HMV ANNOUNCES 66 STORE CLOSURES
As expected, the stores won't close immediately, but closures will take place over a two-month period, allowing for closing down sales. Although a significant axing, and clearly a major blow for those working at one of the axed stores, the number of units closed is less than expected. It's not clear yet if further closures will be announced, though it may be that will depend on the wishes of Hilco, who are expected to buy the HMV business and bring it out of administration as a streamlined going concern.
Joint Administrator Nick Edwards told reporters: "As part of our on-going review of HMV's financial position, we have now completed a review of the store portfolio and have identified 66 loss making stores for closure. This step has been taken in order to enhance the prospects of securing the business's future as a going concern. We continue to receive strong support from staff and are extremely grateful to them for their commitment during an understandably difficult period. All other key stakeholders remain very supportive and I continue to be hopeful of securing a future for the restructured business".
The list of stores to close is as follows: Ashton-under-Lyne, Ballymena, Barnsley, Belfast Boucher Road, Belfast Forestside, Bexleyheath, Birkenhead, Birmingham Fort, Blackburn, Boston, Bournemouth Castlepoint, Bracknell, Burton-upon-Trent, Camberley, Chesterfield, Coleraine, Craigavon, Croydon Centrale, Derry, Dumfries, Durham, Edinburgh Fort, Edinburgh Gyle Centre, Edinburgh Ocean, Edinburgh Princes Street, Edinburgh St James, Falkirk, Fulham, Glasgow Fort, Glasgow Silverburn, Glasgow Braehead, Huddersfield, Kirkcaldy, Leamington Spa, Leeds White Rose, Lisburn, London Bayswater, London Moorgate, London Trocadero, London Wandsworth, London Wood Green, Loughborough, Luton, Manchester Market Street, Newry, Newtonabbey, Orpington, Rochdale, Scunthorpe, South Shields, Speke Park, St Albans, St Helens, Stockton-on-Tees, Tamworth, Teesside, Telford, Wakefield, Walsall, Walton-on-Thames, Warrington, Watford, Wellingborough, Wigan, Workington, Wrexham.
DIGITAL BOOMING AND SET TO GROW FURTHER, SAYS BPI
The report, which combines research from various sources, presents an optimistic view of where the digital music market is at, while pointing to the pending boom in tablet devices, in-car net connectivity, smart TVs and net-connected home hi-fi systems as all providing great opportunities for further digital growth in the music space.
Relying on data from Kantar Worldpanel, the report reckons that nearly a third of consumers accessed a legit digital music service last year, that over a quarter paid for download or streaming content, and that more or less a fifth had now "fully transitioned" to the digital experience.
This gradual shift of digital consumption into the mainstream means that single-track sales in the UK have increased five-fold in the last decade, with 183.3 million digital singles sold in 2012. Meanwhile 30.5m digital albums were sold in the UK last year and 3.7 billion tracks were streamed.
And people are liking what they see once they go digital, if the BPI report is to be believed. Citing data from EMI's Music Consumer Insight Team and YouGov, the trade body reckons a quarter of users give their digital services of choice 10/10 and just under three-quarters 7/10, while over 90% of streamers say they are satisfied overall.
Elsewhere in the digital stats fest are the revelations that music fans in Edinburgh are the biggest users of Spotify, 50 million net-connected cars will be sold each year by 2017 and 70% of households will own a tablet device by 2016, by which time 44 million people will be on a 4G mobile network. Good times.
Awareness of digital services is also high, the report says, with over 70% of consumers having heard of at least one of the newer audio streaming services, with Spotify and Napster the best known (the latter stat questioning Rhapsody's logic in phasing out the classic digital music brand).
But enough stats, how about a quote from BPI boss Geoff Taylor? He told CMU: "There has rightly been a lot of focus in the past few weeks on high street music retail. That will continue - we must do all we can to serve music fans who love CDs and vinyl. But as well as great music stores, Britain is blessed with a world-beating array of digital music services, which fans rate very highly for ease of use and value for money".
He continues: "And this is just the beginning. Labels are striking innovative new deals with mobile networks, hardware manufacturers, app developers and start-ups. The music fan will be the clear winner, as digital services evolve to deliver even richer music experiences via super-fast broadband and 4G to tablets, smart TVs and the next generation of in-car audio".
BAUER BUYS PLANET ROCK
As previously reported, Planet Rock's current owner Malcolm Bluemel put the digital rock station on the market last September, with reports he was close to a deal with magazine publisher and TV/radio service operator Bauer circulating earlier this month. Bluemel saved Planet Rock back in 2008 when what was then GCap Media started to shut down its digital-only services. If the new deal is worth £1-2 million, the entrepreneur will have taken a hit on his radio venture, with insiders saying he was hoping for a deal closer to £3 million to recoup his investment into the media company.
Bauer already operates a rock station, on digital and in the Midlands on FM, under its Kerrang! brand, and is also said to be bidding for another rock radio station, Absolute. Quite what the media firm has planned isn't clear, though most expect some kind of consolidation of brands over its various rock-based frequencies. Moving forward Planet Rock will be headed up by Bauer Radio's London MD Steve Parkinson.
Confirming the acquisition, Bauer Media UK CEO Paul Keenan told CMU: "Radio is in growth in the UK and Planet Rock, through its passion for great music, offers listeners and commercial partners an engaging and relevant experience. Our media, along with the music industry, are seeing a real resurgence in guitar-based music, which makes this acquisition an exciting and timely addition to our portfolio of national radio brands and music magazines. Planet Rock has built an excellent reputation with listeners and the music industry. We are looking forward to the station becoming part of our global media company where we can offer significant resources across multiple brands and platforms to take it to even greater heights".
Bluemel added: "Planet Rock is going to a great home. Bauer is a business that really cares about building brands and music radio in particular. The station is in safe hands with the new owners and I'm looking forward to following its success going forward".
BARONESS BUS DRIVER TO FACE DANGEROUS DRIVING CHARGES
Following a "very complicated investigation", Andrew Walters of the Crown Prosecution Service told the BBC that Markus has been charged with dangerous driving, taking insufficient daily and weekly rest periods, using a vehicle with defective brakes, using a vehicle likely to cause danger of injury, not having the correct licence to drive said vehicle, and breaching the road's 7.5 tonne weight limit.
As previously reported, Markus was one of the people injured in the crash, along with the four members of the band. Frontman John Baizley underwent eight hours of surgery to reconstruct his left arm, writing on the band's website in October: "While I cannot lift a glass of water to my lips to drink with my left arm and hand, I am still able to play music with it. I picked up a guitar and played the day after I returned. Not without pain (for the time being), but the hand still acts out the creative impulses I give it. I'm told I was quite lucky to have regained any use at all of my hand and arm, though I have sustained quite extensive nerve damage".
Markus is due to appear before Bath Magistrates Court on 5 Apr.
LAMB OF GOD MANSLAUGHTER TRIAL DELAYED
According to WTVR, after the scheduled testimony of a witness today the trial will be halted until 4 Mar. Defence lawyers in the case apparently asked for a postponement because a key witness due to give evidence this week was ill and could not attend court.
BIEBER SCORES FIFTH US NUMBER ONE, BREAKS A CHART RECORD OF SORTS
And while the world might need an acoustic rework of last year's Bieber record 'Believe' like a hole in the ozone layer, that chart achievement makes the Bieber the first artist ever to score five number ones in the US album charts before his or her nineteenth birthday. He's also one of only ten artists ever to score number ones in the main Billboard album countdown in four consecutive years. And there you were thinking that the 'most successful pop Justin' crown was about to passed back to Timberlake.
Though if you don't like thinking about Bieber's undeniable commercial successes, then you can join The Sun in wondering who at Universal Music UK (allegedly) handed four 'exclusive' meet-and-greet VIP tickets for one of the Biebster's upcoming British tour dates to the Conservative Party to auction off for ten grand at a recent political fund-raiser. The tabloid wonders whether the pop teen will be pleased that the £10,000 generated by the VIP tickets to his show has made it into David Cameron's coffers. Not least because, imagine how much sizzurp that would buy. Not that Bieber has any need for it.
GROBAN MAY STEP BACK FROM MUSIC FOR ACTING AFTER CURRENT ALBUM
But the power-voiced OpPop star has told Reuters that he might take some time off from the singing lark once this album is out of the way to concentrate on pretending to be other people. Some recent cameos in US TV shows has given the Grobester the acting bug, see.
Says Groban to the news agency: "There are only so many albums I'm going to want to make before I decide to go and follow [the acting] dream for a minute or longer than a minute. I think that there will come a time very soon, hopefully in the next two or three years, where I'll take out a big chunk of time and dedicate it to theatre and do some of that".
So that's a plan, go do some acting, then come back in five years, link yourself to a nearly-dead social network that the indie labels love to hate, and stage a concurrent lacklustre pop comeback. It's a winning formula. Well, perhaps the big JG should see how things work out for the big JT this year before making any firm decisions.
KYLIE MINOGUE SIGNS MANAGEMENT DEAL WITH ROC NATION
Posting a picture of Minogue in a Roc Nation t-shirt to its official website, the company said in a statement: "We would like to welcome Aussie singer, recording artist, songwriter, actress and designer Kylie Minogue to the Roc Nation family! In a career now spanning 25 years, Kylie has released eleven studio albums, two live CDs, eight live concert DVDs, a greatest hits double album, and multiple video packages. She has released over 50 hit singles worldwide, including the Grammy-winning 'Come Into My World', and has sold more than 68 million albums. Needless to say, we're excited to have Kylie join the Roc fam".
As previously reported, currently taking a break from music, Minogue will star in 'Hey Diddly Dee', actor/director Marc Warren's comic drama about Andy Warhol's famed artistic circle, due to air on Sky Arts next month.
WALL OF SOUND SIGNS KILLAFLAW
Jones told CMU: "I've had my eye on these randy scouse gits for a while, and it's great to finally get cut finger to paper and sign Killaflaw. They're a band whose music has never been more relevant in these heady days of 'rock n rave'".
Killaflaw themselves added: "We're delighted to have signed with Wall Of Sound, it's a label that's previously shown the world some great music, and we're proud to be involved with them as we take the next steps in our adventure".
Hear Killaflaw's 'Set Me On Fire' here.
DANIEL JOHNSTON RELEASING COMIC BOOK COMP FEATURING UMO, JAKE BUGG
It's designed to soundtrack part-time artist Johnston's first comic book, 'Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness', and will feature his original tracks plus 'Space Ducks'-themed musings by Eleanor Friedberger, Fruit Bats, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and... Jake Bugg. All physical editions of the disc will be sold with a copy of the mag attached.
This is its tracklisting:
Daniel Johnston - Space Ducks Theme Song
KELE OKEREKE TO PUBLISH BOOK OF LYRICS
Says Okereke: "It is quite an honour to see all these lyrics in their correct forms bound in such an exquisite book. It's truly humbling and I hope these words move the readers as much as I have been moved writing them".
More information here.
Elsewhere in Bloc Party news, it looks like Okereke might have already started work on his next volume of lyrics, if this studio-y photo posted to the band's Instagram profile is anything to go by.
CHASE & STATUS PLAYING MASSIVE SHOWS IN NIGHTCLUBS
Anyway, the shows will transpire over three 'massive' (I'm saying it again for emphasis) Fridays at three of Gatecrasher's venues: in Watford (the Cameo) on 8 Feb, Nottingham on 1 Mar and Birmingham on 8 Mar. If you want to buy tickets, do that via www.gatecrasher.com
Apparently C&S DJs Saul Milton and Will Kennard are soon to go back to the studio to start making a new LP. After all the partying, that is.
FANG ISLAND TO TOUR
9 Apr: Limerick, tba
JOY ORBISON CO-CURATING LIVE SHOWS
The first of four such parties (23 Feb) will feature Ben UFO, NYC émigrés Mister Saturday Night and a DJ set by Blackest Ever Black-signings Raime. It's happening, as will the others, at Bethnal Green's Oval Space.
Buy advance tickets via Resident Advisor.
JO has named the nights after his new track, 'Just For You', and this is it.
ANGEL OLSEN ADDS LIVE DATES
And now, the dates, plus a video to accompany 'Half Way Home' track 'Acrobat':
2 May: Dublin, The Joinery
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
Well anyway, this is what M&S (the band) have to say about what they're about to do: "It's a real privilege that being in Mumford & Sons has allowed us to be able to shine a light on the towns, places that sometimes don't get the love they deserve, and to be the facilitators of great musical coming-togethers. We actually get to put on our own shows. Which means that we get to ask our favourite bands to come and play a show with us, where we just get to watch them play all day. Five times in one summer too. Badass".
Yeah, badass. Elsewhere, Dion Clements, boss of top Norfolk pop 'do' Sundown, has lots to say of his festival's new artist acquisitions (specifically Jessie J, Example, JLS, and tba stages hosted by Rinse and Hospitality). Shall we hear it?
Yes, we shall: "With the huge strides taken by Sundown Festival in quickly establishing itself as one of the UK's best live music events to end the summer season, Sundown 2013 is set to expand even further on previous years. Example absolutely smashed it as part of the line-up two years ago, to the extent we all felt a little bad for the artist that followed in the running order... so this time he will headline the first full day of Sundown. Jessie J has been the single most requested artist, by Sundown fans, yet to appear, so we're absolutely ecstatic about bringing her to the Sundown main stage to headline the Sunday".
So, that'll be nice. As will the Green Man festival, which has just announced 30 acts due to grace its line-up. As well as headliners Band Of Horses (who will be playing a UK festival exclusive), The Horrors, Edwyn Collins, Fuck Buttons, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and The Pastels will all play. And there'll be another add next week when the festival announces its second headliner.
But that's next week. Right now we have all of the above and several other festival-based revelations, c/o the following:
CAMBRIDGE FOLK FESTIVAL, Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds, Cambridge, 25-28 Jul: Lucy Rose, Willy Mason, Kathryn Roberts, Sean Lakeman. www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk
GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD STOPOVER, Convent Fields, Lewes, East Sussex, 19-20 Jul: Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, The Vaccines, Mystery Jets, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, The Very Best Soundsystem. www.gentlemenoftheroad.com
GREEN MAN, Glanusk Park, Powys, Wales, 15-18 Aug: The Horrors. Local Natives. Edwyn Collins. Roy Harper. Fuck Buttons, The Pastels, Archie Bronson Outfit, Woods, James Yorkston, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Andrew Weatherall, Jon Hopkins, Matt Berry, Moon Duo, Arbouretum, This Is The Kit, Ellen & The Escapades, Buke & Gase, Bear's Den, Fossil Collective, Rozi Plain, Blaenavon, Zervas & Pepper, Trwbador, Wild Smiles, Fist Of The First Man, DJ Fitz, Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, Huw M, Annie Eve. www.greenman.net
SLAM DUNK, Leeds University/South Hertfordshire University/Wolverhampton Civic/ O2 ABC Glasgow/Cardiff University/ The Academy Dublin, 24-29 May: Deaf Havana, King Prawn, Allister, Transit, Me Vs Hero, Yashin, The Word Alive, Our Last Night, Jonny Craig. www.slamdunkmusic.com
SOUNDWAVE, The Garden, Tisno, Croatia, 19-21 Jul: DOOM, Quantic & Ondatropica, Robert Glasper Experiment, Alice Russell, Ghostpoet, Andreya Triana, Com Truise, Homeboy Sandman, Kutmah, Eliphino, Tall Black Guy, fLako, Shigeto, Letherette, Andrew Ashong, Illum Sphere, Cheeba, Jonny Dub, Jon K, Scrimshire, Memory9, Dom Servini, Gilla, Tamara Saul, Catching Flies, New York Brass Band, Capital 1212, Nubiyan Twist, Phrixus Phrixus, So Flute, Renegade Brass Band, Solko, Phoria, Bedmo Disco, Boba Fatt, General Roots. soundwavecroatia.com
SUNDOWN, Norfolk Showground, Norfolk, 30 Aug - 1 Sep: Jessie J, Example, DJ Fresh, JLS, Moda Black. www.sundownfestival.co.uk
BULL & GATE TO CLOSE IN MAY
Announcing the news, Club Fandango said: "The irony is that having weathered the storm of free gigs and hipster swinging out of East London, having battled through five years of recession and having fought against the tide of depression rolling over the guitar-gripping side of the music industry throughout this decade, the venue is going to be taken down by a gastropub".
Club Fandango will continue to promote shows around London, and will shortly announce a series of farewell shows at the Bull & Gate.
PRS APPOINT NEW ECONOMIST
Confirming the appointment, PRS For Music boss man Robert Ashcroft told CMU: "Maurice is a perfect fit for our organisation which has a complex remit across many sectors. His extensive experience in both technology and finance institutions means that he understands the powerful market transitions impacting our business. This is a unique time for the music industry and I am delighted to welcome Maurice to the PRS For Music team".
Meanwhile Samuel himself added: "This is a very exciting time to be joining PRS For Music - an innovative company that embraces technology and values in-depth analysis. I look forward to using my experience of communications markets - and transitions within these from analogue to digital - to drive increased licensing revenue for our members".
BANDWAGON ANNOUNCED NEW FESTIVAL PARTNERS
Operating in similar territory to the recently acquired US-based Sonicbids, BandWagon recently launched a new widget that can be embedded on a promoter's own website, allowing them to receive submissions from within their own site. The company says that the latest version of its platform further simplifies the gig booking and event management process for promoters, while the firm's bosses are also keen to stress their policy that band's shouldn't have to pay to submit their music for consideration, an element of the Sonicbids model that has been controversial at times.
Confirming its use of the BandWagon widget, goNORTH Festival Director Shaun Arnold told CMU: "BandWagon is a fantastic platform and we are delighted to be working with them to manage the application process for this year's edition of goNORTH. Finding a robust, artist-friendly submission partner is essential for our event, and BandWagon has proved a great solution for our festival".
Meanwhile BandWagon co-founder and CEO Stan Mcleod told CMU: "We are excited to launch the new BandWagon with some exciting new features, festival partners and more opportunities in the pipeline. It's important to us that BandWagon pushes for more transparency in the live music industry. The anti-pay-to-play agreement is just the start in our mission to promote a fairer live community".
THE STOOL PIGEON TO CLOSE
In a statement, editor Phil Hebblethwaite said: "I wanted to do much more online, but the newspaper sucked up nearly all our resources and time. It's proved impossible to do both as well as we'd like and, to be frank, we're knackered. We haven't gone bust. We will settle outstanding invoices and, subscribers, you will be reimbursed via PayPal for issues that you have paid for upfront and will now not receive".
He added: "I still love doing what we do, and perhaps what I'm trying to say is that running out 60,000 copies of a free newspaper six times a year and distributing them to 100 cities/towns across the UK has become untenable, and also increasingly less effective and exciting than publishing journalism online. I'm proud of what we've achieved and it's unquestionably been a fascinating period to cover music. YouTube launched a month after we did in 2005. Everything has changed".
THE WANTED ANNOUNCE US TV SHOW
Currently going by the working title 'The Wanted Life', the show will premiere in the States in June and spread like a virus to other countries later the year. Run! Save yourselves!
The band are also set to release a new album and head out on a world tour this autumn.
BEYONCE'S LIZARD DRESS ATTRACTS PETA COMPLAINT
Says PETA, which was already 'mad' at Mrs Knowles-Carter over the mink coat she flaunted whilst miming at Barack Obama's inauguration: "We would take a bet that if Beyonce watched our video exposés, she'd probably not want to be seen again in anything made of snakes, lizards, rabbits or other animals who died painfully. Today's fashions are trending toward humane vegan options, and Beyonce's Super Bowl outfit missed the mark on that score".
On that score, maybe, but not on any other. I mean, look.