Thursday, 27 April 2017

iHeart struggles under debt burden

iHeartMedia has warned investors that it may be forced into administration before the end of the year, weighed down by a $350 million debt re-payment which is shortly due. The biggest radio broadcaster in the US, and owner of the iHeartRadio streaming service and Clear Channel advertising business, iHeart took on $20 billion of debt during a $24 billion private equity buyout in 2008. If it makes this year's repayment, it still has a far more significant $8.3 billion due in 2019. In a  filing with the US Securities And Exchange Commission, iHerat says: "Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended 31 Mar 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of twelve months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued".

UK moves to regulate secondary ticketing stalls

The UK Parliament has cancelled ticket touting select committee inquiry ahead of the snap General Election. Ongoing inquiries instigated by Parliament's Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee on ticket touting and the effect of Brexit on the creative industries, tourism and the Digital Single Market have also been put on hold. Chair of the committee, Damian Collins, said in a statement: "Although we are unable to complete these important inquiries, there is no bar to our successors in the next Parliament taking up the evidence received - which has been published on the committee's website - and finishing them. Given the importance of all these subjects, we hope that the new committee will do so".

In other ticketing news, Live Nation boss Michael Rapino has said that he doesn't think efforts to legislate against secondary ticketing will have much effect, saying that the industry should focus on pricing and technology issue. through its Ticketmaster business, LNE owns secondary ticketing platforms like Seatwave and Get Me In. "As long as the [ticketing] market's gigantic, you'll have sophisticated players trying to figure out how to monetise it", Rapino said at the Canadian Music Week conference "My instincts are always on the free market" adding "I just think [efforts to legislate against touting are] so unrealistic. I think some of these [efforts] are decent attempts, but I don't think overall, until you start pricing the product better, and/or have better technology to deliver the fan their ticket, that you'll start to make a difference. We're the only industry in the world that has a higher retail value the second it's sold".


Chuck Berry has died aged 90 at his home in Missouri.  Chuck Berry was one of the very last of rock and roll’s great pioneers. His career lasted more than 70 years.  With his early hits, he helped transform mid-century Rythym and Blues into the rock and roll sound we recognise today. Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was born into a middle-class African-American family in St. Louis, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he was convicted of armed robbery and was sent to a reformatory, where he was held from 1944 to 1947. After his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of the blues musician T-Bone Walker, Berry began performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he travelled to Chicago in May 1955 and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess, of Chess Records. His hits included ‘Johnny B Goode’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ and the million-selling ‘Maybellene’. In 1986, Berry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Keith Richards. He was cited for having "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance".

Former England and Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu has died at the age of 44 after suffering a cardiac arrest at Tottenham's training centre on Thursday. Ugo was also a backer of the record label Dirty Hit wich brought the world Wolf Alice and the 1975. He married his wife, Gemma, in 2005. He had two children, his son Obi Jackson and daughter Jodie.

Producer and promoter Barry Marshall-Everitt has passed away after a long fight with cancer. He leaves behind his much loved wife Bex Marshall , the British blues musician and songwriter, and three children. He was 69. 

American mastering engineer Tom Coyne, who worked on recordings by Adele, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Kool & The Gang and many more, has passed away.

Joseph Rascoff, the co-founder of Rascoff Zysblat Organization (RZO) and business manager to The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Paul Simon, U2, Sting, Shania Twain and David Byrne, has passed away aged 71. The news was announced by long-time business partner Bill Zysblat, with whom Rascoff founded RZO in 1987. He died “surrounded by family”.

Robert “P-Nut” Johnson has died. Johnson, whose voice drove forward Bootsy’s Rubber Band and later Parliament-Funkadelic, had been ill for some time. Johnson contributed to many classic releases such as 'Motor Booty Affair' and 'Gloryhallastoopid' both vocally and occasionally in production. He most recently participated in the surprisingly popular 2014 Funkadelic release, 'First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate'. "An extremely talented singer who brought many smiles to the funk nation".

The founder of the Roland electronic musical instrument company, Ikutaro Kakehashi, has died, aged 87. Under his direction, the company had a massive influence on electronic music through equipment such as the TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synthesiser. Kakehashi was also the first person to propose the standardisation of protocols between electronic instruments, which became MIDI.

British Spotify executive Chris Bevington has been named as one of four people killed as a result of a terrorist attack in Stockholm. Bevington, 41, had worked at Spotify for the past five years, most recently serving as its Director of Global Partnerships/Business Development. The father-of-two, who previously worked at Warner Music Group, was based in the Swedish capital. Spotify's Daniel Ek said "There are no words for how missed he will be or for how sad we all are to have lost him like this". 

Radio 2 presenter Brian Matthew has died, aged 88, following a period of ill-health that brought to an end to his long career with the BBC station earlier this year. In a statement, Radio 2 head Lewis Carnie said: "Brian was one of this country's most popular and best-loved presenters, delighting millions of listeners with his memories and favourite tunes on 'Sounds Of The 60s' for 27 years. On behalf of everyone at Radio 2, we send love and our best wishes to his family at this difficult time".

Guitarist John Warren Geils Jr of The J. Geils Band has died aged 71.  The musician and founder of the band was found dead at his home in Groton, Massachusetts on Tuesday April 11th. The J. Geils Band had a number of hits across the 1980s, including 'Centerfold', 'Love Stinks' and 'Freeze-Frame'. His former bandmate Peter Wolf paid tribute on Facebook, writing: "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P Jay Geils."


Global has hired Live Nation executive Debbie Ward following a string of festival acquisitions in the UK. Ward has been appointed Commercial Director, joining a seven-strong team that will develop strategic campaigns for brands across Global’s growing portfolio of events. Other new hires are brand partnership directors Wayne Mensah, who moved from youth entertainment channel The Hook, and Amy Oldham, who also joins from Live Nation. The team will also include a brand manager and three account managers.

United Talent Agency has hired agent David Klein, who leaves rival CAA after nearly 12 years.  Based in LA, Klein will become a member of UTA’s music leadership team. He’s tasked with expanding business in the music/touring space. At CAA, Klein worked with artistes includng  OneRepublic, Tori Kelly, Lana Del Rey, Gavin DeGraw, Dua Lipa and Hailee Steinfeld. Klein joins other recent hires Bex Majors, Billy Wood, Mike Guirguis, Greg Janese, Toni Wallace and Rob Walker at the diversified agency as it continues to expand its music team. He is tasked with growing UTA’s business “in the music/touring space”, says the agency.

Ticketmaster has announced a trio of new appointments for its UK sales team. Former DHP Family, AMG and Robomagic promoter Bonita McKinney has joined its London office as a sales executive. McKinney will support the ticketing needs of promoters, venues and festivals nationwide, providing solutions and enhancing their selling power across our numerous platforms. She joins alongside Holly Watson, who has worked in a wide variety of positions in large-scale events and festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, London 2012 Olympics and Melbourne Grand Prix and will be tasked with ensuring Ticketmaster has the best deals and promotions available for a wide range of events. Finally Jason Boardman will be based at Ticketmaster's Manchester office  and wll focus on business development for TicketWeb in the North of England, He has been employed at Ticketmaster in various roles for the past 14 years with a background in the live events industry.

Fee Schlennstedt has been named Artribute's head of booking. The veteran of the German jazz scene has reappeared in a new role following her unexpected exit from Jazzclub Unterfahrt last year.

Max Lousada has been promoted at the Warner Music Group. Lousada, currently Chairman & CEO of Warner Music UK, is officially becoming CEO, Recorded Music for Warner Music Group from October 1.  And Warner Music Group has hired Michael Steele as Director of Playlist Programming and Curation. He previously worked at ad agency Pop2Life.

Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA, has announced he will step down from the position in 2018. He will be replaced by Mitch Glazier, who becomes President.

Former Pandora and Sirius royalty rate lawyer Chris Harrison has been named CEO of the Digital Media Association (DiMA) — a trade body that lobbies on behalf of companies including Google, Amazon, Apple, Pandora and Spotify.

Arif Mahmud is joining Kobalt as Vice President, Business Affairs. Based in London, Mahmud will work with Kobalt’s management team in the expansion of Kobalt Music Recordings’ and AWAL’s (Kobalt’s streaming label for independent artists) business and client base in all regions outside the U.S.

And Kobalt has hired Alison Donald as Head of Creative, UK - a role which will see her leading A&R activities in London across both publishing and recordings.

British entertainment solicitor Tony Morris has left Marriott Harrison after 22 years to join rival Swan Turton, where Pete Bott has just been promoted.

MBW reports that one of Universal Music Group's most respected and senior legal figures, Richard Constant, is retiring after more than 35 years in the biz. 

Jack Stephens has joined Spotify as Creator Partnerships Manager. Working from the streaming company’s London HQ, Stephens will report into Shane Tobin – Spotify’s Head of Creator Insights and Activations.

F Block Music Publishing has appointed former Warner/Chappell A&R Ryan Farley, who signed Madeon and Starsmith, to the newly-created position of Head of A&R.
Blair McDonald is leaving Nettwerk Music Group little over 12 years after joining the independent company, MBW has discovered. McDonald, most recently MD of Nettwerk in the UK and Europe, was hired by the business in late 2004 to establish and develop its publishing company, then named Nettwerk One Music.

Downtown Music Publishing's Roberto Neri and Carlin Music's Peter Thomas have been elected to the Board of independent publishers' commercial group IMPEL.

Rob Stringer has made his first major appointment since becoming Sony Music CEO, naming Republic veteran Tom Mackay as President, Film & TV A&R.

Carmine Coppola has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Sony Music Entertainment. Based in New York, he will report to Kevin Kelleher, Sony Music's Chief Operating Officer.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing has promoted Guy Henderson to President of International. The exec moves up from his previous role as EVP of International. 

Rostrum Records has named Nicole Plantin as Vice President, A&R. Plantin has spent nearly three years at Rostrum as Senior Director, Management and A&R.

Helen Alexander, most recently Director Of Operations And Business Development at Warner Bros, is Merlin's new Finance Director. She will report into Merlin chief Charles Caldas and will oversee the agency's finance, royalty and operations functions, and lead on further development work to increase the efficiencies of the organisation.

Lukasz 'Dr Luke' Gottwald is no longer running Kemosabe Records, the JV he set up with Sony in 2011. A page devoted to him on Sony's site has been taken down.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

IFPI - Global Recorded Music Revenues Increased by 5.9% in 2016

The global recorded music market grew by 5.9% in 2016, the highest rate since IFPI began tracking the market in 1997, according to the IFPI Global Music Report 2017, released today.  Total revenues for 2016 were US$15.7 billion. 

At the end of 2016 there were 112 million users of paid music streaming subscriptions driving year-on-year streaming revenue growth of 60.4%. Digital income last year accounted for half the global recorded music industry’s annual revenue for the first time. Growth in streaming more than offset a 20.5% decline in downloads and a 7.6% decline in physical revenue.

Streaming is helping drive growth in developing music markets, with China (+20.3%), India (+26.2%) and Mexico (+23.6%) seeing strong revenue growth.

Key figures:

- Global revenue growth: +5.9%
- Digital share of global revenues: 50%
- Digital revenue growth: +17.7%
- Growth in streaming revenues: +60.4%
- Physical revenues: -7.6%

- Download revenue: -20.5%

But say the IFPI, the 'value gap' (the growing mismatch between the value that user upload services, such as YouTube, extract from music, and the revenue returned to those who are creating and investing in music) is the biggest threat to the future sustainability of the music industry.

IFPI Global Music Report 2017

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mysteryland US cancelled

The US  edition of Mysteryland has just been cancelled. A statement on the Lifestyle promoted event's website reads: "Dear Nomads", Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mysteryland USA will no longer take place in 2017. Since 2014, we have strived to produce the best possible experience for our festival attendees, and are truly humbled by all of the love and support that you, the artists, the beautiful venue of Bethel Woods Center For The Arts and the town of Bethel have shown us as we celebrated life through music, culture and art". The 2017 event was due to take place in July, headlined by LCD Soundsystem, Major Lazer and G-Eazy.