|TUESDAY 31 JANUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Venue Trust has published its annual report which includes the results of a survey of the 960 members of the Music Venue Alliance. That survey outlines the scale and significance of the UK grassroots venue network, but also summarises the big challenges those venues have had to contend with since the live sector resumed operations following the COVID-19 caused shutdowns... [READ MORE]|
Music Venue Trust annual report says grassroots venues are "operating on razor thin margins" and often "struggling to survive"
The surveyed venues together employ over 30,000 people, and staged 177,000 events in 2022, with 565,000 individual performances attracting audience visits of almost 22 million. Which is significant, but still a 16.7% decline on 2019 levels, in part because of cutbacks venues have had to instigate to stay in business.
MVT reports that "this decrease saw the number of events staged per week in individual venues fall from 4.2 in 2019 to just 3.5 in 2022, with only 1.97 of those identified as ticketed live music shows".
"The average grassroots music venue capacity was 308", it adds, "of which 40% was utilised per event, which translates to an average of 124 audience members per event. This is 11% down from 2019 when the average capacity was 51%".
Total income from the events staged was over £500 million, but the venues report an average profit margin of just 0.2%, as the costs associated with staging shows and running venues have surged.
MVT CEO Mark Davyd adds: "Obviously we are pleased to highlight the fact that grassroots music venues contribute over half a billion pounds to the UK economy and to emphasise their enormous impact on the cultural life of our country; but it is also necessary to reiterate the precarious financial position that much of the sector still finds themselves in - the current economics no longer stack up".
With that in mind, MVT is again calling for more support for grassroots venues from both government and the wider music industry. In terms of government, the group - like the wider live sector - again calls for a cut in the VAT applied to tickets, as well as a thorough review of "excessive and anti-competitive" business rates.
Noting the role grassroots venues play in allowing early-career artists to develop and find an audience, Davyd continues: "It doesn't make any sense for the government to continue to tax what is clearly research and development. We don't penalise any other industry like this and we need to stop putting barriers in the way of risk taking and investment in new British talent".
"The spiralling cost of energy bills, rents, excessive and anti-competitive business rates, and other overheads, combined with the effects that the cost of living crisis is having on the disposable income of our audiences, means that venues are operating on razor thin margins and in many cases struggling to survive", he adds
TikTok CEO to address the concerns of US Congressional committee at hearing next month
A statement from the committee says that TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew will be questioned about his company's "consumer privacy and data security practices, the platform's impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party".
The alleged influence of the Chinese government over the operations of TikTok - via its China-based parent company Bytedance - is arguably the biggest concern about the video-sharing app within political circles in the US and elsewhere.
It was based on that concern that former US President Donald Trump sought to ban the use of TikTok within the US back in 2019, of course. The ban never went into effect, first because of legal challenges, and then because current President Joe Biden reversed the measure. However, the concerns remain, and on both sides of the political spectrum.
New proposals for banning the use of TikTok in America were proposed in Congress last year, and those proposals had support from both Republicans and Democrats in both the Senate and the House.
The statement from the Congressional committee adds: "Big tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society. The Energy And Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of asking big tech CEOs - from Facebook to Twitter to Google - to answer for their companies' actions. These efforts will continue with TikTok".
"ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data", it continues. "Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms".
"We've made our concerns clear with TikTok", it concludes. "It is now time to continue the committee's efforts to hold big tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people".
TikTok continues to deny that the Chinese government has access to its global user data and user-base. And, responding to the new comments from the Congressional committee, TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter added that, under a proposal the firm has devised with US security agencies, "that kind of data sharing - or any other form of foreign influence over the TikTok platform in the United States - would not be possible".
Oberwetter also told reporters that TikTok welcomes "the opportunity to set the record straight about TikTok, ByteDance, and the commitments we are making to address concerns about US national security before the House Committee on Energy And Commerce. We hope that by sharing details of our comprehensive plans with the full committee, Congress can take a more deliberative approach to the issues at hand".
Despite heading up the phenomenon that is TikTok, Shou Zi Chew has a relatively low public profile, with the firm's Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas having more commonly spoken on behalf of the company in public in the past.
She also stood in as interim CEO before Chew's appointment after the sudden departure of previous boss, the former Disney exec Kevin Mayer. He stood down after just three months in the role as the then Trump administration was starting its crackdown so that, for a short time, it looked like the global TikTok company might be split up.
That said, Chew has been more proactively seeking to allay the concerns of TikTok's critics in the global political community of late, recently meeting with officials in the European Union. It remains to be seen if he can do any of that in Washington next month.
Cook County State Attorney drops charges against already jailed R Kelly
Kelly faced charges in multiple US jurisdictions following the broadcast of the documentary 'Surviving R Kelly' in 2019. That programme, of course, put the spotlight on the many allegations of sexual abuse that had been made against the star in the preceding decades.
The first case to get to court, in 2021, was in New York, where Kelly was found guilty of building and running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse women and teenagers.
Then last year, Kelly was found guilty in the federal court in his home city of Chicago of three charges of enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and three more in relation to his filming of that sexual abuse of children.
Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in jail in relation to the New York conviction. Sentencing in the Chicago case has not yet happened, but he faces additional jail time of between ten and 90 years in connection to those crimes.
With that in mind, Foxx has concluded that justice has already been served and pursuing further action against the musician is not the best use of resources.
Foxx's office said in a statement yesterday that it had interviewed many of Kelly's victims and hundreds of witnesses in Chicago, Atlanta and New York as part of its investigation into the many allegations that were made against Kelly, adding that that work supported prosecutors working on the New York and Chicago trials.
Foxx herself added: "I understand how hard it was for these victims to come forward and tell their stories. I applaud their courage and have the utmost respect for everyone who came forward".
"While this may not be the result they were expecting, due to the sentences that Mr Kelly is facing, we do feel that justice has been served", she went on. "My office will direct our resources to find justice for other victims of sexual abuse who do not have the power of a documentary to bring their abusers to light".
Hartwich Masuch to step down as BMG CEO, replaced by CFO Thomas Coesfeld
Masuch has been in the role since the current iteration of BMG was launched in 2008, and has worked for parent company Bertelsmann for more than 30 years. He will continue to work for Bertelsmann in an advisory role following his departure.
"After 32 years at Bertelsmann and more than fourteen years at BMG, now is the right time for me to hand over the reins to a new generation", says Masuch. "I am convinced that the company will be in the best hands with Thomas Coesfeld and BMG's outstanding, highly motivated global leadership team".
"As our annual results will show", he goes on, "the company is in excellent shape both creatively and financially. I look forward to a seamless transition by the end of the year. I am sure that under Thomas's leadership, BMG's core values of service, fairness and transparency will continue to evolve and flourish, leading the company to even greater success".
Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe adds: "Hartwig Masuch has shaped the music business at Bertelsmann and far beyond over three decades. Since 2008, he has built the new BMG from scratch with a completely new business model that focuses on the needs of artists and songwriters, based on its core values of service, fairness and transparency".
"The new BMG works with many of the world's most successful artists and songwriters", he continues. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hartwig for the services he has rendered to music, to BMG, and to Bertelsmann - and for preparing the transition to his successor, which will be finalised at the end of the year".
"I am excited to see the next phase of BMG being rung in with the appointment of Thomas Coesfeld as CEO", he continues. "He will ensure that the needs of artists, songwriters and rights holders remain at the core. BMG has substantial investment funds at its disposal as part of Bertelsmann's Boost strategy. I wish Thomas Coesfeld every success and look forward to working even more closely with him from next year".
Meanwhile, Coesfeld himself says: "Under Hartwig Masuch's leadership, BMG has delivered an impressive growth story and developed into a modern music company in which data, technology and services play a key role".
"My aim is to continue this success story together with the company's top management and its more than 1000 employees worldwide", he adds, "and to leverage the enormous creative and entrepreneurial potential of the music industry for Bertelsmann. Music has played a vital role at Bertelsmann since 1956. I look forward to leading this legacy into the future".
Coesfeld joined BMG in 2016 and became CFO in 2021. He will officially take up the CEO role on 1 Jan 2024.
Rinse FM acquires Kool FM
Kool FM originally launched as a pirate station in 1991 and is widely seen has having played an instrumental role in the rise and evolution of jungle and drum & bass. It became a legit online radio station, operating as Kool London, in 2010.
The station's co-founder Eastman confirmed at the start of this month that he was retiring from radio and that, as a result, Kool London would go off air for a month while a new team took over.
He wrote: "I feel that, at 64 years old, I can't contribute to Kool, jungle and dnb the way I have in the past, keeping up with all the new talent, going to events and being involved as much as I was in the past. Also, I'm not in the best of health and don't have the energy like I once did".
However, he added, he and his partner Suzy G will continue to have some involvement in the next phase of Kool FM.
"We are not just walking away from Kool out right", he went on. "We will be kept on working with the new owners for a minimum of five years in the background, with no say in the everyday running of Kool or the DJ/MC rota, but helping with advice and promoting the station".
Rinse FM confirmed it was taking over the running of Kool FM and its Jungle Fever events yesterday, with Rinse FM founder Geeneus explaining how Kool FM had heavily influenced his own involvement in radio and music.
"Starting Rinse for me was based on the passion and love I had for Kool FM", he said. "To be able to join the pirate radio community and say we are joining the fight to showcase true underground music created in our community was something I was extremely proud of. It led me to dedicate my life to helping the underground, searching for talent and encouraging young creatives from our background to try".
Confirming that "Eastman and Suzy have decided to pass the baton over to us to continue the Kool legacy", he added: "I can't even begin to explain how I'd feel if I could tell the fifteen year old me I would one day own Kool FM and Jungle Fever. It is beyond a privilege and I hope to do it justice. Thank you to Kool, Eastman and Suzy for trusting me with this. It means a lot".
On the Rinse FM deal, Eastman said: "Geeneus has an excellent track record of achievements in radio and also has first class knowledge of Kool and myself as we worked together on the roofs putting Kool and Rinse on. Back in the day he was a big Kool listener and took inspiration from Kool and the way we ran the station".
"His love for Kool is 100% and that's why we have put trust in Gee to get Kool to the next level", he continued. "We must say thank you to those who have helped with the running of Kool or been a part of Kool in any way over the past 31 years. It's been a massive, life changing journey for Suzy and myself. This is not the end, this is a new beginning for Kool. Thank you all for your support".
Rinse's statement added that it is now working on the relaunch of Kool FM "with a new lineup of DJs across the spectrum of drum & bass, jungle and old skool".
Teenage Cancer Trust announces 2023 Royal Albert Hall shows
"The generosity of the people who work in the music and comedy industries never ceases to amaze me", says Daltrey. "In this, our 21st year, after two years of artists having no shows at all, at a time where the only certain paydays are from live performances, artists are willing to give up their earnings from a London show. It shows us that miracles are everywhere, but if you cough or sneeze you'd miss them!"
Teenage Cancer Trust chief exec Katie Collins adds: "These amazing gigs and their fantastic line-ups help us change lives. Because of Roger, the artists, the teams who make these gigs possible and everyone who buys a ticket, we can make sure young people don't face cancer alone and continue to provide the vital, expert care and support that is crucial for young people with cancer".
For their show, Wet Leg will also be joined by CMAT and Honeyglaze. A fifth night of stand up comedy is still to be announced. Here are the dates:
20 Mar: Underworld
Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Peermusic has signed The Reytons - who are currently at number one in the UK album chart - to a worldwide publishing deal, via its joint venture with Max Music Publishing. "I am delighted to see a great independent band, on an indie label and published by an independent publisher, reach the top of the UK album charts", says MD of Peermusic UK Nigel Elderton. "Congratulations to the entire team who have worked so hard to make this possible, including our partners at Max Music".
Warner Chappell has signed German rapper Shirin David to a worldwide publishing deal. "I'm excited to be working with Warner Chappell Music", she says. "I've got some amazing new music in the pipeline and I can't wait for people to hear it".
ie:music co-founder Tim Clark has announced he is retiring from day-to-day involvement in the management company, which is best known for its long-term management of Robbie Williams. Control of the business is being handed over to long-serving directors Michael Loney, Nina Parnaby and Stephen O'Reilly. Clark will remain as Honorary Chairman and have a consultancy role for the next two years. He will also remain involved in TV and film company ie:entertainment and retains his interest in Australia-based ie:east.
Warner Music UK has promoted Liberty Wilson to VP International Marketing. "The UK has such an incredible amount of talent and I love being able to help showcase that to a global audience", she says. "In this new role, I hope to export even more music from Warner Music UK's brilliant roster and work with our fantastic teams around the world to deliver innovative and creative campaigns".
Concord Label Group has hired Patricia Dünnebier as Label Manager in Germany. "Pia joining the company is great news for our labels and artists", says UK & Europe MD Fred Gillham. "She will enable us to continue Concord Label Group's growth in the market because of her local expertise. Pia will also focus on our campaigns to ensure that we are delivering on our unique borderless approach to global marketing".
Global record industry trade group IFPI has appointed Adriana Restrepo as Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. She joins from Sony Music Andes. "Having worked directly with Adriana for a number of years as she served on our boards, I know first-hand the level of passion, commitment and knowledge of the Latin American music sector that she brings to the role", says CEO Frances Moore.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Sony Music has announced it is extending its music education support programme Beyond The Instrument - launched in 2021 in the US - into the UK for the first time. Students at the Harris Academy Greenwich will take part in a session with Sony-signed Cat Burns next month. Participants will get the opportunity to perform and then to talk to Burns about her career in music to date. The Fender Play Foundation will also provide workshops and equipment to participating students and teachers.
Metallica have announced that they will host a global listening party for their new album '72 Seasons' in cinemas around the world on 13 Apr - the night before its official release. Tickets go on sale on 2 Mar. Sign up for updates here.
Vic Mensa has released new single 'Strawberry Louis Vuitton', featuring Thundercat and Maeta.
The Smile have announced that they will release new vinyl-only EP 'Europe: Live Recordings 2022' on 10 Mar.
Yves Tumor has announced that they will release new album 'Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)' on 17 Mar. Here's new single 'Echolalia'.
Kate NV has released new single 'Meow Chat', taken from her upcoming new album 'Wow', which is out on 3 Mar.
Uh have released new single 'Humanus', the title track of their debut album, which is set for release on 28 Apr. The duo are set to play The Old Blue Last in London tonight.
GIGS & TOURS
Madonna has added a sixth and - she assures us - final London show to her 40th anniversary tour itinerary. The performance will take place at the O2 Arena on 6 Dec. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
The reunited Walkmen have announced that they will play two shows at Koko in London later this year, on 29-30 Aug. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
BTS's Jin wins military talent contest
According to SBS News, confirmation of Jin's win was shared via an online bulletin board. The contest took place to coincide with the Lunar New Year. For the performance, Jin apparently taught his colleagues a dance routine, which impressed the judges enough to secure first place. Now they all get to have a day off from being in the army, which is nice.
Jin was the first member of BTS to enlist for his two year's of mandatory military service in South Korea. He completed his five weeks of training earlier this month and, according to reports, will continue to serve his time at the training centre as a teaching assistant. Although, asked if this was correct, BTS label Big Hit would only say that the news was "difficult to confirm".
Following the completion of his military training, Jin posted photos of himself in uniform on Weverse, telling fans: "I'm enjoying my life. I'm posting pictures after getting permission from the military".