HMV CONFIRMS COMPANY HEADING INTO ADMINISTRATION
That decision follows the admission last month that the retail firm was likely to fail to meet covenant tests linked to its sizeable bank loans later this month. Frantic talks have been ongoing for weeks with money lenders and, when those failed, reports suggest HMV management made one last plea to its suppliers, in particular the major record companies and DVD distributors, about them helping the UK's final national specialist entertainment retailer restructure its finances. While said suppliers had helped keep HMV in business in the run up to Christmas by providing incredibly favourable terms over stock, further assistance wasn't forthcoming.
In that statement last night, the HMV board said: "On 13 Dec 2012, the Company announced that as a result of current market trading conditions, the Company faced material uncertainties and that it was probable that the Group would not comply with its banking covenants at the end of January 2013. The Company also stated that it was in discussions with its banks".
It continued: "Since that date, the Company has continued the discussions with its banks and other key stakeholders to remedy the imminent covenant breach. However, the Board regrets to announce that it has been unable to reach a position where it feels able to continue to trade outside of insolvency protection, and in the circumstances therefore intends to file notice to appoint administrators to the Company and certain of its subsidiaries with immediate effect".
And concluded: "The Directors of the Company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business. It is proposed that Nick Edwards, Neville Kahn and Rob Harding, partners of Deloitte LLP, will be appointed as the administrators of the Company and certain of its subsidiaries. The Company's ordinary shares will be suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange with immediate effect".
Few expect administrators to be able to sell HMV as a going concern. According to Reuters, Apollo, the US investment firm that at one point was trying to buy up HMV's debts, had already backed away from trying to seize control of the company by yesterday afternoon, and its intent for HMV was never really known anyway. And unless a big bidder does come out of the shadows, then the administrators' work will really be about securing maximum return from the retailer's few remaining assets, the most valuable of which is its stake in digital music company 7digital. Assuming that is so, that puts over 200+ stores, including eight operating under the Fopp brand, and over 4000 jobs at risk.
And while in many ways a long time coming, HMV's demise will also put new pressure on the wider music and film sectors. In terms of national chains, HMV's stores are, of course, the final high street home, and impulse-buy destination, for British record and DVD companies, for whom physical product sales still generate 62% and 93.9% of revenues respectively. Meanwhile Universal Music could find itself saddled with a £150 million liability as the guarantor on about forty HMV leases, liabilities it acquired through its acquisition last year of EMI (of which HMV was once a subsidiary).
MMF AND FAC SPEAK UP FOR FEATURED ARTISTS IN COPYRIGHT EXTENSION CONSULTATION
An extension of the copyright term enjoyed by sound recordings from the current 50 to 70 years was approved by the European Union in 2011. The UK now has until November to incorporate the extension into its copyright system.
The IPO consultation isn't about the arguments for or against the extension, but will instead consider how a number of measures designed to ensure featured artists and session musicians, as well as corporate copyright owners, benefit from the extra twenty years will work. For the UK government in particular, the reason for supporting term extension was the lesser known musicians of limited means who earn a living from royalties they are due from 1960s recordings.
The most important such measure is the 'use it or lose it' clause, that will give artists the right, at 50 years, to take control of their sound recordings if the label which owns them is failing to make them available to the public. Artists would then be able to distribute the recordings themselves, ensuring them any royalties they are due. Quite how that system will work is one of the things the IPO needs to work out.
The MMF and FAC had hoped for more rights for artists to kick in at 50 years than those set out in the IPO's consultation document. To that end, the two bodies will - as part of its submission to the consultation process - call for a minimum artist royalty to be set by the labels, paid to any featured artist earning a royalty from a fifty year old record contract, that would overrule any specific royalty terms in that heritage agreement.
Commenting on the IPO's recently published consultation document yesterday, the two trade bodies told reporters: "The plans, which took four years to navigate EC and UK Law, signify a big boost for session musicians, a massive windfall for large record labels but a mixed bag for featured artists. Controversially the right to renegotiate contracts after 50 years has been deemed unnecessary for inclusion by the IPO. [Even though] this extension was meant to benefit featured artists in their old age and the omission will leave countless creative artists earning pennies from the sales of their work whilst record labels reap large windfall profits".
While welcoming some of the proposals in the IPO's document, which stem from the aforementioned European Directive, and which include the use it or lose it clause, a 'clean slate provision' on label deductions and a fund for session musicians, the MMF and FAC add: "We are also calling upon rights holders to introduce minimum royalties (without any deductions) for featured artists in the extended copyright term. It could mean the change in share of income of a 79p download moving from 1p for the featured artist to 9.4p whilst a record company income would fall from 46p to 37.6p".
Commenting on the copyright term extension in general, and his organisation's commitment to securing an artist-friendly framework for it, MMF Chair Brian Message told CMU: "To be clear we are not looking to further enrich artists who have become worldwide megastars, and who have had the means to renegotiate their contracts over the years. We are talking about artists who in their teens made some of the classic music of the 60s, who have influenced generations since and who need some income during the last years of their lives".
SONY MUSIC HACKERS SENTENCED TO COMMUNITY SERVICE
As previously reported, James Marks and James McCormick were arrested in March last year and initially denied the various copyright and computer misuse charges laid upon them, their lawyer saying at the time that they were just massive fans of Michael Jackson who had got carried away. However, when the case came to court both pleaded guilty.
The Crown Prosecution Service's Head Of Organised Crime, Gregor McGill said in a statement on Friday: "In simple terms, these men broke into a computer system and took music files that were not theirs to take. It was the prosecution's case that these men were fully aware that the files they obtained on their computers were subject to copyright and that they took steps to sell on and to share the music with a wider audience in internet forums".
Originally accused of accessing 50,000 files in the hack, they were convicted of taking 7900, though after sentencing on Friday, Marks tweeted that he had only downloaded 300. However, he also said that he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologised to Sony via the social network.
GEMA/YOUTUBE TALKS REACH ANOTHER WALL
Despite various past public spats, talks between GEMA and YouTube were ongoing for much of 2012, but earlier this month the collecting society broke off negotiations, and now plans to take the case to an arbitration body. And in the latest stage of the dispute, it isn't just a disagreement on what constitutes fair royalty rates that is the issue.
GEMA, which is expected to now push for damages in relation to a thousand songs that have presumably appeared on German YouTube without licence, is also kicking up about the wording that the Google-owned service employs when telling users why music videos are not available on the service, which seemingly represents the collecting society as being stubborn bastards.
Though you usually sense that Team GEMA actually quite like having that reputation in music publishing circles - though 'stubborn' for the good of German songwriters everywhere, I'm sure they'd add.
The band, who released but one lone LP in 2011's 'Again Into Eyes', shared this consolatory note via their Facebook page: "It seems an appropriate time to announce after a long hiatus, SCUM have collectively decided that we will no longer play or continue to write together. We'd all like to thank you for all of your support but we have chosen to part ways and work on new projects. See you all very soon".
MGMT BACK IN STUDIO, PLAYING NEW TRACKS TO KITTENS
Having attached this photo of an electronic KAT drum-pad to a tweet that read, "In the studio...there's another type of KAT. Whatcha think about that?", the band failed to share any audio, instead posting this twitpic of a kitten who'd apparently "just heard" the new material. Oh dear, it doesn't look very happy.
YEAH YEAH YEAHS DETAIL NEW LP
The band's Karen O - who's gone blonde, by the way - defines thus the new record, as features production by James Murphy and TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek, plus a guest cameo by NYC rapper Dr Octagon aka Kool Keith, in an interview with Pitchfork: "SO much feeling went into this record, it was the rope ladder thrown down into the ditch for us to climb up and dust ourselves off. I hope others can climb up it too; we're excited to share the good vibes".
She adds: "We took a more playful, lo-fi approach to songwriting [with this album]. Much of the music was demoed in our little basement studio in Manhattan with drum machines, a shitty sample keyboard and tons of delay - which we called the soup. I think this record has more moodier and tripped-out songs than you've ever heard from us. You might catch some roots reggae and minimalist psychedelia influences in there".
You may well. Another thing you may do is to look at this 'Mosquito' trailer, but only if you want to.
SPEARS RUMOURED TO BE PLANNING VEGAS RESIDENCY
A source told the tabloid that Spears had agreed to a year long residency, with a fee of $1 million per show. They added: "This offer has been on the table for some time now and is something Britney has always wanted to do. However, she had commitments on the US. Now she and Jason have split, her new team have put everything into fast-forward, and personal terms have been agreed. It's simply a matter of dotting the Is and crossing the Ts now".
THE KNIFE TO PLAY ROUNDHOUSE
You can take advantage of pre-sale tickets by typing your details into this page.
BRING ME THE HORIZON LIVE DATES ON HORIZON
Vocalist Olly Sykes has this to say about the band's first proper tour in a while: "We literally can't wait for these UK shows. It feels like we've been away for so long and to come back and play the most intimate shows we've played in a long time is so exciting".
Here are the tour dates, which they literally can and are waiting for:
29 Apr: Manchester, Academy 2
SIGNATURE BREW LAUNCHES LIVE NIGHT
For more information and to buy tickets go to www.signaturebrewlive.com
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Also in today's FLUU headlines, it's a triple Croatian extravaganza, as electronic do Dimensions names Theo Parrish, Omar S, Hype Williams, Daphni, Pantha Du Prince, Machinedrum and The Invisible amid a vast list of initial DJs and bands. Its native rival Hideout reveals it'll host the likes of SBTRKT, Marco Carola, Skream & Benga, Four Tet, Simian Mobile Disco and Floating Points in July, whilst the Adriatic island's newest event, Love System, appeals to potential ticket-buyers by promising sets by Shonky, Bicep, Mario Basanov, Finnebassen, Ralph Lawson, Demac, Jay Shepheard and Ben Pearce.
Last but certainly not least, those organising the Gloucestershire-based 2000Trees unveil 65daysofstatic, Three Trapped Tigers, Tall Ships and others as initial artists playing their new post-rock/experimental festival ArcTanGent. Oh, and Limp Bizkit have said via Facebook that they're stopping by at Download and Sonisphere France this year, so that's nice.
ARCTANGENT, Fernhill Farm, Bristol, 29-31 Aug: 65daysofstatic, Three Trapped Tigers, Tall Ships, Rolo Tomassi, Maybeshewill, Johnny Foreigner, Castrovalva, Yndi Halda, This Town Needs Guns, That Fucking Tank, The Physics House Band, Among Brothers, Axes, Brontide. www.arctangent.co.uk
DIMENSIONS, Fort Punta Christo, Croatia, 5-9 Sep: Model 500, Theo Parrish, Moodymann, Dave Clarke, Daphni, Tony Allen, Mala In Cuba, Derrick May, Pantha Du Prince, Ben Klock, Omar S, Dixon, Hype Williams, Floating Points, Benji B, Boddika, Surgeon, Tikiman & Scion, Mala, Loefah, Pearson Sound, Ben UFO, Jets, Jimmy Edgar, Mr Scruff, Portico Quartet, Levon Vincent, Steffi, Roman Flugal, Norman Nodge, Bicep, Mosca, Machinedrum, Pangaea, Marcellus Pittman, Andres, Rick Whilite, Will Saul aka Close, The Invisible, Prosumer, Lawrence, Efdemin, John Roberts, Gerd Janson, Mark E, Move D, Mike Dehnert, dBridge, Marcus Intalex, Pariah, Midland, Huxley, Demdike Stare, Blackest Ever Black, Alexander Nut, Fatima, Andrew Ashong, Dego, Soulphition, Analogue, Cops, John Heckle, Iration Steppas, Stubborn Heart, Vessel, Olivier Daysoul, Dense & Pika, Mungo's HiFi, Author, XXXY, Patrice Scott, Jay Daniel, Matthew Halsall Trio, LeFtO, Wife, Fracture, Romare, Eliphino, South London Ordnance, ARP 101, Endian, Moxie, Joe Rolet, Enis. www.dimensionsfestival.com
DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, Leicestershire, 14-16 Jun: Limp Bizkit. www.downloadfestival.co.uk
HIDEOUT, Zrce Beach, Pah Croatia, 3-5 Jul: SBTRKT, Marco Carola, Skream & Benga, Four Tet, Simian Mobile Disco, Redlight, Floating Points, Tenskake, MK, Mistajam, Craig Richards, Ryan Crosson, Lee Foss, Infinity Ink, Artwork, Move D, Baauer, Bondax, Daniel Avery, Simon Baker, Kidnap Kid, Youandewan. www.hideoutfestival.com
HURRICANE, Scheeßel, Lower Saxony, Germany, 21-23 Jun: Smashing Pumpkins, Bloc Party, Alt-J, Billy Talent, Gogol Bordello, Jimmy Eat World, Paul Kalkbrenner, Ben Howard, Parkway Drive, Shout Out Louds, Johnossi, Converge, Steven Wilson, Passenger, SDP, Swim Deep, Skaters, OK Kid. www.hurricane.de/en
LOVE SYSTEM FESTIVAL, Punta Radman, Croatia, 30 May - 2 Jun: Shonky, Bicep, Mario Basanov, Finnebassen, Ralph Lawson, Demac, Jay Shepheard, Ben Pearce, wAFF, HNQO, Midland, George FitzGerald, Sven Weisemann, Paleman, Ossie, Trikk, Kolombo, Dirty Channels, Climbers, JOBE, Klose One, Matt Fear, Kreature, Squarehead, SION, Mike Gill, Markas, Jonny Cade, Lauren Lo Sung. www.lovesystemfestival.com
ROCK AM RING, Nurburgring, Germany, 7-9 Jun: The Killers, All Time Low, Ellie Goulding, Papa Roach, The Bloody Beetroots, Bullet, Coal Chamber, Graveyard, Hacktivist, Hurts, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg, Leslie Clio, Phoenix, The BossHoss, Asking Alexandria, Pierce The Veil. www.rock-am-ring.com
ROCK IM PARK, Zeppelinfeld, Nürnberg, German, 7-9 Jun: The Killers, All Time Low, Ellie Goulding, Papa Roach, The Bloody Beetroots, Bullet, Coal Chamber, Graveyard, Hacktivist, Hurts, Imagine Dragons, Jake Bugg, Leslie Clio, Phoenix, The BossHoss, Asking Alexandria, Pierce The Veil. www.rock-im-park.com
SONISPHERE FRANCE, Snowhall Park, Amnéville, France, 8-9 Jun: Limp Bizkit. fr.sonisphere.eu
SOUTHSIDE, Take Off Park, Munich, Neuhausen Ob Eck, 21-23 Jun: Smashing Pumpkins, Bloc Party, Alt-J, Billy Talent, Gogol Bordello, Jimmy Eat World, Paul Kalkbrenner, Ben Howard, Parkway Drive, Shout Out Louds, Johnossi, Converge, Steven Wilson, Passenger, SDP, Swim Deep, Skaters, OK Kid. www.southside.de/en
UNIVERSAL PROMOTES NÈGRE TO GLOBAL NEW BUSINESS ROLE
In addition to his regional focus, he will now also have a global role leading new business activity. Although still based out of Paris, he will report in to overall Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge in the US. Nègre's promotion is part of a rejig of senior management at the music firm following its acquisition last year of the EMI recorded music company.
Confirming the new appointment, Grainge told CMU: "Pascal's creative contributions, astute business judgment and strategic planning perspective are valued management skills for UMG. This promotion reflects his many accomplishments, but also signals the tremendous growth opportunities that we see ahead for UMG as we expand globally".
Nègre himself added: "I'm really happy to work closely with Lucian and the [Universal] board team in order to create today the foundation of the music company of tomorrow".
BMG APPOINTS FORMER WARNER/CHAPPELL GM TO VP COPYRIGHT ROLE
Confirming the appointment, Urban told CMU: "State-of-the-art administration services, ensuring copyrights are properly registered on a worldwide basis and that royalties flow swiftly and accurately to our writers and artists, are key tasks of BMG's administrative headquarters. Securing executive talent like Robert Stegmüller further strengthens and supports that service".
Stegmüller himself added: "I am very excited to be part of BMG Rights Management, the most modern and fastest growing music company in the worldwide market today".
KIM DOTCOM PROMOTES MEGA VIA RADIO ADS
Dotcom announced his plans to launch Mega, a new version of MegaUpload, which automatically encrypts files as they are uploaded, last year. Dotcom and his lawyers believe that the auto-encryption will save them from any liability for what is stored on the site, especially from a copyright point of view, because it won't be possible for the site's operators to tell what is stored in any one file. Ensuring maximum controversy, the site will be launched on the first anniversary of MegaUpload's takedown by US authorities, 19 Jan.
Those American authorities believe that, by launching the new Mega, Dotcom could be in breach of his bail conditions in New Zealand, which stand until any extradition hearing can take place. Team Mega disagree, but it will be interesting to see if the US make any complaint in court once the new service goes live.
But anyway, these radio ads. There are five of them running at five, fifteen and 30 seconds. Dotcom told NBR that they would be on heavy rotation this week, saying: "I think nobody with a radio will be able to miss them. We will launch a global ad campaign, radio and internet, after the launch".
Asked why he began with radio ads, rather than an online campaign, he said: "Audio ads on the Internet don't work. We wanted to do something fun that people can enjoy when they drive to work".
THIS IS MY JAM CONSIDERING FLYING THE NEST
"Up until this point we've been incubated by The EchoNest, but now we're looking at options for spinning out in our own right", Ogle told GigaOM. Explaining the idea behind the site, he added: "I couldn't quite believe that in 2011 that social song sharing wasn't just a solved problem. One thing that we talked about at Last.fm a lot - you know that amazing moment in real life when someone grabs you and say 'you have to hear this song, check it out' and they put the headphones in your ears or put a record on. Anyone who cares about music even a little bit has had that moment".
RYAN GOSLING COULD HAVE BEEN A BACKSTREET BOY, SAYS AJ MACLEAN
Gosling reminisced to Celebuzz: "When I was doing 'The Mickey Mouse Club', we were living in the same place as that guy AJ from The Backstreet Boys. And so he was always talking about The Backstreet Boys ... But they were just forming that band, so he was saying how big they were going to be - and he had a poster of them in his house. We were like, 'Just shoot the ball, dude. It's never going to happen. Didn't they already do that with New Kids? You're a little late'. Cut to... I was wrong".
Asked if he regretted not going down the popstar route himself, like fellow 'Mickey Mouse Club' alumni Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, he replied: "You can't live in the past. You've got to live in the now. That ship has sailed".
Or has it...? Confronted about all this by TMZ, Maclean said: "If we ever want a sixth Backstreet Boys member, I'm gonna call you. He can sing. You can sing, dude. Ryan can sing. He can sing his ass off. He's not only a great actor and a handsome man".