Business

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 ...

The beast of Bentonville battles Amazon, the king of the e-commerce jungle

A BOA constrictor swallowing capitalism. A cyclone dragging the economy into its vortex. If you look back at how people described Walmart a decade ago, it is eerily similar to how Amazon is viewed now. The supermarket chain has “a scale of economic power we haven’t encountered before”, warned “The Walmart Effect”, a best selling book in 2006. But capitalism never stands still. The world’s largest company by sales is now the perceived underdog in an escalating grocery war with Amazon to fill 320m American bellies. The struggle will probably end in a messy stalemate. That will mean mediocre returns for investors—and happy days for consumers. Just when Walmart’s aura was at its most intimidating, in 2006, stagnation beckoned. Its reputation for bullying its suppliers and staff became toxic. O...

Video games could fall foul of anti-gambling laws

A DECADE ago the idea of paying real money for virtual items was strange and exotic. These days many video-game publishers build their business models around it. Some of the world’s biggest games, such as “League of Legends”, cost nothing to buy. Instead they rely for their revenue on players buying things for use in the game, such as new characters to play with or costumes to put them in. A new twist on that model has been attracting the attention of regulators in recent weeks. “Loot boxes” are yet another type of “in-game” item that gamers buy with currency. Unlike the usual sort of purchase, however, players do not know in advance what they are buying, for the contents of a loot box are generated randomly. Sometimes they might be desirable, and therefore valuable; prized items include n...

Rio Tinto puts its faith in driverless trucks, trains and drilling rigs

FOR millennia, man has broken rocks. Whether with pickaxe or dynamite, their own or animal muscle, in a digger or a diesel truck, thick-necked miners have been at the centre of an industry that supplies the raw materials for almost all industrial activity. Making mining more profitable has long involved squeezing out more tonnes of metal per ounce of brawn. Now robots, not man, are settling themselves into the driving seat. Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining firms, is leading that transformation in its vast iron-ore operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is putting its faith in driverless trucks and unmanned drilling rigs and trains, overseeing them from the office equivalent of armchairs about 1,000km (625 miles) south, in Perth. Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Rio’s ...

Deezer Betting On Hi-Fi Audio as Streaming Service Launches In Japan

After years of trying, Deezer is about to launch in Japan, partnering with audio hardware companies Onkyo Pioneer and Yamaha to deliver lossless CD quality streaming to the world’s second biggest music market. Deezer says it is the first streaming platform to provide Hi-Res 16-Bit FLAC CD quality audio to Japanese consumers, who from tomorrow (Dec 8) will be able to listen to a catalog of over 36 million tracks, encompassing repertoire from a host of independents and two of the three major labels (negotiations with Tokyo-based Sony Music are ongoing). At launch, the Deezer Hi-Fi tier — costing 1,960 JPY per month ($17) — will be the platform’s only available product in the market, with the freemium or Premium+ services that Deezer operate in many other countries not...

St. Vincent, Death Cab for Cutie, Phantogram Managers Team Up for New Company, Brilliant Corners

The roster also includes Sleater-Kinney, Bob Mould, Best Coast, Toro Y Moi, She & Him and more. Indie rock management companies Zeitgeist Artist Management, Lever and Beam and Barsuk Artist Management have teamed up to launch a new company called Brilliant Corners Artist Management, which includes St. Vincent, Death Cab for Cutie, Phantogram, Sleater-Kinney, Bob Mould, Best Coast and more on its roster.  The new venture was headed by managers Jordan Kurland and Joe Goldberg of Zeitgeist, David “Boche Billions” Viecelli and Alex Kadvan of Lever and Beam and Josh Rosenfeld of Barsuk. Brilliant Corners currently holds offices in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle.  “For a long time, Joe and I were evaluating how best to expand Zeitgeist in the midst of the rapi...