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James Barton not heading to SFX, as EDM firm ends Spotify and TMWRK alliances

By | Published on Wednesday 30 December 2015


With the future of EDM powerhouse SFX still uncertain as 2016 approaches, the New York Post reckons that Cream founder James Barton has decided not to join the flagging dance music festival operator and Beatport owner.

As previously reported, earlier this month the Post revealed rumours that Barton, who has been Head Of Electronic Music at Live Nation since it bought his clubbing and festival business in 2012, was considering taking a senior role at SFX.

Although it was never clear what that role would have been, it was thought that Barton may have been courted for the top job of CEO, currently occupied by SFX founder Robert FX Sillerman. Investors and money lenders have become increasingly critical of Sillerman’s leadership as the company’s share price has slumped this year.

Sources say that Barton was interested in a new opportunity beyond Live Nation, but ultimately decided that SFX wasn’t the place to go. Some sources say the flagging EDM firm couldn’t meet his salary demands, while others say he was simply concerned about SFX’s financial position and ongoing rumours of its impending bankruptcy.

As also previously reported, some of SFX’s money lenders are now hoping that Barton’s current employer, Live Nation, might swoop in and buy SFX outright. The live giant is reportedly interested in some of SFX’s assets, though it’s unclear whether it would consider taking on the whole group. That might depend on the current SFX management’s ongoing efforts to restructure the company’s debts.

In other SFX news, the company has terminated its alliance with Spotify, which was confirmed back in July last year. The deal was interesting because SFX had recently moved Beatport into the streaming music domain, making it a competitor of Spotify.

It seems that for SFX the attraction of the content partnership, via which Beatport would provide Spotify with exclusive audio and video content, may have been the $10 million advance that was agreed. That money will now be paid back.

Though one final SFX development should see the company receive rather than hand over monies, in that management firm TMWRK – which manages the likes of Diplo and A-Trak amongst others – is seemingly buying itself out of SFX ownership.

The EDM group acquired TMWRK in April 2014, allying the management firm alongside its marketing and ticketing agencies. The TMWRK managers will seemingly take back control of their company in a deal that will net SFX $3.6 million