Business

Spotify and Tencent Buying Equity Stakes In Each Other

Tencent and Spotify, two global leaders in digital music, have formally agreed to buy minority equity stakes in each other, it was announced on Friday. In a joint statement, Tencent’s music subsidiary, Tencent Music Entertainment, and Spotify said they would acquire new shares in each other for cash, with the Chinese giant investing in Spotify via secondary purchases. When those transactions are complete, all parties will hold minority stakes in each other, though they did not disclose exact figures. Over the past week, it has been widely reported that TME and Spotify will end up with 10 percent stakes in each other, though that can’t be confirmed. Spotify’s current valuation is up for debate, though it has continued to rise throughout the year as the company prepares to ...

US employers add 228K jobs; unemployment rate stays 4.1 pct.

U.S. employers added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, a sign of the job market’s enduring strength in its ninth year of economic recovery. The unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported. Friday’s jobs report made clear that the U.S. economy is on firm footing and is likely benefiting from more resilient global growth, with all major economies across the world expanding in tandem for the first time in a decade. Over the past six months, U.S. economic growth has exceeded an annual rate of 3 percent, the first time that’s happened since 2014. Consumer confidence has reached its highest level since 2000. “The November report is confirmation that the U.S. economy remains in solid shape at the end of 2017,” said Gus F...

Trial Begins Over Deaths at Love Parade Music Festival

Ten people have gone on trial in Germany on charges related to a deadly mass panic at the Love Parade techno music festival in 2010. Twenty-one people died on July 24, 2010, in a crush in a packed tunnel that was the sole access point to the music event in the western city of Duisburg, and more than 650 were injured. The victims included people from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia, China and the Netherlands. Four event organizers and six city workers went on trial in Duisburg state court Friday on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm. They are accused of serious planning failures and failing to monitor security properly. About 65 victims or family members of victims have joined the trial as co-plaintiffs as allowed under German law.

YouTube to Launch New Subscription Music Streaming Service Next Year: Report

The service is aiming for a March launch, but has some hurdles to clear first. YouTube has plans to release a new paid music service next spring, Bloomberg reports citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. This would be the Google-owned company’s third attempt to successfully compete with industry-leaders Spotify and Apple.  According to Bloomberg, the new service is planned to arrive in March and is currently being referred to internally as Remix. It would include on-demand streaming and incorporate video clips and other elements from YouTube.  Warner Music Group has reportedly already signed on to the service, while Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and independent label digital rights agency Merlin are currently in talks. As well, it is believed YouTube has ...

New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Over Buffalo-Area Music Festival

Concert promoter Cody Conway allegedly canceled the Buffalove event without refunding customers nearly $15,000. New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Buffalo concert promoter Cody Conway and the Buffalove Music Festival Schneiderman is accusing Conway of canceling the three-day Franklinville, New York, festival two weeks before it was scheduled to begin on July 20 and failing to refund 146 customers who bought tickets from $85 to $125 a piece for a combined $14,896.42. The investigation was led by James M. Morrissey and Erica Law with help from Michael Russo and Marty Mack. “New Yorkers should get what they pay for – and they’re entitled to timely refunds if event organizers don’t follow through on their promises,” said Schneiderman in...

Epitaph Names Matt McGreevey General Manager, Hope Selevan VP Marking & Digital Strategy

The promotions follow executive Dave Hansen’s election to chair the Merlin board. Following Epitaph executive Dave Hansen‘s election to chair the Merlin board, on Thursday (Dec. 7) the record label announced two new promotions within its staff.  Matt McGreevey will fill Hansen’s role as general manager of Epitaph and its sister label Anti-, while Hope Selevan has been appointed vice president of marketing and digital strategy. The two each previously held the position of director of marketing. Hansen will continue to represent Epitaph as SVP of business development.  As general manager, McGreevy will oversee daily operations for Epitaph and Anti-, additionally contributing to projects’ marketing plans. McGreevy started at Epitaph as an intern in 2000 and went on to ...

Bell Media, Music Canada & Re:Sound Announce New Project to Improve Radio Royalty Collection

It is part of an ongoing initiative by Music Canada and Re:Sound to develop administrative efficiencies within the country’s music industry. Leading the way for other radio broadcasters, Bell Media has partnered with trade organization Music Canada and music licensing company Re:Sound on an unprecedented new data project to improve efficiencies in royalty collection for Canadian rights holders. By automating the industry’s content distribution, the organizations are hoping to streamline sound recording data within the Canadian music ecosystem, in effect improving the accuracy and speed of collection and distribution. It is part of an ongoing initiative by Music Canada and Re:Sound to develop administrative efficiencies within the Canadian music industry. Last year, $2 million (...

Aspen Live Founder Launches Cannabis Summit

Aspen High will be a curated experience for visionaries in the marijuana and music industries Launched in 1996, the Aspen Live conference has become a must-attend event for a growing group of music industry insiders and up-and-comers who travel to the Colorado resort town every winter for three days of skiing, panels and keynote interviews often led by writer and podcaster Bob Lefsetz. The event’s founder Jim Lewi, a music industry veteran who works at both Goldstar and Red Light Management, is seizing on the success of the event to launch a cannabis conference in one of the first states in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. The Aspen High Summit begins Monday (Dec. 11) and runs three days with panels on cannabis sales at music events, a panel on the influence of media feat...

Country Welcomes a Flood Of New Talent to The Top 20: LANCO, Carly Pearce and Russell Dickerson

Country music is nothing new, but the artists who are succeeding in the genre increasingly are. Six of the top 20 singles on the Country Airplay chart dated Dec. 2 were recordings by artists who had never previously reached that level, including LANCO, Carly Pearce and Russell Dickerson. In a genre that’s historically known for hanging on to its established names, it’s a stunning development that likely makes old-guard performers nervous at the same time it emboldens the newer acts. “It’s cool that this is even a topic,” says Dickerson. “It shows that there’s a new wave in the industry.” Consider it a hyper-drive version of a trend that has been in operation for some time. The lead story in the Aug. 10, 2015, edition of the Billboard Country ...

Mike Berkowitz, Agent to Amy Schumer and Kevin Hart, Joins WME

The comedy agent leaves APA to serve as a WME Partner. When APA’s Manfred Westphal sent out a late press release Wednesday detailing the promotions of Jackie Knobbe and Max Burgos to co-head the agency’s comedy department, his announcement missed one critical detail — what had happened to Mike Berkowitz, who had headed the comedy division since 2011? A day later, Berkowitz popped up at WME, capping off another major coup for the global talent agency, which has been on a hiring spree since luring over Scott Clayton from CAA Nashville last month. The hiring of Berkowitz, arguably one of the most powerful comedy agents in the business — with clients that include Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, John Mulaney, Nick Kroll and Aziz Ansari — is a game changer for WME, who has named...

Garrison Keillor: MPR Fired Me Without Full Investigation

Garrison Keillor says Minnesota Public Radio was wrong to fire him last week without fully investigating what a senior executive has described as “multiple allegations” spanning an extended period against the former “A Prairie Home Companion” host. Jon McTaggart, CEO of MPR’s parent company American Public Media Group, addressed the issue at an employee meeting Wednesday. McTaggart didn’t provide details of the allegations against the 75-year-old veteran broadcaster, saying only that he has shared them with lawyers and board members. MPR News reporters refused to attend the meeting because its contents had been declared off the record, but they compiled a report based on interviews with colleagues who did. In a statement Thursday morning, MPR insisted it...

Western companies are getting creative with their Chinese names

MCDONALD’S drew ridicule in China when it changed its registered name there to Jingongmen, or “Golden Arches”, in October, after it was sold to a Chinese consortium. Some on Weibo, a microblogging site, thought it sounded old-fashioned and awkward, others that it had connotations of furniture. The fast-food chain was quick to reassure customers that its restaurants would continue to go by Maidanglao, a rough transliteration that has, over the years, become a recognisable brand name. But for most companies now entering Chinese markets, transliterations are a thing of the past, says Amanda Liu, vice-president of Labbrand, a consultancy based in Shanghai that advises firms on brand names. Companies are instead choosing Chinese names with meanings that capture people’s imagination. That often ...