|FRIDAY 12 APRIL 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A coroner's inquest into the death, seven years ago, of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, after staging collapsed ahead of a show in Toronto, has made a stack of recommendations as to what regulators could do to stop such a tragedy from occurring again... [READ MORE]|
Inquest into the death of Radiohead drum tech recommends changes to live sector processes and regulation
Johnson was killed and three others injured ahead of a planned Radiohead show at Downsview Park in Toronto in 2012, after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage on which the band were due to perform.
The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the live music giant was subsequently charged under Ontario's Occupational Health And Safety Act, alongside provider Optex Staging & Services Inc and an individual engineer working on the show, Domenic Cugliari.
The criminal case reached court in 2015, but quickly started to drag. Then in June 2017 the judge overseeing the trial was promoted and no longer had jurisdiction. As a result a mistrial was declared and the whole case was set to begin anew. However, the defendants then argued that the criminal proceedings should instead be abandoned, citing a relatively new precedent in Canadian law designed to stop criminal cases from dragging on indefinitely.
The new judge considering the case then agreed that, under said new precedent, the charges against Live Nation, Optex and Cugliari should indeed be 'permanently stayed'.
The Chief Coroner of Canadian province Ontario subsequently announced that an inquest into Johnson's death would be launched and that began last month. During the inquest hearing, it was revealed that plans for the staging being used back in 2012 contained several errors. The wrong materials had also been used for the staging's roof structure and the construction of the stage had not had any independent oversight. /
The jury's ultimate verdict in relation to the case was that of 'accidental death'. However, they also endorsed a series of recommendations to prevent future incidents of this kind. That included proposed new rules that would force companies that build temporary stages to be licensed and riggers that work at venues and events to be certified in a similar way to electricians. Meanwhile, it was also recommended that all staging structures should be designed and then inspected by engineers.
These recommendations are not binding on anyone, though a working group will be convened later this year to examine processes employed in the live sector in Ontario. That working group will consist of a number of experts and also Johnson's father Ken, who has followed closely the legal proceedings in relation to his son's death.
According to CBC, Johnson said on Wednesday that he would be "disappointed" if the inquest didn't now result in changes - either in the law or industry practices - to ensure an incident like that that killed his son never happens again.
Johnson also said that - after the long-drawn out stress of the criminal case and the frustrating circumstances that caused it to fall apart - the conclusion of the inquest this week had brought some kind of closure. "There's hardly a month gone by in the last seven years where I'm not involved in some dialogue about Scott and what's happened", he said. "So I quite look forward to perhaps not having that dialogue".
Radiohead have also followed the legal proceedings closely and were particularly critical of how the criminal case stalled. They welcomed the conclusion of the inquest yesterday, saying in a statement on Twitter: "The inquest into the death of our friend and crew member, Scott Johnson, has now concluded. The inquest itself was conducted in a constructive, thorough and fair-minded way. It revealed the negligence and failings that led to Scott's death".
They went on: "A verdict of accidental death was returned, which feels frustratingly insufficient given that the stage collapse was shown to be preventable. The jury have made sound and practical recommendations to prevent such an accident happening again and to ensure the future safety of show crews and audiences. It's up to all of us now to make sure that these recommendations are implemented".
The band concluded: "We'd like to express our gratitude to the Coroner's Office and the jury for their tireless work in the inquest. Our love and respect go out to Ken and Sue Johnson, Scott's parents. He will be forever in our thoughts".
eOne buys Audio Network
Founded in 2001, Audio Network provides music for movies, telly shows and advertising. Which is like any other production music company, except its licensing approach was innovative because the company sat outside the collective licensing system when it came to providing a licence for the actual synchronisation (as opposed to any subsequent broadcast).
This allowed the company to offer more flexibility in it licences than competing music libraries in the UK that licensed through collecting society MCPS.
Although it will become an eOne subsidiary moving forward, Audio Network will continue to be led by its CEO Robb Smith, with co-founder Andrew Sunnucks also still involved as Chair.
Confirming the deal, eOne boss Darren Throop said: "As we continue to unlock the power and value of creativity for artists, we are very pleased to welcome Audio Network, whose passionate management team and ambition align entirely with ours. The combination of eOne's front-end commercial artist catalogue and Audio Network's extensive premium production music creates a one-stop solution for business customers seeking high-quality music".
Meanwhile Sunnucks added: "Our relationships with artists and composers have been at the heart of our business from the very start. In joining eOne, we are becoming part of an incredible global entertainment family and will have the continued opportunity to create and record the world's best music and share it globally".
AEG buys into Australian promoter Frontier
AEG and Frontier - which is part of Michael Gudinski's wider music business the Mushroom Group - have collaborated on an assortment of tours in Australia and New Zealand over the last decade. The new deal will expand that partnership, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that it also involves AEG taking a 50% stake in the Frontier business.
Gudinski's touring company already has partnerships with two other Australian promoters, Illusive Presents and Chugg Entertainment, the latter of which was only announced last month. Both will continue under the new alliance with AEG. The deal does not involve any of the other companies that form the Mushroom Group, although Frontier will remain within that grouping despite having a new co-owner.
Confirming all of this yesterday, Gudinski said that the deal wouldn't affect Frontier's independent spirit. He told reporters: "Frontier Touring has been fiercely independent since its inception in 1979 and there is no doubt that we've batted well above the average on a global level in recent years. AEG Presents has had a successful track record of partnering with independent promoters and allowing them to keep their entrepreneurial roots while also supporting their growth".
"This next step", he went on, "is about ensuring that Frontier, AEG and our joint venture partners Illusive Presents and Chugg Entertainment raise the bar in the Australasian live market higher than ever before".
Speaking for AEG Presents, its chief Jay Marciano added: "Frontier Touring and AEG Presents share a passion and commitment to delivering the best music experiences to artists and fans alike. Michael has built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success and we are pleased that he chose to partner with us. We look forward to working closely with him and his talented team to further grow the Frontier Touring brand".
UK competition regulator investigating AEG Facilities and SMG merger
The British regulator said it was now investigating the transaction "following the European Commission's decision to partially refer the case to the United Kingdom" under rules contained in the EC Merger Regulation.
Venues is the side of the business where AEG out-performs its global live music rival Live Nation. Meanwhile, SMG is another major player in venue management, mainly in the US, though some European markets too. Its UK operations include arenas in Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Hull.
So, while the two merging companies dubbed the deal to combine SMG with AEG's venues division a "major step for our industry", many rivals immediately raised competition law concerns. To that end, it is thought that competition regulators in the US are also looking into the deal.
Meanwhile, the UK's CMA said yesterday that it is "considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services".
The regulator has now instigated what it calls a 'phase one investigation' and interested parties are invited to make submissions about AEG and SMG's deal by 29 Apr.
Madonna's billionaire Eurovision backer revealed, as protests against performance grow
Canadian born Sylvan Adams agreed to fund Madonna's reported $1 million fee to perform two songs during the interval at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv. He has previously funded other initiatives aimed at promoting Israel on a global stage, including bringing the Giro D'Italia cycling race to the country.
According to Ynet News, he was approached several months ago by the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, which is running this year's Eurovision, about funding a high profile mid-show performance.
As well as being a big payday for the singer, her performance will also serve as promotion for her upcoming new album. She is set to premiere a new track from said album, the content of which is said to have delayed the signing of her contract - organisers apparently concerned about political lyrics.
Since the announcement of Madonna's involvement in the show, the Palestinian Campaign For The Academic And Cultural Boycott Of Israel has launched a campaign calling on her to reconsider.
In a statement to PinkNews, Alia Malak of PACBI says: "Thousands of artists now publicly support the call from Palestinian artists and cultural organisations for the cultural boycott of Israel. Madonna's announcement that she will cross Palestinians' long-established picket line comes at a time when fewer and fewer major international artists are willing to perform to an effectively segregated audience under apartheid".
"We hope Madonna stands on the right side of history by refusing to let her music and image be exploited by a regime that desperately craves the whitewash Eurovision is offering", she adds, while also drawing attention to a 2014 Instagram post in which Madonna said "I love Palestinians" and "wanted peace" in the region.
Elsewhere, the Times Of Israel reports that no US broadcasters have picked up this year's Eurovision. In recent years it has been screened to an albeit relatively small US TV audience - last year on Viacom's Logo channel. Seemingly the late in the day addition of Madonna has not attracted any takers.
The Eurovision Song Contest final will take place on 18 May.
Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino enlists Ryuichi Sakamoto for debut solo album
"The title came to me when an old friend told me about the existence of so-called 'adult baby club', frequented by powerful men who go there to be treated like small children", says Makino. "This discovery struck me, perhaps because I am convinced that in a way, we are all adult babies, that many people feel that way inside and that they identify with this expression".
"Each in his own way, 'Adult Baby' is a title that can be taken in many ways", she goes on. "Some will think it curious, others erotic, others still strange or tender: it all depends on how you see it".
'Adult Baby' is out on 13 Sep. Watch the video for 'Salty' here.
Sony/ATV, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Tame Impala, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Sony/ATV has promoted Tom Kelly to the role of Global Chief Financial Officer. Elicia Felix-Hughey has also joined the company as SVP Global Human Resources. "I am honoured", says Kelly. "I'm both honoured and excited", says Felix-Hughey, trumping him.
• Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds live film 'Distant Sky', which was aired in cinemas last year, will be available to stream on the band's website later this month. Click here to sign up for access between 19-22 Apr.
• Tame Impala have released new single, 'Borderline'.
• Tom Morello has released new track, 'Can't Stop Bleeding', featuring Gary Clark Jr and Gramatick.
• Tulisa has released the video for new single, 'Daddy'.
• Christine And The Queens has released the video for 'Comme Si', from last year's 'Chris' album.
• Aurora has released the video for new single 'The Seed'.
• Aldous Harding has released new single 'Fixture Picture'. Her new album, 'Designer', is out on 26 Apr. She'll be touring the UK in May, before returning in November and December.
• Ice Age have released the video for 'Painkiller', featuring Sky Ferreira, taken from last year's 'Beyondless' album.
• Jesca Hoop has released new single 'Shoulder Charge'. Her new album, 'Stonechild', is out on 5 Jul.
• Pelican have announced that they will release new album, 'Night-time Stories', on 7 Jun. Here's first single, 'Midnight And Mescaline'.
• Sasami has released the video for new single 'Morning Comes', which also serves as an instructional video for making kimchi by her grandmother.
• Sevdaliza has released new single, 'Martyr'.
• Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have released new single 'Bill's Mandolin'. It's taken from new album 'And Now For The Whatchamacallit', which is out on 31 May.
• Otoboke Beaver have released new single 'Datsu, Hikage No Onna'. The band's new album, 'Itekoma Hits', is out on 26 Apr.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
PWEI's Fuzz Townshend: "I dipped my knob in Boris Johnson's pint"
Townshend revealed the story on the Drivetribe YouTube channel, in his guise as co-presenter of Channel 4 show 'Car SOS'.
"He arrived [at a pub] as it was my round", Townshend explains. "So I said, 'would you like a drink?' I was drinking a pint of real ale and he said, 'what's that like?' I said, 'yeah, that was pretty good', so he said, 'I'll have one of those' ... I got the pints and [as] I turned round I noticed that to my left on the way out was the gents toilets. And I did need a wee".
This isn't a recent incident, Townshend added, and happened long before Johnson reached the extreme divisive status he now holds.
"When I was in the loo I thought 'this is an opportunity of a lifetime, I have a politician here, it doesn't matter which hue of politician, I have a politician here, I'm gonna do something'", he goes on. "I dipped my knob in Boris Johnson's pint and then topped it up with mine".
I think the most shocking thing in this story is that Fuzz Townshend takes drinks into the toilet with him when at the pub. See him tell the story for yourself here.