TODAY'S TOP STORY: German live music firm DEAG - which operates in the UK market via its interests in companies like Kilimanjaro and Gigantic - has announced that it will leave Frankfurt's stock exchange and become a privately-owned company. The tour promoter and ticketing firm has been a publicly listed entity for 23 years... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES DEAG to delist from Frankfurt stock exchange, continue as privately owned business
LEGAL Leon Hendrix in contempt of court for again exploiting Experience Hendrix trademarks
DEALS Ryan Tedder sells majority stake in his songs to KKR
Audible Magic buys MediaNet
MEDIA Fun Kids launches classical music radio station for children
ARTIST NEWS Senseless Things' Mark Keds dies
ONE LINERS FAC, Lana Del Rey, Kings Of Leon, more
AND FINALLY... Danny Boyle to direct Sex Pistols TV series
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DEAG to delist from Frankfurt stock exchange, continue as privately owned business
German live music firm DEAG - which operates in the UK market via its interests in companies like Kilimanjaro and Gigantic - has announced that it will leave Frankfurt's stock exchange and become a privately-owned company. The tour promoter and ticketing firm has been a publicly listed entity for 23 years.

The move to take the company private is backed by DEAG's biggest shareholder Apeiron Investment Group, which currently controls 18% of the business. It is offering to buy out other shareholders via a Malta-based subsidiary called Musai Capital, with an offer of 3.07 euros per share, which values the firm at just over 60 million euros in total. That said, a significant number of the company's existing shareholders are expected to retain a share in the private DEAG business.

In a statement to investors yesterday, DEAG said: "Together with US investor Mike Novogratz, who holds approximatively 14% of the DEAG shares through his family office Galaxy Group Investments LLC, and certain other shareholders of DEAG, Apeiron and [Musai] agreed upon the key terms of a shareholders' agreement".

"The parties to the shareholders' agreement, which in total hold approximately 47% of the DEAG shares, will not accept the planned offer for their DEAG shares", it went on. "On the basis of the shareholders' agreement, subject to the successful closing of the transaction, they will exercise joint control over DEAG".

Commenting on the move, the company's founder and CEO Peter Schwenkow added: "Despite the continuing uncertainties about the future of the live entertainment industry due to the ongoing [COVID] restrictions, DEAG is pleased about the continuous support and trust of all members of the management board, the supervisory board, all managing directors, partners, co-shareholders and the current major shareholders who wish to continue to jointly pursue DEAG's existing growth course in an unlisted environment of the company".

Those continued uncertainties have helped with DEAG's restructure, in a way. The proposals now on the table allow those shareholders who would rather not deal with another twelve months of uncertainty to sell out, while those in it for the long haul - who see plenty of opportunities ahead once the COVID pandemic is over - can boost their stakes.

Speaking to IQ, Schwenkow went on: "If you can buy a controlling stake in DEAG at 3.07 [euros a share] and you expect this business to increase in the upcoming years, it's a good investment, as one day, when live entertainment returns, the share price will be ten euros or more".

As for his view on how long it will take for live entertainment to return, Schwenkow said that the rollout of the COVID vaccines had increased optimism. That said, he still reckons that, while smaller shows and domestic touring will be back later this year, a full return to normality with large-scale events and global tours is probably more likely in 2022.


Leon Hendrix in contempt of court for again exploiting Experience Hendrix trademarks
Jimi Hendrix's brother Leon is again facing sanctions for trademark infringement. A court in New York yesterday ruled that he was in contempt for continuing to use the Jimi Hendrix name and brand without permission, despite a previous injunction banning such activity.

Leon has had various disputes over the years with Experience Hendrix LLC, the company that manages the late musician's legacy, and which is run by his adopted sister Janie.

Most recently there was legal action over Leon's business partnership with a man called Andrew Pitsicalis, which infringed an assortment of trademarks and copyrights controlled by the Experience Hendrix company. As a result of that litigation, a New York court issued permanent injunctions against both Leon and Pitsicalis banning them from making use of the Jimi Hendrix brand.

But since then Leon and his daughter Tina have sold memorabilia, raised funds and organised events using said brand. Among other things, Leon gave an interview to promote a supposed Jimi Hendrix guitar, sales of which he would personally profit from. Also, Leon and Tina together organised and sponsored a 'Jimi Hendrix 50th Anniversary Memorial Peace & Love March For Equity' last September, where they sold promotional items.

These activities all breached the 2019 injunction, the court ruled yesterday. "The defendants have not demonstrated any attempt to comply with the permanent injunction, let alone a diligent one", judge Paul A Engelmayer concluded. "Further, the breaches here, by nature, were avoidable ... Defendants were at liberty to market, by means other than using [Experience Hendrix's] marks, the goods and services that they sought to promote and sell".

"They chose, however, to exploit Jimi Hendrix's name and likeness", the judge added, "no doubt concluding that it stood to reap them larger returns".

Holding Leon in contempt, the ruling concluded: "Given Leon Hendrix's history of noncompliance, the court finds that a fine will be appropriate if he continues to ignore this court's orders aimed at protecting [Experience Hendrix's] intellectual property rights. Accordingly, if by 60 days from the date of this order, Leon Hendrix has not complied with the foregoing directives, he must pay a penalty of $100 per day to plaintiffs".


Ryan Tedder sells majority stake in his songs to KKR
OneRepublic vocalist and songwriter to the stars Ryan Tedder has sold a majority stake in his publishing catalogue to KKR, the investment firm that was pretty active in music rights for a while as a key financial backer of the current incarnation of BMG in its early years.

Tedder's catalogue contains nearly 500 songs, including works recorded by the likes of Beyonce, Adele, Lady Gaga, U2 and Cardi B, as well as OneRepublic.

"The music industry is undergoing an incredible period of transformation", he says. "Streaming and all forms of digital content are not only providing new avenues for how we consume music, but also for how artists can reach new audiences in a much more immersive way. KKR really stood out to us from every metric that mattered and it truly impressed upon me and my team their commitment to music as a true focus and passion moving forward".

KKR Chair Nat Zilkha adds: "We are excited to partner with Ryan on both his extraordinary body of creative work and on pursuing future opportunities together. At KKR, we are focused on a number of investment initiatives across the music and entertainment industries and we believe Ryan's unique combination of artistic brilliance and business acumen will help us amplify these efforts".

It remains to be seen if that focus on music and entertainment investments will see KKR buy up any other catalogues from successful songwriters. Assuming there are any left once Hipgnosis and Round Hill and their ilk are done with all their many many many catalogue acquisitions.


Audible Magic buys MediaNet
Audio ID company Audible Magic has bought MediaNet, the white label digital music platform that began life as MusicNet all the way back in the very early days of downloads.

You know, back when downloads were the big innovation. And everyone in the world was setting up download stores for people to ignore while they were logging onto iTunes. They were happy days. Since 2016, by the way, MediaNet has been owned by the Canadian collecting society SOCAN. Why? Hmm. Secret reasons.

Bringing together MediaNet's business-to-business music services and large catalogue of tracks with Audible Magic's audio ID set-up means that the combined company can, and I quote, "provide digital platforms a comprehensive range of services to enable and manage the use of music".

"Rightsholders and platforms will both benefit from our combined solution", says Audible Magic CEO Vance Ikezoye, who reckons that combination of services will "reduce the time and complexity of managing and paying for the use of music. We see significant upside in enabling incremental revenues for the music ecosystem".

Confirming the sale from its side, SOCAN's interim CEO Jennifer Brown adds: "The acquisition of the MediaNet services by Audible Magic creates long-term benefits for SOCAN's members and clients. Audible Magic is a knowledgeable and skilled company and we're looking forward to working together to improve the accuracy of reporting to publishers and songwriters".

Oh yes, as part of the deal there will also be a strategic partnership between SOCAN and Audible Magic to, well, improve the accuracy of reporting to publishers and songwriters. Like Brown just said. You really all should listen more.


Fun Kids launches classical music radio station for children
Children's radio broadcaster Fun Kids has added eight new digital stations to its roster. This includes what the company is claiming is Europe's first classical music radio station aimed at children.

Fun Kids Classical is being launched in partnership with pianist Lang Lang, who has worked for many years to engage young people with classical music. "I am passionate about giving children the opportunity to hear classical music from a young age, so it's wonderful to work with Fun Kids Classical to help inspire a new generation of classical music lovers", he says.

Fun Kids boss Matt Deegan adds: "We know how much children enjoy our regular Fun Kids and Fun Kids Junior channels, but we feel that as grown ups have lots of options about what to tune in to, that kids should have that choice as well. We're over the moon to be working with Lang Lang to help curate Fun Kids Classical and we are excited about bringing classical music to a young audience".

The other newly launched Fun Kids stations are: Fun Kids Animals, Fun Kids Silly, Fun Kids Party, Fun Kids Pop Hits, Fun Kids Naps, Fun Kids Classics and Fun Kids Soundtracks.


Senseless Things' Mark Keds dies
Senseless Things' Mark Keds has died, aged 50, his former bandmate Ben Harding has revealed in a post on Facebook.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to tell you that, sadly, Mark - our singer, friend and main songwriter - is no longer with us", Harding wrote in a fan group for the band yesterday. "We understand that he passed away at his home during the early hours of this morning. As yet, the cause of death is unconfirmed".

Keds and bassist Morgan Nicholls formed Senseless Things in 1986 - subsequently recruiting Harding and drummer Cass Browne, and then releasing their debut album 'Postcard CV' three years later.

That album contained the single 'Too Much Kissing', which became one of their most popular songs. Subsequently signing to Epic, 1991 follow-up 'The First Of Too Many' spawned two top 20 hits, 'Easy To Smile' and 'Hold It Down'. The band's third and final studio album, 'Taking Care Of Business', was released in 1995.

"It's no secret that [Keds] had struggled on and off with drug abuse and a pretty chaotic lifestyle for a long while, and his health suffered substantially over the years due to this", Harding went on. "While this had sometimes created friction within the on-off workings of Senseless Things and his other projects, we choose to remember the friend, the brother and the talent we've lost today".

"Mark was truly passionate about his musical calling", he continued. "He used it with a fierce determination - from establishing a way of touring and playing gigs - one where nobody felt excluded - to including explicit, outspoken political content in our songs (and insisting on releasing them, even at the cost of commercial suicide and record company dismay)".

The band last reunited in 2017, performing a number of live shows and also releasing a new single titled 'Lost Honey' - their first new material for more than 20 years at that point.

"We're truly thankful (we know Mark was, too) that we all got to do it properly one last time at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2017", Harding concluded.



Round Hill Music has acquired of the catalogue of songwriter Jim Vallance - best known as the songwriting partner of Bryan Adams. He has also written for bands such as Kiss, Aerosmith and Heart.



The Featured Artists Coalition has announced a load of new Artist Ambassadors. They are Kano, Anna Calvi, Idles' Adam Derbyshire, Brix Smith, Rae Morris, Shabaka Hutchings, Portishead's Beth Gibbons, Carmody, Frank Hamilton, Ruth Patterson and Benny Bizzie. Patterson and Bizzie are joint ambassadors with Attitude Is Everything.

Kwame Safo has joined the PRS Foundation as Grants & Programmes Manager (Industry Funds). "We're delighted to welcome Kwame to the PRS Foundation team", says CEO Joe Frankland. "His music connections and experience across multiple sectors of the industry will be a fantastic asset to the organisation, the team and the ground-breaking industry funds he will be managing".



Lana Del Rey has released 'Chem Trails Over The Country Club', the title track of her new album, which is set for release on 19 Mar.

Kings Of Leon will release new album 'When You See Yourself' on 5 Mar. From it, this is new single, 'The Bandit'.

Zayn Malik has released new single 'Vibez'. His new album, 'Nobody Is Listening', is out this Friday.

Sleaford Mods have released new single 'Nudge It', featuring Amy Taylor from Amyl And The Sniffers.

Unknown T has released new single 'WW2'.

Blanck Mass will release new album 'In Fernaux' on 26 Feb. From it, this is 'Starstuff'.

Church & AP have released new single 'Must Be'.

Hockeysmith has released new single 'Down Love'.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Danny Boyle to direct Sex Pistols TV series
Royalty, scandal and changes in fashion. All things I imagine I'd see if I could be bothered to watch 'The Crown'. But also things that will probably be covered - perhaps slightly differently - in a new TV series dramatising the life of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. Six part series 'Pistol' will be based on Jones' memoir - 'Lonely Boy: Tales Of A Sex Pistol' - and is set to be directed by Danny Boyle for FX.

Did that reference to 'The Crown' seem a bit out of place? Or do we accept now that all TV biopics have to be compared in some way to the Netflix hit? Hey, at least I didn't try to crowbar in a mention of 'Downtown Abbey'. I mean, what kind of fool would do that?

"Imagine breaking into the world of 'The Crown' and 'Downton Abbey' with your mates and screaming your songs and your fury at all they represent", says Boyle of his new biopic project. "This is the moment that British society and culture changed forever".

"It is the detonation point for British street culture, where ordinary young people had the stage and vented their fury and their fashion", he goes on. "Everyone had to watch and listen, and everyone feared them or followed them. The Sex Pistols. At its centre was a young charming illiterate kleptomaniac - a hero for the times - Steve Jones, who became, in his own words, the 94th greatest guitarist of all time. This is how he got there".

President Of Original Programming at FX Entertainment, Nick Grad, adds of the project: "Steve Jones was at the centre of the storm that shook the rock establishment and we're THRILLED to have Danny and the rest of the creative team tell his story as a member of one of music's most notorious bands - the Sex Pistols".

Meanwhile, Paul Lee, CEO of production company WIIP, says: "The Sex Pistols changed music forever and Danny Boyle is the perfect director to tell Steve Jones' story fuelled by raw creativity and destruction. We're THRILLED to be making this with our friends at FX".

The show will star Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Anson Boon as John Lydon, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious and Jacob Slater as Paul Cook. 'Game Of Thrones' star Maisie Williams is set to play punk icon Jordan. No date has yet been announced for when 'Pistol' will hit our screens, but production is due to begin on 7 Mar.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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