|TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live giant AEG has urged the UK government to block its rival MSG's plan to build a big Sphere venue next to the Olympic Park in East London, after Michael Gove - as Secretary Of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities - recently indicated that he might intervene... [READ MORE]|
AEG urges Michael Gove to block MSG Sphere in East London
MSG wants to build in London a Sphere venue similar to the one it will open in Las Vegas later this year. The venue complex would have lots of hi-tech features, including it being covered by an LED skin that would beam out ads and other video content for big chunks of the day.
AEG has been a big critic of the proposal from the start, in particular arguing that the part of London where MSG wants to construct its Sphere is already well served when it comes to large-scale venues.
Within the Olympic Park there is the London Stadium and Copper Box, plus AEG's own The O2 complex is just a few tube stops away. Adding in another venue complex would put a big strain on the local public transport network, AEG reckons, especially if all four buildings were to be in use at the same time.
There has also been plenty of criticism of the Sphere plan from local residents and politicians. That LED skin in particular has created concerns for those living near where the MSG venue would be built, them not being especially happy about the prospect of having an endless stream of ads beamed into their homes.
However, MSG has won the support of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is still the planning authority for property developments in and around the site of the 2012 Olympics. It granted approval for the wider project last year and more recently signed off on the specifics of a 25 year licence that will allow MSG to pump out ads via that LED skin.
But, even with LLDC backing, the project also needs to be formally approved by London mayor Sadiq Khan, which means opponents to the Sphere plan continue to campaign against it, most recently targeting their campaigning efforts at City Hall.
Although there is now another route for possibly blocking the Sphere, because Gove has officially taken an interest. He last week issued a so called 'holding direction', basically telling the LLDC to "not to grant permission on the applications without specific authorisation".
Welcoming that development, AEG said yesterday that "the LLDC's decision to approve the MSG Sphere has been made against the backdrop of opposition unprecedented in the post-Olympics era, including from the majority of the area's elected representatives. Gove's intervention at this stage is significant because he has the jurisdiction to block the development entirely".
Questioning the legitimacy of the LLDC and its planning powers in East London, AEG's latest statement added that "the journey of the MSG Sphere application has highlighted the undemocratic nature of the LLDC's planning process, exemplified last March when all the elected councillors representing the underlying East London boroughs voted unanimously against the MSG Sphere and approval was only secured for the controversial venue due to the votes of non-elected independent members, who voted as a bloc".
It went on: "Many London stakeholders have questioned the democratic integrity of the LLDC, which is due to be disbanded at the end of 2024 - and have called for its significant planning powers to be discontinued and handed back to the local authorities in East London".
The live giant's EVP Real Estate And Development, Alistair Wood, then added: "More than a decade after the Olympic Games, the LLDC's planning decision process is now at odds with the views of the communities that it was set up to support and develop".
"With the LLDC due to be disbanded at the end of next year", he continued, "it would be democratic for the government to intervene and back the wishes of elected councils in East London who want this inappropriate development blocked to protect the wellbeing of local people and existing businesses".
Local MP Lyn Brown has also welcomed the latest development in the Sphere planning saga and urged Gove to block the proposed venue.
She wrote on Twitter last week: "Last year I wrote to the government and mayor of London about stopping the monstrous MSG Sphere. Michael Gove has now issued a legal notice and I'm hoping he'll act. The undemocratic LLDC steamrolled all local elected opposition, so it's only right to take the final decision out of their hands".
Viagogo MD comments on New Zealand court case
The Commerce Commission first began legal proceedings against Viagogo back in 2018, claiming that the ticket resale platform breached New Zealand consumer rights law. The complaints made by the Commission echoed those raised by Viagogo's critics elsewhere in the world.
That included allegations that the secondary ticketing firm uses misleading language regarding the status of the sellers on its site and the availability of the tickets being sold. And also that it fails to communicate the risk that tickets bought from touts might be cancelled by an event's promoter.
Earlier on in the legal battle, the Commission sought an injunction forcing Viagogo to end some of its practices. Though that element of the case was ultimately dropped by the regulator when the ticket resale firm agreed to make some voluntary changes to its site. It's because of those past changes that Viagogo reckons the ongoing legal case in New Zealand is unnecessary.
After the Commission's case against Viagogo reached the High Court in Auckland last week, the secondary ticketing firm's MD Cris Miller told reporters that although he "cannot make detailed comment on the legal claims while the matter is before the court ... we can say that the issues raised by the Commerce Commission relate to the way our ticketing website worked in the past and do not reflect current operations".
"We believe that we have addressed the matters of concern raised by the NZ Commerce Commission and have made it a priority to ensure the Viagogo website is operated transparently and in compliance with consumer expectations and consumer protection legislation", he went on. "We remain committed to complying with these requirements".
As for those following the case in the NZ courts, he added: "While it would be easy to prejudge Viagogo in this matter, we ask that you allow the court process to play out and hear the perspective of both sides".
Virgin announces partnership with Modern Sky UK
Confirming the deal, David Pichilingi, CEO of Modern Sky UK and North America, says: "As a champion for talent from the north of England and Scottish music scenes, we're extremely proud of all we've achieved up to now".
"We're delighted to sign this deal with Virgin Music UK, providing a global team who closely align with our values and ambition", he goes on. "This deal will allow us to work more effectively globally and we are excited at the prospect of sending Modern Sky to new heights in 2023 alongside our friends and partners at Virgin Music".
Vanessa Bosåen, President of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services UK, adds: "I've been blown away by the culture Modern Sky have built around their artists. The team are truly dedicated to unearthing the very best new talent in Scotland and the north of England, and simultaneously bring out the ingenuity of their more established acts. And they have a great laugh while doing it!"
"We just had to get involved", she continues, "and together with our global team at Virgin Music Group we can't wait to take these artists to the next level".
Hybe CEO defends his company's bid to control rival SM Entertainment
Hybe recently announced it had bought a 14.8% stake in SM Entertainment, then revealing plans to boost that to a 40% shareholding, which would basically give it control over its rival.
The initial stake in the company was bought from SM's founder Lee Soo-man. Confirming that deal, he and Hybe founder Bang Si-hyuk said of the alliance between the two K-pop businesses: "We decided to collaborate to achieve our shared vision of upgrading K-pop's global competitiveness".
However, that deal was not backed by the management at SM, who had just agreed their own partnership with Kakao, the internet company that has its own entertainment business and operates South Korean music streaming service Melon. For his part, Lee objects to the Kakao deal and is seeking an injunction through the courts to block it.
The SM management team have been increasingly vocal over the last week in opposing Hybe's ambitions to boost its shareholding in the company to 40%. Its CFO Jang Cheol Hyuk posted a lengthy statement to YouTube, dubbing Hybe's current moves as a "hostile takeover" which, he insisted, will be bad news for SM's artists and other shareholders.
Hybe's share buying is also hindering the SM management's bold plans for expanding and revitalising the company, he added, while a combined Hybe/SM would create competition concerns in the South Korean music market.
But, according to Bloomberg, Hybe CEO Park Ji-won insists that his company's plan is good for the South Korean music business and the K-pop genre. The recent rapid growth of K-pop globally is now slowing down, he says, with competitors adopting some of the tactics that facilitated all that growth.
"The most glorious days are the most dangerous period", he observes, adding: "We are constantly afraid that people might just stop listening to K-pop one day".
He also says that, despite the vocal opposition of SM management to Hybe's share purchase, he's not necessarily opposed to said management team's alliance with Kakao.
Noting Lee's legal action in relation to that particular deal, he says: "We can't elaborate on a matter that is still before the court, but I can say we have no reason to oppose a partnership with Kakao if it's a way to boost SM's share value".
So who knows how this will all turn out? But at least we've got some new drama to concern ourselves with now that the "will they, won't they" saga in relation to BTS's military service is at an end.
New music-centric creative agency FABYL launches
The new company describes itself as a "full service creative agency for music capable of handling all marketing aspects for artists; from strategic planning, creative, and production to outdoor advertising, public relations, social media, digital marketing, and technology services like web and app development".
On launching his own agency, Faber says: "It's a natural step for me really as a creative person who is also in touch with so many other creatives across a range of disciplines, and as somebody who understands music so well".
Also noting his previous experience as an artist and remixer, he adds: "Whatever people need to develop an artist's identity and to deploy a bespoke marketing strategy and creative approach, I've got somebody that can do it".
Black Country, New Road release new music as live film
"We didn't want to do a studio album", says pianist May Kershaw. "We wrote the new tracks specifically to perform live, so we thought it might be a nice idea to put out a performance".
Filmed over three nights at Bush Hall in London in December, the band decided against the convention of cutting together multiple performances to look like one and instead gave each show a distinct visual style, which they cut between throughout the film.
"We had concerns from live sessions we've seen or done in the past", says guitarist Luke Mark. "They are very obviously clumped together visually from multiple performances. That can take you out of the performance and make it seem artificial and like it's not actually live".
"So we came up with the idea to make the three nights look visually distinct from one another", he goes on. "To scratch the idea of trying to disguise anything. We wanted it to be very honest and let people know that we had three goes at it. This isn't just us playing the whole thing non-stop".
They also handed cameras to fans in the audience, in order to capture footage from their viewpoint, which is also cut into the film. "It makes you feel a lot more like you're there", says saxophonist Lewis Evans.
"When you see, like, I don't know, John Mayer at the Nokia Ballroom or whatever, it just looks like you could never ever be there. These things seem so inaccessible. But this is like you're literally in the room".
Getting all this right was super important, stresses drummer Charlie Wayne, because this is the permanent form in which these songs are being presented to the world.
He explains: "We want the focal point to be this film. We've put a lot of effort into making it feel like you're watching a live gig. It's not an album in our eyes, it's a live performance".
You can watch 'Live At Bush Hall' here.
If you like what you see, the band will be back on the road in the UK and Ireland again in May. Here are the dates:
2 May: Southampton, 1865
Warner Music's Parlophone Records has announced a load of promotions and new hires. Jack Melhuish is now General Manager, Grace O'Neill has moved up to Head Of Radio, and Sam Palm is now Head Of Insight. Meanwhile, there are four new members of the A&R team: Arina Logacheva, Molly McNulty, Seb Smith and Jason Ngimbi.
The Roundhouse in London has announced five new members of its board of trustees: Sherry Dzinoreva, Rosie Luff, Kojo Marfo, Rajay Naik and Leo Wyndham. "I'm delighted to welcome a raft of talented new trustees to the Roundhouse board", says Chair Simon Turner. "I have no doubt that they will bring the skills, experience and creativity that will help drive forward the Roundhouse's mission to raise the UK's creative potential".
Don Toliver has announced that he will release new album 'Love Sick' this Friday. Out now is new single 'Leave The Club', featuring Lil Durk and Glorilla.
Let's Eat Grandma's Rosa Walton has released solo single 'Turning Up The Flowers', which features in new video game 'Honkai Impact 3rd'. It's a song "about the world feeling very bright and alive, and the people you love being grounding through this, but also uplifting them to be able to see it", she says. "It draws parallels between nature, light and connection between people, with the idea that they are all so intertwined and at the core almost all the same thing. It's about both looking at nature and feeling close to someone you love, and nature looking more beautiful because of them".
GIGS & TOURS
Pete Doherty has announced his first solo tour for ten years, where he will perform songs from across his career and various musical projects. Kicking off at Limelight in Belfast on 14 Apr, he will finish the run at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 5 May. Tickets will go on sale on Friday.
The Mars Volta have announced UK tour dates in June. They will play Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom on 16 Jun, the Apollo in Manchester on 17 Jun and London's Troxy on 18 Jun. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran launches hot sauce brand Tingly Ted's
The new sauce he is flogging - called Tingly Ted's - will come in two different flavours, depending on how spicy you like your food. And it's designed to go with every single meal you ever eat. Literally everything. Except bananas.
"I love sauces, that's no secret", says Sheeran. "But the older I've got, the more I love and need spice with every single meal".
See? "I travel a lot", he goes on, "so having a bottle in my suitcase wherever I go that can spice up any and every meal seemed like a good idea".
Now, you might think that different meals usually require different kinds of sauces. But then, I guess, there are some strange people that do put tomato ketchup on pretty much everything. And it's that one-stop-shop put-it-on-anything kind of sauce product that Sheeran wanted to create.
"I knew I didn't wanna do a watery hot sauce, as they usually all get relegated to the same shelf of other random hot sauces", he says. "I wanted to make a sauce that took the same pride of place as ketchup".
Sheeran's own love of ketchup is well known, of course. So much so, he ended up collaborating with the market leading ketchup maker that is Heinz.
In 2019, he created his own version of its ketchup - Tomato Edchup - and then made an advert detailing his tendency to take a bottle of Heinz's product with him to fancy restaurants that don't usually offer ketchup as an option.
But he's all about the hot sauce now. No more ketchup for Ed. Well, maybe he's putting both sauces on all of his food. I wouldn't put it past him. Though that would require carrying two bottles in the suitcase. Two bottles!
With that Heinz tie-up, Sheeran seemingly just stuck his own 'Edchup' label on the food giant's existing product. But with this latest saucy venture he's built a brand new condiment from the ground up.
"I had a year of whittling down the perfect flavours with a great mixing team, and we settled on two absolute belters", he says.
"The Tingly and the Xtra Tingly. I've had them on tour with me recently to try them with all sorts of meals, and there really isn't anything they don't go with - except bananas, don't do that".
Told you not to put it with bananas. But does he really eat this stuff with everything except that one fruit? Pretty much, he claims: "I'm so excited to bring this product out, it's genuinely something I use every day on all three meals".
The absolute state his guts must be in. I think what we've learned here is that you should never use a toilet straight after Ed Sheeran.
If you're wondering - and perhaps you are - the sauces have "fresh lemon notes and a smoky flavour that make the red jalapeño and capsicum chillies sing, along with a mix of herbs and spices that all infuse together to create a party in your mouth".
They're also vegan friendly, so everyone can enjoy ruining a roast dinner or spaghetti bolognese just like Ed apparently does.