ANSCHUTZ COMPANY TO SELL AEG
The firm has hired the services of the Blackstone Group to advise on the deal, and it's expected that private-equity set ups, other entertainment groups and real estate companies will all be interested in acquiring AEG, though there are currently no plans to split the group for sale, so a buyer would have to be able to bid for the whole outfit. Anschutz bosses reportedly hope to complete any sale sometime next year.
The President of the Anschutz Company, Cannon Y Harvey, said in a statement: "Given the success of the management team and employees in establishing AEG as one of the premiere real estate development, live sports and entertainment platforms in the world, as well as the value AEG has created with the strategic assets that comprise its platform, this is an appropriate time to transition AEG to a new qualified owner".
He continued: "This process represents a unique opportunity to maximise value for all concerned and will allow us to assure that, like the Anschutz Company, the new owner will have the financial resources, commitment and vision to support AEG's management team as it continues to grow the businesses of AEG and the power of its brands. We will conduct this process in a manner that avoids disruption of the day-to-day operations of AEG and its constituencies. The Anschutz Company has the highest confidence in AEG's potential and its management, and will only undertake a transaction that reflects this confidence".
Meanwhile Tim Leiweke, CEO of AEG itself, said: "AEG is a proven innovator in real estate, sports and live entertainment, and is at the forefront of shaping the dynamics of these industries. Live entertainment is the economic driver of the music industry, and fan participation and experience are the cornerstones of professional sports - our platform regularly brings fans, sponsors and world-class talent together to create unparalleled opportunities in both segments".
He added: "AEG's model drives significant value and growth across all of our assets by enhancing the overall experience for audiences, artists and teams, as well as bringing tangible benefits to our partners, ranging from sponsors to municipalities, across the globe. With the AEG platform, we are able to successfully undertake transformational projects that revolutionise markets by creating true entertainment destinations for consumers, while positively regenerating neighbourhoods through projects such as LA Live in Los Angeles and The O2 in London".
UNIVERSAL/EMI APPROVED IN AUSTRALIA, INDIE COMMUNITY SPEAKS OUT
Although the investigations by competition regulators in the US and the European Union have always been most crucial to Universal, regulators in several other markets have also considered the proposed merger of the Universal and EMI record labels. Regulators in Japan, Canada and New Zealand have already green-lighted the merger, and this week the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission confirmed it would not oppose the proposed acquisition either.
Responding to the ACCC's ruling, Universal told CMU this morning: "We are pleased that the Australian Competition And Consumer Commission has cleared Universal Music's proposed acquisition of EMI with no objections. This follows similar clearances in Japan, Canada and New Zealand. Our investment in EMI will create more opportunities for new and established artists, expand music output and consumer choice, and support new digital services. We welcome the Commission's decision and are working closely with regulators in Europe and in the US to obtain further clearances".
The Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) was opposed to the Universal/EMI merger from the start, and now says that it feels its opinions, and those of other groups against the deal, were not sufficiently considered in the latter part of the ACCC's investigation.
In a statement yesterday the Association's Chairman David Vodicka said: "This is a deeply disappointing decision for the independent music sector, which disregards the practical effects of combining two already substantial music companies into a company that will control over 50% of the domestic music market. The result will be dominance of both media outlets and consumer spaces by Universal Music, stifling the development of new businesses that don't adhere to Universal's requirements, and ultimately less choice for consumers".
It is thought that the US regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, may approve the EMI deal based on the concessions Universal has already committed to as part of the European regulatory process, which reportedly include the sale of some global catalogues. However, indie sector chiefs in Australia say those concessions in Europe do not justify the ACCC's decision, partly because said concessions haven't even been confirmed yet, and partly because they do not address issues unique to the Australian market.
AIR General Manager Nick O'Byrne told reporters: "Global remedies will not sufficiently address Universal's market dominance through catalogue ownership, distribution and business practices specific to this territory. The ACCC needs to enforce territory specific concessions and divestments to ensure fair competition in Australia. What is even more galling is that the ACCC has not waited to see the outcome of merger reviews and potential divestments in Europe and the USA before making this announcement".
As previously reported, the pan-European indie labels trade body IMPALA this week again called on European regulators to block the Universal/EMI merger outright, despite some indie label chiefs in Europe previously speaking in favour of the deal. Nevertheless, Universal, which has already paid nearly a billion pounds to previous EMI owners Citigroup for the record company, is hopeful that it can secure the crucial approval for its deal in both the US and Europe this month. Sizable divestments will then have to follow as part of its deal with European regulators, before the remainder of the EMI record company can properly be integrated with the Universal Music business.
MOBO NOMINEES NAMED
Appearing amid the shortlist the most times is Emeli Sandé, who tops even her Olympian ubiquity with nominations in five categories. That Plan B, meanwhile, gains as many mentions for his film-scoring 'Ill Manors' LP. Meanwhile Labrinth and Eastern Europe's answer to Rihanna, party/bullshit artist Rita Ora each have four noms apiece. What a lark.
Prior to the prize-giving at Liverpool's Echo Arena in November, MOBO originator Kanya King supplies hype: "We are very excited about the nominations for the seventeenth MOBO Awards. The talent this year has been truly exceptional and we are so proud to be flying the flag for urban music which has again been dominating the charts in the past year. Good luck to all those nominated! We can hardly wait for the big event".
No, me neither. Since the MOBOs are the opposite of the Mercury Music Prize, ie a democracy, you the public can cast your votes toward all awards at this link.
But first, those need-to-know nominations:
Best UK Female: Emeli Sandé, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Jessie Ware, Rebecca Ferguson, Tulisa
Best UK Male: Labrinth, Ed Sheeran, Plan B, Professor Green, Wiley, Rizzle Kicks
Best Newcomer: Delilah, Stooshe, Angel, Rudimental, Lianne La Havas, AlunaGeorge, Conor Maynard, Jessie Ware, Misha B, Rita Ora
Best Album: Ed Sheeran - +, Emeli Sandé - Our Version of Events, Labrinth - Electronic Earth, Plan B - Ill Manors, Rita Ora - Ora
Best Song: Ed Sheeran - Lego House, Emeli Sandé - Next To Me, Plan B - Ill Manors, Labrinth feat. Tinie Tempah - Earthquake, Michael Kiwanuka - I'll Get Along
Best Video: Emeli Sandé - My Kind Of Love, JLS - Do You Feel What I Feel, Plan B - Ill Manors, Rizzle Kicks - Mama Do The Hump, Rita Ora ft. Tinie Tempah - R.I.P.
Best Hip-Hop/Grime: Devlin, Plan B, Professor Green, Wiley, Wretch 32
Best R&B/Soul Act: Angel, Emeli Sandé, Labrinth, Maverick Sabre, Rebecca Ferguson
Best Reggae Act: Popcaan, Sean Paul, Konshens, Damian Marley, Mr Vegas
Best Jazz Act: Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Femi Temowo, Zara Mcfarlane, Roller Trio, Zoe Rahman
Best Gospel Act: V9 Collective, Rachel Kerr, Ni-Cola, Ram1, El Mafre
Best International Act: Azealia Banks, Beyoncé, Drake, Jay Z & Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Nas, Nicki Minaj, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross, Rihanna
Best African Act: Fatoumata Diawara, P Square, The Very Best, Spoek Mathambo, D'Banj, Fally Ipupa, Sarkodi Duncwills, Cabo Snoop, Camp Mulla, Amadou And Mariam
LENNON DECLARED THE BIGGEST ICON OF NME'S LIFETIME
Though that's not why we've gathered here today. No, we're here to discuss the Ultimate NME Icon of the last 60 years, as voted for by readers of the magazine (sorry, "multiplatform music brand"). And that icon is Mr John Winston Lennon, which might be a bit predictable but hey, at least the NME massive didn't pick Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner, who were also on the final shortlist.
With a special Lennon-conic edition of NME out this week, Mike Williams, editor of the mag (sorry, "multiplat-muze-rand") told CMU: "No musician has ever meant as much to as many people as John Lennon, so it was no real surprise when the NME audience voted him the overwhelming winner of our poll to find the ultimate icon of NME's lifetime".
He continued: "To put it into context, to be crowned as the greatest hero of NME's 60 year existence, Lennon was up against the likes of David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Liam Gallagher, Patti Smith, Alex Turner, Keith Richards and Jimi Hendrix - all total legends in their own rights - yet there was only ever going to be one winner. So what makes him so special?"
Managing to get murdered before he got too old and embarrassing? No! Williams continues: "He's the everyman genius who operated in a different dimension to everyone else. A visionary, rebel, surrealist, artist, lover and wit who touched the lives of everyone who encountered him with the brilliance of his song-writing and the fierceness of his beliefs. 'It's better to burn out like an old soldier than to burn out', Lennon once famously said. There's little chance of either of those things happening to him, as every generation falls in love with his music and image as hard as the last".
Wonder who'll top the list when the magazine (sorry, "multimund") hits its 120th birthday.
MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE TO RELEASE 'SHELVED' SINGLES SERIES
The series, entitled 'Conventional Weapons', will also encompass four further pairs of demos, which will be available each month till the last set, 'Surrender The Night'/'Burn Bright', is released on 5 Feb.
Writing via the MCR blog, bassist Frank Iero sets the scene in which 'Conventional Weapons' sessions transpired: "Hindsight being 20/20, maybe we should have just locked ourselves in a room and made a bunch of noise until we were inspired to collectively say something on a record. That's not what ended up happening. Instead we planned on making a specific kind of record, we wrote songs to fit that specific plan, and then we flogged ourselves for it not feeling right, organic, or complete".
The band's real reason for rejecting the tracks at the time, he adds, wasn't because they were substandard: "To kill the misconception, I don't think the songs we [initially] wrote before 'Danger Days' are bad songs by any means. In fact, I kinda think some of them are among my favourites we have ever written. A lot of them are kinda fucking rad... they just so happened to have been created in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and we as their parents were not ready to raise them just yet... and so they sat and waited".
Since the wait is almost over, you'll find dates and other specifics of the series via this link.
GARY BARLOW TO VOICE NEW WAR OF THE WORLDS SOUNDTRACK
Barlow, who will voice two tracks in character as The Sung Thoughts Of The Journalist, has this to say about doing just that: "I've been a huge fan of 'The War Of The Worlds' score since I was a kid, so to be asked to work with the legend that is Jeff Wayne was a real privilege".
Island-signed singer-songwriter Alex Clare and Kaiser Chief Ricky Wilson, who stars as Artilleryman in the live tour of 'TWOTW', will also sing things across the LP, which is released in November.
DUM DUM GIRLS SHARE END OF DAZE EP
Stereogum is hosting the 'End Of Daze' private listening party, so go to that here.
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA SIGN TO JAGJAGUWAR, DEBUT NEW SINGLE
Unfortunately for non-North Americans, the band will only be selling the track and its B-side 'Waves Of Confidence' across their US tour with Grizzly Bear. But never mind, because anyone in the world can hear it now (if they have an internet connection).
JEFF BUCKLEY BIOPIC PREMIERES AT TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL
Directed by Dan Algrant (who directed three episodes of the 'Sex In The City' TV show) and starring Penn Badgley ('Gossip Girl'), the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month. You don't need to hang around for its next screening (whenever that may be) to find out what happens in it though, thanks to the trend to edit trailers to be three minute versions of the entire film they're supposed to be enticing us all to see.
Removing any celebrity angle from it, it's about a guy struggling with feelings of confusion and self-doubt (much relating to the fact that he wants to go into the same profession as his dead father but on his own terms), which he is helped to overcome by an attractive woman. And music. Mainly the woman though, because it's easier to write dialogue for actual people.
Kate Nash is in it too, so that's nice. Have a look for yourself here.
FUCKED UP ADD LIVE DATES
And those dates, each of which represents a chance to hear one, any or all of the 40 tracks the band have written for a forthcoming fourth LP, go like this:
14 Nov: Manchester, Deaf Institute
AZEALIA BANKS THROWING MERMAID BALL AT LONDON AQUARIUM
It's all happening on 13 Oct, and should - as per Mermaid Ball tradition - feature live sets by Banks and special guests, who in the past have included Robyn, Charli XCX, Rye Rye and Maluca, plus plenty of vogueing. Buy tickets here.
And for hints of what the night might sound like, refer to this mixtape.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
ATP CURATED BY DEERHUNTER, Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands, 21-23 Jun: Deerhunter, Atlas Sound. www.atpfestival.com/events/deerhunter.php
ATP CURATED BY TV ON THE RADIO, Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands, 10-12 May: TV On The Radio. www.atpfestival.com/events/tvontheradio.php
BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR, Catton, Derby, 8-11 Aug: Anthrax, Accept, Fozzy, Firewind. www.bloodstock.uk.com
CURIOUS, Inkonst, Malmo, Sweden, 6 Oct: Planningtorock (DJ set), Stina Nyberg, Cel, Rroxymore, Tragic Cabaret. www.inkonst.com/2012/09/05/curious-2/
NOTHING BAD WILL EVER HAPPEN, Windmill Brixton, London, 22 Sep: Best Friends, BITCHES, Collider, Dignan Porch , Colours, Honeyslide, Mickey Gloss, Old Forest , Omi Palone, Sharm El Shakes, Shudder Pulps, Slushy Guts, Thee MPVs. windmillbrixton.co.uk/listings/eventdetails/22-sep-12-nothing-bad-will-ever-happen--all-dayer--bbq-the-windmill/
DANGERBIRD BOSSES STEP DOWN, POSSIBLY HEADING FOR WARNER
A statement confirming the change said that Castelaz and Dangerbird's GM Matt Solodky would now be working for Cast Management, another music company founded by Castelaz which was merged with the rest of the Dangerbird group in 2008.
The record company's other co-founder, Peter Walker, said in a statement: "This is a great move for everybody involved. Dangerbird has always been about finding and nurturing great artists, and with Jenni's talents leading the charge, the company's future is brighter than ever".
While the exact nature of Castelaz and Solodky's somewhat sudden departure from Dangerbird are not currently known, Billboard has now reported that the two men are being lined up to run Warner Music's Elektra division in the US - though there's been no official comment on that from either Warner or the two former Dangerbird execs themselves.
Read more here.
BELIEVE EXPANDS INTO CANADA VIA DEP ALLIANCE
Confirming the new partnership, Believe Digital President Denis Ladegaillerie told CMU: "The combination of DEP and Believe Digital will provide a solution that combines the technological and marketing expertise of Believe Digital, and provides an international force on important markets for Canadian labels and artists; combined with the DEP team's knowledge on the Canadian market and its catalogues. Nowadays it is the necessary combination of forces to provide optimal service quality in a digital world".
Meanwhile DEP's Maurice Courtois added: "This partnership with Believe fits perfectly with our philosophy of providing the best services and marketing distribution to independent producers in Quebec and Canada. Our expertise and knowledge of the needs of the music industry in Quebec and Canada combined with the expertise of the Believe team, will allow producers to access the international digital marketplace".
AMAZON LOCKER LAUNCHES IN UK
It means that British customers of the online retailer can now use the Amazon service to store back ups of their digital music collections, and then download or stream that music to any net connected devices. Meanwhile new music bought via Amazon MP3 will automatically appear in the digital locker.
Since last month the Amazon service also offers 'scan-and-match', so that users can have the system scan their MP3 collections and any music also in the Amazon libraries will automatically appear in a user's locker, saving them the hassle of uploading those tracks.
Apple's digital locker iCloud has always offered scan-and-match, but the Amazon service in the US initially didn't, because the scanning function requires licences from the music companies, who were not involved in the original Amazon locker.
Technically an unlicensed digital locker - even without scan-and-match - could not have launched in the UK, where there is no 'private copy' right under British copyright law, that being the user right which (arguably) allows users to upload music to a central server even if the operators of that service have no licences from the labels and music publishers.
In the UK, Amazon customers can store 250 tracks in a locker for free, and up to 250,000 tracks for an annual subscription of £21.99.
NEW BBC BOSS OUTLINES HIS VISION
Warning of further cost cutting ahead, but pledging to not shut down any individual BBC TV channel or radio station in order to meet budget demands, Entwistle said of the need to better integrate the three big BBC divisions, Vision, Future Media and Audio & Music: "To be ready to create and curate genuinely digital content, we will need to integrate all three disciplines ... We need to be ready to produce and create genuinely digital content for the first time".
Other immediate changes include the cutting of the BBC management board in half so it can meet more frequently and replace the existing smaller 'direction group', and the merger of all back-office and finance functions into one division headed up by the Corporation's CFO, currently Zarin Patel. Quite what Entwistle's vision will mean in practical teams for the other strands of the Corporation isn't yet clear, though it seems yet more radical changes should be expected.
Entwistle also talked of the need for more international successes, ie the creation in-house of programmes and programme formats that can be sold to other networks abroad via the Beeb's commercial unit BBC Worldwide. The DG indicated that the Corporation at large would increasingly rely on the revenue generated by Worldwide, and said that unit would need to expand.
Though, presumably wary of those in the commercial media who object to BBC Worldwide's existence, he stressed that should be done by the main bit of the Beeb creating successful franchises for Worldwide to exploit, and not - as has happened before - the commercial division pursing its own business interests in the music, publishing and DVD sectors.
You can read the full speech here.
USHER AND SHAKIRA TO SUB FOR CEE LO AND CHRISTINA ON THE VOICE US
By contrast, erstwhile 'Voice' coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will re-appear in their customary swivel chairs throughout the contest's fourth series.
Undaunted by the coaching and swivelling trials he'll face in the new year, Usher has also confirmed an international arena tour, all dates of which will also feature Rita Ora.
And said dates are:
27 Jan: London, O2 Arena
THE WANTED'S OMISSION FROM THE EMA SHORTLISTS IS BULLSHIT, SAY THE WANTED
Though it has to be said, while the British boyband have indeed enjoyed some radio play and chart success in the US in the last twelve months, the group's profile there doesn't seem anywhere near as significant as that enjoyed by those One Direction scamps, who get two nods in the EMA shortlists. Not that success in America is really relevant at the MTV Europe awards bash. Perhaps it's The Wanted's music that deprived them of any EMA nods.
Anyway, responding to the EMA shortlists, Parker tweeted: "I think it's bullshit that we weren't nominated for an EMA this year!!!" Though, he did also offer a more upbeat after thought "Maybe next year x". Oh well, perhaps The Wanted's management at Global Radio could set up the Capital FM European Music Awards, and make sure they get nominated for everything.