RECORD SALES UP IN JANUARY AS HMV COLLAPSE RALLIES SALES
It's widely assumed that HMV's high profile administration has had an tangible impact on record sales in a traditionally quiet month - whether that be shoppers attracted by the massive sale the flagging retailer launched just before going into administration, or consumers rushing to spend their HMV vouchers (once administrators started accepting them again), or simply people keen to show their support for their local record shop, now that the last big national entertainment retail firm is fighting for survival.
Commenting on the figures, compiled by the Official Charts Company and published by the Entertainment Retailers Association yesterday, the boss of the retail trade body, Kim Bayley, told CMU: "This is an extremely positive result and a great start to the year. It certainly demonstrates that there is far more robust demand for music than is often assumed. There has been a significant public reaction to the threat to HMV. Stores have been inundated with customers concerned that they may lose their local store and this appears to have translated into sales".
It's worth noting these figures include digital as well as physical revenues, and the now customary post-Christmas rush of download sales instigated by the acquisition of new digital devices over the festive period will also have had an impact. Though ERA says that physical has performed particularly well in the last fortnight since HMV's administration was confirmed.
The battle to save HMV continues, with restructuring firm Hilco still expected to acquire the retailer's brand and up to half its stores, with other shop units sold off to fashion retailers and supermarkets.
Meanwhile celebrity businessman Theo Paphitis, from 'Dragons Den', has told the Mail he is talking to HMV's administrators about acquiring some of the companym's stores for his Ryman and Robert Dyas chains. He also told the tab that he believes the HMV brand is worth having, and that he has considered bidding for it, though he reckons a firm with entertainment retail experience is more likely to secure that part of the pie. AKA Hilco.
KORDA MARSHALL TO CHAIR OFFICIAL CHARTS COMPANY
Marshall replaces Rob Salter, the former boss of entertainment products at Tesco, who has stepped down from his charts role having departed the supermarket giant last month. The Infectious boss will serve an initial two year term in the non-executive OCC Chairman role.
Confirming his appointment, Marshall, who has held major label roles in addition to running Infectious as an indie twice, told CMU: "The Official Charts Company is a hugely important organisation. It not only provides data, analysis, programming and visibility for artists but is, in many ways, the custodian of our industry's history. It is a real honour to be given a role to play in the evolution and growth of the Official Charts Company and I am looking forward to working with Martin and his excellent team during what is a challenging but also very exciting time for the music industry".
Meanwhile the OCC's MD Martin Talbot added: "I am delighted to welcome Korda as our new chairman. He is a progressive and experienced entrepreneur with a real vision for the Official Charts, as well as a music man with an unbeatable track record of signing and launching new acts, from commercial pop through to the coolest, most credible acts. He is the perfect person to help us take the next steps on following the excellent contribution of Rob Salter over the past couple of years".
NOEL GALLAGHER DIAGNOSED WITH TINNITUS
Speaking to Talk Sport, he said: "I went for a brain scan. They did find it... I've got a bizarre ringing in my ears. I think it's just through playing guitar for the last 20 years, so I had to sit in a tube in the hospital. The funny thing is they give you these headphones and I chose classical music. It came on and it was the exact music I play to my little kid when he goes to bed. I was in there for 25 minutes. It was horrible".
Commenting on the diagnosis, he said: "It's an accumulation of many things but I've had a bloody great time doing it all and if I do eventually die of brain disease, it will have been worth it".
Tinnitus Awareness Week this year takes place from 4-10 Feb.
RYAN SEACREST MADE HONORARY CHAIRMAN OF GRAMMY FOUNDATION
Neil Portnow, executive chief at both the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation, told CMU: "I speak for all of the officers and directors of the Grammy Foundation in wholeheartedly welcoming Ryan to our board. I've known Ryan personally and professionally for many years, and his energy, integrity and keen vision will bring an increased strength to our mission and programmes".
Seacrest himself added: "Contributing to the great work of the Grammy Foundation will be an honour and privilege, as music has forever been a powerful force in my life. It's truly exciting to join the board and help launch the Music Educator Award, which will recognise one of America's greatest treasures: music teachers".
Talking of the Grammys, Justin Timberlake will perform at the big awards show on 10 Feb. So that's nice. Can we arrange for the indies to all sit in the front row, so they can throw rotten fruit at the creative chief of MyFuckTheIndiesSpace?
TIMBALAND SIGNS TO ROC NATION
Plans, quotes, dates there are none. But there is a nice picture of the producer and Roc Nation boss Jay-Z sitting in a studio together, which is just as good, I'd say.
BARRY GIBB RE-SIGNS TO WARNER/CHAPPELL
Says Gibb: "I am very proud to be extending my relationship with Warner/Chappell. The people there are great and I look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with a view to maximizing the potential of The Bee Gees and my personal catalogue".
The CEO of Warner's publishing division Cameron Strang added: "Barry is among pop music's greatest artists, both as a hit-maker and as a performing star. WMG is delighted to provide a home for the Bee Gees' legendary music and is proud that Barry entrusts Warner/Chappell with his stunning catalogue of songs. We are excited to be building on our long and productive partnership".
Gibb will head out on a world tour later this year, performing songs from Bee Gees anthology boxset 'Mythology', which was released in December, marking their 50th year in the music business.
ALISON MOYET SIGNS WITH COOKING VINYL
Confirming the deal, Moyet told CMU: "It is a very happy place I find myself in. I am more than delighted to be joining Cooking Vinyl and working with a company of people that support the direction I have taken for my eighth solo studio album".
Her manager Richard Griffiths, from Modest! Management, added: "We are thrilled to be working alongside Cooking Vinyl for Alison's next release. They were they obvious home for this record, which we are all incredibly proud of".
While Cooking Vinyl's Rob Collins said: "Alison is a legend and has made an outstanding record on her own terms. I think a lot of people will be surprised, in a good way, about how amazing the record is".
LANA DEL REY RECORDING AGAIN
The divisive pop-ette is most probably making a start on a follow-on to her 2012 debut 'Born To Die'. The Daily Mail says the new LP will be her third, but the Daily Mail is mistaken. It's possible they're including LDR's releases as Lizzy Grant in the count, though they also seem to think 'Paradise' was an album, rather than an EP and an extended re-release of 'Born To Die'.
Anyway, look at several photos of the "stunning redhead" and her "flawless and glowing complexion" as she "croons into the microphone" via this very special (if factually inaccurate) article.
THE STROKES ASSIGN TITLE, RELEASE DATE TO NEW LP
As semi-predicted, its first single will be 'All The Time', which has an LP-preceding issue date set at 18 Feb. Another of its featured tracks, 'One Way Trigger', is still streamable via this player, and/or downloadable via this link.
COLD CAVE TO SHARE NEW EP "SOON"
It'll bear but a pair of tracks, a title A-side and its reverse 'People Are Poison'. Apparently, that last one "plods forth with an angry swagger in direct juxtaposition to the title track's driving urgency", so that's illuminating. Can anything "plod with an angry swagger"? I guess it can.
Deathwish HQ says the EP will be "available soon" but fails to clarify when. How soon is soon? We'll all just have to wait, and maybe move to Asia, because Cold Cave will be playing live in Asia in April/May.
NITIN SAWHNEY PLAYING ONE-OFF ROUNDHOUSE SHOW
He and select guests will appear at London's Roundhouse on 27 Jun. Tickets are on sale now at this link.
MATTHEW E WHITE ADDS APRIL DATES
Anyway, he'll be gambolling about as follows:
21 Apr: Bristol, Thekla
And this is the video for 'Big Inner' innard 'Will You Love Me'.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Elton is marking 40 years since his 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' LP was first released, and of that, he says this: "I haven't played any of the major festivals in the UK in recent years, so when the opportunity to play Bestival came up I was very interested. I've heard that the Bestival audience comes in fancy dress and I can't wait to see that, they must all look amazing from the stage. At various times I have worn enormous feathered head-dresses, cloaks, hot pants, jumpsuits, clown suits, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, French Maid, The Eiffel Tower and The Statue Of Liberty onstage! Wearing fancy dress makes us all feel less inhibited so I think it's a great way to enjoy live music".
Great, so Elton's into it. He may also like the first listings missive sent by Scots monster-fest Rock Ness, as features Example, The Vaccines, Ellie Goulding, The Maccabees, Jessie Ware and Camera Obscura.
After the hoohaa of last year's Hackney Weekend, Radio 1's Big Weekend returns to normal service in May, heading over to 2013's UK City Of Culture, Londonderry in Northern Ireland, for three days of music from 24-26 May. First on the line-up are Olly Murs and Two Door Cinema Club. The previous weekend, 13-17 May, young people in the city will be invited to attend a series of workshops and session on working in radio.
Says the BBC's Head of Live Music & Events (Popular Music), Jason Carter: "The last Big Weekend in the city in 2004 was a legendary music moment in Northern Ireland and it's so great to be able to return with an even bigger show second time around".
Over at Liverpool Sound City, AlunaGeorge, Enter Shikari, King Krule, Future Of The Left and Dexys are amongst the new additions to the line-up. As previously announced, Tracey Thorn and The Wombats will also speak at the conference section of the event. Also, a score of new artist revelations have been attached to roving pop/punk/rock beast Slam Dunk, which has just 'gone international' by adding all-day events in Glasgow, Cardiff and Dublin to its existing Leeds, Hatfield and Wolverhampton-based editions. All six sub-fests carry varying rosters, so view the intricacies of each via this link.
And now, please stay tuned to take in info on all the above, and additional artist... additions to ironically-titled pop bash Chester Rocks, mild and citrus-y indie melee Lemonfest, Henley's premier 1980s love-in Rewind, and small-but-shapely Danish do Spot:
BESTIVAL, Robin Hill Country Park, Isle Of Wight, 5-8 Sep: Elton John, Snoop Dogg, MIA, Franz Ferdinand, Flaming Lips, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Roots, Belle & Sebastian, Jessie Ware, Disclosure, Sinead O'Connor, Chic feat Nile Rodgers, Squarepusher, Hot Natured, Angel Haze, The Polyphonic Spree, Johnny Marr, Bastille, Peace, The Strypes, DJ Fresh, Rudimental, Dexys, The Walkmen, John Cooper Clarke, Lissie, The Wonder Stuff, Caravan Palace, The Cuban Brothers, Matthew E White, While She Sleeps, Merchandise, Mikill Pane, True Tiger, Sexy Sushi, Is Tropical, Skaters, Lulu James, Swim Deep, Drenge, Jagwar Mar, Fleetwood Bac, Jaipur Brass Band, Kawa Circus, Lewis Watson, Jaws, J-Cats, Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, A-Yo (Mark Ronson v Zane Lowe), Annie Mac Presents, Seth Troxler, Julio Bashmore, Maya Jane Coles, Erol Alkan, David Rodigan Mbe Presents Ram Jam, Dixon, Kerri Chandler, Eats Everything, Numbers (Jackmaster, Spencer, Redinho, Sophie Rustie), Joy Orbison, Fabio & Grooverider, Hospitality Take Over feat High Contrast, Danny Byrd, Nu:Logic, Fred V & Grafix, Marcel Dettman, DJ Yoda, The Daft Punk Tribute Night In The Hidden Disco, Redlight, Bondax, Heidi, Ed Rush, Fake Blood, Jesse Rose, Justin Robertson, A Love From Outer Space, Ben UFO, Cyril Hahn, Daniel P Carter, Catz N Dogz, My Love Is Underground, Cashmere Cat, Krankbrother, Ben Pearce, Dollop DJs, Alexander Nut, Roska, Bodhi, Kry Wolf, Coley From Luv*Jam, Crispin J Glover, Bad Zuke. www.bestival.net
CHESTER ROCKS, Chester Racecourse, Chester, 15-16 Jun: The Wanted, Jessie J, Lawson, Union J. www.chester-rocks.com
LEMONFEST, Newton Abbot Racecourse, Devon, 1 Jun: Lucy Rose, The Skints, Tall Ships, I Divide, and local favourites Mad Dog Mcrea, Adam Isaac, Towns, Big Wave, Shoot The Moon, Owen Penrice, Land Of The Giants, Your Last Day, Hysteria, The Kedellas. www.lemonfest.co.uk
LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY, various venues, Liverpool, 2-4 May: Dexys, Enter Shikari, Thee Oh Sees, Mount Kimbie, Future Of The Left, AlunaGeorge, King Krule, Darkstar, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Outfit, Hacktivist, Marmozets, Neck Deep. www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk
REWIND FESTIVAL, Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames, 16-18 Aug: The B-52s, The Pointer Sisters, Kim Wilde, ABC, Belinda Carlisle, Nik Kershaw, Blancmange, Sonia, The Blow Monkeys, Cutting Crew, Heaven 17, The Sugarhill Gang, Then Jerico, Billy Ocean, Go West, Paul Carrack, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, The Flying Pickets, Matt Bianco, Aswad, Imagination feat Leee John. www.rewindfestival.com
RADIO 1'S BIG WEEKEND, Ebrington Square, Londonderry, 24-26 May: Olly Murs, Two Door Cinema Club. www.bbc.co.uk/bigweekend
ROCK NESS, Loch Ness, Scotland, 7-9 Jun: Example, Basement Jaxx, Madness, The Vaccines, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Ellie Goulding, The Maccabees, Jessie Ware, Camera Obscura, Newton Faulkner. www.rockness.co.uk
SLAM DUNK, Leeds University/South Hertfordshire University/Wolverhampton Civic/ O2 ABC Glasgow/Cardiff University/ The Academy Dublin, 24-29 May: Four Year Strong, Pierce The Veil, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Fireworks, The Early November, Memphis May Fire, Woe Is Me, Hands Like Houses, Bury Tomorrow, Yashin, Jody Has A Hitlist, Wounds, Red Enemy, We Are The Ocean, Handguns. www.slamdunkmusic.com
SPOT, various venues, Aarhus, Denmark, 3-4 May: Halasan Bazar, Cancer, Broken Twin, We Were Born Canaries, Yast, Kissaway Trail, Bloodgroup, The White Album, Simian Ghost, Far Away From Fiji, Einar Stray, Broke, Baby in Vain, Golden Kanine. spotfestival.dk
ALICIA KEYS NAMED BLACKBERRY'S GLOBAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR
The company announced its new range of smartphones yesterday, and slipped in the news of Keys' appointment to the made up role of Global Creative Director. Which, as The Verge pointed out, is a pretty good deal for someone who described themselves as a recently converted "iPhone junky" less than a month ago.
Presumably after family members staged some sort of intervention regarding the iPhone addiction, Keys ran to BlackBerry and begged for their help, ie a professional reason to only use a phone so devoid of excitement, that it would never lead to any sort of dangerous dependency.
Bigging up the all new BlackBerry 10 platform yesterday, Keys said: "Staying connected has become a vital part of my creative process. I have been using the BlackBerry 10 for a few weeks now, and I'm truly inspired by its innovation. It has entirely revolutionised the experience. I know the potential this platform has to help creative people be more productive, and help productive people be more creative. This is such an incredible age to be living in, with such profound advances in communications and technology. As Global Creative Director, my goal is to inspire creativity with this platform, and I'm so excited to jump right in".
Glad to hear you're all better now, Alicia. Also thrilled by her rehabilitation, BlackBerry President and CEO Thorsten Heins said: "Alicia Keys has come to BlackBerry because she believes in the product and technology, and subscribes to our overriding philosophy to 'Keep Moving': to empower people through mobile computing and communications. We are excited she will be bringing to us her enormous capabilities, as well as a vast network of relationships in the entertainment, social media and business communities, to help shape our brand and grow our business".
Quite what being Global Creative Director for Blackberry actually involves isn't clear, though it's a shame for the flagging phone maker it didn't include defending the brand to the BBC yesterday, given that anyone would have been better at that job that the firm's European MD Stephen Bates. But it seems the singer will be far too busy contributing to a new initiative called the Keep Moving Project, which will see "some of the world's most inspirational people" keep on moving. Which is an opportunity for the recently reunited Five surely? Though Keys has gone and recruited film director Robert Rodriguez and author Neil Gaiman instead. Here's a video of them spouting on about the project.
PSY GOES NUTS FOR PISTACHIOS
Announcing the hook-up, Psy, who will wear a green suit in the advert, said: "The Wonderful Pistachios brand is fun, just like me. Also, I love pistachios and I look good in green".
It seems like a perfect combination, yes. But has Psy got across just how perfect it is? No, he has not. Typical, you just can't rely on these celebs. Luckily, Marc Seguin, VP of Marketing at Wonderful Pistachios owners Paramount Farms, was on hand. He blurted: "The Super Bowl is the most widely watched sporting event of the year, 'Gangnam Style' is the most-watched YouTube video, and Wonderful Pistachios is the top-selling snack nut item on the market. It's a powerhouse combination".
Yes, it's almost too perfect. They were all clearly made for each other. But what will happen in the advert? "They will see Psy as they know him, with his personality and great moves", Seguin told ABC. "They will see the same 'Gangnam Style' action that has swept the nation. They will see him opening pistachios the way only he could".
Like a horse?
NEW SYLVIA RHONE LABEL READY TO LAUNCH
As previously reported, the former Universal Republic chief departed the Universal Music Group in 2011 as Lucian Grainge got about properly rejigging the company, and moved over to Sony to join her former boss at UMG, Doug Morris, now CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. Rhone has been working on her new business, which will operate in partnership with Sony's Epic label, for nearly a year now.
Rhone will report into Epic chief LA Reid with the new venture, which she will run from a New York base. Artists on Vested In Culture's launch roster include pop acts Kat Dahlia, Quadron and Sebastian Mikael, R&B singer-songwriter Deon Young and rappers Casey Veggies and Cashius Green.
EARACHE AND CENTURY MEDIA ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE
The new partnership will kick in tomorrow. Earache previously used EMI's Caroline Distribution in the States, though that deal expired last October. Where as EMI provided straight distribution services, under the new deal Century will be more involved in the US marketing of Earache's records.
According to Billboard, Earache's North American Label Manager Al Dawson said: "We talked to a bunch of different people about how we could move forward [after our EMI deal ended], and Century Media definitely came up with the most attractive offer for us as far as what their role would be".
While Century Media's Don Robertson told the trade mag: "When Al Dawson approached me about licensing their catalogue and future releases, I thought it was a complete no brainer if we could make a sensible deal".
BACKSTAGE BUYS SONICBIDS
Confirming the deal, the value of which has not been confirmed, though the New York Post estimated $15 million, Sonicbids founder and CEO Panos Panay said: "Sonicbids and Backstage share the same mission of opening doors for the creative community. Joining forces creates amazing synergies and brings the worlds of music, film and social marketing even closer together".
The combined company will be led by Backstage CEO John Amato, who added: "This market has great growth potential but has been underserved. We want to step in to become the destination site for performing artists to book opportunities, manage their careers and educate themselves".
RAJAR ROUND UP
1. Radio 1, having reconfigured its schedules to better appeal to its core youth demographic, saw its weekly listenership slip to 11.09 million in the last quarter, down from 11.2 million the previous quarter and 11.66 million a year ago. Though the all-new Nick Grimshaw breakfast show commanded an audience of 6.69 million, which is only 40,000 down on the old Chris Moyles show, which isn't at all bad given the big shift in style in the station's primetime slot.
2. Radio 2 and 6music had good quarters, both hitting all time highs. Radio 2 scored a record 15.1 million listeners per week in the last quarter, up from 13.9 million and 14.3 million on the previous quarter and year respectively. Perhaps those giving up on Radio 1 are switching over to its more grown up sister station. 6Music extended its weekly audience to 1.89 million, from 1.62 million and 1.44 million in the previous quarter and a year ago.
3. Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show remains the biggest in the country, hitting 9.52 million weekly listeners, up from 8.96 million a year ago.
4. Radio 3 saw its weekly audience fall slightly, from 2.10 million a year ago to 2.06 million. Meanwhile the BBC Asian Network also lost some listeners, down to 453,000 from 472,000 this time last year.
5. In London, Bauer's Magic remains the most listened to station, despite seeing its audience slip from 1.16 million to 2.03 million.
6. Sister London station Kiss also lost some listeners, but also retained its position as third biggest in the capital.
7. Global Radio can still boast to having London's biggest breakfast show in the form of Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdown on Capital FM, even though it saw its audience slip to 1.1 million.
8. In terms of Global's stations overall, Capital lost a quarter of a million listeners year on year, but is still second biggest in the city. Heart also saw its figures decline, but it remained fourth biggest. Xfm scored its highest reach in over two years, with audience up to 445,000.
9. Digital radio accounted for a third of radio listening overall, slightly up year on year.
10. In terms of digital-only stations, 6music now has the biggest audience, with Smash Hits the most listened to commercial digital station.
ARTROCKER MAGAZINE GOES DIGITAL
Artrocker's Editor-In-Chief Tom Fawcett told CMU: "Artrocker has always been an innovator. When people were still 'clubbing' in the noughties we started a rock n roll night and put on the first London shows by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, The Black Keys, Interpol, Maximo Park and so many more great bands that went on to reshape music and culture on a global level. When people were saying the music industry was dead we launched a record label and suddenly the tide turned and vinyl sales rose for the first time in over a decade. People were saying 'Magazines are over' so we started a magazine, and here we are, almost ten years later, still going strong and again utilising the technology and tools available to us".
So, there you go.
PROTOTYPE ANTI-PAPARAZZI GLASSES DEMONSTRATED
Designed by Professor Isao Echizen at The National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo, who demonstrated a prototype in a paper published last year, the glasses shine out infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye but appears in digital photographs, covering the wearer's face in purple dots.
Of course, it does mean walking around with some silly glasses on, but that's OK, because they're actually designed to stop facial recognition software from working, so it won't just be celebrities wearing them. Though if everyone starts wearing them, we'll just get used to people having purple dots in front of their faces and it won't be weird any more. Maybe humans will evolve to have actual purple dots in front of their faces. And then where will we be? Right back to square one, that's where.