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ISLAND RECORDS UK NAMES NICOLA SPOKES MANAGING DIRECTOR



Island President Louis Bloom announced last week the appointment of Nicola Spokes as Managing Director. The highly respected, award–winning executive joins the label following the reveal that long–time Island executive, Natasha Mann, was taking up a new role as Universal Music U.K.’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion, announced last month.

Nicola Spokes
Reporting to Bloom, Spokes will work closely with Island Sr. VP Steve Pitron and the remainder of the label’s senior team who have overseen an unbroken run of Top 10 debut album success with U.K.–signed artists Sigrid, Dermot Kennedy, Easy Life, M Huncho and Sports Team as well the successful U.K. chart performance of global acts Ariana Grande, Drake and The Weeknd.

Spokes most recently spent four years with Universal Music’s label and artist services division as U.K. Label Head of Caroline International, where she oversaw release campaigns including the BRIT–nominated D–Block Europe, recent top 5 breakthrough Digga D, Fiction’s Tame Impala and last year’s No.1 single for Internet Money. Prior to joining Universal, she spent 15 years moving up the ranks at Ministry of Sound, ultimately becoming Marketing Director, and leading award–winning marketing campaigns for Example and London Grammar.

Island President Louis Bloom says, “Nicola is widely regarded as one of the brightest and most respected creative marketeers in the industry and we are absolutely delighted that she joins us as Managing Director, particularly at such an exciting time for the label. Her passion, strategic flair and visionary thinking make her a fantastic addition to an already brilliant team and I know that she will play a huge part in the future success of this great label. I’d also like to take this opportunity, on behalf of everyone at Island, to thank Natasha for her immeasurable contribution to our success over the last 12 years and while we are very sad to see her go, I honestly can’t think of anyone better equipped to lead Universal Music U.K.’s Diversity & Inclusion team.”

Spokes comments, “Island Records has always been the home of the most unique and culturally–impactful artists, and voices, in British music. Artists that have shaped and sound–tracked my childhood, youth and adulthood. I am thrilled to be joining Louis and the team to continue the evolution of this amazing label and their incredible roster, and to play a part in writing the next chapter of the Island story.”


ADA WORLDWIDE APPOINTS CAT KREIDICH AS
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT


ADA Worldwide, the global independent distribution division of Warner Music Group (WMG), announced last week the appointment of veteran music executive Cat Kreidich to Executive Vice President. In the new role, Kreidich will take the lead on ADA’s continued global growth, and partnerships across international commerce and marketing, in addition to label/product management and operations. Based in New York, she will report to Eliah Seton, President of Independent Music & Creator Services, WMG.

Cat Kreidich
Seton said, “Cat will be instrumental in elevating our work for partners and projects across the globe, working closely with label management and our international teams. With her strong relationships in the independent space, she’ll also play a big role in attracting new business both in the U.S. and internationally. On behalf of everyone at ADA, we are thrilled to welcome Cat to our leadership team.”

Kreidich adds, “I’m elated to rejoin Eliah and the ADA team in what has become a truly full circle moment. With ADA’s global foothold now established, I look forward to collaborating with our teams around the world to identify and mobilize on untapped opportunities, with an eye towards data and insights.”

An accomplished exec, Kreidich spent eight years with The Orchard, developing their value proposition and people services. She served as Sr. VP of Account Management, Advertising, and Data Analysis, at the helm of a global team she re–organized and strategically positioned during the company’s rapid expansion, spread across 40 different cities. She also founded The Orchard’s Commercial Insights team and was a key stakeholder in the development and guiding of the creation and use of innovative data insight tools.

More recently, Kreidich served as Sr. VP, Commerce for Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog where she led commercial activity for a $900MM group across digital and physical for the likes of Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and others. She was recruited from The Orchard to restructure the Legacy business for the fast–growing streaming arena. Kreidich’s resume also includes time in numerous other commercial, strategic, and operating roles with Ultra Records, Caroline Distribution, Virgin Records and Motown Records.


SONY MUSIC PUBLISHING LAUNCHES IN INDONESIA
AND FINALIZES RAFT OF DEALS



Sony Music Publishing announced last week the launch of Sony Music Publishing Indonesia (SMPI), a new, independent publishing company dedicated to the development and promotion of Indonesian songwriters both locally and worldwide. SMPI will work closely with Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia (SMEI) and other music publishers and associations to foster international networks and partnerships for Indonesian composers and songwriters, as well as develop new, creative projects that bring together international and Indonesian repertoire for both local and global appeal.

Anti Ariandini

SMPI’s General Manager, Anti Ariandini, will focus on expanding the new company’s creative and commercial opportunities in the Indonesia market. Ariandini brings over a decade of experience to the role, with expertise across both music and e–commerce. Her career began at Universal Music in 1997 as Publishing Country Manager, before heading to EMI Music Indonesia in 2004, where she worked until it closed in 2008. She then shifted to the tech arena, where she spent nearly four years at Huawei Indonesia and Baidu Technology as Country Manager. In 2015, she founded Indonesian e–commerce association, idEA, after which she joined the Indonesia Fintech Association as General Secretary in 2019.

In signing news, Sony Music Publishing has finalized a worldwide deal with multi–Platinum–selling, award–winning pop act, Zara Larsson. The Swedish singer–songwriter is one of today’s biggest new artists in dance–pop music, known for her energetic, chart–topping anthems including “Ruin My Life,” “All The Time,” “Lush Life,” and “Never Forget You,” as well as collaborations such as “A Brand New Day” with BTS and “Like It Is” with Kygo and Tyga. Zara released her new album Poster Girl, last week which features her 2020 hits “Wow,” “Love Me Land,” and “Talk About Love” ft. Young Thug, which recently debuted on the U.S. Top 40 pop radio charts. Zara also hosted an exclusive online concert on her YouTube channel this weekend for International Women’s Day where she performed new songs from the album, as well as others.

Additionally, the publisher has signed emerging indie–pop singer, songwriter, producer, and artist Dayglow to a global deal. Sloan Struble, aka Dayglow, recently gained prominence with his breakthrough hit “Can I Call You Tonight?” which was named one of the year’s biggest alternative hits by Billboard, crossing 190 million global streams and reaching No.2 on both the Alternative and Triple A radio charts. Dayglow has just announced the upcoming release of sophomore full–length, Harmony House, which will be available on May 21st in addition to unveiling new singles “Something” and “Close to You.” Additionally, he was recently featured as the musical guest on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show.

Also last week, Sony Music Publishing extended its worldwide deal with regarded singer–songwriter, Ilsey Juber. Juber is known for penning chart–topping songs by artists such as Beyoncé, Shawn Mendes, Mark Ronson, Miley Cyrus, Major Lazer, Drake, Panic! At the Disco and Martin Garrix. Most recently, she wrote “All My Favorite Songs” by Weezer and “Midnight Sky” by Miley Cyrus, as well as two other tracks from Miley’s album, Plastic Hearts.

Sony Music Publishing has partnered with Silence the Shame to launch The Soundtrack of Mental Health, a global multi–year program which will offer songwriters, employees, and the greater music community educational training and support around mental health. As a part of Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice fund, Sony Music Publishing will be the first to launch the trainings in April, and they will also be made available to Sony Music Entertainment. The Soundtrack of Mental Health, created by Silence the Shame and its Founder Shanti Das, will offer a wide range of workshops for self–care, including coping techniques, stress and anxiety management, and a wellness curriculum for leaders. The program will also offer trainings for mental health awareness and suicide prevention to educate managers and fellow employees on how to notice and support an individual in a mental health crisis. Silence the Shame plans to train 10,000 creatives, musicians, and executives by 2023.


GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…



Warner Chappell Music is partnering with French icon Benjamin Biolay’s music publishing company, Bambi Rose. Under the deal, Warner Chappell will represent both Biolay’s catalog and future works. Biolay is one of the most respected songwriters in France, having released nine solo albums since 2001, as well as soundtracks, collaboration albums and remix EPs. He has also written and composed for some of the country’s biggest acts such as Vanessa Paradis and Henri Salvador. His latest solo album, Grand Prix, topped the charts last year, and garnered him Best Male Artist and Album of the Year at this year’s Victoires de la Musique. In 2000, Biolay was heavily involved in French legend Henri Salvador’s comeback album, Chambre avec vue. The record was a huge success and led to Biolay working with a number of France’s most important artists including Juliette Gréco, Julien Clerc, Françoise Hardy and Vanessa Paradis. Biolay released his debut solo album in 2001, which started a run of five albums in eight years, leading to 2009’s La Superbe, which charted at No.3. He has since had four more Top Five albums.

Warner Chappell has also entered into a worldwide publishing agreement with rising producer MAG. Last year, he executive produced Bad Bunny’s No.1 Billboard 200 album, El Último Tour del Mundo, which made history as the first all–Spanish language album to reach the top spot on the chart. Marco “MAG” Borrero is a Brooklyn–born, Puerto Rican–Dominican producer. He was initially discovered and mentored by regarded singer/songwriter Max Martin. Across his career, MAG has collaborated with Astrid S, Bebe Rexha, Nicky Jam, Rauw Alejandro and Demi Lovato, among others. He also produced and co–wrote Flo Rida’s 6x multi–Platinum chart–topper, “My House,” which has been streamed over one billion times. At the beginning of last year, he produced a batch of music that grabbed the ear of Bad Bunny and inspired El Último Tour del Mundo. Shortly after the release of the album, MAG, who’s credited on nine of the sixteen songs, debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Producers chart and No.1 on its Latin Producers chart.

Highly regarded music exec Elsa Vivero has been promoted to the newly created position of General Manager/EVP, Global Commercial Services at WEA, the Label & Artist Services division of Warner Music Group (WMG). Based in New York, Vivero will report directly to Maria Weaver, President, WEA. In her expanded role, Vivero will oversee all core functions of commercial marketing and distribution. She will continue to work closely with digital partners to enhance WMG’s labels’ and artists’ presence worldwide, including via playlisting, collaborative campaigns, editorial opportunities and strategic planning. She will add physical to her remit, overseeing the physical account management and marketing services that ensure retailers remain active and engaged partners in promotion and sales. Since joining WMG in 1988, Vivero has spent time in a number of roles for the company, including her most recent post as EVP, Global Digital Account Management. In addition to WEA, she has held sales and marketing positions at Maverick Records, PolyGram and Warner Music Latina.

After just two years, EDM trio Swedish House Mafia has left Columbia Records in an amicable departure. The Columbia deal was worth over $3 million according to sources but spawned no new material. Having generated mainstream success in the early 2010s with tracks such as “Don’t You Worry Child,” “Save The World” and “Greyhound,” the group has released music via Polydor, Virgin and EMI, as well as others. Additionally, sources revealed to Billboard that Swedish House Mafia has also split with manager Ron Laffitte (Patriot Management), who assumed representation for the group when they parted ways with longtime manager Amy Thomson.

In other Columbia Records news last week, the label has finalized a new deal with Miley Cyrus. The deal was spearheaded by the label’s Chairman & CEO, Ron Perry, who wanted to bring Cyrus to Columbia as her three–year deal with fellow Sony label, RCA Records, came to a close. Last year’s Plastic Hearts full–length marked Cyrus’ last release under the RCA banner.

Interactive live streaming platform, Maestro, has raised a $15 million Series B from a collective of new investors including NetEase, Sony Music Entertainment and Acronym Venture Capital, alongside a number of industry leaders such as Twitch Co–Founder Kevin Lin and Dreamhaven Co–Founders and former Blizzard executives Michael and Amy Morhaime. The new investment brings the company’s total raised to date to $22 million. Several existing investors also contributed to the round including SeventySix Capital, The Strand Partners, Stadia Ventures, Hersh Interactive Group and Transcend Fund, as well as early Zoom employees Richard Gatchalian and Aaron Lewis. Maestro more than tripled revenue in 2020, grew its team fivefold in the last six months, and paid out millions of dollars to creators since the launch of its monetization tools in May. The Series B capital will drive value chain expansion of its products and continued diversification of its customer base.

Global online platform, Roblox, and Signature Entertainment/Atlantic Records recording artist, Why Don’t We, announced last week their first Launch Party on the platform to celebrate their recently released sophomore album, The Good Times and the Bad Ones. The Launch Party took place on Friday and included three additional performances throughout the weekend. Why Don’t We released The Good Times and the Bad Ones earlier this year and earned their highest debut on the Billboard 200 at No.3 and their first No.1 album on the album sales chart. The album features hit single “Fallin’ (Adrenaline),” which has generated more than 142 million global streams and over 26 million video views since release. The single debuted on the Top 40 radio chart at No.35 before rising to No.21 and earning the band their first career Billboard Hot 100 entry at No.37. Created by Atlantic in partnership with Roblox developer, Melon Dev, The Why Don’t We Launch Party brings the band into the Metaverse. It is the first of many virtual events resulting from Warner Music Group’s investment in the gaming platform announced earlier this year. Fans enjoyed an exclusive live performance of the band’s most popular songs, access to limited edition virtual band merchandise, including digital avatars for each band member, mini games, and fun quests prior to the first performance. The band also hosted a Q&A after their performance. The Why Don’t We Launch Party is the second event of its kind that the Roblox platform has hosted following the award–winning Ava Max Launch Party last Fall, developed in partnership with Atlantic.

Veteran executive Amy Howe has joined FanDuel Group as President having most recently served as Global COO for Live Nation’s Ticketmaster. In her new position. Howe will take the helm for the company’s core commercial operations across its sportsbook, casino, racing and daily fantasy divisions. She joins FanDuel’s executive team reporting to company CEO, Matt King. While at Ticketmaster, Howe oversaw the digital transformation and modernization of the firm’s ticketing platform and business model. During her tenure, the company doubled its gross ticketing value and saw its mobile app install base increasing by 400%. She also appeared and testified before the United States Congress Subcommittee for Energy and Commerce. Before joining Live Nation, Howe was a Partner with Los Angeles’ McKinsey & Company.

Legendary Grammy–winning artist, David Crosby, has partnered with Irving Azoff’s new venture, Iconic Artists Group (Iconic) to monetize his life work and preserve and expand his legacy in a digital era. Crosby is the most recent signing to Iconic, which has purchased his catalog, including his publishing and recorded music rights from solo work, as well as with The Byrds, Crosby & Nash, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The start of the Iconic relationship coincides with the 50th anniversary of Crosby’s debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, which was released in February 1971, and Déjà Vu, the second studio album from Crosby, Stills & Nash, and their first as a quartet with Neil Young, released in March 1970. Just last week, Iconic announced a partnership with the Beach Boys to purchase a controlling stake in their catalog, including sound recordings, the brand, select musical compositions, and memorabilia.

Migos rapper Quavo has tapped Scooter Braun for co–management with the SB Projects Founder working alongside Migos’ current manager Danny Zook. Quavo’s joining with Braun will not alter the existing relationship between Zook and the band via Quality Control, who also look after Migos on the label side. The news comes as Quavo announces a new film role in Wash Me in the River, alongside Robert De Niro, Jack Huston and John Malkovich. While Migos fans continue to wait for Culture III, Quavo himself has been working solo, appearing on Billboard Hot 100 charting releases from DaBaby, Pop Smoke and Justin Bieber, as well as releasing his solo full–length effort Quavo Huncho in 2018 which reached No.2 on the Billboard 200.

U.K.–based Echo Location Talent Agency has been acquired by UTA, bringing Echo’s roster of leading electronic and hip–hop acts, including Alesso, Bugzy Malone, Chase & Status, Davido, Diplo, Galantis, Gorgon City, Giggs, Hannah Wants, Major Lazer, Marshmello, Pendulum, Pa Salieu, Sampa The Great, Teni, Clara Amfo, MistaJam, Charlie Sloth, Ocean Wisdom, DJEZ and Wizkid, among others. Echo was Founded and helmed by Obi Asika who becomes Co–Head of UTA’s U.K. office alongside Neil Warnock. In his role, Asika will be tasked with guiding UTA’s growing music business, while expanding existing divisions such as comedy, sports, marketing and other arenas. Asika reports to Co–Heads of Worldwide Music, Samantha Kirby Yoh and David Zedeck. Also joining UTA is senior agent Belinda Law, as well as a collective of emerging agents in Myles Jessop, Tom Jones, Jack Clark, Hannah Shogbola, Kazia Davy and Ishsha Bourguet.

Hipgnosis has added veteran executive Richard Rowe to their team as Executive Vice President. Rowe’s career started in 1979 as a lawyer in the Business Affairs division of CBS Records. He went on to serve as President of Sony Music Publishing/Sony/ATV from 1991 to 2005. Rowe was behind the agreement finalized with Michael Jackson that resulted in the acquisition of The Beatles’ catalog. Additionally, he made the acquisition of Acuff–Rose Music, bringing with it catalogs from Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers. Upon parting ways with Sony/ATV, Rowe Co–Founded Round Hill Music in 2010, and as Vice Chairman, spearheaded a number of key acquisitions for the company such as Carlin Music, Eddie Holland, ArtHouse (Kara DioGuardi), Eric Carmen, Brody Brown, Randy Bachman and the Gil catalog, which counted six songs by The Beatles.

The Las Vegas–based three–day music festival, Life Is Beautiful, has announced their return in September of this year, after the pandemic had canceled last year’s edition. Early bird tickets went on sale last Thursday. The festival plans to continue its tradition of taking over 18 city blocks from September 17th – 19th, welcoming 170,000 attendees over the three–day event. The line–up has yet to be announced but previous performers have included Billie Eillish, Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, Foo Fighters and others. Over the past year the live music industry has experienced a never–ending wave of festival and concert cancellations and postponements. However, recent event announcements are beginning to restore faith in the return of live events. On February 24th, Cárdenas Marketing Network (CMN) announced Maluma’s 30–date arena tour set to kick off September 1st in San Jose, California. In January, New York’s Governors Ball announced they would postpone this year’s event to September 24th – 26th from their normal placement in June.

Fintech firm Square, Inc. has finalized an agreement for the acquisition of a majority ownership in Jay–Z’s Tidal. The deal will see Square paying $297 million in cash and stock for Tidal with Jay–Z joining Square’s Board of Directors. Jay–Z, as well as additional artists who currently own shares in the DSP, will remain stakeholders. Underneath the San Francisco–based Square’s umbrella, Tidal will function as an independent division.

SoundCloud unveiled last week its new fan–powered royalty initiative seeking to offer a more equitable and transparent way for emerging and independent artists to earn money on the platform. The new fan–powered royalty model is driven directly by an artist’s fan base with each listener’s subscription or ad revenue distributed among the artists that they listen to, rather than their plays being pooled. The nearly 100,000 independent artists monetizing directly on SoundCloud through SoundCloud Premier, Repost by SoundCloud or Repost Select will benefit from fan–powered royalties starting April 1st. The roll–out of fan–powered royalties is backed by an extensive artist education campaign and direct, ongoing outreach with the independent artist community and industry partners.

Believe–owned distribution platform TuneCore has rolled–out two new iniatives created to empower independent artists with TuneCore Rewards and TuneCore Certified. TuneCore Certified awards artists with digital plaques to celebrate milestones for total streams achieved by a single or an album. The personalized awards, which are social media ready, are achieved once a given streaming threshold from 100 all the way to 1 billion is reached across all streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube. Currently in beta with a late–March launch planned, TuneCore Rewards is a first of its kind, multi–level educational program where artists can unlock rewards and VIP status through career education. Free for TuneCore artists, the program is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to be more than just a distribution company, by providing more value for independent artists who use the platform. Early levels of TuneCore Rewards provide curated Master Class education videos from industry experts covering a wide range of key areas. Completion of the classes allows artists to receive credit and unlock points which can be used toward a variety of rewards and discounts. The award levels are New, Emerging, Rising and Breakout, with two exclusive top tiers, Accelerator and Legend. Artists can bypass the first 3 tiers and reach the 4th level by either earning over $1,000 from their music or distributing 25 releases.

Another Planet Entertainment’s management division, Another Planet Management (APM), announced last Tuesday the acquisition of Telegraph Road Management. APM’s roster is composed of the likes of Tycho, Saint Sinner, Poolside, Amen Dunes, Madeline Kenney, Nap Eyes and Minna Choi. The addition of Telegraph Road brings with it clients Billy Idol, Mike Campbell/The Dirty Knobs, Benmont Tench, Cherry Glazerr, Miya Folick and Advertisement to APM’s fold. The firm’s roster has also announced the signings of DRAMA and Brijean. Laurence Freedman, who formed Telegraph Road in late 2018, will lead APM’s Los Angeles office with fellow Telegraph Road manager, Evan Bright. Freedman previously worked at East End Management for 11 years with Tony Dimitriades, known for being the longtime manager of Billy Idol and Tom Petty. Freedman found Telegraph Road shortly after Dimitriades moved on to a consultant role.

Dice continues to add to its portfolio of clients with a new exclusive digital ticketing services agreement with iconic New York, metal and punk bar, Saint Vitus. The Brooklyn venue, which caps out at 250 people for most events, has become Gen Z’s equivalent of CBGBs, with the Saint Vitus logo having attained status as a punk rock symbol. Among the acts that have made their way to the Saint Vitus stage are Chuck Ragan’s Hot Water Music, post–hardcore band Thursday, and regarded punk outfits such as Face To Face, blink–182 and Cro Mags, who cemented the New York hardcore scene’s reputation alongside the likes of Sick of It All, Agnostic Front and Gorilla Biscuits. The news comes as New York looks to reopen venues in the city at 33% capacity (max 100 ppl) from April 1st.

Beatport has released BEATPORT DJ to all LINK subscribers, bringing the browser–based, MIDI–compatible, DJ application to LINK users as an entry level, stand–alone subscription tier within the platform offering by mid–April. BEATPORT DJ is the company’s first web–based DJ product. The web app is bundled with all LINK subscription tiers to create an environment in which DJs can instantly browse millions of tracks and immediately assemble playlists and audition music with controls that are familiar to all DJs, directly from the browser. BEATPORT DJ allows customers to seamlessly prepare performance–ready LINK playlists without the need to open or install DJ software resulting in a significantly streamlined pre–performance workflow. All existing LINK and LINK PRO and LINK PRO+ subscribers will have immediate access to BEATPORT DJ, as well as all existing LINK partner integrations with Algoriddim djay, Denon Engine OS, Hercules DJUCED, Pioneer DJ rekordbox, WeDJ, Serato DJ, PCDJ and TRIBE XR.

In other Beatport news, the company is celebrating Women’s History Month with a host of special programming, including a residency with London DJ and producer Maya Jane Coles, re–streaming of DJ sets by amazing women, live Q&A sessions with artists, a Bass livestream, and a Beatportal feature highlighting the Women of Beatport. Nicole Moudaber, one of the techno world’s most iconic contemporary artists, will also be featured as the March Artist of the Month. The initiative kicks–off on International Women’s Day today with the first night of Maya Jane Coles’ month–long residency from London. Maya’s set on International Women’s Day will be followed by replays of DJ sets by women including Honey Dijon, Charlotte DeWitte, Nastia and others. During the week of March 15th, Beatportal, Beatport’s editorial site, will spotlight the Women of Beatport and on March 18th, Beatport Selects will host a Bass stream to coincide with Beatport’s newest genre launch. Flore, Jubilee and UNiiQU3 are set to perform with more top women DJs to be confirmed soon.

It was reported last week that Prashan Agarwal is parting ways with Gaana, having served as the India–based DSP’s CEO since May of 2016. Agarwal’s resume prior to Gaana included co–founding businesses such as 19miles.com and PropTiger.com. Gaana, which is majority–owned by Times Internet, revealed in August of last year that it had crossed the 185 million monthly active user threshold. Tencent Holdings also holds around 34.4% ownership in Gaana having initially made a $115 million investment in the company in 2018 and increased its stake last year when it raised $51 million in debt to finance growth.

A new partnership has been formed between Outernet and respected broadcaster, Bob Harris, and his multi–platform music production and publishing firm, Under The Apple Tree. Scheduled to launch in central London later this year, the immersive media, music and entertainment space will house a 2,000–person venue, the return of the 12 Bar Club, and an additional intimate live space to open doors at the Denmark Street location. Outernet’s featured public atrium, The Now Building, will include a digital canvas covering four–stories. With 400,000 people anticipated to experience the space each day, Outernet London will mark a first in a global launch of further cultural districts. Under The Apple Tree is looking to support and promote the grassroots music scene in the U.K. via recording and filming sessions, promoting concerts, producing songwriting retreats and hosting stages at venues and festivals within the country. The company currently counts over 500 sessions on its YouTube channel which have generated over two million views to–date. Focuses of the collaboration will include broadcasting sessions along the Now Arcade and hosting events within the Outernet District such as live performances and the Denmark Street London International Songwriters’ Retreat in 2022.

Denise Chaila has been named as the winner of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year 2020 for the album Go Bravely (narolane). U2’s Adam Clayton made the announcement live following judging by a digital panel of Irish music media professionals, chaired by Jim Carroll. Denise receives a €10,000 prize, provided by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), as well as a specially–commissioned award. Hosted by Tracy Clifford, the event took place live on RTÉ2FM and RTÉ Player with exclusive performances from the artists, most of which were recorded at Windmill Lane Recording Studios. The winner of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish Song of the Year was also announced by singer–songwriter Ruth Anne, and won by Niall Horan with “No Judgement.” Decided by the public (Ireland only), via the RTÉ and Choice Music Prize websites, fans were given the chance to get behind their favorite song of 2020. RTÉ2 will broadcast a one–hour TV program of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize on Sunday, March 14th.

Digital distributor FUGA has further strengthened its marketing and promotion offering with the appointments of Alison Lamb and Liz Northeast to its London office. The pair join as the company has experienced recent success with Will Joseph Cook’s album Something To Feel Good About (The Vertex) and ahead of a new partnership with Peter Doherty’s new label venture, Strap Originals. Northeast joins in the newly created position of Client Relations Director EMEA. This follows an eight–year tenure as VP International at The Orchard and, more recently, leading the U.K. Artist & Label Development team at AWAL. Northeast is charged with client engagement, development and market intelligence. Lamb joins the London office as Digital Accounts/Marketing Strategy Manager. Previously General Manager at Prolifica Management, she played a key role in developing marketing strategies for You Me at Six and Two Door Cinema Club. Lamb will be working with FUGA’s U.K. clients and DSP partners on creative, dynamic marketing campaigns. Signed to FUGA by Sr. Director Business Development U.K. Charlie Dilks, Strap Originals is intended to serve as a home for his own music and artists that are not currently being heard, but that he wants to support. The first release comes later this week as the single “Oh Lover” by Trampolene.

g> catalog alongside Femi Kuti and Made Kuti. As part of this new venture, section1 will be responsible for the creative direction, A&R and overall vision of the label with Partisan providing funding, marketing and promotion via its global infrastructure alongside distribution through its existing partners. The first release under the JV will be “Jour 2” by Hildegard, a new project from experimental singer–songwriter Helena Deland and multi–instrumentalist and producer Ouri (Ourielle Auvé). Hildegard will release their debut album on section1 later this year.

To mark today’s International Women’s Day 2021, Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity that represents hundreds of Grassroots Music Venues in the U.K., will be highlighting the incredible women and female–identifying people who work in the grassroots music sector. Using the hashtag #WomenToTheFront across the week, MVT and the music venues across the country will be spotlighting the women who are vital to the grassroots music community. MVT recently announced six new patrons, all women working in the music industry, with rock duo Nova Twins, Welsh post–punk trio Adwaith, DJs Moxie and HAAi, singer–songwriter Kerri Watt and Director of Mother Artists Live, booking agent Natasha Gregory.

Sound City presents a special schedule of programming on its Guesthouse streaming platform and Facebook page today, and for the rest of this week, celebrating International Women’s Day. Liverpool Sound City is the lead U.K. festival for Keychange, the global network and movement, supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, working towards restructuring the music industry to establish full gender equality. To meet these goals, Sound City has established gender balance across its festival and conference line–ups as well as its training programs, while also counting a gender balanced staff and Board. On International Women’s Day this year, Sound City will present a special Keychange showcase on its Guesthouse platform, featuring sets from The Rodeo, Miss Tati, Kety Fusco and Joanna Duda. A dedicated Keychange conference will also be co–hosted on the Sound City Facebook page, with a number of panels including including a keynote interview with Keychange Ambassador Kate Nash. During the rest of the week, Guesthouse will highlight some of the great women–led performances from Sound City over the years including sets from Shishi, Sans Soucis, Kelli–Leigh and Cara Rose, as well as additional content.

Djooky Music Awards, the world’s first and largest online music contest, has finished its Winter Season with Kazakh folk metal band Ulytau being named winners with their track “Jumyr Kylysh.” Ulytau’s prize includes $10,000 cash and a trip to LA’s Capitol Recording Studios to record a song, post–COVID, with a team including Djooky Co–Founder/multi–Platinum U.S. producer, Brian Malouf (Madonna, Michael Jackson). The awards, designed to showcase emerging artists worldwide, continue to grow in popularity, with voters from 154 countries listening to tracks submitted by 1,606 artists from 120 countries this season. Chilean electronic musician, Tomas Verdugo (aka Verdgoivf), finished in second place with his track “Summer Vibes,” garnering a $5,000 cash prize. Meanwhile, Nigerian Afro–R&B singer–songwriter, Tam Ben (aka tambensings), saw his track “Electric Vibe” earning him the third–place finish, winning $2,000. One of the Global Finalists included the track “I Will Always” from U.K. artist Kule T, the former lead singer from popular ’90s R&B group MN8. Alongside the main season winners, there were also 11 Genre winners, who each receive a $1000 prize to further their music careers. A user from also Chile became the inaugural winner of the Don Grierson Award, presented to the music fan who is the most effective A&R scout, accurately identifying potential hits on the Djooky platform. The user will receive a cash prize of $1,000. The awards have now commenced their Spring Season and Djooky are encouraging artists worldwide to submit their tracks by Saturday, May 22nd. The winner of the first edition of the awards, Ohio’s Gina Brooklyn, will be travelling to LA to record a track with Malouf later this month after winning with her track “No More Hiding.”

In a groundbreaking move, musician and longtime blockchain advocate Justin Blau (3LAU) has sold a non–fungible token (NFT) collection for $11.6 million via an online auction, which took place last month. To celebrate the three–year anniversary of his album Ultraviolet, Blau sold 33 NFTs as part of the Ultraviolet Vinyl NFT Collection on Origin Protocol’s Dshop, a decentralized marketplace built on the InterPlanetary Filing System (IPFS) and Ethereum. The top NFT sold during this particular auction, which included an opportunity for the buyer to record a song with Blau, fetched $3.6 million, a world record for a single NFT with the total auction breaking record for the primary sale of an NFT collection. NFTs use blockchain technology to authenticate and designate an official copy of a piece of digital media, allowing artists, musicians, influencers and others to commercialize digital goods that would otherwise be of little value or free. A record of each NFT transaction is kept on a blockchain, making it part of a permanent public record and serving as a certification of authenticity that cannot be altered or erased. NFTs generated over $100 million in sales last month alone. To–date, Blau has generated over 1 billion streams with more than 300 million coming from Ultraviolet. An early crypto adopter he has realized over $12.7 million in primary sales from NFT auctions across his 3LAU and SSX3LAU.

Bhaskar Menon, the founding Chairman & CEO of EMI Music Worldwide, and respected music and film executive, died on March 4th at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 86. A citizen of the United States, Menon was born in India where he was educated at The Doon School and St. Steven’s College before earning a Master’s degree from Christ Church, Oxford. Menon was recruited to EMI in 1956 which resulted in a 34–year career, bringing the British company’s assets spread across 46 countries together under one roof. Joining the Gramophone Company of India in 1967, EMI’s Indian subsidiary, Menon was appointed Managing Director in 1965 and Chairman in 1969. Also in 1969, Menon was named Managing Director of EMI International with direct operating responsibility for companies in 25 countries. Two years later he was asked to temporarily move to Los Angeles as President & CEO of Capitol Records, in which EMI held a majority interest. Menon turned around the financially troubled Capitol EMI into a successful major player in the music industry. Los Angeles became Menon’s permanent home and, in 1978, he was appointed Chairman & CEO of EMI Music Worldwide, a position he would hold for 12 years. Along the way he cultivated a who’s who of iconic artists including The Beatles (as a group and solo projects), The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, Grand Funk Railroad, Helen Reddy, Steve Miller, Bob Seger, Anne Murray, Glen Campbell, Iron Maiden, Heart, Kenny Rogers, Duran Duran, Maria Callas and Ravi Shankar. He played a key role in introducing Pink Floyd to American audiences via 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon. Menon was appointed to Chairman of EMI Films & TV for N. America in 1978, which received five Academy Awards for its production of The Deer Hunter that year. In 1990, Menon was awarded the IFPI Medal of Honour for services to the Worldwide Music Industry after serving as Chairman of the IFPI for many years. That same year, he was appointed “Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres” by the French Government for services to the Music and Film Industries. In his final years, Menon served as strategic advisor and active board member for various companies, particularly NDTV India.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ferdy Unger–Hamilton, Caroline Elleray, Danny Rukasin, Bekki Newton, Brandon Young, Rochelle Holguin, Merck Mercuriadis, Mio Vukovic, Tuff Morgan, Ty Stiklorius, Steve Strange, Dan Chertoff, Alistair Norbury, James Foley and Seymour Stein.


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. Every day brings an unexpected experience or surprise. Click HERE for a year’s worth of surprises and experiences at someone else’s expense!


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– THE RUBENS



Founded a decade ago in Menangle, Australia is The Rubens–a five–piece pop rock outfit comprised of three Margin brothers, Zaac, Sam and Elliott, and friends Scott Baldwin and William Zeglis. Cementing their status as a band that continues to evolve as songwriters and push the boundaries of Alternative Rock/Pop, they have given their fans the new album 0202, featuring the single “Masterpiece.” The forward–thinking fourth album for a backward year, is an exciting new chapter for the band celebrating their creative peak that recently debuted at No.1 on the ARIA Charts. Their single “Live In Life” was nominated for ARIA Song Of The Year (Australia’s Grammy’s) and was the third most streamed Australian song of 2020, having achieved 35+ million streams. Following the second postponement for The Rubens’ Live In Life Tour due to COVID–19, their biggest headline tour to date, the tour was rebranded to the 0202 Album Tour. They’ll be touring the new dates, taking place next month through June, seeing the band play a 24–date run in Australia with dates for the rest of the world announced at a later time. Discover “Masterpiece” HERE and contact Matt Kennedy at matthew@wemanage.com.au, for all inquiries on The Rubens.


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – BLANKS

Simon de Wit aka Blanks is a 24–year–old musician from Groningen, Netherlands. His career started with his YouTube channel, which has over 1.2 million subscribers and his songs have collected millions of streams. He’s earned support ranging from Clash Magazine to MTV and was awarded the Best Artist award during Popgala Noord as part of Eurosonic–Noorderslag last year. The Dutch artist has returned with the new single and visual for “What You Do To Me,” as he describes what feels like an explosion of serotonin. The track is covered with synths and drums and has an irresistible retro feel to it. The visual doesn’t disappoint as it takes you on a modern 80s teen romantic comedy journey. Watch the video for “What You Do To Me” HERE and for additional information and inquiries regarding Blanks, contact blanks@wearephonic.com.


PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 3/7/2021



“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, March 7th, 2021: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, Germany; JioSaavn (worldwide); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; WZRH–FM New Orleans, LA; 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); 96.2 ZFM The Netherlands; WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, OH; 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; Rock 96.5FM Zambia; 897 FM Bratislava, Slovakia; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, NY; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia; WRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NY; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY; KZND Anchorage, AK; KQCJ Quad Cities, IL; Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany; Indie Xfm Los Angeles and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States, as well as many others internationally.

Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:

OSCAR LANG – “Something Has Changed” (Dirty Hit, UK)
DED RABBIT – “Gotta Get Outta This Place” (Unsigned, Scotland)
SLIDE – “Floating” (Slip N Slide Mix) (Unsigned, Sweden)
DOHNY JEP – “Looking In” (Memphis Music, UK)
STEREOTIDE – “All Together” (Unsigned, Germany)
THE VICES – “Looking For Faces” (Mattan Records, Holland)
THE HARA – “Black Soul Ceremony” (Unsigned, UK)
MIDDLE KIDS – “Questions” (EMI, Australia)
EAU ROUGE – “I Know That You Know” (Riptide Records, Germany)
SAM JOHNSON – “Shoulder To Cry On” (Universal Music, UK)
VIVII – “One Day” (Dumont Dumont, Sweden)
DARLING BOY – “Tea Drinkers Of The World” (Darling Boy Music, UK)
TIM SCHOU – “Comeback” (Iceberg Records, Denmark)
DOTAN – “There Will Be A Way” (7 Layers, Holland)
TEN TONNES – “Girl Are You Lonely Like Me” (Unsigned, UK)
THE LULU RAES – “Not For The Weekend” (Sony Music, Australia)
THE CLOCKWORKS – “Enough Is Never Enough’” (Creation 23, UK)
ALLDAY – “After All This Time” (Teamtrick, Australia)
LYERR – “Doctor’s Orders” (Unsigned, UK)
LOVEBREAKERS – “Family Man” (Little Rocket / Sabbath City, UK)
MY LIFE AS ALI THOMAS – “Rinn’” (Warner Music, Thailand)
RAZZ – “1969 – Conrad” (Unsigned, Germany)
YARD ACT – “Dark Days” (Unsigned, UK)
MATILDA MANN – “Paper Mache World” (Unsigned, UK)
JEREMY LOOPS – “Til I Found You” (Universal, South Africa)
TWO YEAR VACATION – “Moving On From Yesterday’” (Cloud Hills, Sweden)
LINN KOCH–EMMERY – “Hologram Love” (Welfare Sounds, Sweden)
THE RAH’S – “She’s Not” (Unsigned, Scotland)
LAURA HYDE – “Coca Cola” (Unsigned, Australia)
CRUCCHI GANG – “La La La io non ti amo non mi ami Aha Aha Aha” (Universal, Germany)
THE PALE WHITE – “Glue” (Unsigned, UK)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Loosie” (Unsigned, Sweden)
IAMJJ – “Your Parents House’” (Mermaid Records, Denmark)

(Check out the Passport Approved Radio “Featured Artists” on the daily profile exclusively on AllAccess.com including Oscar Lang, Jacob Browne, Sam Johnson, Jupiter’s Beard and Laura Hyde)