under the TEG umbrella as TEG-Dainty. All Dainty Group staff members have retained their positions and will now work under TEG-Dainty.

Utsick faces substantial jail term

Jack Utsick, the former concert promoter who was charged with defrauding an estimated 3,300 investors out of nearly US$300 million, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a mail fraud charge. Many who lost substantial sums were former airline pilots, Utsick's own former profession. Prosecutors say that that Utsick, 73, who appeared in court in Miami on Friday, operated his promotion company, Worldwide Entertainment, as a "ponzi scheme", repaying older investors with money from newer ones. Worldwide promoted tours by arena-filling artists such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, The Pretenders, Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac before being placed into administration amid mounting debts in 2006. A subsequent investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) discovered that Utsick, who earned millions of dollars a year, actually lost money on most tours.

Utsick departed for Brazil after the company failed, but was extradited to the US in 2014 after a protracted court battle, and since then has been in custody. Utsick will be sentenced on 23 August and has been ordered to repay $169m to Worldwide’s investors.