TODAY'S TOP STORY: The leader of Sheffield City Council has said that, while he understands the "the strength of feeling" among supporters of the city's Leadmill venue, he "cannot directly intervene in the legal process taking place between The Leadmill's landlord and tenant"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Sheffield City Council says it "cannot directly intervene" in ongoing Leadmill dispute
DEALS Jack Antonoff announces partnership with Jamie Oborne and Dirty Hit
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Ostereo announces restructure and move away from management
LIVE BUSINESS Dice confirms $65 million financing round involving Matt Pincus and Williard Ahdritz
Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach submits plans for expansion to city's council
AND FINALLY... Gossipers gossip about which artists are parting company with Scooter Braun's management company
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Sheffield City Council says it "cannot directly intervene" in ongoing Leadmill dispute
The leader of Sheffield City Council has said that, while he understands the "the strength of feeling" among supporters of the city's Leadmill venue, he "cannot directly intervene in the legal process taking place between The Leadmill's landlord and tenant".

Council leader Tom Hunt issued his statement after the current management team at The Leadmill further ramped up their campaign last week against plans by landlord Electric Group to directly take over the running of the venue. The Save The Leadmill campaign called on its supporters to demand that Hunt take a side in the dispute.

The Electric Group - which also operates venues in London, Bristol and Newcastle - bought the building that houses The Leadmill back in 2016. While the current Leadmill management team, headed up by Phil Mills, has continued to run the space ever since, last year Electric Group confirmed it planned to start directly operating the venue, giving Mills twelve months to vacate the premises.

That was meant to happen in March this year, but so far Mills has refused to move out, instead launching the Save The Leadmill campaign. The Electric Group - which has accused that campaign of misleading people into thinking that the venue faces closure rather than just a change in management - has now begun legal proceedings to evict Mills and his team.

The focus of the Save The Leadmill campaign has shifted to Sheffield City Council because the Electric Group is now applying for its own licence to run the venue. Mills and his team initially urged their supporters to raise objections with the council's licensing committee, and then last week suggested that people should directly contact Hunt, who was elected Sheffield City Council leader back in May.

A spokesperson for The Leadmill said: "Tom, of all people, should know that this hostile takeover risks fundamentally and forever changing the course of our city, heritage and culture. It may start with us at The Leadmill, but it goes much further than that. If we don't stop this hostile takeover, the very soul and character of our great city is at risk. Tom needs to pick a side".

"There are 80 members of staff who are incredibly passionate about ensuring that The Leadmill is a top quality venue that provides a huge variety of entertainment to visitors from across the globe, but we are all so tired of the ongoing situation - time and energy is being spent on trying to retain our jobs and The Leadmill", they went on.

Responding to the latest phase of the Save The Leadmill campaign last week, Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden said: "Sadly, the Save The Leadmill campaign continues to mislead the public and to stoke up unpleasant, angry and unnecessary ill feeling. There is no risk of the venue closing".

"The current tenant's lease has expired and Electric Group, which owns the freehold to the building, wants to invest in the space and ensure that it continues to operate as a music and arts venue which Sheffield can be proud of for many years to come", he went on.

"The only hostility comes from the campaign itself. We want the venue to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, including the staff - and equipped to attract the best touring acts and support the local community".

Having presumably received plenty of messages from The Leadmill's supporters, Hunt issued a statement yesterday insisting that it is not for him or the council to get actively involved in the dispute between Mills and his landlord.

"The Leadmill is an iconic venue that has played host to brilliant gigs and club nights and has supported Sheffield's best musical talent", Hunt wrote. "As leader of the council and as a Sheffield resident, I know how loved The Leadmill is by many people and I understand the strength of feeling".

"The council is a champion of our cultural industries and nighttime economy but we cannot directly intervene in the legal process taking place between the Leadmill's landlord and tenant", he went on. "The council does not own the building but over the last year, we have engaged with both parties and remain willing to do so. However, we must balance this with allowing the normal licensing processes to happen as they usually would".

Which brings us to the application by the Electric Group for its own licence to run The Leadmill, what will initially be a shadow licence, which is where a landlord holds a licence in relation to a building where a tenant also has a licence to trade. The council's licensing committee is due to consider that application next month.

"As a statutory licensing authority", Hunt continued, "the council has a legal duty to be fair, unbiased and treat each licence application the same. When the application for a shadow licence for The Leadmill ... is heard, it will be treated impartially and in exactly the same way as every other application that the council deals with. It is essential that the council's words or actions do not influence the legal process".

Given the limited grounds on which the council could legally refuse to issue a licence to the Electric Group, it seems unlikely next month's meeting of the licensing committee will aid the Save The Leadmill campaign. However, Mills and his team will no doubt continue pushing with that campaign, with the council meeting providing the next key date in it.


Jack Antonoff announces partnership with Jamie Oborne and Dirty Hit
Jack Antonoff has announced a new partnership with artist manager and Dirty Hit founder Jamie Oborne. Under the new alliance, Oborne will manage Antonoff and his band Bleachers; the Dirty Hit label will release new music from the band; and Antonoff and Oborne will launch a new joint venture business. Things are very busy in the world of Antonoff and Oborne.

Unsurprisingly, Oborne is "THRILLED" about all this. "During the freezing weeks of January 2022, I had the opportunity to spend time with Jack and was immediately captivated by his exceptional creative power and warmth", he says.

"Aligning myself with such talented individuals is a true inspiration, driving both my professional and personal life", he goes on. "I am grateful for the faith he has placed in me and the entire team at Dirty Hit. Moving forward, we are eager to support Jack as one of the most culturally impactful and significant artists of our generation. This is just the beginning and exciting times lie ahead!"

Antonoff adds that he is "very proud to be working with Jamie and his entire team - we've known each other for some time now and our connection has deeply inspired me. [It] feels so special and rare to be supported like this and [I'm] just very grateful our paths crossed".

For those of you now busy updating your Jack Antonoff business partner charts, you should also note that he has shifted his publishing from Sony to Universal, following his long-term publishing A&R Jennifer Knoepfle, who made the same move last year.


Ostereo announces restructure and move away from management
Music firm Ostereo has announced a restructure that will see an increased focus on its label and publishing divisions, and an accompanying move away from artist management.

It says in a statement that, as a result of the restructure, "the company will now place more investment into ... artist projects signed to its record label" as well as pursuing "more opportunities to sign new talent".

And, on the publishing side, it promises "a boost in support whereby writers, producers and composers will benefit from increased resources, investment and a focus placed on this area".

Meanwhile, "as a consequence of the restructure, the management division will be rolled up, with Ostereo supporting its roster through this transition".

Says CEO Howard Murphy: "It's an exciting time for the business and its recording and publishing divisions. We're seeing exponential success in the UK and Europe as well as key territories including India, Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines".

"Our restructure", he adds, "positions Ostereo so it can more effectively service this higher demand by expanding its investment, team and infrastructure in coming months".


Dice confirms $65 million financing round involving Matt Pincus and Williard Ahdritz
Ticketing company Dice has announced it has raised another $65 million in finance. New backers include investment outfits run by notable music industry execs Matt Pincus and Williard Ahdritz.

The new financing will, Dice says in a statement, "help accelerate its launch in new cities as it continues its expansion across the US and globally". New partnerships are due to be announced in the coming weeks, it also confirms.

Pincus, who previously led the music publisher Songs, now runs music investment outfit Music, because he loves using confusingly generic names for his businesses. He will also join the Dice board as part of Music's investment.

Kobalt founder Ahdritz now also runs an investment fund and advisory firm, and it's the former - Ahdritz Holding LLC - that has invested into Dice.

Commenting on the new round of finance, Dice boss Phil Hutcheon says: "The live music industry is adopting Dice faster than ever and proves our thesis that if you treat fans well, they buy more tickets, and go out more often."

"We're investing heavily in building even more technology and this year alone we released over 60 new features for fans, venues and artists", he goes on. "I'm excited that Matt has joined the board and we're more focused than ever on our mission to get fans out more".

Adds Pincus: "Dice did the impossible: they made buying a ticket fun. And by doing that, they became much more than a transaction provider. Dice is the premiere user-centric engagement platform for the most important consumers in music: people who love to go to shows".

And Ahdritz says: "I met Phil in 2015 having heard about Dice. Rolling out [Kobalt's former artist services business] AWAL at that time, I needed so many more venues for all my acts to play. Dice delivers a transformative experience for all stakeholders - from fans to venues to artists and looked like the future for live music".

"Dice has come a long way on their vision", he continues, "and today it's even clearer that the live industry needs changing. I am excited to have the opportunity to be part of the company as an investor".


Cardiff's Clwb Ifor Bach submits plans for expansion to city's council
Cardiff venue Clwb Ifor Bach has submitted a planning application to the city's council as part of a bid to expand and transform the space by taking over an adjacent building.

The venue's operators explain that "the proposals submitted to Cardiff County Council this week will see Clwb take over the derelict building next door and join it with the existing premises on Womanby Street to expand its cultural offering and create more opportunities for people in Wales".

The redeveloped Clwb Ifor Bach will have a new 500 capacity space as well as a 200 capacity room, increasing the venue options available to artists within Cardiff. The revamp will also allow an expansion of Clwb's educational work with those who aspire to work in music, whether on stage or behind the scenes.

Clwb Ifor Bach CEO Guto Brychan says: "It's been a long time since we released the concept designs for the redevelopment in early 2019 and finally being able to submit the planning application feels like a big step forward. This year we're celebrating Clwb's 40th birthday and want to remind people how long we've been here, and how important we are to the community and the cultural life of Cardiff".

Regarding that history, an official blurb about the redevelopment notes that "since opening in 1983, the iconic music venue has helped Welsh artists like Stereophonics, Boy Azooga, Gwenno, Super Furry Animals and plenty more during the early stages of their careers. It has provided opportunities for thousands of upcoming artists to develop their craft in front of smaller audiences - with even global artists like Coldplay taking to the stage".

In terms of ensuring the redevelopment can go ahead, that official blurb goes on: "Today marks a key milestone with the submission of the planning application".

"However", it adds, "there is still a long journey ahead to make this project a reality, especially considering how inflationary pressures have impacted the cost since the initial concept designs were announced in early 2019. To make the new building and re-fit possible, Clwb is calling for its supporters to get behind the project and help make it a reality".

The venue's management now have eighteen months to get the funding in place to pay for the redevelopment work. There is information on how people and companies can support that process here.


TW:Talks at Edinburgh Festival 2023: Sachin Kumarendran
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 are picking out some of the highlights of this year's coverage. That includes recent editions of the TW:Talks podcast, which sees CMU's Chris Cooke chatting to people performing at the Festival.

Today comedian Sachin Kumarendran talking about his show 'Deceit'.

Says the show's blurb: "Sachin's much-anticipated debut hour recounts how his outlandish lies - including pretending to own a mansion and attempts to pass himself off as six feet tall - got him all the way to a coveted BBC One prime-time TV slot, but also nearly led to him being marooned on a desert island".

Check out this TW:Talks interview here.


Gossipers gossip about which artists are parting company with Scooter Braun's management company
So, is it getting to the point where it will be easier to report on which of Scooter Braun's management clients are not quitting his SB Projects company? Well, not quite yet.

But there has certainly been lots of chatter in recent days about the Braun-managed pop stars who are rumoured to be in the process of appointing new management. Among the stars mentioned by the gossipers are Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande and even the artist Braun is perhaps most famous for managing, good old Justin Bieber.

Sources from both sides seem to have confirmed that Lovato has "amicably" ended her alliance with Braun's management business, though there is lots of contradictory information flying around about Grande, Bieber and others.

Braun, of course, sold his wider Ithaca Holdings company - which included SB Projects - to South Korean entertainment firm HYBE back in 2021 and now has a CEO role at HYBE America.

And, Variety reports, some are saying that all the gossip about the SB Projects management roster relates to changes caused by Braun having that wider role within the HYBE empire.

Which could mean that certain artists rumoured to be changing their management teams will still actually be allied to SB Projects, just without the direct involvement of Braun himself. Or maybe, because of all the revamps happening at HYBE and SB Projects, a lot of the firm's management clients happen to be reviewing their options at the same time.

Says one source to Variety: "All of Scooter Braun's clients are under contract and negotiations have been going on for several months as Scooter steps into his larger role as HYBE America CEO. People are spreading rumours based on what they know, but they are off. Scooter's team at SB Projects are still handling both Justin and Ariana as they work through what this new structure looks like".

So who knows what is happening. Unless some official statements start to come in, maybe we just need to be on the look out for sneaky edits to this web page in the days ahead.


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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