|MONDAY 22 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live Nation in the US has confirmed that it has, in the past, facilitated the transfer of tickets to shows it is promoting directly to sellers on the secondary market. But only, it insists, at the request of artists. And such requests have shrunk to almost zero with the rise of VIP and platinum ticketing solutions, such as those offered by the live giant's own Ticketmaster. These statements follow revelations in Billboard about how tickets were sold for a Metallica tour in 2017... [READ MORE]|
Live Nation admits it helped artists tout their own tickets
As the debate around online ticket touting has gone through the motions on both sides of the Atlantic, it has frequently been claimed that some artists, managers, promoters and venues are complicit in the resale of tickets at hiked-up prices online.
Those claims are not without substance. As online touting first started to boom in the mid-2000s, some in the live sector saw an opportunity to drive extra revenues. Meanwhile others, frustrated that efforts to regulate or limit online touting initially failed, adopted a 'if you can't beat them, join them' strategy.
As anti-touting campaigns have gained momentum in a number countries, not least the UK, many of those involved in the secondary market have accused some key players in the live industry of hypocrisy.
This is because there are now people who openly criticise online touting but who, in the past, profited from the resale of tickets to their own shows on websites like StubHub and Viagogo. The touting of tickets in that way by artists or their business partners has generally been done anonymously via some sort of agent.
Billboard's report centres on a recording of a phone call from early 2017 between Live Nation's Bob Roux and a representative for Metallica. They discuss how the band might put a total of 88,000 tickets for upcoming shows onto the secondary market.
Roux suggests that a Live Nation exec or a member of venue box office staff put several thousand tickets per show into a single account, as they would for a fan club or brand partner pre-sale. Though he adds that such a large number of tickets being allocated to a single account in this way might "raise some eyebrows".
Responding to Billboard's report, Live Nation confirmed that it had, in the words of the US trade mag, "facilitated the quiet transfer of concert tickets directly into the hands of resellers through the years, though only at the request of the artists involved - who control where the tickets are initially sold".
In a statement, the live firm added that between 2016 and 2017 only "about a dozen artists out of the thousands we work with asked us to do this". And, "requests like these have declined virtually to zero as tools like dynamic pricing, platinum seats and VIP packages have proven to be more effective at recapturing value previously lost to the secondary market".
Live Nation has always been under more scrutiny than most when it comes to online touting, because its Ticketmaster division operates resale sites, meaning it can profit from both the primary and secondary sale of a ticket. In Europe, of course, Ticketmaster last year bailed on resale, shutting down its Get Me In! and Seatwave sites. But it still has a lucrative secondary ticketing business in the US.
While online touting has generally been less controversial in America than here in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, there have been some mini-scandals around the secondary market Stateside, most involving Live Nation in some way.
And although ticketing tends the be regulated at a state level in the US, there is some support in Congress for new country-wide rules. Some of which were discussed at a recent FTC-organised debate on the wider ticketing market.
Live Nation will be hoping that it can stop Billboard's Metallica report from becoming another scandal by stressing that ticket strategies like that discussed in the 2017 phone call were pretty rare and always artist-led.
Though the revelations about how Metallica tickets were sold in 2017 will provide ammunition for both those who would like more regulation of the secondary market, and also the ticket resellers who criticise the music industry when it's in an anti-touting mood.
R Kelly to be flown between New York and Chicago for court hearings
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kelly is due to appear in court in Brooklyn on 2 Aug. He will then be returned to Chicago for a hearing on separate charges on 4 Sep. The plans were made public on Friday, days after a judge ruled that the star posed too great a danger to the public to be released on bail.
In the New York case, Kelly is accused of having a system in place at his live shows to single out girls as young as twelve to meet him backstage.
From this group, he would select girls to meet again, in an attempt to build a relationship with and later sexually abuse them, it is alleged. "We're talking seventh and eighth grade girls", Assistant US Attorney Angel Krull said last week. "And it didn't happen once or twice. He sexually abused them hundreds of times before they turned eighteen".
Also last week, former Kelly employee Milton Brown pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to receive images of child abuse. Along with the musician's former manager Derrel McDavid, Brown is accused of paying off victims and witnesses during Kelly's 2008 child abuse trial, as well as spending hundreds of thousands of dollars buying videos of Kelly committing abuse before they could be handed to authorities.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
5 Seconds Of Summer accused of ripping off Hungary-based songwriters on Youngblood
The earlier track is called 'White Shadows' and the lawsuit is being pursued by an entity called White Shadows LLC, which is owned by the three songwriters. Henderson himself released a version of that song in 2016 and appeared on Hungary's Eurovision linked show 'A Dal' performing it the following year.
In a statement accompanying its lawsuit, White Shadows LLC alleges that, in 2018, "5 Seconds Of Summer, pressed for time and facing the prospect of commercial irrelevancy, released 'Youngblood', a single which would become the titular song of their third studio album. The song's success propelled the band to new heights of fame and fortune, virtually single-handedly. Unfortunately, substantial portions of the song were copied directly from 'White Shadows'".
Legal reps for White Shadows LLC claim that the similarities between the two songs is "so striking" that "it could not be the result of mere coincidence".
They go on: "The first melodic phrase of 'Youngblood' is virtually identical to the melodic phrase from 'White Shadows'", and the phrases are repeated four times in each respective song. It is clear that 5 Seconds Of Summer had access, means, and motive to appropriate the melodic phrase of 'White Shadows', and we firmly believe that any listener who hears both songs will notice the substantial similarities".
"In short,", they add, "5 Seconds Of Summer misappropriated an earworm melody from Henderson, Toth and Ferencz, claimed it was their own creation, and rode the riff to world-wide success; we believe this is jaw-droppingly obvious and, frankly, it shocks the conscience".
Concluding, the lawyers say: "We look forward to presenting evidence that 5 Seconds Of Summer not only infringed on our client's copyright and misappropriated portions of 'White Shadows', but that the band has experienced worldwide acclaim and derived substantial revenue by exploiting the work of three young songwriters. We are confident that our clients will be vindicated in court".
So, plenty of bold talking. We await a response from 5 Seconds Of Summer. They're presumably very busy trying to find 47 other songs that use the same melodic phrase. Meanwhile, here are the customary YouTube links so you can compare the two tracks for yourself: 'White Shadows' and 'Youngblood'.
SFX investors reach deal with former dance music firm's directors
Sillerman hoped to repeat his previous successes in live music when he launched the second iteration of his SFX business in 2012. His original music company had morphed into Live Nation. The second outing sought to capitalise on the dance music boom that was underway at that time. He bought up a whole load of festivals and other businesses in the dance music sector, and then floated the company in 2013. But it all came tumbling down three years later.
Before it went into bankruptcy in 2016, there was a period when Sillerman was seeking to take SFX back into private ownership. Even before the subsequent collapse of the company, some of the firm's shareholders alleged that that was in fact a ruse undertaken to falsely boost SFX's share price. Sillerman, it was claimed, wanted to get the share price up so he could renegotiate the company's debts, or raise more capital, or find a buyer for the whole business.
Those allegations resulted in a class action led by one investor in particular, the Guevoura Fund Ltd, which targeted directors D Geoffrey Armstrong, John Miller and Michael John Meyer as well as Sillerman. The lawsuit was actually filed in 2015. Plaintiffs then had to negotiate the bankruptcy of SFX in 2016 and, a year later, of Sillerman himself.
According to Law360, last week it was announced that a settlement had been reached with the four former SFX directors. Under the deal, none of the four men will admit to any wrongdoing, but each will each pump money into a $7.5 million fund to compensate investors. The deal now needs court approval.
SFX eventually came out of bankruptcy, of course, and continues to operate under new management as LiveStyle.
Coda becomes Paradigm as UK and US companies merge
"Coda and Paradigm have had tremendous success throughout our five-year partnership, creating opportunities and building enduring careers for a roster of exceptional talent", says Paradigm CEO Sam Gores. "We look forward to the next chapter as one global company, driven by agents who share an unwavering focus on the artists we represent and the art they create".
Shunning the standard template for this sort of announcement, the always-good-for-a-quote Alex Hardee, one of Coda's key agents, adds: "We have achieved the impossible: we found some Americans that we actually get along with".
His colleague Tom Schroeder chips in: "We are A&R leaders, building creative plans for our clients in an industry that is in a constant state of change. Merging with Paradigm enables us to evolve and challenge a very dynamic marketplace. With this larger Paradigm platform, we can span the globe without losing our personality, ambition, individualism and innovative approach".
Henceforth, Coda will be known as Paradigm too. But it will continue to be lead by Hardee and Schroeder, along with James Whitting and Dave Hallybone.
Original Sugababes promise new music and tour dates for 20th anniversary of debut album
Buena now tells The Sun: "We're working on new music and have a secret project that should be made public later this year. Plus we are working on something special for our fans that is coming out for our 20th anniversary. As well as the music we've planned a tour".
While it's possible we might see or hear something from them this year, 2020 seems to be where their plans really lie - taking up the opportunity to mark the 20th anniversary of their debut album, 'One Touch'. Released in 2000, that record remains the only album ever released by Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan in any incarnation - despite the fact that they have now been MKS for longer than they were the Sugababes.
Earlier this year, another former Sugababe, Amelle Barrabah, suggested that she might also be part of the upcoming tour dates, telling Fubar Radio: "Because we did well in Europe, they keep coming back, they want us to reform and do one last tour, so we've been discussing that". Barrabah was not, however, included in a picture recently posted from the studio by Buena.
Anna Calvi has written the score to the new series of the BBC's 'Peaky Blinders'. "This is a new thing for me but it was a really good fit, I love everything about the show", she says. "I completely immersed myself in it and became quite obsessed with the characters, especially Tommy Shelby [played by Cillian Murphy] and getting lost in his mind". The show is set to air on BBC One later this year.
Iggy Pop has announced that he will release new album, 'Free', on 6 Sep. "I wanted to be free", he says of his mindset going into the studio. "I know that's an illusion, and that freedom is only something you feel, but I have lived my life thus far in the belief that that feeling is all that is worth pursuing; all that you need - not happiness or love necessarily, but the feeling of being free. So this album just kind of happened to me, and I let it happen". Here's a little sampler. Feel free to peruse.
Korn have released the video for new single 'You'll Never Find Me'. Their new album, 'The Nothing', is out on 13 Sep.
Slaves have released new EP 'The Velvet Ditch'. They've also announced new UK tour dates in December, including a three night run at ULU in London.
King Princess has released new single 'Prophet'. Her debut album, 'Cheap Queen', is set for release later this year. "For the last few years my music listening experience mainly revolves around playlists I make for myself, and I've noticed that I listen to different moods of music in each season, which is probably the case for lots of people", she says. "So, I wanted to create a project that everyone can use to be creative and start their own playlists with and maximise their summer vibes".
Mei has released new EP 'No Bad Days'. "For the last few years my music listening experience mainly revolves around playlists I make for myself, and I've noticed that I listen to different moods of music in each season, which is probably the case for lots of people", she says. "So, I wanted to create a project that everyone can use to be creative and start their own playlists with and maximise their summer vibes".
GIGS & TOURS
Slipknot have announced that they will be playing nine UK and Ireland shows next year. Only the cities are known so far, no dates or venues are yet available. Fans who pre-order the band's upcoming new album 'We Are Not Your Kind' - out 9 Aug - will get access to a pre-sale.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Line Of Duty actor Adrian Dunbar planning music career
"I'm hoping to do something in the recording studio some time this year and I've had a couple of approaches about doing things", he tells The Sun, suggesting he hasn't yet signed a Nick Knowles-style major label deal.
"I was in bands many years ago, singing backing vocals and all the rest of it", he adds, justifying all of this. "I just never got a chance to do any of that because I started acting and you focus on other things. But I've always kept it going and I've always done gigs with friends of mine in Ronnie Scott's over the years".
"It's kind of country jazz really", he says of his 'sound'. "I like stuff that straddles the easy listening, country jazz sort of [thing]".
Something to look forward to there then. Meanwhile, the BBC has already commissioned two more series of bad dialogue contest 'Line Of Duty'. Let's hope Dunbar's work on those doesn't get in the way of his singing. That would be a real shame, I'm sure you'll all agree.