Latest Industry: Help Musicians UK, Spotify’s ‘Reassurance,’ Official Charts, Skiddle, More…

New report reveals why Help Musicians UK CEO abruptly resigned.

Richard Robinson, CEO of Help Musicians UK, an influential music industry charity, resigned last week.  Now, Private Eye, a popular British news magazine has revealed why.

Robinson reportedly managed a “toxic” workplace with “serious internal problems.”  He allegedly oversaw misspending of the charity’s £76 million ($100 million) cash reserves on projects “directed at image-building rather than at the charity’s true objectives.”  Half of Help Musicians UK staff also left after making a “stockpile” of complaints about his “unprofessional” conduct.

A spokesperson only confirmed that Robinson left the charity “for personal reasons.”


Spotify says they won’t be competing with labels (wink, wink…)

Following the release of the company’s Q2 2018 financials, Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO, has reassured labels it won’t compete against them with its direct-licensing deals for indie artists.  Ek said Spotify isn’t ‘signing’ anyone, but, unsigned artists are totally fair game.

During today’s conference call, Ek clarified things before throwing in a zinger (see the last sentence):

“As a platform, we’ve always licensed music from rightsholders both large and small, and we will continue to license music from whoever owns the rights.

“Licensing content doesn’t make us a label, nor do we have any interest in being a label… We want to grow the number of labels and creators on the platform, as well as the number of creators using our tools and services.  In some cases, we license from labels, and in others, from artists if they own the rights to their own music.”

Earlier, rumors focused on Spotify’s interest in directly licensing music from promising artists.  That would lower Spotify’s label licensing rates, and help alleviate serious licensing overhead problems.


Twitch will teach you how to livestream.

Twitch, Amazon’s live-video platform, has launched Creator Camp.  The company said it will serve as a website “where streamers can get the information they need to grow and improve their streams, all in one place.”


UK Official Charts Company signs deal with Instrumental.

Instrumental, a digital A&R scouting platform, has signed a deal with the Official Charts Company in the UK.  The agreement will see Instrumental “enrich datasets and enhance emerging talent discovery for UK subscribers.”  The Official Charts Company will include UK sales and streams for artists discovered through the Instrumental platform.


Fyre Festival founder pleads guilty.

Billy McFarland, co-founder of the disastrous Fyre Festival, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in connection with a ticketing scam.  He also pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud.  McFarland had written a check with the name and account number of an employee without prior authorization.  Finally, he pleaded guilty for making false statements to a federal law enforcement agent.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 17th.


Skiddle refunds Hope and Glory Festival attendees out of pocket.

Following last year’s ill-fated Hope and Glory Festival, Skiddle, a UK ticketing agency, has revealed £65,000 (around $85,000) in losses.  The agency gave festivalgoers refunds following reports of queues, bottlenecks, and cancelations.  Hope and Glory Festivals Ltd. went into liquidation a month after the event.

Skiddle revealed in a statement,

“Skiddle, as one of the ticketing partners [with Eventbrite], then took the unprecedented step of refunding customers out of our own pockets.  In total, we lost over £65,000 – a significant amount for any business.  As an organization that puts our customers first, we’re proud of this decision and feel it was entirely the right thing to do.”


Irish lawmakers crack down on ticket resales and bots.

Lawmakers in Ireland have presented new legislation that would prohibit selling tickets at above face value for sporting and entertainment events.  The Republic of Ireland would also prohibit using bot software to purchase multiple tickets.


UMPG Ups Kokakis.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has just upped David Kokakis into the newly-created role of Chief Counsel.  The Santa Monica-based Kokakis will continue overseeing UMPG’s Business and Legal Affairs department and digital rights.


MTV VJ Jesse Camp found.

Police in Fontana, California located former MTV VJ Josiah Camp, better known as Jesse Camp.  His sister, Marisha, had reported him missing on July 19th after failing to answer family phone calls.  Authorities had originally believed Camp was transient and living in hotels.

In a statement, a Riverside Police spokesperson said,

“Josiah ‘Jesse’ Camp is no longer considered missing.  He was contacted by a local law enforcement agency a short time ago and not in need of any assistance.  His family has been notified.  No further information will be released.”


UMPG signs Chris Young.

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) Nashville has signed country star Chris Young to a global publishing deal.  He has written songs for Kane Brown, Jackie Lee, and The Shires.  Young also has seventeen gold, platinum, and multi-platinum records.


Does Google slow YouTube on non-Chrome browsers?

A Mozilla engineer has claimed YouTube’s redesign has purposefully made the video platform slower on Firefox and Edge.

Chris Peterson, the company’s Technical Program Manager, tweeted,

“YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome because YouTube’s Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome.”

A Google spokesperson dismissed the claim, stating internal tests found YouTube’s performance hasn’t changed.


Oak View Group poaches Hank Abate from MSG.

Oak View Group has named Hank Abate as President of Oak View Facilities.  He joins from Madison Square Garden (MSG), where he served as Executive Vice President.  Based in New York City, Abate will report to Tim Leiweke, President of Oak View Group.


Fans slam Nicki Minaj and Future for adding Tekashi 6ix9ine.

Hip-hop fans have taken to social media to lambast Nicki Minaj and Future for adding beleaguered rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine as a supporting act on the NickiHndrxx Tour.  Tekashi has previously admitted to using a child in a sexual performance in a video.


AWAL signs deal with deadmau5.

Canadian EDM producer and DJ deadmau5 has signed a worldwide recordings deal with Kobalt’s AWAL.  Both have previously worked together on his albums, Where’s the drop? and W:/2016ALBUM/.  The deal offers a full range of services, including global marketing, campaign coordination, and global distribution.


Lauryn Hill reschedules and cancels multiple tour performances.

Lauryn Hill has canceled multiple upcoming performances on her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour, including in Charlotte, North Carolina, Raleigh, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Virginia.  Hill has moved the Nashville performance to October 11th, Atlanta to October 13th, and Miami to October 15th.

In a statement, Live Nation lamented the cancelations.

“Due to unforeseen production issues, a select number of dates on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour have been postponed or canceled.  For postponed shows, tickets will be valid for the rescheduled date.”


Patrick Williams passes away.

Patrick Williams, an Emmy-award winning TV composer, has passed away.  He was 79.  Williams had scored music for iconic television shows, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Streets of San Francisco, among many others.


David Apps passes away.

David Apps, a British veteran booking agent, has passed away following a short illness.  He was 83.  At Tito Burns’ agency, Apps represented the Searchers, Bob Dylan, and Simon and Garfunkel.