|WEDNESDAY 19 OCTOBER 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Administrators for Festicket have confirmed that a number of the promoters who worked with the collapsed ticketing company are insisting that the money it collected for their shows and events was meant to be held in trust. That would mean that cash was kept separate from Festicket's own accounts and would therefore be protected from its collapse. However, that is not how the company structured its finances... [READ MORE]|
Festicket did not hold promoters' ticket sale monies in trust, administrators confirm
Festicket - which also owned Event Genius and Ticket Arena - formally fell into administration last month. As expected, a new report from the company's administrators blames the collapse on the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown of live music.
"Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and the resulting lockdowns, social distancing and restrictions on travel, the company experienced an unprecedented level of ticketing refunds and deferment requests due to the multiple event cancelations and a reduction in consumer confidence", it says.
"The company's systems were challenged by the new requirements created by the pandemic", it goes on. "This was further exacerbated by the integration of the Event Genius and Ticket Arena platforms which had not yet completed. As a result, the company's financial and internal reporting systems became increasingly reliant on manual calculation and input".
Facing all of those challenges, the company cut its overheads and secured further funding through the sale of approximately £5 million of convertible loan notes and equity. But, the administrators confirm, "this was not sufficient to support its losses".
Festicket's debts - other than the administrator's fees and what is owed to the UK tax authority - come to £22,560,175, of which £18,481.517 is owed to promoters that sold tickets via the firm's platforms. According to the administrators' report, 115 promoters are owed money, with a number of those owed in excess of a £1 million, including AEG Presents, Event Horizon, Festco, Lost Paradise Glenworth Valley, Mad Cool and Slammin Events.
In terms of what monies are available to pay off those debts, the administrators' report confirms the deal to sell Festicket's assets to Lyft, though - while that transaction safeguarded jobs and removed the collapsed firm's liabilities to its employees - it only generated £100,000 in cash.
However, there is £5,677,312 in Festicket's bank account and another £7,690,705 being held by online payment processor Stripe. Though how much of the latter will be paid through to the company depends on various factors, including whether any events for which tickets were sold are cancelled requiring refunds.
But, given the costs of the administration and the firm's tax liabilities, both of which get paid first, the administrators reckon that the other creditors are likely to see between 10% and 30% of the monies they are owed.
Although, as noted, some of the promoters who used Festicket's services say that the company was meant to hold any monies it collected from the sale of their tickets in trust. This would mean that the money would have been kept separate from the Festicket business itself, with the company only taking its commissions and fees out of that revenue. Such a system safeguards the promoters should there be problems with the ticketing firm.
But that is not how things were set up. This issue had already been raised by some of the promoters that used Festicket's platforms.
The Motion venue in Bristol, a Festicket customer, previously wrote on Facebook: "The funds we are due, quite simply, should not have been moved from the holding account, as Festicket does not pay VAT on this money due to client account regulations with them acting as a merchant. If the money has been spent they have defrauded us, the customers and they have also defrauded the government".
Meanwhile, Ben Street from Wild Paths and the Wild Fields Festival raised this issue when talking about the Festicket administration to Access All Areas.
He said: "This company has had a huge impact on the future of a number of independent event organisers and there is currently no resolution in sight. Their clients' money should have been held 'in trust' but it appears this was not the case. Instead, assets have been stripped and sold onto a large American buyer. The debt remains with the gutted shell company - currently in administration - with big question marks over any sort of fair remuneration".
Confirming that this issue has been raised, the administrators write in their report: "We have received communications from a number of promoter creditors, who are asserting that the terms of their contract with the company implied that the net monies from ticket sales collected by the company were to be held in trust by the company for the respective promoters. Our understanding is that the company did not segregate or ring-fence any assets for the benefit of specific parties".
"We are aware that trust claims are a complex area of law and will require expert legal advice which we are already in the process of obtaining", they add. "For the purposes of our estimates of outcomes for creditors in this document we have assumed that the assets are not subject to trust claims. However, if this were not to be the case this would significantly impact the recoveries for those creditors whose claims were not subject to a trust arrangement".
Dispute over tattoo image in Cardi B mixtape cover arrives in court
In his lawsuit, filed back in 2017, Brophy claimed that, because his tattoo is very unique, people assume it is him in the photo. And given the explicit nature of the artwork, that has resulted in him facing frequent "uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family". In legal terms, he claims Cardi B and her team infringed his so called publicity rights by using his image without permission.
The dispute has finally reach the trial stage. According to Law360, during the first day of the proceedings, Brophy's legal rep argued that, not only did Cardi B - real name Belcalis Almánzar - use the tattoo photo without permission, but she repeatedly ignored cease and desist requests and demands from his client once he became aware of the artwork.
Attorney Barry Cappello added that Almánzar and her manager Klenord 'Shaft' Raphael specifically chose the image of Brophy's tattoo because it fit the image she was trying to build as "a gangsta from the hood". To that end an alternative tattoo image was rejected because it was too "cartoonish" and amateur-looking.
But the image of Brophy's tattoo "wasn't hers to take", the lawyer said. "It's the personal property and identity of a private citizen, not another celebrity. I don't care who you are, whether you're Cardi B, Shaft, or the President of the United States, you can't take somebody else's image and do something offensive with it".
Brophy himself spoke later in the day, talking about the distress and shame the artwork has caused him, adding that he had previously been proud of his tattoo, but that its use on 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1' had changed everything. He told jurors that it felt "like my Michelangelo was ripped off [the wall], robbed and put wherever these people wanted to put it".
The key legal argument in the dispute relates to the fact the tattoo image was heavily altered when it was Photoshopped into the artwork and that - Almánzar's team argues - makes it so called fair and transformative use, which is allowed by US free speech laws.
Though in opening statements, Almánzar's lawyer also argued that his client was not actively involved in the design of the artwork or the release of the record.
He also questioned whether anyone really had independently identified that Brophy's tattoo had been incorporated into the image. Or whether, in fact, it was only when Brophy decided to go legal and speak publicly about his dispute with the rapper that people made the connection and started commenting on the artwork.
The case continues.
Music Venue Trust announces new funding scheme for grassroots venues
The new fund is supported by members of the Music Venues Alliance which sits alongside MVT, and its launch has been funded by donations from ticket sales for shows staged as part of the recent Revive Live programme, presented by MVT in partnership with The National Lottery.
The hope is to find additional support from within the music industry to allow the scheme, called the Pipeline Investment Fund, to continue in the longer term.
The main aim of the initiative is to support small scale projects that enhance grassroots venues, including investments in lights, sound, access and ventilation, plus projects that benefit employees, including training, diversity initiatives and schemes that strengthen local community ties.
MVT CEO Mark Davyd says: "We have been working on music industry based funding support for grassroots music venues since 2018. The launch of the Pipeline Investment Fund is an important indication of how the grassroots sector supports and nurtures each other".
"It provides a targeted opportunity for individuals, companies and organisations right across the industry to get involved and provide direct and meaningful financial assistance to the venues which support artists to launch and build their careers", he adds. "We hope that the industry will see this as a real chance to make a genuine difference".
Davyd also used Venues Day to call on Arts Council England and collecting society PRS For Music to maintain their support of the grassroots music community at previous levels. Arts Council England has announced it will end its specific grassroots live music funding scheme next year, while PRS is planning on cutting the funding it provides to the PRS Foundation.
On those developments, Davyd said yesterday: "This is the wrong time to take money out of the grassroots ecosystem, whether that's for venues, for artists, or for touring. We strongly urge PRS For Music and Arts Council England to think again. The number of opportunities for new and emerging artists to perform is absolutely vital to the future health of UK live music, and we need to see those opportunities financially supported more than ever before. This is not the time for cuts to funding".
Festivals launch Green Events Code to help make events more environmentally sustainable
Put together via the Vision 2025 initiative, and with input from trade associations and local authorities, as well as event promoters and organisers, the code covers topics including governance; energy; travel and transport; food and drink; materials and waste; water; and positive influence.
It is also based on five key principles, that the events industry: "Needs to act urgently on the climate crisis; will act based on evidence; will be transparent and report impact annually; accepts that not all climate-positive decisions will provide cost benefit in the short term; and will strive to improve year-on-year".
The overall aim of those signing up to the code is a minimum of 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with specific targets including: a 50% reduction in fossil fuel consumption at live events by 2025; a reduction of at least 30% in meat and dairy consumption onsite by 2030; and to completely eliminate single use plastic by 2025.
The code has been financially supported by the Association Of Independent Festivals as well as promoters Superstruct and Festival Republic, with other organisations inputting into the code including LIVE, UK Music, the Local Government Association and the Institute Of Licensing.
AIF boss Paul Reed says: "It remains a uniquely challenging time for festivals, but it is vitally important that we maintain our focus on climate action and improving working practices around event sustainability. The Green Events Code will be invaluable in setting out clear and workable minimum environmental standards and targets for all UK outdoor festivals and outdoor events, helping to reduce carbon impact and move towards net zero".
Meanwhile, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn adds: "The majority of local authorities have declared climate emergencies, are putting in place net zero strategies and in turn requirements for live events. The Green Code has the potential to create consistency for everyone's benefit, rather than a lottery of expectations".
StemDrop to allow TikTok users to remix new music from Max Martin
When StemDrop launches on 26 Oct, the stems for 60 seconds of a new song written by Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Ali Payami will be made available on TikTok.
From there, users of the video sharing app will be able to remix the track and upload their own version. The best will then be showcased on the official StemDrop profile. The idea apparently being that this will be a way to discover hot new creative talent.
"Hit songs are like diamonds and they can change an artist's career overnight", says Cowell. "With tens of thousands of songs uploaded every day this idea will give aspiring artists the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most successful songwriters in the world. The premise was always very straightforward: 'What would happen if the best songwriters in the world wrote a song for the world?'"
"We have no idea what's going to happen", he goes on. "I do know there are so many incredibly talented people who are trying to stand out and I hope and believe this could make a big difference to their careers".
"It says everything about Max, Savan and Ali that they have decided to give this song to the TikTok community to record and collaborate with them", he adds. "And I want to thank them so much for believing in this idea. In addition, I want to thank TikTok, Samsung and Universal for their support and enthusiasm. Again, their passionate support of talented people is amazing".
TikTok's Global Head Of Music, Ole Obermann, adds: "We are THRILLED to finally announce StemDrop to the world. Some of the biggest names in entertainment, music and technology are coming together to supercharge music discovery in a way never seen before, using the power of TikTok to unearth new talent".
"Every day, brilliant, undiscovered artists and songwriters turn to TikTok to share their music and find a global audience", he adds. "StemDrop will put a spotlight on this talent and act as a springboard to help them build their careers".
You'll have to wait until 26 Oct to see this thing in action, but you can follow the StemDrop profile on TikTok now.
Little Simz wins 2022 Mercury Prize
Even though it was obvious that none of the others would win, they all still turned up to the ceremony at the Hammersmith Apollo. All except Harry Styles, who couldn't be fucked. And is also on tour in the US. As a prize for making the trip to the West London venue, the shortlisted acts got to perform a song live. Styles, meanwhile, had sent in a video.
It was a very strong list this year, with Fergus McCreadie, Gwenno, Harry Styles, Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler, Joy Crookes, Kojey Radical, Nova Twins, Sam Fender, Self Esteem, Wet Leg and Yard Act all also shortlisted. None of their albums were any match for Little Simz's record though, which benefits from both being great overall and having the best opening to an album in recent memory. You can't underestimate a strong intro.
For her trouble, Simz received a trophy and a cheque for £25,000. Both of which sound nice. Accepting the prize, she said: "I'm very, very overwhelmed. I'm very grateful. Glory to God - God, thank you so much. I want to say a huge thank you to the Mercury for this incredible prize".
Thanking the producer of 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert' - Inflo - she went on: "I want to say a thank you to my brother and close collaborator Inflo. Flo has known me since I was so young. He's stuck by me, we created this album together. There were times in the studio when I didn't know if I was going to finish this record - I was feeling all the emotions and really going through it, and he stuck by me and he pushed me to deliver this album for you guys".
Concluding her speech, she spoke to the other nominated artists, saying: "You guys are incredible, we all made incredible albums, we all changed people's lives with our music and that's the most important thing. So, this [prize] is for us really".
Commenting on their correct decision, the Mercury judging panel said: "In a year that has, to put it mildly, presented rather a lot of challenges, British and Irish music has thrived more than ever. That made it extremely hard for the judges to choose an overall winner from the twelve 'albums of the year' on the 2022 Mercury Prize shortlist, simply because all of them had so much to offer".
Not actually that hard though, they went on: "When it came down to it, the judges were so impressed by 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert' by Little Simz that everyone could get behind it".
"This accomplished and complex yet entirely accessible album is the work of someone striving constantly to push herself", they explained. "It deals with themes both personal and political while putting them against music that is as sophisticated as it is varied. The Mercury Prize is all about shining a light on albums of lasting value and real artistry. 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert' has both".
Jess Glynne has signed to booking agency UTA for worldwide representation.
Sony Music Middle East and Kuwait-based music company Ghmza have announced a new partnership to produce music and promote emerging Khaleeji pop artists across the Middle East. "We are incredibly excited to partner with the talented team at Ghmza", says Mike Fairburn, General Manager at Sony Music Middle East. "The Middle East and North Africa are a dynamic hotbed for talent and music innovation, where a young population continues to drive new waves of sounds and collaborations, reaching an ever-growing audience of Arabic listeners around the world".
Bryan Thoensen has joined Spotify as Head Of Content Partnerships & Community on the podcasts side of the operation. He was previously Head Of Content Partnerships at TikTok. "Bryan's knowledge of the creator landscape will be critical as we build out our platform strategy with the goal of becoming a true platform beyond distribution, and reinforce our mission of building trust with creators", says Max Cutler, Spotify's VP Of Talk Creator Content.
Warner Music's Atlantic Records in the US has promoted Brandon Davis and Jeff Levin to Co-Heads Of Pop A&R. "At Atlantic, we pride ourselves as much in executive development as we do in artist development", says President Of A&R Pete Ganbarg. "Both Brandon and Jeff have worked at Atlantic their entire professional lives, rising from entry level intern and assistant positions to become an integral part of the leadership of our A&R team".
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Three divisions of Universal Music - Decca Records, Verve Label Group and Globe Soundtrack & Score - have announced they are collaborating on a new venture called Mercury Classics Soundtrack & Score which will "support today's leading score composers and artists as they undertake major audio-visual projects globally". Its first releases are the soundtracks to the films 'Till' and 'Women Talking', composed by Abel Korzeniowski and Hildur Guðnadóttir respectively.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Next year's ILMC live music conference will move to a new venue within London, shifting from the Royal Garden Hotel to the Royal Lancaster Hotel. So things will still be royal. "We're introducing a raft of new elements in 2023, including a series of roundtable working lunches, additional conference sessions, and some very special new features we'll be announcing in the coming weeks that will be a first for ILMC", says conference head Greg Parmley.
This year's Ultimate Seminar will take place at in London on 19 Nov, with speakers including Amy Thomson, Jacqueline Eyewe, Mark Mitchell, David Dollimore and Dani Sawyerr. The event is free, but registration is required here.
Jimmy Eat World have released new single 'Place Your Debts'. "The 'debt' you rack up is the time you spend avoiding doing the work to know yourself", says frontman Jim Adkins. "You buy an ending every time you start something, and the cost is determined by how closely you pay attention to your personal condition".
Teleman have released 'Short Life', the first single from their new album 'Good Time/Hard Time', which is out on 7 Apr. "This song is an affirmation that life is priceless and precious even though things can seem heavy", says frontman Tom Sanders. "I often get lost for days and weeks in a really low place where I'm just waiting to come out the other side. In these depressive moments it helps to remind myself that it's a short life - days are limited so let's snap out of it!"
Ahead of the release of their new album, 'Inner World Peace', this week, Frankie Cosmos have released new single 'Empty Head'. "It's about self-control, and the fear of unlocking myself and overflowing", says frontwoman Greta Kline. "It's also about finding joy in small moments - walking in circles, hoping to see the neighbour's dog".
Jaxn has released new single 'Freakshow'. "I wanted to write a song which would unearth a darker energy, touch upon a part of me and my relationships I have kept a secret up until now", he says. "'Freakshow' is a song I can't wait to perform live, I envisage everyone jumping around in unison losing their inhibitions completely".
Mörmaid has released new single 'The Longest Day'. She's also announced that she will play her debut London headline show at Peckham Audio on 23 Nov. Her new EP, 'Push Pull', is out on 18 Nov.
GIGS & TOURS
Kendrick Lamar has announced that he will livestream his upcoming Paris show marking the tenth anniversary of his debut album, 'Good Kid, Maad City', on Amazon Music, Twitch and Prime Video. The show at Accor Arena will take place on 22 Oct. Support sets from Tanna Leone and Baby Keem will also be streamed.
David Gray will perform his 'Skellig' album in full at five shows in London and Ireland in February and March next year. He'll kick things off at Union Chapel in London on 27 Feb and finish with two nights at Dublin's National Concert Hall on 4-5 Mar. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Babymetal have announced UK tour dates in April next year, including a show at Wembley Arena on 15 Apr. The band's new album, 'The Other One', will be out on 24 Mar.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Art Brut declare 27 Oct to be International Art Brut Day
"To mark the inauguration of this special event", says frontman Eddie Argos, "20 years to the day that I wrote 'Art Brut Top Of The Pops' for the first time in the guestbook of the Halle Saint-Pierre Museum on a trip to Paris for my birthday, we'll be donating a copy of the seminal Art Brut album to that seminal art brut museum too. The place it undoubtedly belongs for the ages".
"In these troubled times, there should be no one with an active internet connection who doesn't have free access to owning 'Bang Bang Rock & Roll'", he adds.
The 2005 album was reissued by Alcopop! Records and Fierce Panda back in 2020 to mark its fifteenth anniversary. However, a live celebration was derailed by COVID. Now, with the upcoming Heaven gig, that can finally be rectified, somewhat late in the day. Tickets are on sale now.