TODAY'S TOP STORY: The BBC has confirmed that it has sold its Maida Vale Studios complex in West London to a partnership involving composer Hans Zimmer and the co-Chairs of film company Working Title, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The buyers say that "Maida Vale’s legacy as a centre for pioneering music-making will continue"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES BBC confirms sale of Maida Vale Studios to Hans Zimmer
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL Record Store Day launches 2023 edition of RSD Unsigned
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Amazon partners with Rampage Sound at the Notting Hill Carnival
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Clarence Avant dies
ONE LINERS Various Artists, Drake YolanDa Awards, Spector
AND FINALLY... Lionel Richie faces fan backlash after last minute cancellation of MSG show
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BBC confirms sale of Maida Vale Studios to Hans Zimmer
The BBC has confirmed that it has sold its Maida Vale Studios complex in West London to a partnership involving composer Hans Zimmer and the co-Chairs of film company Working Title, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The buyers say that "Maida Vale's legacy as a centre for pioneering music-making will continue".

Occupied by the BBC since 1933, the studio building in Maida Vale has been used to record sessions by thousands of artists over the decades, mainly for broadcast on the Beeb's radio stations. It is also the long-term home of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and, from the 1950s to the 1990s, housed the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

Given the history of the place, there was much concern as to what would happen to the building after the BBC announced in 2018 that it would be moving its music studios to a new base in the Olympic Park in East London.

Many speculated that the building would be sold for redevelopment into flats. However, in 2020 Historic England designated the studios as a Grade II listed building, which restricted what any future owner could do with the property.

It was then reported in June this year that the studios were set to be bought by a consortium involving Zimmer. In the statement yesterday, the BBC confirmed: "Maida Vale has been sold to a partnership between Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Hans Zimmer and Steven Kofsky".

It went on: "The purchasers have agreed that Maida Vale's legacy as a centre for pioneering music-making will continue, with plans to keep the original façade of the building and to preserve the ethos of Maida Vale. Initial plans also state that the building will remain as a studio space, with a multi-million pound refurbishment plan for its existing studios".

"There will also be the creation of a not-for-profit educational facility", the statement added, "and a long-term commitment to providing local jobs, innovation and investment".

Confirming the deal from their side, Bevan and Fellner said in a joint statement: "Maida Vale Studios has been synonymous with artistic excellence for generations. The venue has become part of the fabric of the UK's pioneering cultural industry, from helping to nurture new and ground-breaking artists, to housing some of the world's most legendary musicians".

"We are THRILLED to be working with our old friends Hans Zimmer and Steve Kofsky on this once in a lifetime project", they continued, "and collectively we are determined to continue the BBC's legacy at Maida Vale by attracting global talent to the UK".

Meanwhile, Zimmer said: "The first time I worked for the BBC at their Maida Vale Studios was 45 years ago. I was just a kid, in awe, honoured to be booked to play on one of my first sessions. I still remember the strong pull, the desire to touch the walls, as if that would somehow allow me to connect to the artists whose extraordinary music had resonated against these walls on a daily basis".

"At the same time", he went on, "Tim, Eric and I started working together, making our first movies. Movies not only made in Britain with the greatest talent the country had - and still has - to offer, but movies that often provoked and had something to say about a changing Britain; that gave voice to our generation. Usually by making you laugh".

"My work with Working Title gave me my career in Hollywood", he continued, "where Steve Kofsky became my partner, and he and I made sure to drag the work from as many Hollywood films as possible back to Britain".

"So now I want to close the circle: make Maida Vale Studios a place that inspires, teaches, technologically serves the arts and humanity, and gives the next generation the same opportunities I was given: to create and to never give up".

Back at the BBC, Director Of Music Lorna Clarke said of the deal: "Maida Vale has played such an important part in the BBC's history, and its significance in popular culture is huge. We are so pleased to secure a sale which looks to continue the bright, vibrant future of music-making in this iconic building - not only providing new studio spaces but jobs and an education facility".

The BBC plans to open its new studios in East London in 2025, and on that Clarke continued: "We look forward to being able to continue to deliver world-class music to BBC audiences with our new tailor-made BBC Music Studios in the wonderfully rich cultural district of London's East Bank".


Record Store Day launches 2023 edition of RSD Unsigned
Organisers of Record Store Day have launched the 2023 edition of the RSD Unsigned competition, which provides an up and coming independent artist with a pressing of 500 vinyl records of one of their tracks. This year the initiative is presented in partnership with Breed Media, part of the Key Production Group.

Emerging artists are invited to enter by posting a two minute snippet of an original song onto TikTok or YouTube using the hashtag #RSDUnsigned by 16 Oct.

A winner will then be selected by a panel including Bastille's Dan Smith, Women In CTRL founder Nadia Khan, Eva Davies from Come Play With Me, Martin Black from record store Spinning Discs, and Key Production Group CEO Karen Emanuel.

The winning act will be invited to a mastering session at Abbey Road Studios and will get a pressing of their track on bio-vinyl, which uses a new more sustainable vinyl compound to standard records.

Confirming this year's competition, RSD board member Alan Jordan, from Reflex Records in Newcastle, says: "This collaboration between Record Store Day and Breed Media is a testament to our commitment to supporting independent artists and recognising the important role they play in their communities".

"RSD Unsigned aims to celebrate the diversity and innovation in new music", he goes on, "and to shine a light on the role record shops all around the country play in supporting new and breaking talent".

Meanwhile Karen Emanuel at Key Production Group adds: "Since its inception in 1990, the Key Production Group has always championed independent artists. I'm delighted for Breed Media to be partnering with RSD to give an amazing opportunity to an unsigned act".


Amazon partners with Rampage Sound at the Notting Hill Carnival
Amazon Music has announced it is joining up with Rampage Sound at the Notting Hill Carnival again later this month. It will livestream performances and backstage interviews from the Rampage Sound stage over the August bank holiday weekend.

The partnership is specifically with Amazon Music +44, the streaming service's playlist brand that is, and I quote, "a space to celebrate and amplify black music genres, the artists that make the music, as well as the culture behind it".

And the livestream from Carnival, we are told, will give audiences "the chance to see the best hip hop, R&B, dancehall and Caribbean music that Rampage has to offer from the comfort of home".

The official blurb also notes that "2023 welcomes a huge milestone for Notting Hill Carnival marking 50 years since Trinidadian Leslie 'Teacher' Palmer MBE put the first ever sound system on the street".

Commenting on the Carnival tie up, Amazon Music's Senior Artist Relations Manager, Dellessa James, says: "Carnival is one of the biggest community-led street celebrations on the planet and it showcases unrivalled musical performances from some of the biggest names in black music".

"To be able to work with one of the most renowned stages on such a poignant year feels really special", she adds. "Our +44 livestream will provide an opportunity for viewers who can't attend to be able to join in on one of the biggest cultural and musical events of the year".


Clarence Avant dies
Clarence Avant, who was nicknamed The Godfather Of Black Music, has died, aged 92. In his varied career he held many roles, including artist manager, Chair of Motown Records, radio station owner and tour promoter.

In a statement, his family said: "Clarence leaves behind a loving family and a sea of friends and associates that have changed the world and will continue to change the world for generations to come. The joy of his legacy eases the sorrow of our loss".

Avant's career in the music business began in the 1950s when he became manager of the Teddy P's Lounge nightclub in New Jersey. That job led him into artist management, first with Little Willie John, and then artists including Sarah Vaughan, Jimmy Smith, Lalo Schifrin and Freddie Hubbard.

He also founded two record labels, Venture and Sussex, the latter of which saw Avant sign Bill Withers and Sixtoo Rodriguez. Despite successes, both companies folded within a matter of years. Two decades later, in 1993, he became Chair of Motown Records.

Elsewhere, Avant also founded one of the first African-American owned radio stations in the US, KAGB-FM, and he promoted Michael Jackson's 'Bad' tour.

Paying tribute, Jay-Z's Roc Nation company said: "Clarence Avant isn't just the 'Godfather Of Black Music', he is our cultural godfather. Throughout his life, he burst through doors and tore down ceilings, changing lives and providing opportunities for generations. A true pioneer, a mentor and a champion, Clarence Avant is and always will be a giant among us".

Meanwhile, former US president Bill Clinton wrote on Twitter: "It was impossible to spend time with Clarence Avant and not come away feeling more positive and wanting to follow his example. Hillary and I just loved him".


Edinburgh Festival Q&A: Victor Esses
CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks is currently covering the Edinburgh Festival, the world's biggest cultural event, which takes over the Scottish capital for three weeks with a packed programme of comedy, theatre, music, musicals, dance, cabaret, spoken word and a whole lot more.

Here in the CMU Daily we'll pick out some of the highlights of this year's coverage, including interviews with people who are performing there this year. Today Victor Esses, who is performing a show called 'The Death & Life Of All Of Us'.

"When I was nineteen, I interviewed my great aunt, Marcelle, in Rome, after she lost touch with the family for 30 years", he explains. "I grew up in Brazil, but my family came from Lebanon. She had moved to Italy and converted from Judaism to Catholicism, raised her children as such and never told them about this".

"This is the story of the journey of our relationship from then to now, 20 years later", he adds, "as I finally complete the project about her life".

Read the interview and find out more about the show here.


Management firm Various Artists has appointed Emily Thorpe-Jones as Head Of Brands & Corporate. She previously worked in the magazines business, most recently at Hearst UK, as well as presenting music shows for Hoxton FM and London Live. She will report to both David Bianchi, CEO of the Various Artists group, and Matt Luxon, CEO of its US management business, who says: "We are extremely excited to have Emily Thorpe-Jones joining our team from Hearst Publishing, where her previous experience will prove invaluable in developing the corporate and brand approach within the Various Artists Management group".



Musician and broadcaster YolanDa Brown and philanthropist James 'JP' Drake last week opened applications for their fourth annual Drake YolanDa Awards, which offer ten artists a £3000 grant to help them "showcase their talent and assist them in taking their careers to the next level". The funding can be used to support touring, artistic development, recording new music, music videos, marketing, branding or purchasing new equipment. More info here - the deadline for applications is 4 Sep.



Spector have released new single 'The Notion', their first new music for eighteen months. "Lyrically it's kind of a letter to one's younger self", says vocalist Fred Macpherson. "A reminder that repressing feelings and emotions is a dangerous precedent, and however bad - or good - things get, nothing is forever. It interpolates various parties, arguments, depressions and a 'Star Wars' quote for good measure".

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Lionel Richie faces fan backlash after last minute cancellation of MSG show
Lionel Richie has faced a backlash from fans in recent days after a sold out show due to take place on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York was cancelled at the very last minute and rescheduled for yesterday evening.

Richie should already have been on stage on Saturday when he tweeted: "Due to severe weather and being unable to land in the NY and surrounding areas, I'm unable to make it to the show tonight. I'm so bummed. We are rescheduling the show to Monday 14 Aug. Can't wait to perform for you all".

That led to much chatter online as to just how severe the weather really was on Saturday in and around New York, with some claiming that the thunderstorms and torrential rainfall actually came later in the night.

Others noted that Richie had been performing in Boston the previous day, which is a four to five hour drive from New York, meaning the musician had other options if getting to the gig by plane wasn't looking practical.

Alongside all the weather and travel experts, there were the fans that reckoned something else had gone on behind the scenes, and those who just felt that - whatever happened - it was all a bit of a shoddy way to treat fans. Still, others that were able to make the rescheduled concert yesterday have been posting some positive feedback about the gig.

And one also posted a clip of Richie acknowledging Saturday's no-show. Recalling that his first time playing the New York venue was as support for the Jackson Five, he admitted to his audience: "In life, in my entire career, the thing you never think about is missing a show at Madison Square Garden". So, that's alright then.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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