UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP’S DEF JAM LABEL LAUNCHES IN AFRICA
Universal Music Group (UMG) has brought its Def Jam label to Africa with the launch of a new label division within the continent dedicated to representing the best hip–hop, Afrobeats and trap talent in the country. Def Jam Africa will follow the blueprint of the respected Def Jam Recordings label, which has led and influenced hip–hop and urban culture for over 35 years. At its launch, the label will be based in Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria, while sourcing and signing artist talent from across the entire continent. It will be supported by dedicated A&R, marketing, creative and digital teams from UMG’s operations in both Nigeria and South Africa and will report to Sipho Dlamini, MD, Universal Music Sub–Saharan Africa & South Africa.
The label launches with a flagship roster, that counts some of the most influential, successful and followed African talent including, Boity (South Africa), Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), Larry Gaaga (Nigeria), Nadia Nakai (South Africa), Nasty C (South Africa), Tshego (South Africa), Tellaman (South Africa), Ricky Tyler (South Africa) and Vector (Nigeria).
In making the announcement, Dlamini said, “Many of us in Africa grew up on music from legendary labels under the UMG umbrella. From Blue Note for jazz fans, to Mercury Records, which was Hugh Masekela’s first US label and Uptown Records, the home of Jodeci and Mary J. Blige and many more. For those into hip–hop, no label has such cultural and historic relevance as Def Jam. From Run DMC, to LL Cool J, Disturbing tha Peace, Jay–Z, Big Sean and Kanye West, Def Jam has always been the ultimate destination for hip–hop and urban culture worldwide. It is a historic achievement that we’re now able to bring this iconic label to Africa, to create an authentic and trusted home for those who aspire to be the best in hip–hop, Afrobeats and trap. Together, we will build a new community of artists, that will push the boundaries of hip–hop from Africa, to reach new audiences globally.”
Jeff Harleston, interim Chairman & CEO, Def Jam Recordings said, “Def Jam is a globally recognized brand, synonymous with excellence in hip–hop, and we enthusiastically welcome the launch of Def Jam Africa as an opportunity for audiences worldwide to discover the incredibly talented hip–hop artists emerging from across the continent.”
Earlier this year it was announced that South African rapper Nasty C will release his forthcoming album, Zulu Man with Some Power, in partnership with Def Jam Recordings in the U.S., this summer. Other forthcoming releases on Def Jam Africa include singles from Ricky Tyler, Boity, Nasty C, Tellaman feat. Alpha P, Vector, Cassper Nyovest and Tshego.
MINISTRY OF SOUND NAMES DIPESH PARMAR AS PRESIDENT
Sony Music U.K. today announced the promotion of highly–respected executive Dipesh Parmar to President of Ministry of Sound Recordings, effective immediately. He will report directly to Jason Iley, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland.
Parmar has served as Managing Director of Ministry of Sound Recordings since Sony Music acquired the label in 2016. Under David Dollimore’s leadership, he has overseen the label’s accelerated growth, expanded and developed its roster, and engineered the integration of playlisting and compilations within the frontline label. Parmar’s successes include the development and launch of the careers of artists such as Sigala, DJ Fresh and London Grammar, who achieved their first No.1 album at the label with Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. Ministry of Sound has generated eight Platinum–plus selling singles since the acquisition, including global successes “Turn Me On” from Riton x Oliver Heldens, “Ride It” by Regard, Doja Cat’s “Say So,” and U.K. No.1, “Roses” from Saint JHN.
Parmar says, “I’ve been at Ministry of Sound all my adult life, starting as work experience almost twenty years ago, and I couldn’t be more excited to now lead this iconic label I’ve grown up in. Three decades since its inception, the Ministry brand and team has gone from strength to strength, our roster is the strongest it’s ever been and I’m looking forward to driving the label forward.”
Iley comments, “Dipesh delivers time and again and is hugely respected across the music industry. Within the label he has cultivated a team of dynamic and ambitious executives and their energy filters through the whole company. Under David and Dipesh’s leadership, Ministry of Sound has grown exponentially, and I have no doubt that Dipesh will continue that evolution as he takes the reins.”
David Dollimore states, “Ministry of Sound Recordings has reached new heights in recent years and I’m delighted to see Dipesh recognized for his huge contribution to the label. He is a great friend and colleague and will be a brilliant President.”
Parmar adds, “Jason Iley’s leadership and guidance since the Ministry acquisition has been invaluable. I’d also like to thank David for being a mentor, friend and for the continued support; Amy Wheatley who is undoubtedly one the best executives I’ve had the pleasure to work with and the amazing Ministry team for consistently raising the bar.”
LEADING GLOBAL MUSIC SUPERVISORS APPOINTED
TO KEY POSITIONS AT NETFLIX
Netflix has tapped widely–respected music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas for the newly–created role of Director, Music Creative/Production for Original Series. Commencing July, Patasavas will take on oversight of creative music services and production strategy for Netflix’s portfolio of original series.
Patsavas founded her own Chop Shop Music Group in 1998 and her credits count more than 100 projects and dozens of film soundtracks such as the Twilight franchise, The Perks of Being A Wallflower and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as TV series’ The OC, Mad Men, Gossip Girl, Scandal, Riverdale, Supernatural, Grey’s Anatomy, and many more. Of Chop Shop’s four veteran staffers, three will be launching their own independent music supervision operations and one looks to set–up a music licensing company. At Netflix, Patsavas joins Netflix’s Head of Music Amy Dunning who previously oversaw music at Lionsgate.
Another recent high–profile Netflix music supervisor hire includes the appointment of Rudy Chung as Music Creative & Production. Chung was previously a Partner at Hit The Ground Running. Chung’ projects include music supervision work on TV shows such as Silicon Valley (HBO), Gotham (Fox), Entourage (HBO), CSI (CBS), as well as numerous independent films. He was also Founding Partner at Pusher, an artist agency that specializes in licensing and creating music for film trailers such as Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk and Wonder Woman, and CLOAK, an agency providing music and audio solutions for premium VR/AR experiences.
A&R WORLDWIDE RETROSPECTIVE
Each week, A&R Worldwide’s newsletter will see us digging back through some of our archives to revisit memorable and defining moments in A&R Worldwide’s 20+ year history. Over the past two decades, A&R Worldwide has helped the global music industry with discovering and signing world–conquering artists; many of whom have gone on to multi–Platinum international success, assisted executives and artists with broad business and creative opportunities, and curated priceless networking events all over the world with its executive relationships; work that continues to this day!
Enjoying a creative A&R conversation at Pulse Studios in Los Angeles are (l–r) Monte Malone (Sr. VP, A&R Worldwide), Femme Schmidt, Bonnie McKee and Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide).
Bonnie McKee is an American multi–Platinum songwriter who has written hits for the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Kesha, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert and others. Femme Schmidt is a Berlin, Germany–based songwriter, artist, actress and model who has toured with the likes of Coldplay, Sir Elton John, Dave Stewart, Bryan Ferry and Lionel Richie, amongst others. Both Bonnie and Femme Schmidt have garnered key outcomes in their careers thanks to A&R Worldwide’s team and its Founder, Sat Bisla.
Sat was introduced to a teenage Bonnie McKee by his former assistant who was loosely managing her back in 2000 and had asked Sat’s advice on what to do with Bonnie and her demos. Sat was eventually asked to co–manage Bonnie and provided A&R mix notes for a song called “Somebody” that Bonnie had written, which Sat then got professionally mixed by his friend Kevin Held’s producer/mixer colleague, Nicolas Jodoin. Sat sent the new mix he had commissioned to his attorney friends Doug Mark and Brian Schall, as well as numerous label presidents and A&R executives. Within two weeks of Sat sending out her new mix of “Somebody,” Bonnie received multi–million dollar offers from almost every U.S. major record label and ended up signing with Tom Whalley, becoming Whalley’s first signing as the then new Chairman & CEO of Warner Bros. Records. It was one of the largest record deals ever for a young teenage artist in the U.S. at that time.
Femme Schmidt was introduced to A&R Worldwide by their friend Deville Schober and the firm encouraged them to focus outside of the German market. A&R Worldwide was able to secure two key major TV network synch licensing deals thanks to the belief from their music supervisor friends including FOX TV’s Mamie Coleman and Vampire Diaries music supervisor, Chris Mollere. In addition, A&R Worldwide’s MUSEXPO showcased Femme Schmidt at their event in Los Angeles in 2011, where she was discovered by Sir Elton John’s tour manager and asked to be the opening act for his entire Australian tour that year. During the Elton John tour in Australia, Femme Schmidt was discovered by Chris Martin and Coldplay and they quickly became friends. Femme Schmidt toured with Coldplay in Germany during their last tour of that country back in 2018.
GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…
One of Bollywood’s biggest superstars, and India’s most respected influencers and entertainment icons, Madhuri Dixit, has officially released her first–ever English–language single. Madhuri released the debut title, “Candle,” as a gift to her millions of fans around the world. The song was written as a beacon of hope and inspiration and has been timely in its release given the challenges the world has endured recently with COVID–19. The idea for Madhuri to write and record English–language songs was suggested by A&R Worldwide President & Founder Sat Bisla during a chance meeting the two had through a mutual friend in Beverly Hills, CA several years ago. Bisla worked with Madhuri and her husband Shriram Nene on the overall A&R of the music and secured songwriters and producers such as Narinder Singh, Raja Kumari, Michael Ochs and others to be involved with the project. Madhuri’s forthcoming EP will be released later this year. She currently boasts over 50 million fans on her various social media platforms and has secured exclusives with TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and others to support her brand–new release.
Influential artist, producer and songwriter London Richards has signed with Red Bull Records, as he recently released his latest track “Check On Me.” Produced by Robbie Soukiasyan, the track spotlights the importance of the human experience, and the need to check on loved ones from time to time. The timely single marks London’s first release on Red Bull Records, with a highly anticipated project scheduled for release later this year. Combining influences of pop, R&B, hip–hop, and alternative, the British artist has made an undeniable impact on the music scene since the age of 17. Releasing his debut full–length album, An Amazingly Beautiful Sad Story last year, London also toured with Halsey on her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour and joined Juice Wrld for multiple performances at Red Rocks. London Richards was signed with the efforts of Greg Hammer, Managing Director and Kenny “Tick” Salcido, Sr. VP A&R, Red Bull Records. Check out the new single from London Richards HERE.
All sectors of the music industry are set to join tomorrow’s Black Out Tuesday, a global initiative asking for no business to be conducted to allow for a day of reflection as protests and rioting have made their way to many cities in the U.S. and worldwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN at the hands of a local law enforcement officer. Among the companies supporting the platform are the Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music labels under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Independents such as Kobalt and Dirty Hit and others have also showed their support of the Black Out initiative. An official website, theshowmustbepaused.com, as well as social media accounts have been created by Jamila Thomas, Sr. Director of Marketing for Atlantic, and former Atlantic executive, Brianna Agyemang, who now serves as Artist Campaign Manager with Platoon. A statement from The Show Must Be Paused said, “As gatekeepers of the culture, it’s our responsibility to not only come together to celebrate the wins, but also hold each other up during a loss.”
Sony Music Entertainment has named Rajat Kakar as Managing Director for the company’s offices in India. Based in Mumbai, Kakar reports to Sony Music’s President, Strategy & Market Development, Asia & Middle East, Shridhar Subramaniam. Kakar’s new role will see him working to continue Sony’s market share growth across the Bollywood, South Indian, Punjabi, Pop and Kids genres in the territory while furthering its premium content business and developing new opportunities with other companies under the Sony banner. He will also be tasked with the continued development of the company’s artist roster, building upon partnerships and investments, and furthering initiatives across Sony Music’s three regional offices encompassing seven different languages. Kakar will also assume oversight of expanded activities with The Orchard and Sony/ATV. Previously, Kakar held the CEO & MD role with India’s Phonographic Performance Limited from 2018 until April of this year.
On the publishing side of Sony Music news, Sony/ATV has announced the promotion of Peter Brodsky to General Counsel alongside his duties as EVP of Business Affairs. Brodsky’s expanded responsibilities will now include oversight of Sony/ATV’s global business strategy and all legal matters, in addition to major catalog acquisitions and N. American digital strategies. Brodsky has held his EVP role at Sony/ATV since 2007 and since then, has worked across a number of U.S. legislative initiatives such as copyright reform and the Music Modernization Act passing. He also sits on the board of directors for the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). Based in the publisher’s New York headquarters, Brodsky reports to Jon Platt, Sony/ATV’s Chairman & CEO. Prior to Sony/ATV, Brodsky helmed the business and legal affairs team at BMG having started his career at New York’s White & Case law firm.
A&R Worldwide can reveal that Tjark Hartwig, an A&R executive for the past three years at Berlin, Germany–based Four Music, has parted company with the label and taken on a new A&R role at Columbia Records. Hartwig tells A&R Worldwide, “It has been an absolute pleasure to have been part of such a great team at Four Music. It’s now time to say hello to Sony Music’s Columbia Records here in Berlin – I’m excited to join the team in my new A&R role as of today.”
Apple Music has unveiled its new show, Africa Now Radio with Cuppy, host of the show and Nigerian–born DJ and curator. Africa Now Radio with Cuppy is based on the recently launched Africa Now playlist and showcases the latest African sounds from a diverse range of genres. On the debut episode, which aired yesterday, Nigerian producer Kiddominant, known for producing African hits such as Davido’s “Fall” and AKA’s “Fela In Versace,” joined Cuppy via FaceTime to discuss his new single “eWallet,” featuring South African rapper Cassper Nyovest, and taken from his forthcoming debut album due for release in the second half of 2020. South African actress and Queen Sono lead character Pearl Thusi also joined the broadcast to share her favorite African proverb and current favorite African song.
Aled Haydn Jones has been named by BBC Radio 1 as the new head of the station following the exit of Ben Cooper. Haydn Jones had been serving as acting station lead and Head of Programmes. Prior, he had been a presenter on the network, a producer for live music events and the Chris Moyles Breakfast Show, and an editor. Haydn Jones also played a key role in Radio 1’s Big Weekend. With Radio 1 currently counting an audience of 8.9 million listeners according to RAJAR, Haydn Jones’ work has resulted on an additional 14 million weekly viewers on its YouTube and iPlayer channels, and 10.5 million followers on social media. Last Christmas, he also rolled–out a new presenter search which saw 35 new DJs hitting the airwaves across the holiday season, among them, Radio 1’s first non–binary DJ and first blind presenter. He also helmed the launch of Radio 1 Breakfast with Greg James. Haydn Jones will lead the team as Chris Price, Head of Music, and commissioning executive Rachel McHalroy, along with their teams, report into him.
Warner Music Group Corp. (WMG) revealed last week that it has launched the initial public offering of 70,000,000 shares of its Class A common stock pursuant to a registration statement on Form S–1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The IPO price is expected to land between $23 and $26 per share. The offering consists entirely of secondary shares to be sold by Access Industries, LLC and certain related selling stockholders. The underwriters will have a 30–day option to purchase up to an additional 10,500,000 shares of Class A common stock from the selling stockholders. Approved to trade under the ticker symbol “WMG,” the company will not receive any proceeds from the offering.
Warner Chappell Music recently finalized a global publishing agreement with iconic British music group, Duran Duran. The deal sees Warner Chappell administer the majority of the award–winning, multi–Platinum group’s catalog from 1986 to–date, as well as all current and future works. Encompassed under the agreement are albums such as Notorious, Duran Duran (The Wedding Album), Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and Paper Gods, counting global hits “Notorious,” “All She Wants Is,” “Ordinary World,” “Come Undone,” “(Reach Up for the) Sunrise,” “Pressure Off” and others. Duran Duran’s next studio full–length is set for release in the fall. Since making their debut in 1981, Duran Duran has sold over 100 million records worldwide. They’ve garnered 30 top 20 singles in their native U.K., as well as 21 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The release of their first album was virtually simultaneous with the launch of MTV, and their fusion of music, art, technology, style, and fashion placed them as leaders for a new generation of performers combining cutting edge music with visual innovation. The band’s many honors include two Ivor Novellos, two Grammy Awards, two BRIT Awards, an MTV Video Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Duran Duran’s most recent studio album, Paper Gods, became their highest–charting release in over two decades, hitting the top five in the U.K. and the top ten in the U.S. The upcoming release of their new studio album will be accompanied by a major world tour.
In other Warner Chappell signing news, the publisher has finalized a worldwide publishing agreement with leading Spanish singer, songwriter and guitarist, DePedro. DePedro, whose real name is Jairo Zavala, is behind the launch of two of Spain’s most successful rock bands in Vacazul and 3000 Hombres. Since his career with the two groups he has gone on to have success as a solo artist and songwriter with his debut solo effort coming in 2013 via Warner Music Spain’s DRO label. His next album is scheduled for release in spring of next year.
A&R Worldwide has learned that renowned producer and mixer manager Bennett Kaufman has parted ways with Patriot Management to relaunch his own company BK Entertainment, which will be based out of Los Angeles. Kaufman tells us that he will retain his clients including Michael Brauer (Coldplay, James Bay, Elle King), Dave Bassett (Vance Joy, Alice Merton, The Revivalists), Brett Eliason (Pearl Jam, twenty one pilots, Young The Giant), and Chris Lord–Alge (Green Day, Keith Urban, Muse) amongst many others. Patriot’s artist roster includes Pharrell Williams, OneRepublic, Charlie Puth, Backstreet Boys, Soundgarden, the Estate of Chris Cornell and more.
Following a seven–year run as a fully independent act that delivered three albums and a collection of unique marketing initiatives, Run the Jewels is set to release its next full–length with the world’s fourth biggest record company, BMG. Composed of rapper Killer Mike and producer/label CEO, El–P, Run the Jewels has, to–date, moved forward with a minimal crew that saw the group tapping into other companies as needed such as indie labels Fool’s Gold Records and Mass Appeal Records as well as distributor The Orchard and hip–hop label RBC Records, the latter of which was acquired by BMG in 2018. BMG and Run the Jewels had finalized a tentative agreement earlier in the year that has since undergone revisions before everything was fully signed. Run the Jewels 4, scheduled for release on June 5th, is already generating success ahead of its release including over a million views on the video for single “Ooh La La,” and over $1 million in pre–order sales less than 48 hours after it became available. Run the Jewels will also look to expand on additional projects as BMG supports the group’s recorded efforts, including other business ventures and content offerings.
In other BMG news, KSI, the British YouTuber, professional boxer and hip–hop artist signed to BMG’s LA–based rap label RBC Records, has scored the U.K.’s No.1 streaming album, No.1 download album, No.1 independent album and best–selling album in the week with his debut full–length Dissimulation. In a chart battle with U.K. rock band, The 1975, KSI generated a sales total of more than 27,000 albums in the week, compared with an estimated 13,000 for The 1975, though the rapper was edged out of the No.1 position in the Official U.K. Albums Chart after The 1975 registered pre–sales of around 21,000. KSI did score the No.1 in the Official Irish Albums Chart. Dissimulation’s sales total was 93% digital driven by his popularity on streaming services where his album’s tracks account for 11 of the U.K.’s 100 most streamed tracks this week, led by “Houdini” which is No.15 in the week’s Official U.K. Singles Chart.
A&R Worldwide–supported artist, Jeremy Loops, has released his single “Mortal Man” via a new licensing deal with Universal Music Group South Africa, part of a global partnership with Decca Records in the U.K. and Polydor in Germany. The South African artist generated global attention following a showcase at A&R Worldwide’s MUSEXPO event in Los Angeles in 2013 which led to a number of outcomes for the talented singer–songwriter. A&R Worldwide first became aware of Jeremy Loops when they were introduced by their colleague Damon Forbes and saw him showcase during a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. Check out “Mortal Man” HERE. Pictured are A&R Worldwide’ Founder & President, Sat Bisla with Jeremy Loops.
It was revealed last week that veteran manager Guy Oseary is parting ways with his day–to–day role at his own Maverick management firm to assume a new consultancy position for Live Nation’s CEO, Michael Rapino. Oseary will also transition more of his efforts towards his tech/entertainment entrepreneurial projects. At the same time, Live Nation has extended its partnership with Maverick for three years with the live event company having acquired Maverick in 2013. Alongside his new consultant role, Oseary will maintain management clients Madonna and U2 under Maverick’s banner with the management collective’s additional managers continuing their work as part of Live Nation’s Artist Nation operations. Among Oseary’s other projects are included leading the Sound Ventures venture capital firm via a partnership with Ashton Kutcher as well as investment in Peloton and serving as a Co–Founder of the text platform, Community.
With Facebook having recently rolled–out plans to allow creators to charge for access to Facebook Live events, Instagram has now followed suit with a similar offering for artists making use of the platform’s livestreaming capabilities. Creators will have the opportunity to make money through Instagram and IGTV with the latter sharing ad revenue with creators. On Instagram Live, fans will have the ability to present virtual tips in the form of badges. The feature makes its ways to the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and Mexico for testing next month.
Reservoir has signed multi–instrumental writer–producer and recording artist Joel Taylor to a worldwide publishing deal. The deal encompasses the rights to Taylor’s entire catalog of works, including single “Little By Little” which the Australian–born, Los Angeles–based artist released on Friday. In addition to co–writing, and co–producing the cut, Taylor provided all instrumentation including, piano, guitar, bass, organ, synthesizers, percussion, and more, while singing every vocal part and recording it all himself. Born into a musical family, Taylor learned to play piano from his grandfather who was a founding member of one of Australia’s first rock bands, Col Joy & The Joy Boys. His first release, 2017’s “Two Sides,” garnered the attention of actress Courteney Cox, who directed the accompanying music video. Cox later directed the music video for Taylor’s 2018 “Give Myself Away.”
With the live music industry still on pause as a result of the global pandemic, unique approaches to offering some level of the live experience to fans continue to evolve including live streams, drive–in concerts and more. Live Nation Canada and Budweiser have partnered up for one of the latest alternatives with their weekly TV concert series, Budweiser Stage At Home. This past weekend saw the series launch with a performance from The Black Crowes and Canada’s The Trews. The stream aired on Citytv as well as via Citytv.com and Live Nation’s Live From Home music site. Additional performances are scheduled from Blue Rodeo and Alan Doyle as well as others to be announced.
In other Live Nation news, the live entertainment leader has terminated the planned acquisition of OCESA Entretenimiento, Mexico’s largest promoter. The $480 million deal had been announced in July of last year and was approved by Mexican regulators in mid–April of this year. Last week, Live Nation notified Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento (CIE) and Grupo Televisa that it would not be proceeding with its acquisition of a controlling stake in OCESA. It’s expected that CIE and Grupo Televisa will contest the agreement’s termination with all three entities soon commencing arbitration proceedings. According to sources for Billboard, it is still possible that a new agreement can be reached with modified terms from Live Nation to account for circumstances around the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Live Nation and OCESA have a long–standing partnership in Mexico across Ticketmaster as well as touring and festivals.
Tidal and Dolby Laboratories have joined forces to bring Dolby Atmos Music to listeners worldwide. Tidal has commenced rolling out the immersive audio offering to Dolby Atmos–compatible sound bars, TVs and AVR home theater systems. The feature will see Tidal HiFi defaulting to the listening experience if both a Dolby Atmos–enabled device and mix are available. Among Tidal’s catalog are Dolby Atmos works by artists including Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello as well as others. A 60–day free trial offer is available to new subscribers who want to try out the new Dolby Atmos Music capability.
The Orchard has launched a new set of features for its OrchardGo mobile app that allows artists and their teams to put out new music more strategically around an artist’s social presence. The app, available on iOS and Android, gives labels distributed by The Orchard the ability to monitor real–time playlist placements and track performance data as well as identify key markets for fans. Additionally, the app now incorporates a robust overview of social engagement for artists and visibility in a market in comparison to other acts. Artists can also use the app to control, discover and message via their social platforms, targeting their most engaged fans in specific locations. The app also provides data of fan interactions such as posts, hashtags, follower count and geography while monitoring and notifying its users of trending activity for artists.
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy is parting ways with her role as President of StubHub after two years leading the largest ticket resale platform in the world, including the eBay–owned firm’s sale to Viagogo for $4 billion. StubHub’s GM for N. America, Jill Krimmel, will assume Interim President duties until regulatory approval for the merger is given by the U.K.’s Competition and Market Authority. Singh Cassidy stated that her departure was planned following Viagogo’s acquisition and the conclusion of the interim regulatory period. Despite the sale having been finalized, the two companies must maintain independent operations until U.K. leaders approve their merging. The exit comes as StubHub also revealed permanent job cuts for 200 staffers due to a broader restructuring as well as the continuing effects of the COVID–19 pandemic. According to Singh Cassidy, the cuts affected all levels within StubHub and come following the firm’s furloughing of its team over a month ago.
Download Festival has become the latest live platform to adapt its annual event in the wake of the global pandemic. From June 12th–14th, Download is set to present a collection of video material via its social media and on YouTube in place of what would have been the U.K. festival’s scheduled dates. Content will include music, interviews, unreleased performances and exclusive footage with day–time features including Q&As, tutorials, cook–a–longs and more. Among the artist performances set to be featured are a 2015 set from Kiss as well as 2005, 2011 and 2017 sets from System Of A Down. Additional artists set to join the Download TV performances are Korn, Deftones, Babymetal, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Creeper and The Offspring.
CISAC has announced ABBA Co–Founder Björn Ulvaeus as the global organization’s new President. Ulvaeus steps into the three–year–term role to support CISAC’s efforts to gain stronger rights, more royalties, better systems and improved conditions for creators across the arenas of music, audiovisual, visual arts, drama and literature. Ulvaeus steps into the role previously held by Jean–Michel Jarre who served as CISAC’s President for seven years. Representing over 230 authors’ societies in more than 120 territories, CISAC supports over four million creators through its global collections of licensing income and royalties reaching €9.6 billion.
South Korea’s Big Hit Entertainment has taken on a majority share of record label PLEDIS Entertainment whose roster counts the likes of Seventeen, NU’EST and others. Terms of the deal will see PLEDIS maintaining operations as an independent label with its artists now benefiting from support from Big Hit’s portfolio of platforms to grow their presence internationally. The deal with PLEDIS furthers Big Hit’s strategy to build out its multi–label operations with the company having acquired Source Music last July.
Australia’s Mushroom Group may be experiencing the effects of the pandemic to its live operations but its label division is setting up for a great year. Led by Matt Gudinski, Mushroom’s labels, which include the likes of I OH YOU, Soothsayer, Liberation, Ivy League, Bloodlines, Liberator and the just launched, 100s + 1000s, garnered 17 ARIA nominations in 2019 and already count two No.1 albums this year from Violent Soho and The Teskey Brothers. Having officially launched last week, 100s + 1000s has been building a roster behind the scenes that includes Fergus James, D’Arcy and Tobiahs. Under the banner of a “full–service music development” firm, all acts that debut via 100s + 1000s also maintain management internally with the Mushroom Group.
Canadian artists are benefitting from a new program launched by the country’s PRO, SOCAN, which is delivering royalty payments to artists for their livestreamed virtual concerts. Under the banner of Encore!, the program looks to support Canadian acts who have been forced to cancel tours and other live performances as a result of the global pandemic. Retroactive to March 15th and effective until March 7th of next year, Encore! provides a CAD $150 royalty for each online Facebook/Instagram concert that meets the program’s criteria. Performances must last for at least 30 minutes or 10 songs and have a viewership minimum of 100 people, confirmed with a screenshot. SOCAN is putting forward CAD $200,000 quarterly for the new initiative.
In other Canadian industry news, Music Canada’s Graham Henderson will be exiting his role as President & CEO for the organization’s board of directors. Henderson, who has held the post for over 15 years, will maintain his CEO title until June 17th. While the search begins for a permanent replacement, Chief Operating Officer, Jackie Dean, and VP of Corporate Affairs, Patrick Rogers, will serve as interim Co–CEOs from June 18th.
Digital music platform eMusic has rolled out what they have billed as a “revolutionary distribution alternative for artists” with the launch of the eMU digital token. As of last week, fans have been able to purchase eMU tokens via Bibox to be used to purchase music and interact with artists on eMusic’s platform. The new offering makes use of blockchain technology and creates a “secure, decentralized digital currency that makes payments to artists more efficient and transparent.” The product also allows acts to retain a larger portion of their royalties and access real-time data on who is purchasing their content and how they are consuming it. Additionally, fans can generate rewards from their favorite artists for actions such as sharing music/reviews and helping crowdfund live activity. Currently, eMU tokens are up for purchase by non–U.S. consumers.
London–based indie record label, management and publishing company, The Other Songs, are dedicating one of their industry songwriting events to celebrate the homegrown talent of The BRIT School on Friday. Since lockdown began, The Other Songs have hosted the TOS Digital Festival every week; a platform where songwriters, both established and those at the start of their careers, perform their best songs among a community of artists. The BRIT School, which turns 30 in 2021, will team up with The Other Songs for a night to celebrate some of the artists who studied at the U.K.’s leading free school for performing and creative arts. Alongside BRIT alumni, music legend and BRIT School supporter Nile Rodgers will be performing. Throughout The BRIT School Festival, there will be the opportunity to donate directly to the school as part of the #keepBRITspecial fundraising campaign.
Ministry of Sound’s debut Ministry Weekender livestream took place over the weekend featuring livestream and audio sets from the likes of Diplo, Pete Tong, DJ EZ, Solardo, Paul Woolford, Waze & Odyssey, Sigala, Regard, Bklava and others. The event also raised funds for the WHO Solidarity Fund with viewers encouraged to donate and YouTube, a partner in the event, matching every $1 donated with $2 from their side.
Reach Music Publishing (Reach) has finalized an exclusive worldwide administration agreement with Sierra Hull, encompassing the Nashville–based, singer–songwriter and mandolinist’s full catalog. The deal covers her artist albums released via Rounder Records (Concord), as well as future works. It also marks Hull’s first publishing deal, as she had previously been self–administered. Hull is a virtuoso mandolinist and multi–instrumentalist who debuted at the Grand Ole Opry at age 10, played Carnegie Hall at age 12, and landed a record deal with Rounder Records at age 13. She became the first woman to win Mandolin Player of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. Now 28–years–old, Hull recently released her fourth album on Rounder, 25 Trips, which features 13 songs, all which were solely written or co–written by Hull.
As the COVID–19 pandemic has slowed international travel for most, one music site is seeking to offer a taste of the world to fans via music. MusicMap.Global provides readers the chance to “discover the world, one track at a time,” and has recently confirmed that the site has featured music from every country around the world with its final feature coming from Monaco. An accompanying Spotify playlist takes listeners through each country featured, in alphabetical order, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. MusicMap was created by several journalists, DJs and music supervisors associated with the music consultancy Record–Play as a place to share tracks discovered while researching worldwide music scenes for clients such as adidas, Google and British Airways. MusicMap launched as a Tumblr blog in 2016 before evolving into its current iteration. The map–based platform includes interviews, guest mixes and radio shows, as well as having previously hosted regular live showcases prior to the coronavirus situation. For more information, visit https://musicmap.global.
Indie music publisher Strictly Confidential has announced the signing of high–profile Belgian rapper, Zwangere Guy, to a worldwide agreement. Zwangere Guy’s debut full–length, Wie Is Guy, and its follow–up Brutaal both went to No.1 on the Belgium charts. The rapper joins acts such as Balthazar, Charlotte Adigéry and Jonathan Jeremiah ao on the Strictly Confidential roster and his signing comes only weeks after the announcement of deals with Glints and blackwave, furthering the company’s presence in the hip–hop and rap arenas. Launched in 1987 by [PIAS] Co–Founders Michel Lambot and Kenny Gates, alongside Pierre Mossiat, Strictly Confidential has affiliated companies and operations in Belgium, France, and the U.K. and is a full–service music publishing company, overseeing both rights management and creative development for the songwriters and composers it represents.
FlightMode Digital, the investment holding company owned by acclaimed international DJ, Black Coffee, has finalized a deal to acquire a significant stake in Gallo Music Investments (GMI), from Lebashe Investment Group for an undisclosed amount. GMI, South Africa’s largest and oldest independent music label, was purchased by Lebashe from Tiso Blackstar for R75–million in March of this year. GMI was incorporated into the news and entertainment business, Arena Holdings, which is 100% owned by Lebashe Investment Group. While Lebashe Chairman Tshepo Mahloele believes the investment in GMI significantly enhances Arena’s entertainment offering to its consumers, the transaction with FlightMode will add tangible value and attract diversified audiences to its platform.
It was recently revealed that widely–respected label executive Ken Pedersen passed away in March as a result of sepsis brought on by pneumonia. Pedersen was 63–years–old. An industry veteran, Pedersen is well–known for serving as Capitol Records’ CFO and Virgin Records’ EVP where he was one of the driving forces behind the successful Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation series. While at Virgin, he also spearheaded the $80 million, four–album contract extension with Janet Jackson. His career began as an accountant with Ernst & Whitney before he headed to Capitol, initially as Director of Internal Audit, in 1987. He took on the same role with EMI London in 1989 before his return to Capitol as Interim CFO. He eventually returned to EMI London as CFO and served on the acquisition team for the company’s purchase of Virgin Records in 1992. He then took on his EVP role with Virgin and held the post for almost a decade. At Virgin, he was a key force behind sub–label acquisitions such as David Byrne’s Luaka Bop, Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records and Narada Productions and also launched the company’s Americana/roots rock sub–label, Back Porch Records. He parted ways with Virgin in 2002 and founded his own New River Company as a JV with Virgin and Narada and went on to work with CRC Group and Xurex.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Justin Kalifowitz, David Joseph, Rachel Levy, Karl Anderson, John Watson, Luke Mitzman, Maik Pallasch, Rick Rubin, FaZe Clan, Carianne Marshall, Fred Casimir, Kabiru Bello, Jake Wisely, Briony Turner and Tom Whalley.
JACKASS OF THE WEEK
Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E–mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. During the past few months TikTok has seen unprecedented growth for its short form video platform. Click HERE for a collection of some outlandish and creative TikToks!
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– CALLUM BEATTIE
The previous year was exceptional for Scottish multi–instrumentalist Callum Beattie; he supported Razorlight on their huge U.K. tour and supported The Kooks on their headline European tour, along with Blossoms. Last summer he performed at BST Hyde Park (Robbie Williams), performed sold–out headline shows and played at various locations during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He earned accolades from BBC Radio 2, The Telegraph, Buzzfeed U.K., The Independent, Clash Magazine and many more, as well as global radio support from the multi–continental syndicated radio program Passport Approved. Less than two weeks ago, Callum unleashed his long–awaited debut album, People Like Us (3Beat/Universal), the self–written album which includes songs of his life, both his childhood ups and downs and his more recent upheavals. The album is a collection of songs clawed from the raw stuff of existence, nostalgic patriotism and bleeding love. Sample the euphoric lead track “Mouth Of A Tiger” HERE and contact Tim Condran at email@example.com, as Callum Beattie is available for branding and synch opportunities.
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – CARAVAN PALACE
France’s Caravan Palace is a six–piece electronic/big band based in Paris. The outfit have grown from a Parisian jive sensation, into a globalized pop act, melding a variety of influences and are capable of ripping the roof off of any venue or festival tent. Formed in 2008, Caravan Palace has released a number of singles, two EP’s and four studio albums, including their latest, 2019’s Chronologic. Their music has charted in Switzerland, Belgium, France, the U.K. and the U.S. For their latest single, “Moonshine,” the band teamed up again with the French duo of directors Double Ninja for the music video. Their previous collaborations, which were animation videos, were all very successful, accumulating more than 300 million views. Experience the clip for “Moonshine” HERE and contact Olivier Linglet at olivier@grand–blanc.net for all inquiries regarding Caravan Palace.
PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 5/31/2020
“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, May 31st, 2020: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 60 radio stations on six continents weekly including: The World Famous KROQ 106.7FM Los Angeles, Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; KNRK–FM Portland OR; KNDD “The End” Seattle WA; WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” NY 107.7FM; WZRH–FM New Orleans; KBZT–FM 94.9FM San Diego CA; KKDO “94.7FM” Sacramento CA; KWSS “93.9FM” Phoenix AZ; KRML “102.1FM” Carmel CA, KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM” Fresno CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River” Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; KSKI–FM, Sun Valley/Twin Falls, ID; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, New York; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia, WRUR 88.5FM Rochester New York; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States and many others. Also, on the worldwide web and twice–weekly segment on Flux FM Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg and Stuttgart) and Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany, as well as streaming on one of the world’s fastest growing streaming platforms, JioSaavn.
Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:
MELLAH – “Family Fun” (Columbia Records, UK)
THE LULU RAES – “Can’t Run No More” (Verge/Sony, Australia)
STEREOTIDE – “Someday” (Unsigned, Germany)
DEVON – “Belong 2 U” (Universal, UK)
MIA RODRIGUEZ – “How To Move On” (Unsigned, Australia)
INHALER – “How To Move On” (Universal Music, Ireland)
LILY MOORE – “Better Than Me” (Virgin EMI, UK)
HIGH TROPICS – “Scars” (Unsigned, Australia)
LARKINS – “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?” (Good Soldier, UK)
JAMES DEACON – “Reason” (Bad Future, South Africa)
JEKYLL – “The Escapist” (Fierce Panda, UK)
THE RUBENS – “Heavy Weather” (Ivy League Records, Australia)
ALFIE TEMPLEMAN – “Happiness In Liquid Form” (Chess Club, UK)
FLAWES – “Ghost Town” (Red Bull Records, UK)
SPACEY JANE – “Good For You” (Unsigned, Australia)
FEMME SCHMIDT – “Surround Me With Your Love” (Unsigned, Germany)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Talk So Loud” (Unsigned, Sweden)
GINA BROOKLYN – “Who Are You Fighting For?” (Unsigned, N. America)
SEA GIRLS – “Ready For More” (Polydor, UK)
THE VITRIOTS – “Rabbit Hole” (Sureshaker Records, Australia)
WAITING FOR SMITH – “Long Life” (Four One Seven Records, UK)
BONGLOARD – “I Want It Now” (Unsigned, Holland)
BLOSSOMS – “If You Think This Is Real Life” (Virgin/EMI, UK)
THE BONGO CLUB – “Talk Of The Town” (The Bank, Sweden)
LUNA BAY – “All In (Feat. Vera Kebbe)” (Unsigned, UK)
NAVVY – “Mad At You” (Unsigned, New Zealand)
ASYLUMS – “Catalogue Kids” (Cool Thing Records, UK)
ADÉLAIDE – “Paintings In The Sky” (Unsigned, Germany)
THE ANIMEN – “Modern Nostalgia” (Two Gentleman Records, Switzerland)
LAUREN WALLER – “Night Stalker” (Unsigned, N. America)
THE VELVET HANDS – “Fallout” (JAM X, UK)
MAGNUS MIA – “Heartburn” (Unsigned, Hong Kong)
THE VICES – “Boy” (Unsigned, Holland)
(Check out the Passport Approved Radio “Featured Artists” on the daily profile exclusively on AllAccess.com including Devon, Hannah Scott, Mellah, Mia Rodriguez and The Rubens)