HMV SHUTS IRISH STORES AS BLOCKBUSTER UK GOES INTO ADMINISTRATION
Whereas HMV UK went into administration on Tuesday morning, the receivers have been called into the company's Irish business. The Irish equivalent of going into administration is known as 'examinership', whereas calling in the receivers is a more severe option, with the accountants appointed to oversee the process primarily briefed to secure the maximum possible return on the company's assets for creditors, rather than to negotiate with relevant stakeholders and possible buyers in a bid to rescue the company.
That's not to say that Deloitte Ireland won't also look for bidders interested in acquiring HMV Ireland as a going concern, but the company's stores in the country will shut in the interim, and the chances of a happy ending at the conclusion of the process are much lower. It seems unlikely that any of the parties linked to bids for some of the UK HMV business will be interested in the firm's Irish stores, and Deloitte is likely to treat any possible sale of HMV UK and HMV Ireland separately.
The collapse of HMV Ireland puts about 300 jobs on the line. As of yesterday those employees were temporarily laid off, pending any sale of the Irish business. There was seemingly some confusion as to whether HMV staffers in Ireland would be paid salaries they are owed for work already done this month, which reportedly led to staff in a few stores refusing to leave until that matter was clarified.
Staging a sit-in, staff at the branch in Limerick's Crescent Shopping Centre tweeted: "We just want what we're owed. The shop is profitable and we've been let down by our UK counterparts".
Meanwhile, in both Ireland and the UK, there has been some anger about the voucher situation, HMV refusing to redeem any of its vouchers since the company went into administration. While this is pretty standard when retail firms enter administration, it is always an unpopular move, especially when it occurs so soon after Christmas, with HMV vouchers in particular a popular Christmas present. As numerous affected customers hit out online and in the papers, one man in Ireland who had given his grandson a 40 euro voucher for Christmas reportedly took said grandson to his local HMV store to take away 40 euros worth of goods, much to the annoyance of store security.
One Tory MP back in the UK, meanwhile, accused HMV bosses of virtual theft for continuing to sell vouchers up to the very moment the company went into administration, when directors must have known there was a very real chance they could never be redeemed.
Tony Baldry, a commercial lawyer by trade, told reporters: "Directors and management must have known that the company was at very real risk of failure [and yet the company] continued selling vouchers all through Christmas and up until the day they went into administration".
He added that there was now a "legitimate question" as to whether HMV's directors were "obtaining property by deception, ie offences against the Theft Act, in allowing their stores to continue to sell vouchers and gift cards when they must have known that there was little prospect of those vouchers or gift cards ever being redeemed".
A spokesman for the HMV board, though, argued that the company's directors genuinely believed the firm could be saved from administration until the last moment. In a statement, the spokesman said: "Until as late as early afternoon on Monday, the directors believed that they had a reasonable prospect of avoiding insolvency and were satisfied that they were complying with all of their legal obligations including in respect of gift cards. When it became clear to the board late on Monday afternoon that they had no option than to file for administration, they issued immediate instructions to all stores to stop selling gift cards".
As previously reported, Deloitte is in talks with various parties interested in buying some of the HMV business, though most expect at best a very streamlined version of the company to come out of the administration process.
In a rather bad week for entertainment retail, Blockbuster UK also went into administration yesterday. The DVD rental firm's US owners opted for administration after the company only broke even in 2012. Bosses had hoped to make a profit to help fund a controlled downsizing of the business which, although still boasting two million customers in the UK, is clearly facing an uncertain future as movie-on-demand services over the net expand. Blockbuster's stores will stay open in the meantime and, presumably aware of the voucher rage that has ensued since Jessops and HMV hit the wall, the company will continue to accept valid vouchers in the interim.
KRIS KROSS TO REUNITE FOR SO SO DEF ANNIVERSARY SHOW
Dupri discovered Chris Kelly and Chris Smith, aka Daddy Mac and Mac Daddy, aka Kris Kross, in 1990 when he was eighteen years old and they were eleven and twelve respectively. Dupri negotiated a deal for them with Ruffhouse Records and produced the duo's debut album 'Totally Krossed Out', which included their seminal hit 'Jump', which enjoyed global success in 1992.
Kris Kross weren't technically signed to So So Def Recordings, the label Dupri created while Kris Kross were busy persuading the world to jump, but were very much associated with the producer and his emerging business empire at that time, so it figures that they would appear at an event celebrating the record company's two decades in business.
Dupri himself will also appear at the anniversary show at Atlanta's Fox Theatre on 23 Feb as will Da Brat, Bow Wow and a bunch of other So So Def affiliated artists.
BILLY BRAGG RE-SIGNS TO COOKING VINYL
Confirming his latest deal with a label he has worked with for two decades, Bragg told CMU: "When I first signed to Cooking Vinyl, it was all fields around here. I'm really pleased to still be part of their ongoing success story, especially now they have built up momentum in America and the rest of the world. As someone who believes that artists should own their rights, I am proud to work with a label that leads in service-only deals which help us all to make a living in the new digital record industry".
Meanwhile Cooking Vinyl founder and MD Martin Goldschmidt added: "Without Billy I don't think Cooking Vinyl would be here today. He is one of the foundations of the company and we are honoured that he has chosen us (over major competition) to release his new album. My face lit up when he came in and played it to us. It is his strongest record since 'Mermaid Avenue' and definitely a contender for his best album ever".
FRANK TURNER NAMES NEW LP TAPE DECK HEART
All standard 'Tape Deck Heart' discs will feature the following tracklisting, whilst special editions will carry an extra six that are listed here.
Frank is also playing a fair array of nationwide dates in the springtime, the first one being at Manchester Academy on 17 Apr.
ENTER SHIKARI ADD APRIL/MAY ENERGIZER DATES
Anyway. Spare tickets to the shows, and they're selling fast, may still be available in advance via www.entershikari.com/shows. They'll go on general sale Friday in all the usual places.
Failing all that, and apparently in place of a London-based date on the 'Energizer' tour proper, you can win tickets to the band's free and Converse-sponsored show at London's 100 Club on 28 Jan by clicking this link.
4 Apr: Dorking, Dorking Halls
A$AP ROCKY PLAYING LONDON CLUB NIGHT
MUDHONEY TO TOUR
And whilst that's still a while away, you can take instant consolation via a listen to 'Vanishing Point' track 'The Only Son Of Widow Nain', which is available as a free MP3 via this Spin link.
4 Jun: Brighton, Concorde 2
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
All the way over at Cheshire's Lovell Telescope (or rather, beneath and slightly in front of it), Icelanders Sigur Rós - who have a nearly-new LP in last year's 'Valtari' to push - confirm the first of two featured bookings in today's FLUU summary, the first at Live From Jodrell Bank on 30 Aug. The other is a space at Cornwall's The xx, Kaiser Chiefs and Eddie Izzard-starring Eden Sessions.
Back in the North West, and Liverpool Sound City has announced its initial list of live guests, which includes The Walkmen, Reverend & The Makers, Toy, Egyptian Hip Hop and Chapel Club. LSC is a music convention too, of course, and added to the proceedings on that side of things is Everything But The Girl's Tracey Thorn, who will be speaking about her new autobiography 'Bedsit Disco Queen', and The Wombats frontman Murph and his manager Simon Bobbet, who will be in conversation.
In addition to that lot, you may wish to make a memo of new artist bookings at ATP's Deerhunter and TV on The Radio-curated summer events; Sonar's equally fine Reykjavik and Barcelona-based editions; and a rare live appearance by Primal Scream as headliners at Scotland's Wickerman.
ATP CURATED BY DEERHUNTER, Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands, 21-23 Jun: Breeders, Kim Gordon & Ikue Mori, William Basinski, James, Roj & Julian, Ex Models & Kid Millions, Samara Lubelski, Blues Control & Laraaji. www.atpfestival.com/events/deerhunter.php
ATP CURATED BY TV ON THE RADIO, Pontins Holiday Camp, Camber Sands, 10-12 May: De La Soul, DOOM, Doseone, Dark Dark Dark, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dragons Of Zynth, Lone Wolf And Cub. www.atpfestival.com/events/tvontheradio.php
DOWNLOAD, Donington Park, Leicestershire, 14-16 Jun: Korn, Parkway Drive, Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari, The Hives, Converge, Motionless In White, Asking Alexandria, Heavens Basement, Young Guns, Cancer Bats, Down, Airbourne, Amon Amarth, 3 Doors Down, UFO, The Sword, Black Dogs, Huntress, In This Moment, and Five Finger Death Punch, Hacktivist, Hellyeah, Last Witness, Vision Of Disorder, Earthtone9, Hardcore Superstar, I Am I, Goldsboro, Walking Papers. www.downloadfestival.co.uk
EDEN SESSIONS, Eden Project, Cornwall, full 2013 dates tba: Sigur Rós. www.edenproject.com/sessions
LIVE FROM JODRELL BANK, Lovell Telescope, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, full 2013 dates tba: Sigur Rós. www.livefromjodrellbank.com
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY, various venues, Liverpool, 2-4 May: The Walkmen, Reverend & The Makers, Toy, Egyptian Hip Hop, Murkage, Chapel Club, Fossil Collective, The 1975, Hawk Eyes, Swim Deep, The Family Rain. www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk
SONAR BARCELONA, Liars, Nicolas Jaar, Gold Panda, Karenn (Blawan & Pariah), Mykki Blanco, Maceo Plex, Delorean, Darkstar, Paul Kalkbrenner, Sherwood & Pinch, Foreign Beggars, Baauer, La Bien Querida, Christeene, Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team & Matthias Zimmermann. www.sonar.es/en
SONAR REYKJAVIK, Harpa Concert House, Iceland, 15-16 Feb: John Talabot, Sin Fang, Óli Ofur, DJ Andrés, Sóley, Yagya, CasaNova, Kalli & Ewok, Ben Sol, Terrordisco. sonarreykjavik.com/en
WICKERMAN, East Kirkcarswell Farm, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, 26-27 Jul: Primal Scream, Public Service Broadcasting. www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk
UNIVERSAL APPOINTS COCKLE TO RUN VIRGIN RECORDS UK
And it is Ted Cockle, currently co-President of Universal's Island Records, who will lead Virgin moving forward. And look, here is Universal Music UK boss David Joseph saying just that, while noting the Virgin team's recent pop successes, including that lady they call Emeli.
Says Joseph: "The way the Virgin team have carefully nurtured the career of Emile Sandé is extraordinary, following other recent successes with Katy Perry, Brit Award-winning Laura Marling and Swedish House Mafia. I am determined they will be rewarded with all the support and investment they need to continue this renaissance of one Britain's landmark record labels. Ted - with his unique vision, innovation and passion - is the person to help them achieve this".
Cockle himself added: "It has been a total pleasure to have worked with all the artists and the exceptional team at Island for the past seven years. I now hope to help with Virgin's transition into Universal and to help the team further replicate their recent huge successes".
Cockle's co-President at Island, Darcus Beese, will now lead that division on his lonesome, Joseph adding: "As for Island I know the label is in the best possible hands, with Darcus providing inspirational leadership as he continues his remarkable journey at the label".
Elsewhere in Universal news, the Chairman of EMI Australia Mark Poston has announced he is departing the company as it is consolidated with Universal's Australian business. Poston worked for EMI for over a decade, including three years in London. He reportedly told colleagues that now seemed like a logical time to take some "time out" from his music business career.
BMG ANNOUNCES ALLIANCE WITH STRICTLY RHYTHM
Confirming the deal, Strictly Rhythm founder Mark Finkelstein told reporters: "I couldn't be more pleased that Strictly Rhythm's catalogue has found a new home with the passionate staff at BMG who will bring new opportunities to our dance classics, as well as creative collaborations for the future producers and artists within our collective families".
Meanwhile Richard Blackstone of BMG Chrysalis US added: "We are thrilled to represent this wonderful collection of music, and inspired by what the future partnership will bring. We truly understand the blood, sweat, and tears that went into growing an independent business like this. We agree with their simple recipe for success: trust talent, respect your clients and partners, and pay on time".
MATHIEU JATON NAMED NEW MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL HEAD
Jaton, who, a statement from the festival said, "was chosen by Claude Nobs to be his successor", began working at the festival in 1999 and was promoted to General Secretary in 2001. He took over management responsibilities for the festival after Nobs' accident, which it had been hoped would be a temporary solution. However, following Nobs' death, it was confirmed this week that he would assume the top job permanently.
This year's Montreaux Jazz Festival is due to take place from 5-20 Jul. Meanwhile, a tribute concert for Nobs will take place at the Stravinsky Auditorium in Montreaux on 8 Feb, following by another event in New York this spring. An event at the Royal Opera House in London, which Nobs was working on prior to is death, is scheduled to go ahead on 26-27 Jul too.
GOOGLE PLAY HIRES HARRY FOX AGENCY
Harry Fox Agency President and CEO Michael Simon said: "HFA continues to forge relationships that join content creators and digital music distributors in win-win opportunities. We are thrilled that Google is developing new music publishing revenue streams and are delighted to streamline their content clearance process so that they can focus on providing their customers with the best service possible".
The company already has a similar deal in place with Amazon for its Cloud Player service.
DECIBEL MUSIC SYSTEMS CEO RESIGNS
A spokesperson said that Decibel "does not expect the departure of Mr Gregory Kris to have any material impact on its ongoing operations [and] funding received will enable the company to continue its product development and expansion as planned".
Kris told CMU: "After successfully overseeing the acquisition of a third round of funding for Decibel, and the development of a revenue-positive business from scratch, my job here is done. Starting three years, ago, we took a robust core technology, and created a suite of market-leading products and services for the management of metadata for digital media".
Stein commented: "We will certainly miss Greg. He's been a valuable friend and partner and his presence, reputation and drive have been a huge factor in our success to date. We look forward to continuing to work with him in the future, and want to thank him for his leadership, vision and selfless commitment to the company for the past few years".
NEW ZEALAND RADIO FIRM PULLS MEGAUPLOAD ADVERTISING
As previously reported, the ads went on air across eight of MediaWorks' ten radio stations earlier this week, but were quickly pulled. A spokesperson for the company told NBR that the ads were removed from rotation for "commercial reasons", adding that "this is a unique situation".
Meanwhile, an unnamed source said that the move had been made specifically because of pressure from music and movie companies that also advertise across the MediaWorks network - the company's TV3 channel, it's probably worth mentioning, also airs the newly launched New Zealand version of 'X-Factor'.
Taking to Twitter yesterday shortly after receiving the news yesterday, Dotcom said: "Apparently some music labels complained to MediaWorks about our radio ads. Booking of over 500 ad plays terminated. Wow!"
He added: "Not blaming Mediaworks. They are a great company with great people. It's the music labels that are abusing their power, again".
You kind of have to wonder if Dotcom had hoped this would happen, given how much more coverage and exposure the cancelling of his ads will bring him. Anyway, adverts or not, Mega is due to launch this weekend.
CLIVE DICKENS TO LEAVE ABSOLUTE
Dickens will not be replaced at Absolute, with other executives at the firm taking over responsibility for programming and content output across the company's various stations. As previously reported, Absolute's owner TIML Radio is currently in talks to sell the company, with Bauer Radio currently mooted as the most likely buyer for the main Absolute stations and its sister digital services.
Confirming Dickens' pending departure, Absolute CEO Donnach O'Driscoll told reporters: "We wish Clive the very best as he embarks on a new chapter of his life and career in Australia. His contribution to the business over the last five years has been nothing short of enormous. He has, in that time, fostered and developed a great team of people and Adrian and I look forward to working even more closely with them".
Dickens himself said: "During an amazing 2012 Absolute Radio achieved a twelve year record RAJAR high in audience including going to Number One Commercial Brand in 15+ Males in London plus being voted Commercial Radio Station of the Year. I am really sad to leave but it has always been an ambition to live closer to my family in Australia and this opportunity to work within the wider Asia Pacific Digital economy is the chance of a lifetime. Absolute Radio is in great shape and I will be leaving it in great hands".
NICKI MINAJ AND WIG-MAKER SPLIT
Davidson said in a statement: "I've decided to step away as hair stylist and wig creator for Nicki Minaj. It has been an amazing experience offering me a chance to express my creativity and exhibit my love for the art form of wig design".