UNIVERSAL APPOINTS SONY MAN TO RUN EMI USA
Steve Barnett has been with Universal's rival Sony Music since 1996, most recently as Co-Chairman and COO of its Columbia Records division in the US. In his new LA-based role at Universal he will oversee most of the frontline label operations that previously belonged to EMI, which between them have artists like Norah Jones, Katy Perry, 30 Seconds To Mars, Rosanne Cash, Van Morrison and The Beach Boys on their rosters.
The American exploitation of The Beatles catalogue will also be handled by Barnett's Capitol division, Universal having held on to EMI's most valuable asset, despite agreeing to sell the UK-based Parlophone catalogue, in which the Fab Four's music sat, on a worldwide basis.
While spending much of the year convincing competition regulators that they should green light a deal that would make the world's biggest music rights company even bigger, Universal, of course, crafted a story in which the EMI of 2012 was a baron wasteland of a place, where once great catalogues and label icons gathered dust, having long since ceased to function thanks to five years of under-investment and draconian rule from the bean counters at equity group Terra Firma and subsequently the bankers of Citigroup.
The only solution, the story went, was to wash the whole place down with Universal's cash, and to pump some much needed mega-major oil into the system. That story sort of ignores the fact that, out of the chaos that Terra Firma undoubtedly created in 2007, a leaner more efficient EMI had emerged, arguably better positioned for the music industry of the future. But hey, whatever, if Universal wants to pump in lots of money, who's going to complain about that? And it's true that if you have a bit of fat around the edges, you don't feel the rough and tumble of a shifting industry so badly.
And "investment" to "revitalise" EMI remained the mantra yesterday as Universal big cheese Lucian Grainge announced Barnett's appointment. He told reporters: "As we begin to invest in and revitalise EMI globally, the Capitol Music Group, including Virgin, will play a central role in our creative and commercial initiatives. And there is no one better to spearhead this than Steve. His entrepreneurial approach and intuitive ability to build, strengthen and transform artists into powerful global brands has resulted in remarkable success. I'm confident that under his leadership, a new and reinvigorated Capitol will provide the kind of environment needed for artists to develop, resulting in more opportunity than ever before".
Barnett himself added: "Throughout my career in music, I've always been keenly aware of EMI's impact on the world's culture, so I could not be more excited and grateful for the opportunity Lucian has given me to build the Capitol Music Group into an exceptional record company. I greatly appreciate his confidence in me, and I will work tirelessly to create a welcoming and supportive home for great artists while carefully tending the hugely important catalogue that defines the Capitol legacy".
He continued: "It was not an easy decision to leave such a successful company as Columbia, with its incredibly talented artists and the team of people who work so hard on their behalf. However, I know that the label is in great hands and I wish them all the best in the future as I move on to my new company home".
ANDREW WK NO LONGER A CULTURAL AMBASSADOR
As previously reported, WK announced this weekend that he was heading for Bahrain where he'd deliver some of his famous motivational speeches at schools, music venues and a university, all at the invitation of the US State Department and America's Bahraini embassy. The rocker told reporters: "I feel very privileged and humbled by the chance to represent the United States Of America and show the good people of Bahrain the power of positive partying".
But then yesterday, just as the world braced itself for an end to all conflict in the Middle East at the hands of the 'Party Hard' geezer, the big JPEG promoting the mission on WK's own website was altered so to include a bit fat 'CANCELLED BY THE US STATE DEPT' line on it.
An accompanying statement read: "After a year of planning and development, the US State Department has unexpectedly cancelled their plans for Andrew's trip to the Middle East this week, after changing their minds and deciding that it was 'a mistake and not appropriate'. More information and a statement from Andrew coming soon".
Reports suggest that the original idea for WK's trip came from someone living in Bahrain who approached the local US embassy about it co-sponsoring the initiative. The embassy, which routinely backs cultural trips to the country, initially agreed to support WK's talks, but backed out after more senior staff reviewed the rocker's songs, including 'Party Til You Puke' and 'Girls Own Juice'.
A spokesman for the State Department told Reuters: "[The trip] was initially approved and then when more senior management at the embassy took a look at this, the conclusion was that this was not an appropriate use of US government funds. The conclusion was, when they looked at the body of his work, that we didn't need to be part of this invitation. There may have been some preliminary conversations with him but he is not going to be going to Bahrain on the US government's dime".
So there you have it. I think the world is a slightly less good place than this time yesterday.
CHRIS STAMP 1942 - 2012
Brother of actor Terence Stamp, Chris was born and raised in East London. He met Lambert while working at the Shepperton Film Studios. In 1963 the two men decided to make a film about the rising British rock scene, and in the process met The Who, then performing as The High Numbers. Stamp and Lambert struck up a quick friendship with the band's members, and subsequently bought out the group's existing manager and persuaded the band to change their name to The Who.
Encouraging the band to make their live performances even more manic, The Who started to enjoy success under Stamp and Lambert's guidance. Track Records was set up in 1966, mainly to release The Who's recordings, although it quickly started putting out records by other acts too, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Arthur Brown's hit single 'Fire'. Stamp also produced many of the records the label released, and executive produced both 'Tommy' and 'Quadrophenia'.
Relations between the band and management started to cool in the 1970s though, with the band's Pete Townshend subsequently recalling how the managers started to live like rock stars too, which isn't necessarily what you want from the people overseeing the business side of the operation. Stamp and Lambert stopped managing The Who in 1975 and relocated to New York where they continued to run the Track label.
Lambert died after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 1981, while Stamp faced his demons in the 1980s, ultimately entering rehab in 1987. He subsequently overcame his addictions and began a second career as a therapist and addiction counsellor. He also re-established his connections with The Who, and appeared in documentaries about the band, wrote liner notes for 1995 album 'A Quick One', and sat on the board of the John Entwistle Foundation, which was established after The Who bassist died in 2002.
Paying tribute to Stamp at a gig in Detroit this weekend, Who frontman Roger Daltrey, according to Billboard, told his audience that his one-time manager "flew into the universe on a pair of rainbow wings ... Chris, we can never thank you enough, well, I can't, for what you brought to my life".
FRANK BARSALONA 1938 - 2012
Born in 1938, Barsalona first worked at a New York-based talent agency called GAC where he booked the first US appearances for British rock bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. He set up his own agency, Premier Talent, in 1964, and began pushing for the acts he represented to play longer sets, rather than short fifteen minute stints alongside a number of other bands as part of a rock n roll package, as was standard at the time. He also worked hard to improve the pay and conditions of rock acts playing live, in an era where most of the money was in the record industry, and in the live entertainment space rock music was not especially respected.
Over the years Premier represented the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Who, Tom Petty, Van Halen, Bruce Springsteen, Marianne Faithful, Sinead O'Connor, Suzanne Vega and U2. Barsalona ultimately merged his company with the William Morris Agency in 2002, staying on as a consultant for a time before retiring from the industry.
Paying tribute to Barsalona via Billboard, U2 manager Paul McGuiness recalled yesterday how the great agent helped his band become such a successful live act, saying: "Over many late nights sitting in his office as he told me his stories, after everyone had gone home, he gave me my education in the business. He taught U2 and myself something that has stood us in good stead ever since - that an artist has two parallel careers: one on record and one live. The fact that record success came later for U2 was compensated for by their much quicker rise to fame as one of the great live attractions.
A rep for the Barsalona family has told Billboard that a memorial show is being planned for January to "celebrate his life and legacy in a very rock n roll way, as he would have wanted".
FINALISTS ANNOUNCES IN PRS PUB COMPETITION
And the finalists are...
Says PRS For Music Director Of Licensing Paul Clements: "We are overwhelmed by the number of impressive entries we've had from around the UK. The pub is one of our much loved institutions and smart establishments are diversifying their business model to attract customers. It is encouraging to see so many new licensees in our Music Makeover final, who are dedicated entrepreneurs who want to make music central to their local communities again".
The overall winner will be announced in late December.
PULP HAVE NO PLANS
Asked about possible new material, Jarvis Cocker told Q: "I've enjoyed the fact that we haven't been doing any new stuff [since reforming], because I felt that's kept it quite simple... We haven't been in the studio or anything. I don't know what will happen in the future. It was a big enough challenge to learn how to play all the old songs and, hopefully, perform them in a convincing way".
As for future live shows singing the hits, he continued: "We haven't got any [shows] planned after the New Year... We'll just be cruising off into the sunset. Seems poetic. Not wishing to make a big deal, but we've played for a while and it's been really good, but you can't keep doing that forever. Will you see Pulp again? Who knows?"
You can catch the band in their hometown of Sheffield on 8 Dec though, and if you've forked out for tickets to the SS Coachella cruise you can catch them on that too, so it's not quite over yet.
WU LYF FRONTMAN RESIGNS
Apparently the first the quartet's other members Evans Kati, Joe Manning and Tom McClung heard of Roberts' exit from their band was via a note attached to the 'Triumph' video, in which he said: "I am gone. This isn't the end. This is the beginning. We done business to be as free as we want to be; I'm exercising this freedom. Manchester and the life we maintaining is leaving me empty. It is a beautiful/incredible/insane world we live and I'm done walking round in baby step circles in a self involved bubble".
He rambled on: "Wu Lyf isn't that important. So go do what you want to do. If you wanna play together, Play! You're talented musicians so don't waste that. I am bored of the most challenging thing in Wu Lyf being deluding myself of its relevance. Dirty free, as that show ended it concreted my decision that a change has to come. 'Be the change you want to see', said a wise old man. I'm going to keep on doing what I do; if the time comes in the future where we all truly want to collaborate on something then that door is always going to be open; I have nothing but love for you all".
Roberts' apparent disenfranchisement follows Wu Lyf's being "fucking angry" earlier this month at auto brand Toyota, after the company allegedly used the band's 2011 track 'Heavy Pop' in a car advert of questionable taste without their knowledge or approval.
NO NEW BLUR ALBUM
"No", said Graham Coxon.
[PIAS] MARKING ANNIVERSARY VIA GRACE JONES, CRYSTAL CASTLES, SIGUR RÓS REISSUES
Records by Mogwai, Grace Jones, Soulwax, Crystal Castles, Sigur Rós and Royksopp will all be made available again - either physically or in digital format - on a tba day in December.
Details via www.piasrecordings.com
ROBBIE WILLIAMS PLAYING ARENAS IN 2013
19 Jun: Manchester Etihad Stadium
JULIO BASHMORE TO TOUR ANON
8 Feb: Bristol
FESTIVAL LINE-UP ADDITIONS
BEARDED THEORY, Kedleston Hall Park, Derby, 17-19 May: A Guy Called Gerald, Subgiant, The Egg, Andy Faze, FOE, Sicknote, Clumsy, Major Triadz, Kickflip, Gail Something-Else & Rev Phil Dread, OCDJ, HRH The Pernickity Bint, Drum Machine, Ed Tangent (DJ), OOOD, Lorraine, Pure Mischief, High Fly, Engine-Earz, Chukkel, Sunday will be The Egg, with support from Ian Liquid Lounge, DJ Mosienko, Two Man Ting, DJ Woodzee, The Destroyers, Whisky Stain. www.beardedtheory.co.uk
GRASPOP, Boeretang, Dessel, Belgium, 28-30 Jun 2013: In Flames, Stone Sour, Parkway Drive, Saxon, Coal Chamber, Epica, Kreator, Mayhem, The Devil Wears Prada, Dark Funeral, Absu, God Seed, Every Time I Die, Winterfylleth, Lock Up, Aura Noir, After The Burial, Dunderbeist, Between The Buried And Me, Bullet, Heavens Basement, Hacktivist. www.graspop.be
ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL, Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, 13-16 Jun: Bon Jovi. www.isleofwightfestival.com
SNOOP DOES SCROOGE FOR CHRISTMAS
Yes, the sporty brand has posted a video online entitled 'The Cautionary Tale Of Ebenezer Snoop' in which the rapper and a mainly animated cast of other Adidas brand pushers recreate the classic Victorian festive tale. Well, there are ghosts at Christmas. You can first enjoy the Snoop monologue, animation from Beavis & Butthead artist JJ Sedelmaier and cameos from Beckham, Derrick Rose and Rita Ora, on YouTube, and then use your Facebook profile to make a personalised version of the adventure.
It's not as terrible as it sounds. Well, it is, but hey, Snoop, Beckham and a hidden agenda to sell overpriced sportswear, I bet you're curious, right? Let that be a cautionary tale about the dangers of reading brand partnership stories, and then go watch it all here.
But first a quote from Adidas Brand Marketing Director Christy Kilmartin: "The Adidas Ebenezer Snoop Holiday Campaign offers a digital alternative to the normal holiday card in true Adidas style. We wanted to create a legitimate solution to Holiday gift-buying - using our diverse portfolio of Adidas icons who resonate with all gift-givers, young and old. With our Adidas take on a traditional Holiday story, we have created something truly funny and relevant, and using Facebook, offered consumers a way of sharing holiday spirit in way fit for 2012".
ELEVEN SEVEN ANNOUNCES NEW EUROPEAN BASE
Van Middendorp will oversee A&R, marketing and brand development for the indie across the EMEA region, working closely with distributors RSK Entertainment, who will continue to provide marketing and promotion services in key European markets.
Confirming the expansion of his label's operations in Europe and beyond, Eleven Seven Music's CEO Allen Kovac told reporters: "We are thrilled to have Wally on our European team. He is revered by artists, managers, and his peers".
While Van Middendorp himself added: "I am very pleased to be working with Allen and his team to further develop the Eleven Seven and Five Seven label imprints internationally".
NEW EQUITY FUND TO INVEST IN CLUBBING
The fund has been co-founded by 25 year old Emyr Hughes who reckons that a struggling clubbing market, which has felt the impact of the UK's wider economic slump, provides an opportunity for those investing in property.
With a grand plan to revitalise the flagging club businesses he acquires by, erm, getting 'X-Factor' rejects to do PAs, Hughes told the Financial Times: "Clubbing is about escapism and people are being a lot savvier these days about how they spend their money to escape from normal life. If you want custom you need to provide something people are prepared to pay for, like getting one of the 'X-Factor' contestants to come and do a live act".
Yeah, I think Hughes' EMCO fund might be doing more of that 'shut it down and convert to flats' thing than the 'relaunch this place as a mecca of late night entertainment' thing, but who knows?
7DIGITAL APPOINTS SVP OF MUSIC
Confirming the appointment, 7Digital boss man Ben Drury told CMU: "Raoul is a brilliant addition to the growing 7Digital team. He possesses the crucial combination of industry experience, commercial acumen and original-thinking that we need to drive our relationships with music labels, producers, management and artists".
Chatterjee added: "7Digital is a well established name in the digital music space, it's great to be joining a team with such ambitious and exciting growth plans. Music will obviously remain at the heart of future products and international expansion, and I'm looking forward to firmly establishing 7Digital's name as the leading open digital music platform".
GREG JAMES TO BROADCAST FROM AFGHANISTAN
Announcing the news, James said: "I'm excited to be bringing Radio 1 to the troops and to show them we appreciate their hard work. I love a challenge and an adventure and this will be a brilliant opportunity to see how BFBS and Camp Bastion works. Trust my luck that Daniel Craig went out there last week - it's not the easiest gig to follow James Bond, is it?"
BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1Xtra's Head Of Programmes Rhys Hughes added: "Our ambition is that BBC Radio 1 with Greg James will reflect what it feels like for our armed forces personnel to live and work in Camp Bastion. We are delighted to be returning to Camp Bastion for a third year, working very closely with our friends at BFBS to connect service personnel with their families back in the UK and around the world".
DUMMY ANNOUNCES NEW EDITOR
Dummy's MD Paul Benney told CMU: "Aimee is the perfect appointment to lead Dummy through its next, very exciting, phase of development. She is young, talented, focussed and hard working and we are sure that she will make an invaluable contribution to Dummy moving forwards".
Meanwhile Cliff herself added: "Over the past two years I've been immensely proud to be part of Dummy's ascending journey and now I'm thrilled to be given the opportunity to assume the role of Editor. There are some very exciting things happening here right now and I couldn't be more thrilled about my place in Dummy's future".
NEW BANDS PLAY ABBEY ROAD WITH ABSOLUTE
Commenting on the new music initiative, and the station's partnership with Abbey Road, Absolute Radio Creative Director Vince Lynch told CMU: "Absolute Radio is keen to support the music industry and help foster and build artists for the future. This session offers a number of emerging acts the opportunity to play in the world-class Abbey Road Studios, as well as having their session filmed and recorded for national radio".
Abbey Road's Jonathan Smith added: "Abbey Road Studios is committed to continuing the incredible rock and pop legacy of our past 80 years. These live acoustic sessions with Absolute Radio do that by bringing new and emerging artists through our studios where so many landmark recordings and performances have taken place".
GIGWISE EXTENDS VIAGOGO PARTNERSHIP
Confirming the partnership would continue, Andrew Day of Gigwise publishers Giant Digital told CMU: "Viagogo has given our users the chance to buy tickets where otherwise they would have missed out, with the steep organic growth of the site and other encouraging factors we saw it as an easy decision to extend our partnership with Viagogo for the third year".
Meanwhile Viagogo's Ed Parkinson added: "Gigwise is a first port of call for music fans, who are passionate about seeing their favourite artists perform live. We are proud to be extending our partnership and continuing to offer their readers the best access to tickets for the concerts they love".
SHAVED HEAD GOT LITTLE MIX A RIHANNA RESPONSE
Little Mix have revealed to We Love Pop that, just like on her recent 777 promotional trip for new album 'Unapologetic', when Rihanna guested on 'X-Factor' she was similarly unkeen to mix with the little people, even the Little Mixers (unlike that lovely home-invader-feeding Lady Gaga, who was much more welcoming). But Little Mixer Leigh-Anne Pinnock managed to get some unique words out of RiRi thanks to her hair cut.
The group's Jesy Nelson told the pop mag: ''We were on 'X-Factor' with Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga was amazing, but we didn't get to speak to Rihanna".
Pinnock added: ''Her management wouldn't let anybody meet her, but she walked past me and said, 'Your hair is awesome!' This was when I had my head half-shaved, which I hated, so it cheered me up".
I bet that naked Australian is feeling very foolish now - had he shaved all his hair off, Rihanna would have been back there in economy with the hacks like a shot.