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CROWDSURGE COMMENTS ON BLOC DEBACLE
As also previously reported, while Bloc promoter Baselogic continue to investigate what went wrong, opinion is divided amongst those who attended the event as to why crowd management became such an issue that promoters and police feared for audience safety.
Some reckon that too many people were admitted to the festival, possibly because of a problem with the ticketing process, while others have suggested that, although in theory the London Pleasure Gardens could more than accommodate the event's 18,000 capacity, the way the complex was used, with nearly all the stages on one half of the site, could not.
Also, organisers possibly didn't plan to accommodate all punters in performance areas at the same time, basing their plans on previous Bloc events where, being held at holiday camps, a portion of the audience would be in their chalets at any one time.
Of course until Bloc officially reports on the circumstances that resulted in last Friday's shutdown it's impossible to know what happened. But in a statement issued yesterday, CrowdSurge insisted that neither its ticket booking system or barcode scanning equipment was to blame.
Many Bloc ticket-buyers have observed that they could print out multiple copies of their tickets, though that is always the case with e-tickets. That said, the Teknoids blog, among others, has also noted that by pulling the HTML code out of e-tickets and changing one number in the barcode URL, punters could manufacture additional tickets with different barcodes (those who bought multiple tickets having noticed that the barcode numbers went up sequentially, so they could easily guess alternative codes).
CrowdSurge notes that even if numerous people did arrive at the site with the same barcode, only one ticket-buyer would be able to get past the gates, because the company's scanners would only authenticate each barcode once. Though, if people who had illegitimately manufactured a barcode got there first, then the genuine ticket buyer with the same code might not get in, which could have caused confusion at the gates, which might have explained the queues and, if stewards ultimately decided to let people in even if their barcodes didn't scan, overcrowding.
CrowdSurge, whose only involvement at the actual event was the scanning of the barcodes, says that it was not aware of any widespread issues with ticket scanning and that isolated (and to be expected) problems with certain e-tickets were dealt with on a case by case basis. But, the company adds, decisions were made at the event's gates beyond its control which may have caused the overcrowding problems.
In its statement, CrowdSurge says: "The number of tickets sold for the event on Friday 6 Jul was 15,796 - a figure far short of the 18,000 capacity placed by the festival organisers and the 30,000 posted by London Pleasure Gardens. Throughout the process Baselogic controlled the amount of tickets sold and this was at the discretion of Baselogic, not CrowdSurge".
Meanwhile CrowdSurge CEO Martyn Noble told CMU: "It is evident that there was a combination of factors causing the cancellation of the Bloc Festival on Friday evening. The decisions taken had personal safety as the prime concern and as a result, personal injury was averted. We are immensely disappointed for the fans, the artists and festival organisers that the event was cancelled and will work with Baselogic and third parties to establish 'what happened and why' throughout their investigation. We sympathise with the frustration caused in lack of detailed statement coming forward from a variety of parties which is creating angst among fans waiting for refunds and an understanding of what went wrong".
Perhaps more importantly for those ticket-buyers waiting for refunds, CrowdSurge has confirmed that Baselogic handled all payments directly, so no money went through the CrowdSurge system, meaning punters are relying on the promoters themselves to refund ticket monies. Whether the company will be able to do this remains to be seen. It's thought most artists received 50% of their fees upfront which, coupled with the costs incurred to set up the site, will have used up a sizable portion of ticket revenues, making it unlikely the company would be able to refund all ticket buyers in full. Many insiders in the live sector - including agents who remain fans of Bloc's promoters for their past achievements - expect the Baselogic company to move into administration at some point.
More information about all this is expected in due course.
GRAINGE HAS A NEW MANIFESTO FOR MUSIC, JUST AS LONG AS HE GETS EMI
Officially speaking, the major has previously said it believed it could secure regulator approval for its big deal without offering any remedies, though imminent concessions have been rumoured for sometime now, and are expected to be formally discussed between the music firm and EC regulators later this month.
In an interview with the FT, Grainge confirmed that Universal would offer to offload assets in those territories where critics say the major would be far too dominant if it is allowed to acquire EMI Music, though in the main he was much more keen to discuss how Universal would provide a cash boost to the EMI's under-resourced A&R teams (whose budgets were excessively cut under the old Terra Firma regime, he said), while also spearheading a "manifesto for the new music industry" to help digital start-ups with grand plans.
As his company heads into a number of face to face meetings with regulators this month (though a full oral hearing has been declined), Grainge told the paper: "I'm extremely open-minded about working with the [European] Commission in the context of behavioural remedies as well as divestitures".
Adding that he saw "a new world, with new platforms, new entrepreneurs, where we can all come together and create value", Grainge also threw in a bit of nationalism for the UK paper, honing in on the fact that, while he may run a French-owned music company from the US, he's British, and Britain's EMI would be in safe hands as part of his group. "I'm British. I want to see EMI back to where it was when I wanted to get a job there", he concluded.
Whether such talk will win over EC regulators this month remains to be seen - most reckon officials will be most interested in what assets Universal would be willing to sell as part of the deal.
In related news, it was confirmed by Music Week this morning that the Universal/EMI deal has been given the go ahead by regulators in Japan.
CHRIS MOYLES TO DEPART RADIO 1 BREAKFAST IN SEPTEMBER
As much previously reported, Radio 1 management has been criticised for some time regarding the Moyles breakfast show, with some arguing that the 38 year old was not reaching the BBC station's target youth demographic, and others that the nation's favourite should be constantly looking to innovate, rather than celebrating the fact the incumbent was the network's longest serving breakfast DJ. But then the Moyles show continued to perform well in the ratings, and while his presenting style has always divided opinion, millions remain loyal to his programme.
Commentators have speculated at various points in recent years that Moyles might be able to leave the BBC pop station, and at one point there was much denied rumour that he was in talks with Global Radio about moving to Capital. But when it was announced that the DJ had renewed his contract with Radio 1 until the start of 2014, what would be the tenth anniversary of his breakfast show, many assumed he would stay on the prime time slot until then, despite newish Controller Ben Cooper more overtly trying to overcome criticism, both externally and from the BBC Trust, that Radio 1 just wasn't youthful enough.
Confirming he would depart in September, Moyles said simply: "We're off. I wanted to let you know. A couple more months of us, then it's someone else's turn. Thank you for listening".
While Cooper said: "I'd like to thank Chris. Quite simply he's been the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history. He's done it for more than eight and half years and he's been fantastic".
HIT FACTORY LIVE CANCELLED
As previously reported, the big selling point of the show was last month's announcement that Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan would perform their duet 'Especially For You', rounding of a day of performances from SAW acts of old like Steps, Rick Astley, Jason Donovan, Bananarama, Dead Or Alive, Pepsi & Shirlie, Princess, Sinitta, Hazell Dean, Sonia, Sybil, 2 Unlimited, Lonnie Gordon and Brother Beyond.
However, over the last two weeks, ticket prices for the event were slashed to as low as £5, from the original £48.50, leading to much speculation that the event had failed to excite as many music fans as originally expected.
Staging the event on a Wednesday seemed like an odd decision from the start - especially as the target audience would be an older demographic - though London's festival calendar, especially in Hyde Park, is particularly crowded this year because of extra Olympic events. Whether the midweek scheduling, coupled with a poor weather forecast damaging last minute bookings, did result in disappointing ticket sales, and whether that impacted on the decision to cancel, isn't 100% clear.
That said, there is some credibility with the weather excuse - or, more precisely, that weeks of wet weather, coupled with thousands of people trudging around Hyde Park last weekend for the Wireless Festival, has left the site very worse for wear, which is not good given it's needed for this weekend's Hard Rock Calling, not to mention a load of events during the London 2012 Games. Organisers say that the site is not currently safe for an event like Hit Factory Live, plus time is needed to ensure the park is ready for all of Live Nation's other festival shenanigans.
Live Nation COO John Probyn told CMU: "The moment the Wireless Festival ended, we put in place a massive plan to prepare the site for tomorrow. Eight thousand cubic metres of wood chip is currently being put in place and over the past 24 hours crews have started to make the site safe for our customers. Despite best efforts time has beaten us, but I want to reassure that Hard Rock Calling concerts with Soundgarden, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, plus Madonna on 17 Jul and the BT London Live Opening Ceremony Celebration concert and the events will go ahead".
Tickets for Hit Factory Live purchased from Ticketmaster and See Tickets should be refunded automatically.
DOTCOM SAYS HE'D VOLUNTARILY GO TO AMERICA IN RETURN FOR ACCESS TO FUNDS
Dotcom's offer came after a planned extradition hearing in New Zealand was postponed from August to next March, amidst complications relating to warrants used by police to raid the MegaUpload chief's home in the country back in January, and arguments about how much evidence the Americans should share with the defence. As previously reported, the US has been trying to extradite Dotcom and three other former MegaUpload executives from New Zealand ever since they shut down the controversial file-transfer service at the start of the year.
Although the US in theory would like its extradition to go through as soon as possible, Dotcom's legal team have suggested that delays in the New Zealand court actually suit the prosecution in America, because the US has deprived Dotcom of most of his fortune, and yet the longer the case rumbles on the more legal fees he incurs. And there's only so many favours even someone as well connected as Dotcom can call in.
He told the New Zealand Herald this week: "I have accumulated millions of dollars in legal bills and I haven't been able to pay a single cent. They just want to hang me out to dry and wait until there is no support left".
Proposing to the US that he come to America voluntarily, but on his own terms, to escalate the criminal case against him, Dotcom tweeted yesterday: "Hey DOJ [US Department Of Justice], we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers and living expenses".
Quite how serious the offer is to the US isn't clear - it certainly implies Dotcom genuinely believes he can defeat the charges against him in the US courts, because if he didn't he'd face jail time. That said, it is unlikely the US will call the MegaUpload chief's bluff and accept the offer, especially given the terms may well change if any actual deal was negotiated. Dotcom basically admitted this when telling the New Zealand Herald: "They will never agree to this and that is because they can't win this case and they know that already".
For the time being at least, America's attempts to extradite Dotcom are ongoing.
UNIVERSAL'S PRE-1972 TECHNICALITY FAILS IN ONGOING GROOVESHARK BATTLE
As much previously reported, while many indie labels do licence Grooveshark (for the time being at least), all four majors reckon that the US company's business model is set up to abuse loopholes in American copyright law so that it can offer a vast catalogue of music, much of it without licence from rights owners. And while Groovesharke, in its defence, often positions itself as the champion of artists over labels, many musicians and songwriters have also been very vocal in their criticism of the streaming music platform in recent years.
The key difference between Grooveshark and the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Deezer, is that it allows users to upload music to its library. That means that large quantities of content from labels that have not done a licensing deal with the firm routinely appear in the Grooveshark library. But the company does operate a takedown system, pledging to remove unlicensed content if and when it is made aware of it. This, Grooveshark argues, and pretty convincingly based on recent precedent, protects it from liability for copyright infringement in the US jurisdiction, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
But the major record companies argue that, because Grooveshark operates a passive takedown system, however many times a label requests content be removed, users will always quickly re-upload missing tracks, which renders the takedown process pointless. Some have also alleged that that fact is further exasperated by Grooveshark running a deliberately shoddy takedown system to further ensure it has as big a catalogue as possible at any one time. But the streaming music firm argues that the DMCA doesn't require technology companies to develop rights-holder-friendly proactive takedown systems in order to avoid infringement claims, and court rulings in similar cases back up that claim.
To that end, the labels have been trying to find ways to circumvent the DMCA when challenging Grooveshark. One ruse attempted by Universal Music was to file a lawsuit in the New York courts that specifically related to recordings owned by the label that were released prior to 1972. This is because the DMCA is a piece of federal law, and US-wide copyright law only began in America in 1972. Copyright works from before then are protected by State laws, and, Universal's legal team argued - somewhat optimistically - that the DMCA did not apply on State law.
The same argument was also presented as part of EMI's much previously reported legal fight with the now defunct MP3tunes.com, and last November the judge hearing that case knocked the technicality back, saying it was ridiculous to say that DMCA rules only applied to post-1972 works, because that would put an unfair burden on tech companies utilising protection from the act, who couldn't be expected to know what recordings in common circulation actually dated from before federal copyright law was introduced. In light of that ruling, it was going to be pretty hard for Universal to argue the same point.
And sure enough, according to Techdirt, that particular Universal lawsuit against Grooveshark has been knocked back too, with the judge citing the MP3tunes ruling as precedent. It means that the digital music service can claim DMCA protection for all the music its streams, oblivious of when that music was released. The judge also knocked back some of Universal's attempts to have counterclaims made against it by Grooveshark dismissed, though the streaming service's allegations of anti-trust behaviour by the music company were rejected.
Of course, within weeks of the MP3tunes ruling, Universal had filed a new lawsuit against Grooveshark, alleging that the digital firm had its own staff upload unlicensed music. If that could be proven, the digital firm would not be able to hide behind DMCA protection, and would be liable for copyright infringement. That case, now also backed by Sony Music and Warner Music, is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the US record industry is quietly - and sometimes not so quietly - lobbying for Congressional clarification on those elements of the DMCA used by Grooveshark and others (mainly YouTube competitors) to circumvent infringement claims.
An increasing number of rights owners believe that, because the courts have set a low minimum standard for takedown processes, it has allowed companies to build businesses out of a flaw in the system, ie that because users are constantly uploading unlicensed content, rights owners cannot keep up with takedown requests, meaning websites can offer vast catalogues of music at anyone time without permission, but without any copyright liability. The labels would like the DMCA to be amended so that more sophisticated takedown systems, such as that operated by Google's YouTube, would become compulsory.
RUN-DMC REUNION CONFIRMED
MCs Run and DMC will perform to mark the tenth anniversary of Jam Master Jay's death, and organisers of Fun Fun Fun Fest have said that a portion of revenues from the event will be donated to the JMJ Foundation For Music, which was set up by the late producer's wife Terri Corley-Mizell in his memory.
It's not yet clear if the duo are planning any further performances, but here's a video announcing the first one for you to enjoy while you wait to find out.
REZNOR WRITES CALL OF DUTY VIDEOGAME SOUNDTRACK, HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS ALBUM COMPLETE
Reznor said of the game and his music: "I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age. There is a lot of reservation and angst and sense of loss and regret and anger bubbling under the surface [in 'Black Ops II']. So it didn't make sense to have a gung ho patriotic feeling kind of theme song. It has to feel weighty".
As for his post-Nine Inch Nails project with wife Mariqueen Maandiq and long-time studio partner Atticus Ross, How To Destroy Angels, Reznor said that their long awaited album is now complete: "We have a finished album. It's been finished for a little while. We're doing a little bit of tweaks on it. The record will be out soon. We are doing a different type of distribution this time so it's taking a little bit longer to coordinate stuff. There's a lot of music about to be unleashed, videos, etc".
He also added that new Nine Inch Nails material is currently "in its gestation period".
Watch the trailer for 'Call Of Duty: Black Ops II', featuring snatches of Reznor's soundtrack, here.
LABRINTH "SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING WITH RIHANNA"
Speaking to Capital FM, the producer said: "I'm supposed to be working with her soon hopefully, so I've spoke to her managers. I think she's currently working on some stuff so everybody's in there at the moment and she's working in certain studios so it seems like it's very exciting. She's not in my studio [yet] but hopefully I'll have some hot ones on her album".
MATHEW KNOWLES PLANNING DESTINY'S CHILD RE-ISSUES
Knowles Senior, of course, managed the group while they were still together, and then Beyonce's solo career. However, the father and daughter's professional relationship ended abruptly in March last year after he was accused of stealing from her, which casts some doubt on any further business relationship between the two.
Still, Mathew told The Huffington Post: "It takes a year of planning to do these tours, but first it starts with the artist wanting to do it. And I think the ladies are still working happily in their solo careers. And I hope in the next five years that there is a reunion tour. I think it would be incredible. The hardest thing would be choosing which songs they're going to do, because we would want to mix it up with solo hits and Destiny's Child hits. We would have to throw away some number ones from off the set list".
FRANK OCEAN RELEASES ALBUM EARLY, POSTS FREE STREAM
The album features contributions from Andre 3000, John Mayer and Ocean's Odd Future compatriot Earl Sweatshirt.
The physical release of the album is due out on 23 Jul, but if you're holding out for that there's no need to feel left out, you can listen to a free stream of the whole record right here.
MINUS THE BEAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, LONDON SHOW
You can catch the band live in London when they headline Heaven on 17 Aug, and you can check out album track 'Lonely Gun' right now, here.
The album has ten songs on it, all of which have titles. Here is a list of what they are:
Steel And Blood
CARINA ROUND ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM
Explaining the title, taken from a painting by Amy Cutler, Round said: "The first time I saw the painting I stared at it for a long time not understanding why. The absurd image absorbed me. There was an innocent simplicity to it. The gentle putting back together of something most ferocious and wild mysteriously damaged to the point of submission".
Watch the video for album track 'Pick Up The Phone', here.
SPIKE LEE DIRECTING MICHAEL JACKSON DOCUMENTARY
Produced in conjunction with the estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music, the film features footage from the recording, promotion and touring of the album, as well as new interviews with many of those involved at the time and artists who have been influenced by it, including Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Cee-Lo Green and Sheryl Crow, who was a backing singer on the 'Bad' tour.
Lee said of the project: "I'm more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy. With this 'Bad' project I was able to uncover just what made this such a huge, important coming of age in his career and unearth compelling stories surrounding the making of the album, the long awaited follow-up to 'Thriller' - the best selling album of all time - the short films and the tour that may have never seen the light of day".
PULP ANNOUNCE CHRISTMAS HOMETOWN SHOW
Coincidently, earlier this week I listened to 'Different Class' for the first time in ages and realised I'd completely forgotten how great it is. So, in recognition of that fact, let's all watch this homemade video for 'F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E' which for no obvious reason is made up of clips from classic 90s Canadian TV show 'Due South'.
TWIN SHADOW ANNOUNCES UK SHOWS
The dates are:
31 Oct: Manchester, Sound Control
Watch the second video from the album, 'Patient', here.
JENNY O ANNOUNCES UK TOUR
The dates are as follows:
24 Jul: Brighton, The Hope
Watch the video for 'Well OK Honey', which is take form the EP, here.
SONY/ATV RESTRUCTURES MANAGEMENT TEAM AS EMI STAFF CULL BEGINS
According to reports, tens of staffers at the EMI publishing firm, on both sides of the Atlantic, have already been laid off, and rumour has it the number of redundancies worldwide could top 75 by the end of the week. As previously reported, a leaked report earlier this year suggested up to half of EMI Publishing's 515 employees could be ultimately axed as Sony/ATV teams take over rights administration duties, although it could take two years to fully trim the company down to size.
Meanwhile, Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier has announced a revamp of the company's management team who will oversee both the Sony publishing company and EMI Music Publishing. According to Billboard, with one exception - Brian Monaco - all of the senior managers confirmed so far come from Sony/ATV, though announcements to date have been US heavy.
Although - with Sony only actually owning a slice of the EMI publishing firm - the Sony and EMI publishing companies will remain separate entities legally speaking, it is thought in operational teams the two businesses will become pretty fully integrated pretty quickly, more so than some expected. Billboard also cites reports as saying that moving forward any new songwriters signed by Sony or EMI A&R teams will actually be contracted to both Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing.
BUZZMEDIA BUYS SPIN
BuzzMedia top geezer Tyler Goldman told reporters: "As music consumption continues to grow, there is an enormous demand for deeper context and engagement with thousands of diverse artists. Spin's category-leading editorial and photographic content provides the added social context that the audience is seeking by identifying, exploring and documenting the trends and scenes that shape music culture. While content is now being consumed across numerous devices, the key for all platforms is the type of great storytelling that Spin provides".
Meanwhile the boss of Spin Media, Alan Nichols, said: "As our audience has migrated to digital platforms, so too has Spin, as evidenced by our growing audience of more than one million digital users and our award-winning iPad app. This deal greatly accelerates our digital transition, enabling us to not only tap into BuzzMedia's digital audience of 120 million unique monthly visitors, but also its ability to foster original, authentic and insightful voices in a digital world".
Although those quotes say a lot about digital, and nothing about Spin's print edition - possibly adding to speculation the printed magazine will be phased out in favour of web and tablet outputs - Goldman insists no decision have as yet been made regards the Spin magazine. The New York Times quotes him as saying: "We believe print is important for Spin. As we continue to invest in the platform, we're going to look at defining what that role is".
THE QUEEN REFUSED TO HAND JAGGER HIS KNIGHTHOOD, NEW BOOK CLAIMS
You'd have thought that if he'd genuinely harboured anti-establishment views he wouldn't have formed a relationship with a member of the royal family or accepted an OBE, but there you go.
Actually, according to The Daily Mail, The Queen had an even longer list of complaints which led to her deciding that she "did not have the stomach" to present the award, including that he had once called her "Chief Witch", had claimed that "anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope", had acted unpatriotically by moving to France to avoid tax in the 1970s, didn't do as much charity work as Elton John, and had embodied the 'sex, drugs and rock n roll' ethos in the 1970s "more than any other figure".
An anonymous source, said to be a royal courtier, told the book's author, Christopher Anderson: "The Queen looked at Mick Jagger's name on that list, and there was absolutely no way in the world that she was going to take part in that. So she simply arranged to be elsewhere".
The 'elsewhere', it seems, was a hospital, where she arranged to have an operation on her knee. That's how much she didn't want to have to go near Mick Jagger. She reportedly told a doctor: "I would much rather be here than at Buckingham Palace knighting a certain party".
Despite handing over the knighthood on behalf of his mother, Prince Charles is also said to have been surprised that Jagger was given the award, telling one of his aides: "It's really quite difficult to believe. A knighthood. Just incredible".