Friday, 31 March 2017

USA recorded music sales up as streaming soars

The USA, the world's largest recorded music market, saw double digit revenue growth in 2016. US recorded music sales last year were up 11.4% to $7.7 billion, fuelled by the streaming boom. The American streaming market grew 68% last year, and streaming services brought in marginally more cash than downloads, CDs and vinyl combined, with subscription streaming driving the growth, as revenues more than doubled year-on-year in 2016, while income from the ad-funded on-demand platforms like YouTube and Spotify Free were up 26%.

Safe As Milk cancels at the last minute

North Wales-based Safe As Milk festival, scheduled for the 21-23 April,  has been cancelled and the company behind the event has gone into administration due to poor ticket sales. The event was a partnership between Newcastle's Tusk Music and Alt.vinyl. Artists set to perform included The Butthole Surfers, Jeff Mills & Tony Allen, Omar Souleyman, Actress, Anna Meredith, Demdike Stare and The Residents.

A statement from the organisers read: "We are very sorry to announce that we have had to take the decision to cancel Safe As Milk Festival. Despite the widespread excitement about the event, we're sorry to report that ticket sales have not reached a level to make the event viable so, despite our best efforts, we have no other option but to cancel".

A creditors meeting is set for the 25 April

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

China's Music licensing revenues increase - but still low by international standards

According to the statistics released by the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC), music industry licensing revenue amounted to RMB184 million (approx. £21 million) in 2016, an increase of 8.2% from last year. Digital licensing accounted for most of the growth and now represents 37% of the total. Revenues from broadcasting and public performances dipped. Music licensing revenues in China remain low by global standards. Draft amendments to the Chinese Copyright Law may help, with proposals for new statutory rights for sound recordings. In November 2016 the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) including a commitment that “China will urge copyright owners and broadcasters to timely perform their respective obligations in accordance with the Interim Measures for Payment of Remuneration by Radio and Television Stations for Broadcasting Sound Recordings”. More here (in Chinese) and here (in English).

And in Kenya, The Music Copyright Society of Kenya has lost the licence to collect music royalties. The moved followed the decision by the board of directors of Kenya Copyright Board to approve the licensing of a new body, Music Publishers Association of Kenya Limited, to collect royalties on behalf of authors, composers and publishers from March 2017 to February 2018, effective immediately. The decision was made after the new association satisfied the requirements of Section 46 of the Copyright Act, 2001, and Regulation 15 and 16 of the Copyright Regulations 2004. The embattled MCSK will have to wait for a year to apply for new license. The organisation has been embroiled in controversy, with many artistes accusing the society of failing to distribute collected revenues and corruption over many years.

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Jason Carter, architect of the influential BBC Introducing platform for new artists, has announced his departure from the BBC after 20 years – and MBW reports that Carter will hold a senior position at Amazon, with Carter becoming Director of a new initiative at the company.

Michael Coppel has been named chairman of Live Nation of Australia and New Zealand.

Coppel, who sold his Michael Coppel Presents business to Live Nation in April 2012, was formerly Live Nation Australasia’s president and CEO, overseeing the company’s acquisition of Splendour promoter Secret Sounds and the lease on Melbourne’s Palais Theatre.

United Talent Agency (UTA) has hired Mike “Mike G” Guirguis, Bex Majors, and Billy Wood as agents. The announcement complements UTA’s appointment of Greg Janese to lead the agency’s corporate and special events division, along with the recent announcements of Rob Walker as a music agent and Toni Wallace as head of Music Brand Partnerships.

The UK’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) has appointed Gee ‘Genia’ Davy as in-house Legal and Business Affairs Manager. Davy joins AIM from her previous position as Legal and Business Affair Manager at Cooking Vinyl.

German promoter Wizard Promotions is now being led by the son of its founder, Oliver Hoppe, as sole MD. Dad Ossy Hoppe will continue to advise the company.

Ninja Tune has brought two new people into its sync department, Isobel Palos and Rob Buckley. Palos, formerly Head Of Film & TV at Beggars, will take up the same role at Ninja and its publishing division Just Isn't Music, with the addition of advertising to her remit. Meanwhile Buckley joins from Pitch & Sync to head up the Bespoke department, working with the label and publisher's artists and composers on specific commissions.

Amazon has also hired music industry veteran Alex Luke to join its Amazon Music team. Luke is hired in a newly created leadership position, Global Head of Programming & Content Strategy, reporting directly to Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. Prior to Amazon, Luke was a founding member of the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, The Valley Fund, managing developing investments in digital media and entertainment.

SoundCloud has parted ways with its COO Marc Strigel and Finance Director Markus Harder. The news comes five weeks after the Berlin-based company filed a fiscal report for 2015 showing annual revenues up 21.6% to €21.1m ($22m), but net losses accelerating 30.9% to €51.22m ($52m).

Subsequent to the news that global licensing head Francis Keeling was out at Spotify after just nine months, one of Spotify’s longest-serving executives, lawyer Petra Hansson, has quit the company. One of the most senior legal figures at Spotify worldwide, Hansson has worked at the business’s Stockholm HQ for a decade. She was headhunted from leading Swedish law firm Mannheimer Swartling in 2007. Hansson and Keeling are the latest high-profile executives to exit Spotify in a year that  has seen a string of senior departures. They have included Chief Revenue Officer Jeff Levick, content chief Ken Parks, EMEA sales boss Jonathan Forster and label relations head Steve Savoca. Spotify UK's head of consumer marketing, ex-Columbia and V2 exec Karen Staughton, is also leaving the company this month for a new position overseas.

Silvia Montello has joined Kobalt Music Recordings as SVP, Supply Chain and Client Services. Meanwhile, Pete Dodge leaves the company after 5 years.

Twickenham Stadium has appointed Mark Lynch as its new venue director, He joins from Abu Dhabi's Yas Marna Grand Prix Circuit where he was operations director.  The stadium has a capacuty of 55,000.

Aisla Oliver and Jen Mitchell have been appointed general managers at the SMG operated Metroi Radio Arena in Leeds. Oliver has been deputy GM at the Atreena for 4 years and Mitchell joins from the Kings Place complex in London.  

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has appointed Walter Jones as VP Creative. Reporting to David Gray, UMPG EVP/Head of West Coast A&R, Jones will relocate to Los Angeles. The respected exec moves across from his previous role as Sony/ATV’s Vice President of Urban A&R.

Vevo has appointed Will Jackson to the newly created role of SVP of Strategy and Operations. He joins after nearly three years at Pandora

SoundCloud has appointed Merritt Farren as its new General Counsel.. Farren’s appointment succeeds former General Counsel Neil Miller, who left the company earlier this year after six years in the role, for a position at JAG Shaw Baker. 

Warner Music Finland has promoted Mark Fry to the position of Managing Director. The move comes as his predecessor - Niko Nordström - moves to head up Warner Music Australasia. In his new role, Fry will report to Jonas Siljemark, President, Warner Music Nordics. Fry will assume the role after serving as General Manager and Marketing Director of Warner Music Finland.

Jackson Wong has been appointed as Managing Director of Warner Music China.
He joins Warner Music Group (WMG) from film production and distribution company Oriental DreamWorks. In his new role, Wong will be based in Beijing and report to Sam Chen, WMG’s CEO of Greater China.

Australia-born independent music company Mushroom Group has promoted Chris Maund to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer. Maund was previously Managing Director of Mushroom label Ivy League Records, as well as Director of Legal & Business Affairs for the Mushroom Group.

First Access Entertainment has named former Ultra Records A&R Oscar Scivier Vice President of A&R. In his new role, Scivier will be based between New York and Los Angeles, working across the company’s existing roster to develop music releases and sign new talent.

Independent publisher Imagem has appointed artist manager Sara Lord as Global Head of Creative Services. In her new role, she will oversee sync and market copyrights.

Tunecore Chief Creative Officer Joe Cuello has exited the distributor to become General Manager of mobile app company EscapeX. EscapeX provides creators with tools to monetise social media through advertising, subscriptions, and a patented virtual currency.

Former BMI exec Richard Conlon has joined SoundExchange as Chief External Affairs Officer. In his new role, Conlon will oversee the digital PRO’s corporate communications, industry relations and public policy efforts.

Big Machine Label Group has hired Kris Lamb, who joins from sister label Dot Records, as VP of Promotion.  Lamb replaces Big Machine’s SVP of Promotion Jack Purcell, who is understood to have left Scott Borchetta’s label after more than a decade.  And Big Machine has promoted Matthew Hargis to SVP, Promotion for BMLG Records.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Joni Sledge, the singer best-known for the disco anthem We Are Family, has died aged 60. Joni, who formed Sister Sledge with her three siblings in 1971, was found unresponsive by a friend at her home in Phoenix, Arizona, her publicist said. Sledge, who is survived by her adult son, last performed with the band in October.

The Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau has died in a Los Angeles hospital, days after announcing his retirement from touring due to exhaustion. A statement posted to Facebook said Jarreau “passed away this morning. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few of his family and friends. The Wisconsin native won seven Grammys over a 50-year career and was one of few artists to have won Grammys in three categories – jazz, pop and R&B. He was also a vocalist on the all-star 1985 charity track We Are the World and sang the theme to the TV hit Moonlighting, for which he wrote the lyrics

Tommy LiPuma, athe producer and label chief whose work with jazz and pop artists resulted in more than 30 Grammy nominations and sales of more than 75 million albums, has died in New York City after a brief illness. He was 80. LiPuma had a key A&R job at A&M in its formative years, was a co-founder of Blue Thumb, was an A&R exec/producer at Warner Bros. in the late ‘70s, a Senior VP at Elektra and the Verve Music Group chief from the mid-1990s to 2011 and played crucial role in the careers of George Benson, Diana Krall, Al Jarreau (see above), Barbra Streisand and Natalie Cole. LiPuma also recently produced Paul McCartney’s 'Kisses on the Bottom', for which he won the fourth of his five Grammys, and an album for trumpeter Dominick Farinacci.

Deke Leonard, the author, raconteur, and guitarist of legendary Welsh band Man, has died at the age of 72. The Llanelli-born musician, who had recently returned to live in the town with long-time partner Mary, made his name with the South Wales rock band.

Steve Lang, former bassist for Canadian rock legends April Wine, has passed away at the age of 67. April Wine guitarist/vocalist Brian Greenway saud “It is with great sadness that I let you know that Steve Lang passed away. I was in many bands with Steve. Steve was the bassist of April Wine 1975 to 1984. All the big hits. Steve also did very well as a Financial Investor with his own company. He was a friend of 50 years. Steve was 67. My sincere condolences to his family.”

Singer-songwriter and music industry executive Tommy Page has been found dead. He was 46.
Page is best known for his 1990 US number one single 'I'll be Your Everything'. In 1997 he moved over to the other side of the industry, working for Warner Bros Records in A&R for almost fifteen years. In 2011, he left the label to become a publisher at music industry magazine Billboard. Subsequently, he has held senior roles at Pandora, Cumulus Media and the Village Voice. He also continued to perform live.

Toby Lovegrove, the much-loved member of the Glastonbury  Festival’s crew, has passed away suddenly in Thailand. Toby’s family have worked at the Festival for many years, with Toby coming to Glastonbury from early childhood and going on to work as a lighting technician for the Glade and Silver Hayes areas. Toby was a hugely valued member of the Festival’s crew and Glastonbury was, according to Toby’s family, “his favourite place on earth”.

Peter Overend Watts, the flamboyant bass player with Mott The Hoople has died aged 69. It was Watts who persuaded the band to reform after David Bowie offered them 'All The Young Dudes' which then went to number 3 in the UK singles carts, and with Bowie producing their next album going top ten, the band the band enjoyed commercial success, albiet success with a 'glam rock' flavour. In later life Watts was a keen fisherman and keen walker, and completed the Lands End to John o'Groats walk in 63 days, as well as the length of Offas's Dyke, and Alfred Wainwright's Coast to Coact pathways.  Dale 'Buffin' Griffin, Mott Tbe Hooper's drummer, who went on t be a successful record prodicer died last year aged 67. Griffin and Watts recorded music as the British Lions.

Bryn Lewis, The founder and owner of the 500 capacity The Brook in Southampton, has dies after a short illness. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Guns N Roses Singapore show - dreadful - but no refunds

Guns N Roses played their first ever show in Singapore was blighted by what Promoter LAMC Productions has admitted to stem from a string of errors - but LAMC but stopped short of issuing refunds. Ticketholders complained of long queues for food and drink, and transport on and off the Changi Exhibition Centre site. There were also issues with pre-paid credits on RFID writsbands, which many found themselves unable to use for cashless purchases on site after food and drink in one area ran out. Admitting the problems, LAMC's Ross Knudson told The Strait Times that "maybe it was too big for us" but then added "We're not going to be refunding tickets, but we apologise". Whilst the promoters blamed tneir desire to embrace new technology,  the company that provided hardware for scanning tickets distanced itself from the problems that occurred at the event's entry points, saying that it had made enough scanners available but that there were not enough staff on hand to operate them and that organisers ignored their recommendations".

Two dead in Argentine barrier crush

Two fans have been killed and dozens more are injured in a crush at a Indio Solari concert at the La Colmens in the Buenos Aires, Argentina,  attended by 300,000 people even though local sources say the venue's capacity was just 200,000. The death toll may be higher. Witnesses said people were pushing to get into the concert after it had started and several people were collapsing because they appeared to be drunk. Those killed or injured were caught up in what is being described as 'an avalanche' of people pushing forward towards the stage barrier.

International Live Music Awards - The Arthurs - the winners!

The winners of the 2017 'Arthurs' at the ILMC are out - and main accolade of the evening, the Bottle Award, went to a very surprised and emotional Herman Schueremans, of Live Nation Belgium/Rock Werchter. 

The other winners are:

Venue (First Venue to Come into Your Head)
Royal Albert Hall

Production services (Services Above and Beyond)
Eat to the Beat

Professional services (Most Professional Professional)
Selina Emeny, Live Nation

Festival (Liggers’ Favourite Festival)
British Summer Time

Ticketing (The Golden Ticket)
CTS Eventim

Assistant (The People’s Assistant)
Sarah Donovan, Live Nation UK

New business talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss)
Oliver Ward, UTA

Agent (Second Least Offensive Agent)
John Giddings, Solo

Promoter (The Promoters’ Promoter)
Stephan Thanscheidt, FKP Scorpio

Saturday, 11 March 2017

UK government to act on touting

In the wake of an outcry over touts re-selling tickets for Ed Sheerhan's Teenage Cancer Trust charity show at the Royal Albert Hall and Adele's O2 concerts, UK ticket touts who use computer 'bots' to mine for concert tickets before selling them for massive profits, and blocking fans from seeing their favourite artists except at huge mark ups, will face unlimited fines.

National Trading Standards will also be handed a ringfenced pot of money to fund efforts to stop fans being ripped off or shut out of the most in-demand events.

As well as criminalising bots, United Kingdom ministers at the DCMS will accept in full the recommendations of a review by Professor Michael Waterson, who published proposals to tackle rogue ticket traders last year. These include demanding that ticket firms to step up their own efforts to prevent the use of bots and to report any attacks on their systems by touts trying to harvest tickets.

Culture minister Matt Hancock said: "This profiteering is simply not fair, so we are acting to put fans first and improve the chances of seeing our favourite musicians and sports stars at a reasonable price" adding "Ticket sellers also need to do more, by improving transparency and ensuring that they are acting in the best interests of consumers and help the market work for everyone."