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BLOC COMPANY GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION
In a statement posted on the festival's website yesterday morning, the promoters said: "It is with great sadness that we announce Baselogic Productions (who you all know as Bloc) has been placed into administration following the events of Friday evening. The team are working hard with the administrators to investigate the issues that led to the closure of the event and people will be updated as and when we have new information. We ask that you allow the administrators time to conduct a thorough investigation so we can establish the facts. Once again we would like to apologise for all of the frustration and disappointment this situation has caused and thank everyone who has supported the team over the years, your continued support means so much to us".
Meanwhile administrator Parker Andrews said in a statement: "On 11 Jul 2012, Baselogic Productions Ltd trading as Bloc voluntarily entered administration. The appointed administrator is Jamie Playford of Parker Andrews Insolvency Practitioners. An investigation into the facts leading to Baselogic Productions' administration will be conducted immediately by Parker Andrews and a further statement will be issued in due course".
Playford added: "It is important that we understand the full facts including what funds will be available to creditors and ticketholders, and to ensure the information we provide about the next stages of administration is clear and concise".
Although many ticket-buyers remain angry about last weekend's debacle, and have expressed that anger online, there is still some support for the Bloc promoters, especially within the industry. Some agents in particular feel they are watching a good brand and good event going under due to considerable misfortune. Though all will be watching to see if the actions or decisions of any specific individuals or organisations directly caused last Friday's problems.
BLOC SHUTDOWN - SPECULATION ABOUT THE CAUSE CONTINUES
As previously reported, many have suggested that problems with the e-ticketing process, powered by CrowdSurge, may have played a role, with some noting that it was possible to hack the HTML of one e-ticket to create a second with a different barcode. Those who bought multiple tickets also noticed that the barcodes went up in sequential order, possibly suggesting that all tickets did the same, so it would be easy to guess an alternative code that would be accepted at the door.
Though as those allegations spread online yesterday, CrowdSurge denied that was so, insisting that it would actually be very difficult to guess a genuine barcode number, and even if someone did, only one person using that code would be given entry. The second person to arrive with the same barcode would be refused admission, even if they were the genuine ticket-buyer. CrowdSurge adds that its system shows no problem with multiple punters showing up on the night and trying to use identical e-tickets.
A spokesman for the company told CMU: "The methodology utilised to generate barcodes and associated barcode numbers is a standard system deployed by numerous industries. It is possible for an unscrupulous individual to forge a barcode and number. However, the barcode numbering is not sequential [for any one] event, and the scanners at the entry gate are programmed with the unique barcodes set aside for the specific event".
He continued: "Therefore, the chances of an unscrupulous individual managing to guess barcode numbers to event, to date, to ticket type and to entry gate are extremely remote. [And] even if this fraudulent barcode was correct, it could only be used once, not numerous times, because the barcode is marked on the live database as 'used' and would be declined by the scanners if presented again. During the period when scanning was in operation [at Bloc], at no point were fans directed to the box office with a duplicate barcode, that upon investigation by the box office team was found to be a fraudulent ticket. There is no evidence out of the 8000 tickets scanned that any fraudulent tickets were presented".
That said, CrowdSurge has said that it plans to change the way its system creates barcodes in future in order to reassure promoters, adding: "Confidence in fans purchasing tickets through the CrowdSurge system and defence against unscrupulous operators is of paramount importance to us, therefore we are changing the methodology of barcode generation".
While CrowdSurge insist that there were no reported problems of forged tickets at the Bloc Festival, as previously reported, the ticketing firm - whose only role at the actual event was providing and supporting the barcode scanning technology - has already revealed that just before 9.30pm on Friday night, three hours before the festival was shut down, it was told by the event's management that no more e-tickets would be scanned. Why this decision was made, given that there were no known technical problems with the scanning kit, isn't clear.
Whether it was that decision that caused the subsequent problems at the Bloc event we don't know. Given that CrowdSurge says there was no sign of fraudulent e-tickets prior to 9.30pm, it seems unlikely a large number of people with such tickets would then appear after that time and gain entry once the scanning process was stopped. And even if tickets weren't being properly scanned, Bloc staff may still have been counting people onto the site (certainly the event's licence would have required them to).
All of which means that the theory that too many people gained access to the festival site may as yet prove to be untrue, though the decision to stop scanning tickets at the gates remains an odd one for the promoters to have made.
BLOC ADMINSTRATION - WHAT MIGHT IT MEAN FOR THE UK LIVE SECTOR
This means ticket-buyers looking for refunds will now have to join the queue with Baselogic's other creditors, and with most artists having already been paid 50% of their fees upfront, and most of the festival's logistical costs having already been incurred, added to the fact that the 18,000 capacity festival had not sold out, it seems very unlikely there will be enough to give ticket-buyers full refunds (indeed, if there was, it is unlikely the company would have gone into administration in the first place).
Many now expect ticket-buyers to see no return from the festival company at all, meaning customers will have to look to their credit card companies for compensation (assuming they bought with a credit card, those who used debit cards may be less lucky). While hopefully as many of those affected by the Bloc cancellation as possible will be able to get their money back via their credit card companies, that's going to piss off the powers that be at Visa and Mastercard, who could force banks to stop providing smaller entertainment promoters with merchant accounts that can accept credit card payments. And that could have a catastrophic effect on independent festival promoters.
Mark Meharry of UK-based direct-to-fan e-commerce platform Music Glue told CMU: "There is going to be a significant knock-on effect [from this] and it will affect the entire live industry. Online payment gateways started getting really nervous [about live events] when Michael Jackson died, because of the scale of the risks involved with online ticketing. They began to clamp down on the risks and have recently forced ticketing companies to guarantee that funds for high-risk events are not passed to the event organisers until after the event happens".
"Because most festivals need ticket money up front to bankroll their events, a technical solution to get around this has been to set up the festival as the merchant receiving the funds from customers directly. In this scenario the ticketing company does not receive the revenues from sales and therefore are not exposed to risk. Apparently this technique was used by CrowdSurge with Bloc Festival".
He concluded: "Some of the larger ticketing outfits are well known for taking risks and handing the cash over in advance, however I doubt that in 2013 the CFOs of these companies will allow this practice to continue. I may be wrong, but [for music festivals] 2013 is going to be very different beast to 2012".
RADIOHEAD RETURN TO THE STAGE, PAY TRIBUTE TO LATE DRUM TECH
As previously reported, the investigation is ongoing in Canada into what caused the roof of a temporary staging structure to collapse. The incident caused the band to cancel a string of live dates, partly to recover from the trauma of having lost a crew member, and partly because the much of the complicated lights show that accompanies Radiohead's gigs was destroyed.
According to Consequence Of Sound, in Nimes on Tuesday night, the band paid tribute to Johnson in an unusual third encore, in which Thom Yorke dedicated a performance of the band's track 'Reckoner' to "our friend Scott", while pictures of the late drum tech were display on the screens behind the stage.
BOSS OF LEADING ILLEGAL MUSIC SITE IN ITALY ARRESTED
Italianshare.net, which was apparently Italy's largest unlicensed music service at the time, was shut down by the authorities last November, and since then police have been investigating the way in which the operation, which generated an estimated 580,000 euros in revenue, was run.
According to reports, Italianshare.net and some affiliate sites made money by selling advertising, seeking donation from users, and by selling the email and IP addresses of its users to third parties. The latter scheme has resulted in the extra data protection charges. As well as the top man, five others have been charged with various crimes in relation to their involvement in the site.
Commenting on the arrest, Frances Moore of global record industry trade body IFPI told CMU: "This investigation throws a spotlight onto the illegal business models behind high-profile unlicensed services that are generating revenue and avoiding taxes on a grand scale. I welcome the efforts of the authorities in Italy to tackle this problem and urge governments and law enforcement agencies elsewhere to show similar vigour in curbing illegal activity online".
EXAMPLE PREPARES TO SAVE GUITAR MUSIC
Speaking to the NME, the singer/rapper said that his new album features "every genre" of guitar music. I particularly look forward to his take on black metal.
He told the music weekly: "It's very good. It's like every genre of guitar music. There's stadium rock, there's some more U2 and Coldplay moments on there, in terms of riffs. And then there's some grungy stuff more like, Foo Fighters ballads. And then there's some more Green Day-esque stuff then some Soundgarden-type stuff".
However, he quickly moved to reassure everyone that the album wouldn't see him moving completely over to outdated sounds from the past, adding: "Everything's got a massive guitar riff, but then backed up by electronic drums and synth basslines or dubstep sort of basslines. It's all pretty uplifting. That's the vibe and I'm happy with it".
AZEALIA BANKS RELEASES MIXTAPE
The rapper has added context to the compilation across a series of tweets, saying: "I originally started this mixtape with the intention of letting go a ton of old ideas... like songs I started writing but never finished. My ideas and concepts started to develop, so I changed the title and began to try and make the project more cohesive. 'Fantasea' is almost kind of a first album of sorts... but it happened by mistake... it's weird. This is a test run... I tried a lot of cool things... sounds I thought were progressive, beats made by close friends, different flowsss".
Out Of Space
JOSEPHINE ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM
Listing some of her early influences as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Marley, Josephine says: "I learned a lot from their storytelling techniques and the more complex rhythmical style they used. Reggae taught me to feel the music and that writing a song could be different to the way I imagined before. When I was writing some of my first songs I was literally waking up, going to work, then to a gig, and getting back at midnight only to do it all again in the morning".
Listen to 'What a Day' here.
And if you're still sitting there thinking to yourself: "Just who the hecking heck is this Josephine person anyway?", well why not watch this short introductory film.
COLDPLAY CO-CREATE MYLO XYLOTO COMIC BOOK
He has this to say about it: "The comic is the latest expression of a music-driven feature animated film that the band and I started developing several years ago. It is the story of 'Mylo Xyloto', a young Silencer on the front lines of a war against sound and colour in the world of Silencia. Mylo discovers that the enemy he's been trained to hate his whole life might not be the enemy after all. There will hopefully be many, many connections for people who have heard the album. I am beyond thrilled with the way it's turned out".
Limited copies of the first issue will be sold via Coldplay's online merch store, so please donate kindly.
BETH ORTON ANNOUNCES ALBUM, TOUR DATES
Says Beth: "I stretched myself as a singer on this record and used voices I never have before as a writer. A lot of the writing on this record happened in the dead of night, when spiders mend their webs, with an infant asleep in the next room... as a result, my writing became a secret again: illicit and my own".
Beth has also detailed a fifteen date live outing, whose listings are as follows:
25 Nov: Leamington Spa, Assembly Rooms
What's more, you can cast a glance at the official video for LP track 'Something More Beautiful' here and now.
RED BULL TO HOST MAJOR LAZER, SEAN PAUL, DAVID RODIGAN AT NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL PARTY
Performances from Doc Daneeka, Mele, b2b Lil Silva and Raf Riley are also promised, as is a mystery 'special guest', past examples of which have included MIA, Santigold and Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
Free tickets for the event, allocated on a first come, first served basis, will be available via www.redbull.co.uk/carnival from 10am on 16 Aug.
TY SEGALL TO RELEASE SOLO LP, TOUR WITH BAND
Speaking of the Ty Segall Band, they've also committed to a lengthy European tour in honour of the very good/loud 'Slaughterhouse', which by the way is still available for unlimited listening via Spin.
And the tour's Britain-based dates are thus:
30 Jul: Manchester, The Castle Hotel
TWO WOUNDED BIRDS LIST LIVE OUTING
Why not listen to it here.
Following a hometown show at Margate's Harbour Arm, TWB will visit the following:
3 Oct: Brighton, Green Door Store
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
1234 SHOREDITCH, Shoreditch Park, London, 1 Sep: 1234 marks its fifth iteration with the addition of Falty DL, Lapalux, Patten, Regal Safari and Young Montana, all of whom will grace the East London festival's dance stage. Fixtures of the line-up at large include Crocodiles, Bo Ningen, Frankie Rose, SCUM, Bleeding Heart Narrative and Dirty Beaches. www.the1234shoreditch.com
GUILFEST, Guildford, Surrey, 13-15 Jul: Johnny Marr is now set to accompany his one-time 'Bete Noir' collaborator, Guilfest headliner Bryan Ferry, during his Sunday evening slot. The Guildford-based event's existing listings also include Olly Murs, Jools Holland, Tulisa, Jimmy Cliff, Gary Numan, Candi Staton, Cher Lloyd and Tim Minchin. www.guilfest.co.uk
LATITUDE, Henham Park Estate, Suffolk, 12-15 Jul: Summer Camp and Phantasy-signed DJ Daniel Avery lead a list of acts destined to play culture collective Noise Of Art's psychedelic showcase at this weekend's Latitude, replacing the now-defunct Phenomenal Handclap Band. This lot thus align on the festival's main bill with the previously announced likes of Bon Iver, Elbow and Paul Weller alongside Rufus Wainwright, Metronomy, Laura Marling, Wild Beasts, Alabama Shakes and Bat For Lashes. www.latitudefestival.co.uk
MELTDOWN, Southbank Centre, London, 1-12 Aug: Final additions Hercules & Love Affair, John Grant, Sissy Nobby and, weirdly, 'Sex And The City' actress Kim Catrall (who'll in fact be talking about her past role as Shakespeare's 'Cleopatra') serve to complete the line-up of Antony Hegarty's hand-chosen Meltdown festival, as will also host Lou Reed, Diamanda Galás, Laurie Anderson, Elizabeth Fraser, CocoRosie, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joey Arias and Marc Almond. www.southbankcentre.co.uk/meltdown
UNDERAGE FESTIVAL, Shoreditch Park, London, 31 Aug: Performances from Devlin, Skepta and 'X Factor' debutante Misha B, plus a DJ set by indie faves Foals, are new to proceedings at London's teens-only Underage fest, as also features Devlin, Spector, Rustie, Outfit, Disclosure and TEED. www.underagefestivals.com
FORMER COLUMBIA CHIEF JOINS UNIVERSAL
In his new role, Smith will work alongside Mercury chief Jason Iley and the former label manager of Mercury imprint Vertigo Clive Cawley, who has been promoted to the job of MD for the whole division. Elliot Taylor is also moving to Mercury, from Universal's central sales team, to be Commercial Director, and Rachel Paley will return to the major from a stint at rival Warner as Senior Marketing Manger.
Commenting on the new recruits, Iley told CMU: "With Mike and Clive, Mercury has two incredible ambassadors. Clive has long been respected for his talent and loved for his irreverent humour. Mike is an exceptional record-maker and I'm delighted we now have him on our side - despite being one of the industry's true gentlemen he's proved a very tough competitor in the past. These appointments strengthen our team at one of the most exciting times in Mercury's history".
HMV SHAREHOLDERS BACK APOLLO SALE
What HMV will now do with the rest of MAMA - which still owns a network of smaller venues and festivals and other live, artist and brand services companies - remains to be seen, a management buyout is still not out of the question.
As previously reported, HMV bought the MAMA Group in 2010 as part of its bid to diversify its brand into all areas of music, though that plan was dropped last year when banks, to which the firm is heavily indebted, insisted the company focus on its core retail business.
Six07 Press Director, Ritu Morton told CMU: "We are hugely looking forward to Ash joining our team; we feel she will make a great fit at Six07 and her experience in both online PR and journalism are invaluable assets for us. We believe in a very bespoke approach to press and Ash has all the skills to contribute further to our philosophy. Not only will she be overseeing national press accounts but also directing our online department".
Dosanjh herself added: "I'm thrilled to be joining the team at Six07 Press and help build upon the company's already outstanding reputation. But most of all I can't wait to start working with some truly amazing acts."
SONY BOSS WANTS BETTER DEAL FROM GOOGLE OVER VEVO
As much previously reported, VEVO is the music video service owned by Universal Music and Sony Music, among others. Although it is essentially a channel on Google's YouTube platform, VEVO turned the YouTube model on its head - rather than the web firm selling advertising around official music videos and paying the labels a cut, VEVO sells the advertising and pays YouTube a cut.
VEVO charges higher rates to advertisers, and has more overt ad spots on its pages, meaning more money is generated for the actual rights owners (so shareholders Universal and Sony, but all the other labels and publishers whose content features too) even after Google is paid its technology fee.
But nevertheless, Morris says, Google's rates are currently too high, given just how much traffic VEVO's content creates for YouTube (traffic which might then move on to YouTube content not hosted by VEVO), and given that many of the web giant's rivals are currently courting the digital music firm about taking Google's place.
Speaking to the LA Times, Morris said: "Google is charging us a lot of money to put our videos on their platform, and we would like them to reduce their fees. If not, there are at least three other companies who want to take our videos".
Morris has no day-to-day control over VEVO, even though his company is a shareholder and content provider, though his opinions are important, not least because - in his previous job as top man at Universal - it was his initiative that led to the creation of the label-owned video platform in the first place.
There have been many rumours in recent months that VEVO was considering an alliance with one of Google's rivals as the two companies' current partnership comes up for renewal. That said, Google doesn't only bring technology to the table - while VEVO might deliver YouTube traffic, it actually works the other way round much more frequently, the Google platform being the go-to place for video content online (plus, of course, YouTube videos perform unsurprisingly well in Google searches).
So, while VEVO has been busy trying to build its own home page as a destination for music fans, in reality, for the time being at least, traffic that arrives via YouTube is incredibly important, making it unlikely that Google would or could be cut out of the equation at this stage. Though alternative and concurrent alliances can be expected with other web firms that provide access to additional audiences - Facebook in particular - which might strengthen VEVO's hand for future YouTube negotiations.
7DIGITAL WILL SHIP ON 20 MILLION HTC PHONES THIS YEAR
Anyway, I think I went off on a tangent there. But worry not, 7Digital boss man Ben Drury is here to pull us back on topic, telling CMU: "Our mobile applications provide customers with the choice to access their music however, whenever and through whatever platform they choose. The integration allows HTC users access to the 7Digital music download store on their new device, and they can also access their music through any connected devices using a 7Digital app or the web-based 7digital.com store".
HTC, of course, owns Dr Dre's Beats company that recently bought the MOG streaming music service, so presumably that too will come pre-installed on the Taiwanese firm's phones eventually. What a high tech computer party HTC customers will be having in the future.
ONE DIRECTION BOY POSTS PICTURE OF BANDMATE'S ARSE
Well, according to The Sun, that one, seemingly showing Tomlinson in the shower, was posted by bandmate Niall Horan to his Instagram account with the caption "next time lock the door, Lou", so is probably the real deal. Which is good news for anyone sitting where the '1D fan' and 'bum fan' Venn diagram intersects.
Though someone really ought to tell Horan that boy bands generally keep the arse photos aside ready for distribution alongside that tricky third album. Though perhaps he considers all of his publicity people to be a "shower of cunts", and so wouldn't listen anyway. Oh no, I forgot, he's not using that word any more. Which is why he couldn't caption his photo "Louis in the shower".