|MONDAY 9 JANUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Future buys back Metal Hammer and Classic Rock following TeamRock collapse Music magazines Metal Hammer and Classic Rock have been saved from closure after the administrator for their publisher agreed a sale to Future Publishing, somewhat ironically the very company start-up TeamRock acquired the titles from in 2013... [READ MORE]|
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Future buys back Metal Hammer and Classic Rock following TeamRock collapse
As previously reported, rock media firm TeamRock announced it had fallen into administration just before Christmas. The company had been set up in 2012 by a team of radio execs, who then bought the rock magazines off Future and built a TeamRock-branded radio station and website around the more established media brands.
The administration, which saw 73 staff axed without severance pay just as the festive period got underway, resulted in all of TeamRock's output basically being put on hold, with the future of its magazines and other assets unclear, even though it seemed likely there would be bidders for the Metal Hammer and Classic Rock brands.
Future will acquire Metal Hammer and Classic Rock, both magazines' accompanying awards, and their sister titles Prog and Blues, in a deal worth £800,000. Which is a pretty good result for Future, given it sold the rock mags to TeamRock in 2013 for a neat £10.2 million.
Of course, even with the bargain basement acquisition, Future will now be faced with the challenge of building decent revenue streams around the titles it has re-acquired. Most magazine publishers are struggling to build viable businesses around their legacy titles, even when online audiences radically outperform previous peak print readerships.
With paid-for content rarely working online with consumer-facing titles, and online ad income relatively modest, most publishers are pursuing event, sponsorship, branded-content and/or branded-product strategies, with mixed success.
Future will likely be hoping that it can make a success of its former rock mag assets by finding synergies with its instrument titles like Total Guitarist, Guitarist and Rhythm, and the London Drum Show and London Bass Guitar Show events it acquired last year.
Confirming the purchase, Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne said: "The acquisition of these classic rock brands with their associated magazines, events and websites marks a further step in our buy and build strategy. It further reinforces our creation of a leading global specialist media platform with data at its heart, which we are monetising through diversified revenue streams. We look forward to developing further these iconic and much-loved brands and to continuing to serve their communities of dedicated enthusiasts around the world".
It is not yet clear what the acquisition means for the 73 staff who lost their jobs last month, and how many will be taken on by Future, though it seems likely it will be a relatively small number. In the wake of last month's administration, metal band Orange Goblin launched a Just Giving campaign that has now raised over £85,000 - and last week they staged a benefit gig - to provide those employees affected by the collapse of TeamRock with a little cash to tide them over.
Downtown Music Publishing enters partnership with The Invisible Men
"We at Downtown are so delighted to have signed this JV partnership with The Invisible Men", says Downtown Music UK MD Roberto Neri. "Their reputation for spotting and nurturing talent has taken them and the artists they have written for to global recognition".
The first signing under the new partnership is songwriting and production duo Saltwives, who have written for artists including Zayn Malik and Iggy Azalea, and of whom Neri says: "David [Phelan] and Alex [Oriet] are extremely talented, hard working and deserve every moment of their success".
Both The Invisible Men and Saltwives are based at the London offices of First Access Entertainment, which manages Zayn Malik, Iggy Azalea, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora and others.
AEG boss responds to claims live firm's owner supports anti-gay groups
As you might remember, last week there was much online chatter about the donations made by Anschutz and his foundation to political organisations in the US that oppose LGBT rights and equal marriage. The billionaire businessman, who made his some of his fortune through the oil trade, was also accused of funding professional climate change sceptics.
Anschutz's financial support for right-leaning and conservative organisations is no secret, and there have been reports of these donations since before he even launched his entertainment business in 1999.
Monies given to certain organisations, such as the Family Research Council, were back under the spotlight last week, as a Washington Post article on the donations from last summer did the rounds again as the line-up was announced for AEG's most famous festival, Coachella. The online debate focused on how the agenda of organisations like the Family Research Council, which has lobbied hard against gay rights and equal marriage, runs contrary to the ethos of the legendary music festival.
Anschutz put out a rare statement last week calling the claims he gave financial support to those opposing LGBT rights "garbage" and "fake news". He denied ever knowingly supporting anti-gay programmes, and said he would withdraw funding from organisations if he discovered they opposed LGBT rights.
It's not clear if he was saying that the $10,000 the Anschutz Foundation gave to the Family Research Council in 2013 was for a specific campaign unrelated to LGBT rights, or whether he was unaware of that organisation's position on homosexuality at the time. The latter would be hard to believe though, given the Family Research Council has long been vocal about its position on gay rights.
Either way, AEG CEO Dan Beckerman has backed up his boss in a memo to staff, saying that all the recent chatter about Anschutz's political donations were "part of a long running and co-ordinated attempt by our competitors to smear AEG and our many businesses, including our live music and facilities divisions".
In the memo, published by Billboard, Beckerman added: "These attempts have failed before, and will fail again because actions speak louder than words and our track record demonstrates a strong commitment to both diversity and sustainability. As all of you already know both diversity and sustainability are two of the core values that we here at AEG live every day and are wholly committed to fostering in our workplace".
Expanding on that "track record", the AEG chief added: "Over the years, there have been numerous examples illustrating the company's support of the LGBTQ community, including a very significant moment in 2013, when we and the LA Galaxy broke new ground by signing Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay professional athlete to play in any of the major sports leagues in the United States. We did it because he is a great player and that is all that mattered".
If you're wondering about the climate change denial stuff, well, Beckerman expanded on his 'sustainability' point too. "This year, AEG's industry-leading environmental sustainability programme, AEG 1EARTH, celebrates its ten year anniversary", he wrote. "Over the last decade, we have established an undisputed reputation for leadership on sustainability in sports and entertainment".
So, that's alright then. It remains to be seen if this storm now fades, or whether further scrutiny of the Anschutz Foundation's donations will continue, resulting in further calls by opponents to those groups supported by the AEG owner for artists and fans to boycott his entertainment business.
Secret Garden Party preparing alcohol pre-order system
Having spotted that reference before its removal, Efestivals reported that the festival had announced an outright alcohol ban, instead implementing a pre-order system allowing punters to pre-order their booze from the festival itself "at supermarket prices" for collection once they arrive on site.
This information was subsequently removed from the festival's website, and organisers issued a statement to Efestivals explaining: "We are considering a pre-order off-licence system so people would be able to order and collect, exactly as you would at a supermarket, and at competitive prices rather than money being spent at the local Tesco superstore which cleans up every year - apparently describing the weekend as 'bigger than Christmas'".
"We were not trying to slip this past anyone", it continued. "We are finalising the logistics behind the scheme, and preparing to release the pre-order system. For this to work it would have to be fully publicised, but we put a note in our ts and cs, initially more as a marker, with more info to come. Admittedly we could have been clearer here".
It concluded: "Our intention was, yes, to make a little more money from alcohol sales that we can put back into the party but also for the sake of our gardeners, who would no longer have to lug warm beers from their cars or the bus to their camping sites, rather get cold ones on site when they'd arrived".
On-site alcohol sales are, of course, often what makes the difference between a festival breaking even or running at a loss. So it possibly makes sense for SGP to attempt to get a cut of the action on the alcohol that lines its campsites, as well as from sales in its bars. If a success, it will be interesting to see if other events roll out similar options.
Latest MEGS funding dished out to artists seeking global growth
"The UK music industry is hugely influential and continues to inspire millions across the world", says International Trade Minister Mark Garnier. "In the three months since the re-launch of the Music Exports Growth Scheme in October, we have awarded almost a quarter of a million pounds of funding to UK acts looking to break into international markets. Britain has an incredible pool of raw talent and, through our GREAT campaign, we will continue to help budding artists take the next step towards global success".
Ah, the GREAT campaign. Remember that? No, of course you don't. "The Music Exports Growth Scheme promotes an incredibly diverse range of music that isn't typically part of the mainstream but deserves to reach a much wider international audience", explains BPI's Chris Tams about the MEGS scheme. "Smaller labels don't always have the means to market their talented artists overseas, which is where the scheme can make a vital difference, helping to boost not only their profiles and fanbases, but the UK's music exports in the process".
On the latest round of MEGS applications, Tams added: "We had an excellent response to this latest round of funding - with nearly a 100 applications submitted. Narrowing this down wasn't easy, but we're delighted to award nearly a quarter of a million pounds to 21 acts - close to matching the largest amount we've given to date".
But who the hell - in terms of artists/labels/management firms - is getting all this cash, that's what we've really gathered here today to find out, isn't it? And look, here is a list just for you. Don't mention it. You're welcome.
Boxed In (Moshi Moshi Music)
The latest CMU Insights training programme gets underway this month
Explains CMU Insights MD and course leader Chris Cooke: "In an ever-evolving industry, it pays for everyone to have a full understanding of the wider music business - that is to say all the different ways artists can generate revenue, and the business partners they work with to make that happen. This seminars programme helps music industry professionals get up to speed on the latest trends in their part of the business, but also understand how what they do fits in with all the other aspects of an artist's career".
Attendees can book into individual seminars, which all take place at the London HQ of Lewis Silkin on Chancery Lane on Monday evenings from 23 Jan, or they can book a place on the whole eight week course. The programme includes a number of sessions focused on music rights. Cooke continues: "The new year is a great time to set yourself the mission of expanding your knowledge of the music business. It's not unusual for music industry people to find all the copyright stuff in particular somewhat confusing. Our music rights sessions cover all the basics in an easy-to-digest fashion".
Individual seminars are just £49.99 while you can book into the full programme for £299, including VAT and booking fees. Premium subscribers can also get a 20% discount on top of that using the code in today's CMU Premium bulletin. For more information and to book your places, click here.
Prince hoarded property and gold, estate inventory shows
The full value of Prince's estate is yet to be established, according to the Star Tribune, with a number of personal items, plus other assets such as copyrights and trademarks, still to be valued. With estimations of between $100 million and $300 million for the final figure, it appears that these could make up the bulk of the final total.
As well as the real estate and gold, Prince had around $110,000 in cash deposited in four bank accounts at the time of his death, while his four companies, Paisley Park Enterprises Inc., NPG Records Inc, NPG Music Publishing and LotusFlow3r, collectively have around $6 million in the bank. NPG Records is also said to be owed a further $6.8 million.
The next hearing in relation to the estate is due this Thursday, at which it is expected that a decision with regards heirs will be announced. As previously reported, with no will in place when Prince died, numerous people have come forward to claim that they are due a cut of his wealth. The court has been working for several months to ascertain the legitimacy of each claim.
People stream Ed Sheeran's new records, shocker
In fact, my Aunt Marge knitted me a jumper for Christmas with the word Maveri written right across the chest. She underestimated how wide the jumper needed to be. But of course it was mean to said 'maverick'. Because that's what I am, see.
That's why I couldn't give two flying fucks that Edward Sheeran's back with two new songs that "show two different sides" to his music. That's a flying fuck not given for each of the new songs, by the way. Equalling a total of no flying fucks given. But there I go again, being the maverick.
Meanwhile, everyone else in the world has been busy streaming Sheeran's new songs 'Shape Of You' and 'Castle On The Hill'. So much so he's only gone and bloody well broken Spotify's 'most played in the first 24 hours of release' record TWICE.
'Shape Of You' scored 6,868,642 plays on day one while 'Castle On The Hill' got 6,168,395 virtual spins, smashing the previous 'day one' record held by One Direction, as if Spotify had somehow got more users now than before and Sheeran was somehow at the right stage in his career to be an act of particular interest to the streaming music generation.
So well done everybody. Especially my Aunt Marge. That was champion knitting, I can tell you.
Lupe Fiasco releasing new music after all
As previously reported, the rapper was accused of anti-Semitism last year, after posting a new track on SoundCloud that referenced "dirty Jewish execs". He countered that it wasn't racist because the specific people he was talking about were Jewish. This defence did not stop the criticism, so he eventually tweeted: "I get the hint, God. Yo Lupe fans, it's been fun and I hope you've had fun. I'm officially not releasing any more music. Album's cancelled".
The rapper had in fact been promising three new albums since 2015, but all three had been delayed multiple times - Fiasco citing "clearance and mixing issues" in October last year.
It seems those issues have been overcome, and the promised cancellation has now been cancelled, because the first of those three albums, 'Drogas Light', is now set for release on 10 Feb via the rapper's own label 1st & 15th Productions. It will be followed by 'Drogas' and 'Skulls'. Among the guests on the first record are Ty Dolla $ign, Rick Ross and BIG KRIT.
The album announcement coincided with the release of new single 'Wild Child'.
David Bowie, U2, Flaming Lips, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Julien Baker has signed to Matador, which will give her 2015 debut album 'Sprained Ankle' a physical release on 17 Mar. She's also made available the previously unreleased 'Funeral Pyre' and announced UK live shows at Bush Hall in London on 5 Jun and Manchester's Deaf Institute on 6 Jun.
• Nigel Elderton off of Peer Music has been appointed as the new Chairman of collecting society PRS For Music, taking over from the departing Guy Fletcher.
• A new EP of previously unreleased David Bowie material has been released to mark what would have been his 70th birthday, which comes just before the first anniversary of his death, of course. Titled 'No Plan', here's the title track.
• The Flaming Lips have released the lyric video for new single 'We A Famly', which features that Miley Cyrus. New album 'Oczy Mlody' is out on 13 Jan.
• Band-Maid have announced that they will release their new album, 'Just Bring It', on 10 Feb. From it, this is 'YOLO'.
• After a year out of public view, Akai Koen have announced their return with new single 'Yamiyo Ni Chouchin', the theme tune for new Japanese drama series 'Rental No Koi'.
• U2 will mark the 30th anniversary of their 'Joshua Tree' album by performing it in full at dates around the world this year, including at Twickenham Stadium in London on 8 Jul and Dublin's Croke Park on 22 Jul. "It's quite an opera", says Bono, modestly, of the album.
Drop it, Mariah!
If this has somehow passed you by, Carey performed on the annual 'New Year's Rockin Eve' show from Times Square in New York. Due to her in-ear monitors not working, she was unable to hear her music and therefore did not sing. She attempted to muddle through, but eventually walked off stage early.
Her initial reaction was to tweet that "shit happens", which is probably where public statements on the matter should have ended. But her manager Stella Bulochnikov subsequently gave several interviews, insinuating that DCP had sabotaged Carey in order to get people talking about the show. Carey herself gave an interview on the subject to Entertainment Weekly three days after it all happened.
So that had already gone too far. But then yesterday, Carey issued a new statement via her Facebook page.
"I haven't really addressed the situation that happened on New Years Eve and in time I will", she said in an audio post. "But for now I want everyone to know I came to New York in great spirits and was looking forward to a celebratory moment with the world. It's a shame that we were put into the hands of a production team with technical issues who chose to capitalise on circumstances beyond our control".
She continued: "It's not practical for a singer to sing live and to be able to hear themselves properly in the middle of Times Square, with all the noise, the freezing cold, the smoke machines, thousands of people celebrating, especially when their ear monitors were not working at all".
"Listen guys, they foiled me", she continued still. "Thus it turned into an opportunity to humiliate me and all those who were excited to celebrate the new year with me. Eventually I will explain this in greater detail to anyone who cares to hear it. I cannot deny that my feelings are hurt but I'm working through this and I'm truly grateful for my fans and my true friends, who have been so supportive in this time".
So not only is she still issuing statements more than a week later, she has yet more planned for the future. It's starting to look like it's Carey who is attempting to draw some sort of mysterious gain from all of this. By the way, Mariah Carey has tour dates coming up, where you can see her singing in all her glory. Tickets still available.