|FRIDAY 6 MARCH 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Commerce Commission in New Zealand has confirmed that it is no longer seeking an interim injunction against often controversial secondary ticketing platform Viagogo because it has voluntarily made changes to its website in the country. However, the government regulator plans to proceed with its wider legal case against the ticket resale operation... [READ MORE]|
New Zealand regulator abandons Viagogo injunction bid after ticket resale platform makes changes to its website
The list of complaints against Viagogo provided by the NZ Commerce Commission when it first went legal in 2018 was very familiar, echoing many of the issues raised by the Competition & Markets Authority in the UK.
That included using language like "official", "guarantee" and "about to sell out", which was designed to confuse customers unfamiliar with the difference between primary and secondary ticketing. And also the use of drip pricing where customers are only told the total cost of buying tickets at the end of the ticket-buying process.
As part of its legal action, the Commission wanted an interim injunction from the court that would force Viagogo to address many of those complaints. But in February last year the court declined to issue such a speedy injunction on jurisdiction grounds, because the Commission hadn't formally served notice against Viagogo in its home country of Switzerland. That decision was then overturned on appeal in October.
Both sides were due back in court today for another hearing on the interim injunction. But yesterday the Commission announced that it "will no longer seek an interim injunction against online event ticket seller Viagogo, after Viagogo made changes to its website and gave undertakings to the court that it would not undo those changes".
Expanding on the latest development, the Commission's Mary-Anne Borrowdale explained: "The changes Viagogo has made to its website have largely addressed the interim injunction application filed by the Commission alleging that Viagogo was misrepresenting the price and availability of tickets, and the 'guarantees' attached to tickets".
"Importantly", she added, "Viagogo has given undertakings to the court that it will not undo those changes or make new, similar representations. We consider that these changes and undertakings achieve what we sought ... and mean we can avoid the time and cost of another hearing and advance our preparations towards the full case hearing".
Viagogo has also made another concession regarding the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts over its operations in the country, which it was expected to dispute in court today because of its Swiss base.
On that, Borrowdale said: "Until now Viagogo has said it is not answerable to the courts here, which has led to considerable expense and delay for the Commission. We think a company that sells New Zealand event tickets to New Zealand consumers should fall under New Zealand law, and we are pleased that Viagogo now accepts that too".
Although the Commission is no longer seeking an interim injunction, the wider legal case it launched against Viagogo back in 2018 still stands and will continue to go through the motions.
Meanwhile, Borrowdale concluded by saying: "We still urge ticket buyers to purchase from official ticket websites. Avoid clicking on the first internet search result you see for an event. Scroll down the page and find the official ticket outlet or, if you aren't sure, visit the artist's or organiser's website to find out who is the official ticket seller".
Online services now account for 90% of UK entertainment retail revenues
Digital content platforms accounted for 81.8% of home entertainment revenues in 2019, while online mail-order sites selling physical product - led by Amazon - generated 8% of monies. Which means that just 10.2% of the money came from the high street.
Within digital, the streaming boom in both music and video is key, of course. Last year saw a 21.5% increase in digital video revenues in the UK, up to £2.1 billion, driven by the continued growth of the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Streaming music revenues rose even more, up 23.5% in 2019 to just over £1 billion.
We already knew the top line figures in ERA's 'Yearbook', because the trade group published them at the start of the year.
But have a quick reminder: the entertainment retail sector at large grew 2.4% to £7.8 billion in 2019, boosted by that streaming boom in music and video. Those booms compensated for declines in the biggest entertainment segment - gaming - which had a tricky 2019, mainly because both PlayStation and Xbox were at the end of their 'console cycles'.
Elsewhere in its stats pack, ERA notes that just a decade ago the wider entertainment retail sector still made 80% of its revenues from physical formats. With digital now generating more than 80% of the money, that's a significant shift.
Though, the trade group adds, when it comes to many of the big hit releases, physical product still plays a key role alongside digital consumption. And, of course, in music, there's still the good old vinyl revival going on.
ERA boss Kim Bayley calls the dramatic shift to digital within a decade "extraordinary", adding: "The internet now accounts for 90p in every pound spent on entertainment. It is quite simply the most dramatic revolution in entertainment retailing ever seen".
However, she goes on: "Physical entertainment still amounted to a £1.4 billion market in 2019. It is certainly down, but it is far bigger than many appreciate and still offers benefits in terms of gifting, collectability and permanence which streaming cannot match".
And in the music domain, indie stores in particular have successfully capitalised on the sometimes-exaggerated-but-nevertheless-important vinyl revival. "While much of music spending has moved online", Bayley concludes, "independents with a distinctive, locally-tailored offering continue to flourish".
PRS For Music publishes list of UK's top 100 most successful female songwriters
The list features 100 of the most successful and influential female songwriters and composers in the UK. It's based on streaming, download, broadcast and performance data collected by the song rights collecting society for its female members.
With the society's membership still skewing largely male, the list aims to promote and celebrate the growing number of music-makers who identify as female who are now PRS members. Despite this growth - with nearly 2000 registering in 2019, a 60% year-on-year increase - PRS For Music's female membership is still only 18.4% of its total.
Claire Jarvis, PRS's Director Of Membership, says: "While it's encouraging to see an increase in female songwriters and composers joining PRS For Music, this number is still dwarfed by 5580 male songwriters joining in the same year, which means there is still work to do".
"As the music industry works together towards a more equal gender balance across every aspect of its landscape", she adds, "we will continue to work with our members, peers and sister organisations to encourage and support songwriters and composers from every background".
The organisation also notes that the top ten female songwriters and composers within its membership generated 67% less income than their top ten male counterparts, demonstrating - PRS says - that "even at the top of their field, [female music-makers] receive [fewer] opportunities than men for their music to be heard and performed".
Among the names on the list are Cathy Dennis, Jessie J, Florence Welch, Mable and Annie Lennox. See the full list of 100 songwriters and composers here.
Austra announces fourth album, Hirudin
"I was losing faith in my own ideas", she says of the period before she began work on the new album. "My creative and personal relationships were heavily intertwined, and I knew the only answer was to part ways with all of the people and comforts that I'd known for the better part of a decade and start again".
That turned out to be a good move. She goes on: "I found myself really enjoying the role of producer for this record, directing and arranging a very disparate array of parts and people and feeling strong in my own conviction for what I wanted it to sound like".
Having entirely self-produced her first three records, for 'Hirudin' she collaborated with Rodaidh McDonald and Joseph Shabason, then bringing in David Wrench to mix and Heba Kadry to master the record. "It was incredibly liberating and a huge learning process to work with so many different people", she says. "I felt completely revitalised".
'Hirudin' will be released on 1 May, and Austra will play a sold out one-off show at London's Hoxton Hall on 12 May. Watch the video for 'Anywayz' here.
Paramore's Hayley Williams announces UK solo shows
"Wow", says Williams. "I am going on tour. Myself. It's not Paramore and truthfully, it's just a little terrifying. But if I know anything, it's that there's no safer place - besides at home with my dog - than to be in a room, on a stage, in front of the people who I've grown up singing my lungs out for. There was a time I thought I wouldn't tour 'Petals For Armor'. What a joke. I must".
"This is a brand new adventure", she goes on. "It's important to embark on something new every now and then just to show yourself that you can. I welcome the discomfort and the joy and I'm ready to be present for this".
She adds: "The first run of shows is going to be hot, sweaty, and intimate. My brand-newly-formed band and I will be playing rooms that Paramore outgrew a decade ago. It's going to be so satisfying to feel the energy of a crowd that close again, especially while performing songs that feel so vital for me; songs I have never performed before for an audience".
Tickets for the shows will go on general sale on 13 Mar. 'Petals For Armor' will be released on 8 May. Here are details of the two UK dates:
15 May: Brighton, The Beach (The Great Escape)
Michael Kiwanuka postpones UK tour due to laryngitis
That's a shame. Altthough I guess it makes a nice change from people cancelling things due to coronavirus. He has also been forced to pull out of his appearance at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival tonight.
"I'm so sorry to say the doctor has diagnosed me with acute viral laryngitis", says Kiwanuka. "I had to pull the Bournemouth show half way through and now I'm sad to say that I have to postpone the rest of the UK tour including the 6 Music festival show".
Rescheduled dates for the tour are set to be announced in the next few days, and tickets already purchased will remain valid for the new shows.
The winter edition of the Tomorrowland festival, due to take place in the French Alps, has been cancelled at the insistence of the French government as part of its efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. An official announcement regarding the cancellation of the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, also in response to the spread of the virus, is expected later today.
Glassnote has announced Dexter Batson as its UK Head Of Promotion. Batson joins from Spotify, where he was a senior editor responsible for alternative rock playlisting. "I've spent my career working to make good music popular, and what better place to continue that work than with this great independent institution", he says. "Glassnote has a glorious past and present, and I'm hoping to make our future even brighter".
Universal Music's Interscope Geffen A&M division in the US has promoted Michelle An to Head Of Visual Creative. "Michelle represents the spirit and culture of this company in a unique and important way, working closely with our artists on their visuals very early in their development, bringing their visions to life and helping them establish long lasting careers", says Vice Chair Steve Berman.
Music-centric virtual reality platform MelodyVR has appointed James Garside as its new Head Of Product. He joins from video streaming service DAZN. "I'm delighted to be joining MelodyVR at such a seminal point in its story", he says. "After a momentous year for the business, it is THRILLING to help shape its product offering for more success in the future. Having already established itself as the world's leading destination for immersive live music content, its potential is infinite".
Enter Shikari have released the video for latest single 'The Dreamer's Hotel'. Their new album, 'Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible', is out on 17 Apr.
Grouplove have released new single 'Youth'. "When we finished 'Youth' a group of us drove to El Paso and went grocery shopping, bought fireworks, went to a guitar shop and stopped at a food stand", says guitarist Andrew Wessen. "We had been up for two days. We looked insane, we felt insane and it was insane. But I'll never forget how the song felt as we sped down the highway, Dave driving 150mph, all of us just crammed in. I can literally picture it perfectly because I was so fucking proud of the song and couldn't believe it didn't exist half a day before". What sort of example is that setting for the children?
Erland Cooper has announced that he will release the final album in his 'Orkney Trilogy' on 29 May. It's called 'Hether Blether' and the first track from the release is 'Longhope', featuring Kathryn Joseph. Cooper has also announced tour dates in September and October, plus a one-off show at the Barbican in London on 13 Jun.
Diet Cig have announced that they will release their second album, 'Do You Wonder About Me?', on 1 May through Frenchkiss. This is new single 'Thriving'.
Hannah Georgas will release a new album produced by The National's Aaron Dessner this summer. The album will be released outside Canada by Aaron & Bryce Dessner's Brassland label. Here's new single 'That Emotion'.
GIGS & TOURS
Lady Gaga has announced that she will bring new live show 'The Chromatica Ball' to London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 30 Jul. Tickets go on sale on 13 Mar.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Robbie Williams says he turned down Queen frontman job
"Even though I'm very confident here on the microphone, I have very low self-esteem", he told SiriusXM. "And I just thought I'd save them the audacity of me even trying to step on a stage and be the same echelon as Freddie Mercury. He, to me, is angelic. He's godlike. It was just too scary". Also, he admitted, "I was doing stadiums myself at the time. I didn't want to have to split it three ways, but that's another story".
There were plenty of rumours in 2001 that Williams was set to front a planned Queen reunion. He did record a new version of 'We Are The Champions' with Brian May and Roger Taylor for the film 'A Knight's Tale' - bassist John Deacon having retired - but it went no further than that.
May and Taylor eventually teamed up with Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers to tour as Queen from 2004 to 2009 of course. And since 2011 Adam Lambert has stood in for Mercury, which Williams reckons is a more suitable fit than himself.
"If he wasn't such a lovely person - which he is - I would just be terrified of him because of his pure talent", Williams says of Lambert. "His voice is absolutely incredible. And he's an incredible performer, and a lovely person to boot. I'm really pleased when I meet people that I'm just overawed by their talent - he gives me a talent hard-on - and they're nice. It's much better than meeting people that give you a talent hard-on and they're arseholes. You're just like, 'Oh, I hate everything you've done now'".