Monday, 26 December 2016


Singer George Michael has died at his home at the age of 53 from heart failure. The star, launched his career with Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! in the 1980s and had huge success as a solo performer, Michael's publicist said he"passed away peacefully" on Christmas Day in Goring, Oxfordshire. Former Wham! bandmate Ridgeley said he was "heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend". Despite long term bouts of depression, lurid tabloid headlines and a well publicised battle with drugs, Michael remained a major talent, an outstanding performer and a superb songwriter. Michael spent most of 1987 writing and recording his first solo album, Faith, which was released in the autumn of that year. It went to the top of both the UK and US charts going on to sell more than 25 million copies and winning a Grammy in 1989. Michael refused to promote his second album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 and no videos were made to back up the single releases. A much more introspective work than Faith, the album was aimed at a more adult audience. While playing a concert in Rio in 1991 he met Anselmo Feleppa, the man who would become his partner. Their relationship was to be short-lived as Feleppa died of a brain haemorrhage in 1993. In November 1994, Michael released the single, Jesus to a Child, a tribute to Feleppa. It went straight to No 1 in the UK. The single featured on the Older album, which had been three years in the making when it was released in 1996 after a long legal battle with his then record  label, Sony. Michael also entered a long term relationship with businessman Kenny Goss which ended a decade later. He released Patience in 2004, and in 2006 he set off on his first live tour for 15 years and became the first artist to perform at the newly reopened Wembley Stadium. Amongst the many awards, Michael was voted Best British Male at the Brit Awards and won the title Songwriter of the Year for the third time at the Ivor Novello awards in 1996. 

The Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt has died aged 68. The veteran rocker passed away in Spain, following a huge heart attack earlier in the year.  The band’s statement on their website reveals that he died in hospital from an infection, having been admitted to hospital. He was suffering complications to a shoulder injury incurred by a previous fall. Status Quo are about to celebrate their 50th anniversary. In half a century, the band has notched up a record-breaking 65 UK chart hits, sold more than 120 million records, created its own beer and spent 415 weeks in the chart.

Craig Gill, the drummer with the Inspiral Carpets, has died suddenly aged just 44. Part of the 'Madchester' scene the band had 11 top 40 albums and 3 top 5 albums between 1990 and 1994. Liam Gallagher was one of the first to post a tribute on social media. He leaves a widow Rose and three young children. 

Greg Lake, frontman of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, has died at the age of 69. The legendary music veteran was renowned as one of the forefathers of prog-rock, made famous for his string of adventurous albums and tracks such as ‘Court of the Crimson King’ and ’21st Century Schizoid Man’. He passed away following “a long and stubborn battle with cancer”.

Cash Askew, aged just 22, has died in the Ghost Ship blaze. An Oakland resident, Cash was well known for her band Them Are Us Too, an emerging goth duo who launched their first album with Dais Record. Another victim of the blaze was Chelsea Dolan, a San Francisco resident, who  performed under the stage name Cherushii. She was also a volunteer DJ at the local KALX community radio station. Her mother, Colleen Dolan, wrote in a tribute on Facebook, “Chelsea Faith has always been an extraordinary person, full of exuberant joy. Her personality, intelligence, clothes, music, and kindness were legendary.” Two other the victims of the fire were also due to perform that night - Obsidian Blade (Joey Casio) and DJ Nackt (Johnny Igaz). 

Bob Krasnow, the record executive  best known for building Blue Thumb, has died in Florida. He was 81. Krasnow worked at Warner Bros  Records for nine years before being moved over to chairman and CEO of Elektra from 1983 to 1994, making the label an industry leader, ushering in its second golden era with signings ranging from Metallica, Motley Crue, Simply Red The, Cure, Anita Baker, Teddy Pendergrass and Natalie Cole. The T.J. Martell Foundation named him Cancer Research Man of the Year in 1984 and 1989; he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1992.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Metal Hammer parent folds

More than 70 people have been laid off following the collapse of South Lanarkshire-based rock music media firm Team Rock Ltd, the parent company for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, the Golden Gods Awards and the Classic Rock Awards. Administrators were called in after the firm got into financial difficulties. A total of 27 staff in High Blantyre and 46 in London have been made redundant. A further seven staff - including four in High Blantyre - will be retained "in the short term" to assist the administrators. Administrators from FRP Advisory said the business had traded at a loss “for a significant period of time, with consequent constraints on the cash position”. The administrators added: “Cost-cutting measures were implemented and despite the best efforts of the directors to seek additional investment or a purchaser for the business, no deal could be completed, leaving the company with no viable option other than to enter administration and to immediately cease trading."
The future of the titles remains unclear.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Bestival to move to the mainland

Bestival organisers have said they are moving the festival from the Isle of Wight to Dorset. The four-day event is to be held at the Lulworth Estate in September on the same site as Camp Bestival (pictured right), the family event which takes place in July. Organiser Rob da Bank said the decision was down to the "boring economics of getting people on to the island". Bestival has been held at Robin Hill Country Park, near Newport, annually since 2003.

Thursday, 15 December 2016


Live Nation has named Lisa Licht as chief marketing officer (CMO) of its US Concerts division. Licht will command one centralised marketing team which will drive digital marketing, creative, social media, email and promotional marketing as well as corporate marketing functions such as research and insights, strategic partnerships and corporate branding.

John Mulder and Ruben Brouwer will take over the running of Mojo Concerts on 1 January 2017, following the surprise resignation in September of former CEO Wilbert Mutsaers. Brouwer  has been at Mojo, Live Nation’s Dutch subsidiary, since 2008,as a lawyer and now as part of its management team. Former director Mulder left Mojo in 2011 to start his own promotion business, but had remained involved with the company on a freelance basis.

United Talent Agency (UTA)’s London office has hired its first two digital executives. Michael Ohene-Djan joins from Facebook’s UK office, and Jamie Leeming, comes from Capitol Records, and they will create and implement digital marketing strategies for UTA’s clients, with a particular emphasis on music.

Booking agents Isla Angus, Sarah Besnard and Sinan Ors have joined ATC Live. Angus and Besnard join from Earth Agency, bringing with them a roster of artists that include Sleaford Mods, Austra, Dan Deacon, Cass McCombs and Girl Band. Ors joins us from UTA bringing his roster of electronic-leaning artists including Romare, Clap! Clap! and Daedelus.

Music entrepreneur Rob Walker, best known as the former manager of Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes, has joined United Talent Agency (UTA)’s New York office as an agent.

Rumours say that Sony Music UK and Ireland CEO & Chairman Jason Iley will name David Dollimore as the new President of the RCA Label Group in the coming days.

Rolling Stone Executive Editor Nathan Brackett has joined Amazon Music as Head Of Editorial. The move comes just weeks after Amazon launched its Amazon Music Unlimited product in the US – including a tempting discount price plan for Amazon Prime members. Bracket joined Rolling Stone in 1996 as Associate Editor, before stepping up to Senior Editor in 2001.

Reed Smith LLP has hired James Sully as a partner in the firm’s global Entertainment & Media Industry Group. Sully moves from Sheridans after a decade with the London firm -  he was a partner and head of the music division. Reed Smith’s Entertainment & Media Industry Group has also welcomed two other partners in recent months: Jess Drabkin, who joined in New York from Grubman Shire & Meiselas and Leif Reinstein, who joined in Los Angeles from Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman.

Lewis Carnie and Paul Rodgers have been promoted at the BBC to Head of Radio 2 and Head of Radio 6 respectively. The duo both step up from their previous roles at Head of Programmes at Radio 2 and 6 Music. The news comes in the wake of former Controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, Bob Shennan, being elevated to Director of BBC Radio and Music. Carnie and Rodgers will report directly to Shennan. Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor BBC Music, will will move from the BBC’s Content division into Radio and Music on Monday – which Shennan says will allow him to create a single Music Commissioning team responsible for all TV, radio and online commissioning.

Caroline International, UMG’s London-based global label services company, has appointed Ministry Of Sound Marketing Director Nicola Spokes as their UK Label Head.

Sony executive Ole Obermann has officially joined Warner Music Group as Chief Digital Officer and Executive VP, Business Development.

On the wake of news that WMG saw total revenues of $3.25bn in the 12 months to end of September, increasing 9.4% year on year, Warner Bros. Records has elevated three key executives under CEO and Chairman Cameron Strang. Peter Gray becomes General Manager and Executive Vice President, Promotion & Media. Larry Mattera is elevated to General Manager and Executive Vice President, Commerce & Marketing. And Chief Financial Officer Hildi Snodgrass expands her role to include Executive Vice President, Operations.

Eleven Seven Music Group (ESMG) has appointed SVP of Promotions and Marketing, Steve Kline, to the position of Chief Operating Officer at the label group – while announcing a raft of new hirings. John Di Maio joins the ESMG team as its new VP of Radio Promotion and Marketing, A.J Kasen has been appointed VP of A&R, Angela Burke has joined as VP of media relations, Omar Rana joins the digital marketing department as SVP along with John Rosenfelder who has been appointed VP of digital strategy and analytics, and Perry Schwartz rounds out the new additions as the manager of streaming and playlists, formerly of Music Choice.

Universal Music Group's UK-based Decca has hired widely respected publishing exec Natasha Baldwin to launch a music publishing division dedicated to expanding opportunities for neo-classical composers to write for television, film and video games. Baldwin joins Universal Music Group as Senior Vice President, Head of Decca Publishing from Imagem Music where she was Group President, Creative & Marketing.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ghost Ship blaze leaves 36 dead in Oakland

The Ghost Ship before the blaze
(from the Ghost Ship website) 
A devastating warehouse fire which killed at least 36 people in Oakland, California, has painful echoes with the 2003 'Great White' disaster in Rhode Island where 100 people died and the more recent Colectiv nightclub fire in Bucharest - and is California's deadliest structure fire in California since the 1906 earthquake and fire that killed hundreds in San Francisco.

The warehouse was the home and work space for the Satya Yuga artists’ collective, and known as the Ghost Ship, and was on the evening of the fire hosting an unlicensed concert promoted by house label 100% Silk. Among the victims of the fire were three artists scheduled to perform: Cherushii (Chelsea Faith), Obsidian Blade (Joey Casio) and DJ Nackt (Johnny Igaz). Among the 36 people who died were two UC Berkeley undergraduates, two alumni and one woman who volunteered at KALX, the campus radio station.

SFX becomes a debt free LifeStyle

SFX Entertainment has emerged from bankruptcy ahead of schedule – and with a new name of LifeStyle Inc.  SFX was  originally slated to exit the chapter 11 (administration) process in early 2017 but became officially solvent once more last Friday (2 December). The newly debt-free LifeStyle is run by CEO Randy Phillips, formerly of AEG Live and Global Entertainment.