Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Wandsworth moves to protect London music venues

A number of small live venues in London will be protected from being lost  thanks to a new rule from Wandsworth Council. The local authority has removed development rights from 120 of the borough’s bars and taverns, many of which host live music, by enacting ‘Article 4 Directions’. The owners of these properties now need to seek planning permission before changing the building use or knocking it down. The move was recommended to London boroughs to prevent further music venue closures in the Mayor of London’s Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan, which the Music Venues Trust helped deliver last October.

Welcoming the news, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd tells IQ: “The Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the use of Article 4 Directions by Wandsworth Council. It’s a really significant breakthrough, taking positive action to balance culture against other demands in London. We hope many other London boroughs follow suit.”

German police target concert thieves

Slipnot - not the thieves!
Police in Germany have broken up a crime ring they believe was responsible for a spate of thefts at concerts and music festivals across Europe this summer. State police in Saxony investigated following the “audacious” theft of 25 wallets and almost 100 mobile phones at a Slipknot show at the Leipziger Messe in Leipzig in late January, and the search of a suspect's home in the Schönefeld neighbourhood revealled a backpack containing around 60 stolen phones. The police have now discovered a “large network of thieves” who weer active at concerts in Zwickau, Bielefeld, Lingen and Munich and found it was also operating beyond Saxony, and even outside Germany. Other crimes attributed to the gang include thefts at Wacken Open Air, Dour Festival, Tomorrowland and Lokerse Festival in Belgium, Street Parade in Zurich and Limp Bizkit shows in Dusseldorf, Tilburg in the Netherlands and Colmar in France. The Police say that gang members also planned to target FKP Scorpio’s Highfield Festival in Leipzig, but were recognised by detectives and apprehended on their way to the event.

DEAG plans expansion in the UK

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG), the parent company of Kilimanjaro Live and classical music promoter Raymond Gubbay Ltd, has signalled that it plans to expand it activities in the UK, despite Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union. In its financial results for the first half of 2016 (H1), Peter Schwenkow, chairman of the German concert/festival promoter and ticket agent, praised “better-than-expected” growth from its British subsidiaries and said, “despite ‘Brexit’, the English market remains highly attractive to DEAG”, adding that he is “examining opportunistic acquisition opportunities” in the UK. Schwenkow told IQ that he expects “continued dynamic growth” in the UK in 2017, chiefly from “six major rock tours [currently] in preparation”.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Fabric's licence suspended

One of London's biggest nightclubs has closed its doors for the foreseeable future.
It comes after two teenagers died of suspected drug overdoses in the last nine weeks. Fabric in Farringdon initially announced it was closing for the weekend but news emerged that the club's licence had been suspended after an application by the Metropolitan Police. Islington Council said "the Metropolitan Police applied for an interim suspension of Fabric's licence. Fabric agreed not to contest this application, and a licensing sub-committee has suspended Fabric's licence. This will be followed by a review of Fabric's licence within 28 days."

Solfest survives threat to licence

Solfest which takes place near Silloth in Cumbria (August 26-28) will go ahead despite a request from the Police to revoke the event's licence, saying organisers had failed to provide a detailed event management plan in enough time. In a report to Allerdale Council's licensing panel members, Superintendent Gary Slater said “It is the submission of Cumbria Constabulary that the event organisers are unable to satisfy the event safety group or the constabulary that they have the plans, capacity and capability to maintain public safety, protect children from harm, prevent crime and disorder and prevent public nuisance.”

The Panel has the power to revoke the festival’s licence and stop it going ahead. It can also modify the licence’s conditions, remove the premises’ supervisor, suspend the licence for three months or exclude a licensable activity from the licence. Allerdale Council have allowed the event to continue but have sent the Festival's organising committee a written warning. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Seawater flood dampens down the Kaiser Chiefs

The second day of Eave 105's Night Air at the Piers beachfront music festival in the UK came to an early end after high tides flooded the arena. Radio station and festival organiser Wave 105 called off Kaiser Chiefs’ headline show in Bournemouth on Saturday night (19 August) after “exceptional wind and sea conditions” led to seawater encroaching on the crowd area.

Thursday, 11 August 2016


United Talent Agency (UTA) has made two new hires and promoted 13 junior employees to full agents. Mary Petro, formerly of Columbia Artists Management, and Ryan Soroka, the co-founder with Brad Wiseman and Equal Vision Records of the boutique Soroka Agency, both join UTA’s New York office. Soroka, who brings with him acts including Against the Current, Flor, Our Last Night, Hands Like Houses and David Garibaldi, will work in UTA’s clubs division, while Petro will be part of the adult contemporary/performing artists centres division. The promotions include Ryan Edmundson, Joe Fucigna and Parrish McKittrick in New York, Emilio Grijalva, Zach Hyde, Chad Lehner, Darius Sabet and David Winther in Los Angeles, JD McCorkle in Nashville, Sarah Chipon, Stefanie Purificati and Rob Thornton in Toronto and Alice Hogg in London.

Lee Charteris is set to step down from his role as vice president of operations at Flash Entertainment. Mr Charteris has been the head of operations for the Abu Dhabi-based events company since its inception in 2008 and is now looking to pursue other projects.

Emma Greengrass has been appointed as MD of Wildlife Entertainment – the London-based management home of bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, Travis and The Last Shadow Puppets (pictured left, at Glastonbury 2016) . Greengrass moves over from her role as UK Label Head at UMG’s Caroline International, and will report directly to Wildlife CEO and founder Ian McAndrew.

Hein van der Ree, former CEO of Dutch collection society BUMA-Stemra, currently emroiled im a tariff renegotiation with the live industry in the Netherlands and an almighty row with managers over its controversial 'kick back' scheme to some promoters, has become a partner in Mothership Music Publishing which represents Tom Waits and Bad Religion amongst others.  

Former BMG, Warner Music Australia and ARIA exec Ed St John has joined the board of directors for Australian digital content distributor, Valleyarm Digital. St John has previously held the roles of Managing Director at BMG and CEO of Warner Music Australia, as well as Chairman of the recording industry association ARIA.

Adam Lekach has joined PledgeMusic as Senior Vice President, Marketing. He will report to CEO Dominic Pandiscia. He was formerly with Kemado Media Group and Sony.

Entertainment One Music exec Phil Thornton has been named Senior Vice President and General Manager of RCA Inspiration – the Sony gospel label which is moving to Nashville under the Provident Music Group.

Former Epic, Island and Capitol exec Steven Melrose has taken a major job at Big Deal Music, based at the firm’s Los Angeles HQ. Melrose joins Big Deal as Senior VP of A&R, working under fellow Scot and Big Deal founder Kenny MacPherson.

Event technology platform Eventbrite has appointed three prominent execs from the dance and nightlife industry in the US: Barak Schurr, Diego Carlin, and Senthil Chidambaram. The strategic hires come on the heels of an expanding roster of high-profile customer wins (Ministry of Sound, WOMAD, Boomtown, Margin Walker Presents, PopGun Presents’ Elsewhere and Lincoln Hall/Schubas).

Respected Warner Music Group veteran Mike Jbara has been named new CEO of music tech company MQA. MQ delivers master quality audio in a file small enough to stream or download. Jbara joins MQA from Warner Music Group following a 20-year tenure at the major.

Universal Music Sweden has named Samuel Arvidsson as its new Commercial Director. Arvidsson moves over from his role as Head of Digital Sales at Warner Music Sweden, where he spent the past two years.

Songkick has expanded its business development team with the hiring of Nick Fishbaugh from Shazam. Fishbaugh will be based at the artist discovery and ticketing platform’s west coast offices in Los Angeles and will be responsible for expanding Songkick’s reach and partnerships with artists on a worldwide scale.

High-profile startup, the Los Angeles-based Bkstg - has parted ways with both its CEO and President. Former Chief Marketing Officer of AOL, Erika Nardini, had been Bkstg's President and Chief Revenue Officer. She reported into the startup's CEO, Ran Harnevo - another former bigshot at AOL, where he worked as President, Video until late 2014. Ori Birnbaum - Bkstg’s founder and Chairman - has moved into an executive role. Bkstg describes itself as a 'platform where fans can watch exclusive videos, listen to music, be the first to buy limited edition merch or VIP tickets, and connect directly with other fans'.

Ministry Of Sound’s General Counsel and General Secretary, Marcel Apfel, has become a director of the company.

The UK-based publicity company for stars such as Adele and Sam Smith, Purple Entertainment, has announced two key promotions. Anna Meacham steps up to International Head of Entertainment & Music, while Emma Philpott becomes International Head of Entertainment & Sport.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has appointed Oana Ruxandra to the newly-created position of Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Partnerships.

The team behind Eyegroove - which allowed users to record and share DIY music videos of up to 19 seconds in length, which could be altered via special effects and filters - have joined Facebook. The App will shut down.

Warner Music Italy has appointed Clemente Zard as Managing Director of its live booking and promotion arm, Vivo Concerti. The exec replaces outgoing MD Corrado Rizzotto.

Bill Maris founded Google Ventures and last year drove a major investment in Kobalt Music Group. Now he's departing as CEO of Google's investment arm.

Live Nation snap up Nous

Warner Music France has sold French concert promoter Nous Productions to Live Nation for an undisclosed sum. Nous will join Live Nation France from October 1, according to IQ. Founded by Solomon Hazot in 2006, the Paris-based firm was bought by Warner in 2010. The company continued to operate as a stand alone company and had a turnover of €21.6 million in 2015.

Belgian promoters react with fury to planned tariff rise

Belgian promoters have reacted with fury to an increase in festival tariffs announced by local performance rights organisation (PRO) Sabam (Société d’Auteurs Belge/Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij) which is planned for 1 January 2017. 

The rates shake-up will primarily affect larger festivals, which currently benefit from a discount in Sabam’s standard tariff of 6% on box-office receipts. The lowest rate is currently 2.5%, for festivals with box office that exceeds  €3.2 million. Flemish-language paper De Morgen says this will rise to around 3.5%

Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans, promoter of Rock Werchter and TW Classic, calls Sabam “unreasonable” and says the Sabam wants to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg” with the end of the current licence discount. Schueremans pointed to the UK’s tariff of 3% of gross box-office receipts. In turn, the UK the Association of Independent Festivals has recently suggested a reduction in the UK Tariff LP for live events (which is also under review by PRS for Music) to reflect the unique position of multi stage and multi artist outdoor events and that that PRS for Music do not taking in consideration that many festivals are actually multi-arts events or that not all people are attending them solely for the music - citing the Irish model as an example of a tariff that was fit for purpose. The Irish Multi Venue MS tariff  rate equates to approximately 1.8% of box office.

The Flemish Music Festival Federation (FMiV, Federatie van Muziekfestivals in Vlaanderen), has said it will take Sabam to court to fight the move. 

Sabam are also considering changing their tariff for smaller and medium-sized festivals. The rates were previously levied on “artistic budgets” - fees paid to performers. However, as of 2017, that budget is defined as artist fees plus the cost of sound and lighting hire.

Sabam says it is simply bringing itself into line with other European collection societies. Sabam’s Serge Vloeberghs said “We have come to this conclusion after comparing international prices” ading ”We have found that our rate for the largest festivals are strikingly lower than abroad. We decided, therefore, that it should be adjusted to be in line with the international average. But even with the increase in the Sabam rate, it remains low compared to the European average.”

Sheerhan faces another plagiarism lawsuit in the US

Ed Sheeran, Sony/ATV and Warner Music are facing a new US lawsuit which claims that Sheeran's 'Thinking Out Loud' plagiarises elements of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On. The track's producer Jake Gosling and co-writer Amy Wadge - along with independent publishers Bucks Music and BDi Music - are also named in the suit, filed by the heirs of 'Let's Get It On' co-writer Ed Townsend. The suit alleges wilful infringement by the defendants, and is seeking damages based on the profits of the smash hit song. Sheeran's own label, Gingerbread Man Records - a joint venture with Warner Music UK - is an additional defendant.

Sony buys up Ministry of Sound Reordings

Sony Music UK acquired Ministry Of Sound Recordings, best known for its hit tracks and compilations business, with recent brands including Running Trax, I Love Summer, The Mix and Throwback Slowjams and artists including Example, Wretch 32, DJ Fresh, Sigala and London Grammar (pictured). To date, Ministry boasts cumulative album sales in excess of 70 million, including 40 UK No. 1 albums and 21 UK No. 1 singles.

Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment, said: “This agreement underscores our ongoing commitment to investing in great artistry and hit music. On behalf of the entire Sony Music family, I’m excited to welcome the wonderful artists and talented team at Ministry of Sound Recordings to our line-up of world-class creative centres."

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

New research reveals who the most valuable music festival fans are

Fans at Glastonbury 2016 (Photo by Bea Gibson)
Festival 'super-fans' spend more on tickets in a year than any other type of attendee, according to research by Eventbrite. The new research also showed 88 per cent of UK respondents saying they would attend at least the same number of festivals in the next 12 months. Spending more than all other festivalgoers combined, super-fans attend an average of four festivals a year at £149 per ticket. Casual festivalgoers, who account for 38 per cent of attendees, spend £45 less per ticket, forking out only £104 on just one festival a year. 43 per cent of super-fans attended more festivals in the past 12 months than the year before, and 53 per cent plan to attend even more this season. Their top festivals are: (1) Glastonbury (2) V Festival (3) T in the Park (4) Reading/Leeds and Download. 

32 per cent of respondents cited headliners as the number one reason they go to a music festival, twice as many as the next most popular response which was “My friends are going”. 68 per cent say they get a sense of community from attending music festivals but nearly half (46 per cent) think they are too corporate. 77 per cent post on various social media feeds during the festival. Super-fans are 23 per cent more likely to use Snapchat, 63 per cent more likely to tweet and 70 per cent more likely to use Instagram than casual festivalgoers.

you can access the report here

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Streaming generates majors $10 million every 24 hours

MBW reports that streaming has become Sony Music's prime source of recorded music revenue abd in its last financial quarter generated around $3.3m a day for the company. Sony Music Entertainment posted 89.71bn Yen ($877m) in recorded music revenues during the three months to end of June - showing very slight growth on the 89.33bn Yen it posted in the same period of 2015. Quarterly streaming revenues grew 39% year-on-year, up to 30.67bn Yen ($300m) - working out to around $25m every week - making streaming Sony's majority earner in the period. Warner and Universal hit the same milestone in the first three months of this year. MBW say that with Warners earning $2m a day from streaming, Sony $3.3m a day and UMG $4m a day - the three majors are now cumulatively turning over just under $10m every 24 hours from streaming platforms.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Hard Music California leaves three dead in 2016

The Hard Music Summer Festival in California has left three people dead. The festival, in its ninth year, takes place at the Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino County, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. The music festival experienced two tragic deaths last year in 2015  Some 325 arrests were made at this year’s festival and Sheriff’s officials told KTLA that drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine were confiscated by the police. Reports say that the festival organisers have made attempts to create a safer environment for concert-goers, This year attendees were able to seek medical attention while at the festival if they had taken drugs without legal consequences. Water was readily available and shade was provided if people needed a break from the hot California sun. Temperatures reached the high ninties reports say. Organisers issued a statement saying "“We were deeply saddened to learn about the deaths of three people who attended the festival this weekend. While the causes of the deaths have not yet been determined, we ask everyone to keep them in their prayers. Our sincerest thoughts and condolences are with their family and friends.”

The three dead adults have been identified by the Coroner’s Division of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department as Derek Lee from San Francisco who was just 22-years-old, Roxanne Ngo, also 22 years old, from Chino Hills, and Alyssa Dominguez from San Diego who died at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital of Fontana at the age of 21.

NEGLIGENCE: The parents of a girl who died at last year’s HARD Summer festival have filed a law suit against Live Nation and the Los Angeles County Fair Association. 19-year-old Katie Dix, was one of two young people who died of drug consumption at the 2015 event. Her parents accused LN, the association, Los Angeles County and the city of Pomona, of negligence. According to The Los Angeles Times, the suit says organizers knew that illegal drugs would be consumed and created dangerous conditions while failing to protect those in attendance. 

Pollstar reports that the family of 15-year-old Sasha Rodriguez, who died at Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010, received a $190,000 settlement from organizer Insomniac Inc., the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and an insurer in 2012. The event has since left the Coliseum, and now takes place in Las Vegas.No liability was admitted.