POTENTIAL BIDDERS COME FORWARD FOR HMV
Administrators insisted yesterday that they were looking for a buyer for HMV in a bid to rescue the 240 store chain and the jobs of its 4000+ employees. However, it seems unlikely that a buyer will emerge interested in taking on the HMV Group in its current form, though the brand remains strong and bidders may be interested in acquiring the company's better performing stores.
Hilco, which already owns HMV Canada, is definitely interested in some of the UK business, according to the Financial Times. Other potential bidders include Endless, a private equity group that targets "distressed companies" and Oakley Capital, the investment firm best known in media circles for its stake in Time Out.
HMV's newish CEO Trevor Moore told reporters yesterday he was "convinced" HMV had a future, adding that both he and his Finance Director Ian Kenyon would be keen to stay with any rescued version of the company. He said: "We are really passionate about developing the plan for this business evolving it moving forward".
In the main, HMV's suppliers remain committed to the company, and hopeful a sustainable business can emerge from the administration. Whether that can be achieved, and in what form, depends very much on the current discussions between administrators Deloitte and the investment types most likely to bid.
ERA AND BPI ISSUE STATEMENTS ON HMV ADMINISTRATION
Keeping it brief and fairly matter-of-fact, BPI chief exec Geoff Taylor told CMU: "HMV has been an institution at the heart of retailing music for as long as the industry itself. Consumer demand for CDs remains significant. The administrators have indicated that they intend to continue running the business, so we hope they can find a long-term solution that keeps the stores open and saves jobs".
Meanwhile, going into more depth and also calling on the appointed administrator, Deloitte, to ensure that HMV remained a going concern, ERA Director General Kim Bayley said: "No one can say this is a surprise, but it is still a shock. HMV has been part of the fabric of the music and entertainment business for decades. But there are signs that this may not be the end of the story. It would be wrong to underestimate the affection which HMV is held by consumers and the determination of music and video companies to see HMV survive in some form.
"We know there is consumer demand - in a poll last year HMV was ranked in the top ten of the stores people most want to see on their High Street. Data suggests they generated 170 million in-store visits last year and another 40 million online. At the same time both music and video companies are painfully aware of the consequences of losing a retailer responsible for around a third of UK physical music and video sales. We have to hope they will not stand by and watch HMV go down".
"There has been much misinformation published in the past 24 hours about the relative strength of physical and digital entertainment formats. Physical formats like CDs and DVDs still account for three quarters of the entertainment market. In other words HMV going from the high street is in the interests neither of consumers nor of suppliers. For their part, our members - although competitors of HMV - have been quick to express their support".
"We believe it is possible for the administrators to rescue something out of this situation. There is a precedent that you can streamline your costs and in particular the number of stores a chain trades from and still retain the bulk of sales - that's precisely what happened with Game. There is clearly is a viable business model for an entertainment retailer on the UK High Street. It is up to the administrators now to do their job and take the steps necessary to make it possible".
7DIGITAL BOSS SAYS HMV ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT AFFECT BUSINESS
HMV's stake in 7digital remains one of the few assets the company still has, having sold off various other parts of its business as it attempted to keep its retail operation afloat last year, although its stake has already been reduced from the 50% it bought in 2009. In October last year, HMV's own download store was incorporated into 7digital's platform.
Drury told CMU this morning: "HMV [has been] a highly valued brand in both the music and British retail sectors for decades, and we were saddened to hear the news of the filing for administration overnight. [However,] HMV is a minority shareholder in 7digital and, as such, this development will have no material impact on our business. Since HMV became a shareholder, 7digital has progressed to become a truly global digital music platform".
He continued: "We announced significant new investment last October ($10 million), which is driving further growth. Our partners include RIM, Samsung and other leading brands, who use our technology to power global digital music services. The new investment enables us to continue the expansion of our business into new markets, meeting demand for high quality, integrated music applications and services. HMV's stake in our business was diluted when we raised new investment".
Finally, he said: "We are looking forward to significant growth in 2013 and have exciting product plans to enhance our open music platform".
LVCR RELIEF CAMPAIGNERS SAY VAT-DODGING ETAILERS KILLED HMV
As much previously reported, until last April any Jersey or Guernsey-based online seller of goods under £18 (later £15) could sell products to UK customers without charging VAT, giving them a 15-20% advantage over mainland retailers. Led by Play.com, online CD and DVD sellers in particular capitalised on the tax relief system.
This put traditional music retailers - even major players like HMV - at a disadvantage. Already saddled with higher overheads, there was no way high street stores could compete with the online sellers on price, and even if they launched their own mail-order services, they'd still be at a disadvantage unless they too went offshore. HMV eventually did just that, but it was too little too late - the traditional retailer having lost the burgeoning mail-order space to Amazon and Play.com by that point.
Anti-LVCR campaigners always maintained that HMV should have lobbied against the VAT dodgers rather than becoming one itself. Ultimately it was proven that rampant use of LVCR in the Channel Islands was against European tax law, and the loophole was closed last year, resulting in Play.com to shut up shop as a direct retailer.
Responding to HMV going into administration, Richard Allen of campaigning group RAVAS told CMU yesterday: "HMV said off the record that LVCR was damaging their business but it wasn't confirmed publicly until Simon Fox did an interview in February 2012 with [games industry magazine] MCV in which he slammed 'idiotic' tax dodging. When HMV.com moved to Guernsey they initiated a price war with Play.com. For over five years HMV undercut their own shops in the interests of market share. It doesn't take a genius to work out that VAT avoidance was a major factor in the demise of the bricks and mortar business".
He continues: "Most record buyers equated HMV shops with 'expensive' due to the fact their shop prices included VAT. Whilst HMV clearly had problems as a result of a general decline in sales and the growth in internet retail, I think it's fair to say that HMV is a casualty of tax abuse. Tax abuse has made online more attractive due to the huge disparity in pricing. This is an issue the industry doesn't like to discuss because everyone is at it and, as we have seen, even those companies who are damaging their own retail base!"
Although LVCR abuse in the Channel Islands has been stopped by the UK government, some online players are now looking into ways to benefit from the same tax relief system in other locations, while, of course, the generally tax efficient strategies of certain online businesses have become bigger news of late. While VAT-dodging CD sellers on the Channel Islands are no longer an issue, traditional UK-based retailers are still disadvantaged by the clever use of tax rules by some online businesses able to base themselves in more tax efficient locations.
GLASTONBURY ANNOUNCES 2013 EMERGING TALENT COMPETITION
Entries will be accepted for one week from 9am tomorrow until 5pm on 24 Jan, via a form on the Glastonbury website. A longlist of 120 acts will then be drawn up by a team of 40 UK music bloggers, before being cut down to eight finalists by a panel of judges, including Michael and Emily Eavis. A winner will then be selected at a live final in Pilton, the village where Glastonbury is held, in April.
OUTKAST REUNION IS NOT A REUNION, SAYS ANDRE 3000
But it is not a reunion. They're not even collaborations. They're just things. So says Andre 3000, who told Spin: "It's important for me to be clear about the origins of my contributions to 'Pink Matter' and 'Sorry'. I was approached as a solo artist by both Frank Ocean and TI. I discussed musical direction with each artist and completed my verses. It was after that when Big Boi's name came up".
He continued: "I never want to mislead our audience - I worried that some would think these were Outkast collaborations. These songs are not Outkast collaborations. I discussed this rationale with Big, Frank and TI and everyone agreed. That is why I was surprised to read about these remixes. I understand that anyone can put out an unofficial remix to any song but I have an obligation to be honest with fans about what this is... and what it isn't".
So, here you go, have a listen to Andre 3000 and Big Boi, but certainly not Outkast.
DIZZEE RASCAL MAKING "PARTY" LP
Transcribing a conversation the once-Bow-and-now-Miami-based MC had with Radio 1's Zane Lowe on Monday night, Newsbeat quotes Dizzee as saying he has a "mad" excess of new tracks taped, many featuring "big league" production names.
A modest Rascal adds: "I feel a lot more settled now. I'm coming out ready just really wanting to get out there, perform new music. I've been doing the same songs for a little while now, and it's cool, but it's nice to do some fresh material. We're going with 'The Fifth'. It's like a party album".
If you can't wait until whenever that's released to party, perhaps you might like to party to the two free mixtapes Dizzee is giving away via his new media platform, Dirtee TV.
CHARLOTTE CHURCH TO RELEASE NEW EP
The new instalment in a five-part series that began (naturally) with 'One', it'll be available via Church's label, Alligator Wine, on 4 Mar.
Hear one of its five featured tracks, 'Glitterbombed', now.
COLD WAR KIDS PREVIEW NEW LP
Vocalist Nathan Willett gauges the in-band mood whilst all that was going on: "We were shaken up, ready to let certain songs go further than before by trying new styles and arrangements, while keeping others sparse and caring more about the finished product and less about how we got there".
Having released 'Dear Miss Lonelyhearts' via Downtown Records/Cooperative Music on 1 Apr - no fooling - Willett et al will then play the first of two British live dates at London's Forum on 9 May, with another the following night at the Ritz in Manchester.
FOUR TET TO RELEASE RARITIES EP
TOM WAITS AND ANTON CORBIJN TO RELEASE ART BOOK
The book is due to go on sale on 8 May and will set you back £131.61 if you live in the UK. You can pre-order your copy here.
NICK CAVE & BAD SEEDS PLAYING PUSH THE SKY AWAY LIVE IN LONDON
Appearing first at Her Majesty's Theatre in London on 10 Feb, Cave and band will play an orchestral recital of select tracks from said long player, afterwards screening filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's documentary of the same name as the new record, as features "unique insights" into the making of 'Push The Sky Away'. They'll repeat the programme in Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles over latter nights.
You'll be able to apply for tickets to the above via www.nickcave.com as of this Thursday (17 Dec). But in the interval, stay intrigued by listening to a new 'Push The Sky Away' track titled 'Jubilee Street'.
ANGEL HAZE POSTPONES HEADLINE DATES TO "CRAFT" DEBUT LP
And those new dates are:
7 May: London, Scala
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Field Day promoter Eat Your Own Ears boss Tom Baker told CMU: "I am really excited about the line-up for Field Day 2013, it's shaping up to be one of the best yet! Now more names have been added to the already amazing line-up, which so far includes groundbreaking double bill of Animal Collective and Bat For Lashes, as well as legends Mulatu Astatke and Thomas Mapfumo. I personally can't wait for Solange's first ever UK festival appearance and I am honoured to welcome the seminal performance-poet John Cooper Clarke as well as the brilliant Kurt Vile and so many other thrilling artists - they are all going to blow people's minds!"
Now it's to Denmark and its premiere fest Roskilde, as has just added pop/R&B queen Rihanna to an existing billing that features Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, Danny Brown and Action Bronson. So, that's unusual, as is Brighton's Once Inch Badge-hosted Sea Monsters 3 seven-dayer. Its now-final artist list harbours such rare rock pearls as Negative Pegasus, Garwolves, Traams and Abi Wade, so go on and go to it.
Another mentionable going-on in the grand scheme of Euro-festivals is that Poland's most distinguished indie fest Off, as has just named Deerhunter, Lens Lekman and Laurel Halo amid its initial live players.
And finally, those details - plus other European festival extras - in their entirety:
BOSPOP, Weert, The Netherlands, 13-14 Jul: Crosby, Stills & Nash, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown. www.bospop.nl
ELECTRIC ELEPHANT, The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, 11-15 Jul: Mr Scruff, Michael Mayer, Tobias Thomas, Prosumer, DJ Nature, Pete Herbert. www.electricelephant.co.uk
FIELD DAY, Victoria Park, London, 25 May: Amateur Best, Connan Mockasin, Dark Dark Dark, Egyptian Hip Hop, John Cooper Clarke, Kurt Vile, Mount Kimbie, Palma Violets, Savages, Seth Troxler, Shed, Solange, Splashh, Stubborn Heart, Wild Nothing. www.fielddayfestivals.com
OFF FESTIVAL, Katowice, Poland, 2-4 Aug: Deerhunter, Jens Lekman, Metz, Merchandise, Laurel Halo. off-festival.pl
REDFEST, Robins Cook Farm, Surrey, 26-27 Jul: Bleed From Within, Bury Tomorrow,Hacktivist, Heart In Hand, Turbowolf, Feed The Rhino, Demoraliser, The James Cleaver Quintet, Idiom, Gnarwolves, Palm Reader, Zico Chain, The Call Back Academy, Empress, Legend In Japan, Freeze The Atlantic, God Damn, Of Fire And Fate, A Room Swept White. redfest.co.uk/2013
ROSKILDE, Denmark, 29 Jun - 7 Jul: Rihanna. roskilde-festival.dk
SEA MONSTERS 3, The Prince Albert, Brighton, 21-27 Jan: Kins, Negative Pegasus, Abi Wade, Gnarwolves, Suave Debonair, Physics House Band, AK/DK, Written In Waters, Traams, Holy Vessels, Broker, Soccer96, Sea Bastard, thedealwasforthediamonds, TigerCub, Plasticine, If Heroes Should Fall, Rum Committee, Phoria, Son Belly, 900 Spaces, Great Pagans, Jacko Hooper, Loose Lips, DA-10, Squadron leaders, The Witches, Luo, Almighty Planets. www.oibrecords.com/shows/#SEA MONSTERS 3
UNIVERSAL REJIGS JAPANESE MANAGEMENT POST-EMI ACQUISITION
That means that Universal Music Japan CEO Kazuhiko Koike will replace EMI Music Japan's longtime chief Hitoshi Namekata, who will instead lead Universal's strategic marketing, classics and jazz units in the Japanese market.
According to Billboard, as the two Japanese record companies are consolidated, creative and management functions will be based at Universal's Tokyo HQ, while administration functions will be based at EMI's former offices in the city.
ALL NEW MYSPACE NOW OPEN TO ALL
FORMER VIRGIN RADIO BOSS OUT OF BIDDING FOR ABSOLUTE
As previously reported, Pearson began discussions with current Absolute owners TIML Radio late last year, and was initially thought to be the only prospective bidder, though last week it emerged that Bauer Radio was also in talks about acquiring the national station, and new reports suggest that TalkSport owner UTV Radio may also be interested.
It is thought Pearson withdrew from the bidding over the price tag TIML Radio had applied to their UK business. He has told reporters: "I can confirm that we have withdrawn from the process".
NIKKI SIXX JOINS KERRANG! RADIO
Sixx already hosts two radio shows in the US, Sixx Sense and The Side Show Countdown, and for his UK broadcast will play rock music gathered from around the world with co-host Kerri Kasem and Stock.
Says Sixx of his new appointment: "I can't think of a better way to start 2013. Kerrang! Radio and Sixx Sense is the perfect fit. Look out UK!"
ELTON JOHN WELCOMES SECOND CHILD
In a statement to Hello!, the couple said: "Both of us have longed to have children, but the reality that we now have two sons is almost unbelievable. The birth of our second son completes our family in a most precious and perfect way. It is difficult to fully express how we are feeling at this time; we are just overwhelmed with happiness and excitement".
TAYLOR SWIFT CANCELS GONDOLA DATE WITH HARRY STYLES
The Sun quotes an insider close to the Styles/Swift circle as saying this of the proposed Italian mini-break, apparently arranged by Swift as a nineteenth birthday present for Styles (who, it appears, is now going to mark the occasion with Justin Bieber in Las Vegas): "Taylor organised an all-expenses-paid trip before the split. She even arranged a private gondola for them for the entire time they would be there".