Is this just a shakeup waiting to happen? We bring you one highly implosive Live Nation, where monumental losses are rivaled only by equally-monumental executive salaries. It’s a recipe for crash-and-burn disaster, and insiders are now pointing Digital Music News to a very handsome allocation of stock options for half-a-dozen Live Nation brass. These all seem to be options with a $0 strike price, which means huge, mega-million payoffs starting early next year, though insiders emphasized that these payouts are contingent upon some ‘performance benchmarks’. Of course, it remains unclear exactly how difficult those benchmarks are, with one suggesting a laughably low bar.
Separately, Live Nation is remaining very quiet on whether top-level execs like CEO Michael Rapino were granted raises during the loss-heavy 2012 (Rapino was compensated roughly $12 million in 2011). That information should be leaking anytime now…
Which brings us to another financial mess, Spotify. Unfortunately, Spotify seems to be getting frozen out of Canada, with sources pointing to tundra-like licensing conditions. That was a big bummer at CMW, though it doesn’t seem to be the case in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. That’s where one China-based source pointed to a launch ‘within 2.5 weeks,’ though we’ve learned to be cautiously optimistic on license-dependent announcements.
Ek v. Mulligan: thank goodness this isn’t a remix. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is suddenly on the defensive after respected industry analyst Mark Mulligan exposed a massive amount of churn in the music subscription space. During a SXSW presentation (first reported by Digital Music News), Mulligan noted that Spotify burned through 1.9 million registered users just to hang on to 400,000 at some point in 2011; Ek defended the extreme churn by pointing to churn-plagued ‘successes’ like Twitter and even Facebook. Others, like Deezer and Rhapsody, seem to be getting overwhelmed by extremely heavy abandonment rates that may be endemic to this space.
Which brings us to the real solution for this mess: a brand new, Spotify logo. Here it is folks…
Elsewhere, social-focused startup Fanzy has just raised $550,000, thanks to a round led by Kima Ventures (Rapportive, Sparrow), Start Capital (State.com, Senzari) and OREFA. Fanzy is heavily focused on Facebook loyalty rewards, and music partners include Nirvana and LMFAO. Cofounder Tuhin Roy told Digital Music News that the latest round brings the overall funding level to about $1.5 million.
And this rumor was true: The Rolling Stones will indeed be playing Glastonbury, which kicks off June 28th. Oh, and Daft Punk won’t be playing Coachella, according to official word from the electronica phenoms.
Which brings us to some fun, Coachella rumors. Apparently the two-weekend, ‘clone it’ format was actually a compromise with local officials, at least according to the latest scuttlebutt. “They’re looking at a huge demand that they can only partially satisfy, so they needed a much, much bigger event,” the source told Digital Music News. The only problem, as local politics goes, is a small armada of blue-haired ladies that opposed a mega-event and almost drove the festival to a different locale. “If you’re a local official you can’t tell those little old ladies to go beat it, because they’re the only ones that vote,” the source quipped.