The Big Stage

More than 25 U.K. festivals will “black out” their websites for 24 hours today (May 8) in a show of solidarity against sexual assault.

As part of a “Safer Spaces” campaign orchestrated by the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), members will share a short animation over social media with the hashtag #saferspacesatfestivals. It’s part of a wider project launched by AIF with guidance from Rape Crisis England and Wales, Girls Against, Safe Gigs for Women and the White Ribbon Campaign to create awareness of sexual assault just ahead of the summer festival season. Also, more than 60 AIF members have signed a charter of best practice aimed at stamping out sexual assault through a series of measures including a zero tolerance policy towards any form of sexual harassment at their events. Read more here.

Breaking Biz

As the ban on ticketing bots becomes official in the U.K., Australia’s live industry in demanding the government take tough action

Trade body Live Performance Australia last week issued a call to Australian ministers to back stringent new proposals after decision-makers “failed to keep up with international efforts” to combat bots. “The U.K. and U.S. have taken action, but the Turnbull Government is missing in action,” LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said.  Richardson concedes primary ticketing sites also had a role to

“The U.K. and U.S. have taken action, but the Turnbull Government is missing in action,” LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said.  Richardson concedes primary ticketing sites also had a role to

Richardson concedes primary ticketing sites also had a role to play, but wants the Turnbull Government to support legislation which outlaws the use of bots to buy tickets which are then resold on the secondary market, often at vastly increased prices.

The LPA lauded independent Senator Nick Xenophon’s recently proposed legislation to ban bots. That motion was supported by the Opposition, the Greens and Senators Lambie and Hinch, but was opposed by the Government. Effective legislation and enforcement is the right response, Richardson said. “Fans and artists in Australia – and around the world – should expect the Australian Government to be doing its part to fight the bots and ensure that genuine fans have fairer access to tickets.”

Ticketmaster, notes LPA, has reported that it blocked 5 billion attempts by bots to unfairly access their websites globally in 2015 and bot activity grew by 10 percent in 2016.

Voting closes Wednesday (May 10) for the 11th AIR Awards

The AIR Awards went MIA last year, but it’s set to take place for the first time in Adelaide at the Queen’s Theatre, Adelaide on July 27.

Movers & Shakers

Lucian Grainge has another big win in the bag

The Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group will be honored at the annual The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as the 2017 Media Person of the Year. The British-born, U.S.-based Grainge is the first music executive to be recognised since the award was launched in 1999.

The honour recognises “innovators who have shaped the future of media” and will be bestowed to Grainge at a ceremony June 21 during the Festival. Just last year, Grainge, ranked No. 1 on its annual Power Players list, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his accomplishments and leadership in the music industry, as well as his for services to British business and inward investment.

Laurent Hubert is the new President/Chief Revenue Officer for Kobalt Music Group

Hubert, who joined Kobalt late last year to run its newly formed B2B rights management platform division, replaces Richard Sanders, who will leave at the end of June after five years at the top. In his new, expanded role, Hubert will oversee the independent music company’s worldwide music publishing and neighbouring rights activities, and will continue to chair the investment committee for transactions made by Kobalt Music Capital and Kobalt Music Group. Prior to joining Kobalt, Hubert served as President, Marketing & Creative, at BMG and as Chief Operating Officer at BMG Music Publishing before that. Kobalt chairman and CEO Willard Ahdritz also reportedly promoted several key executives, including Sas Metcalfe (now chief creative officer); Lonny Olinick (now chief strategy officer), Marissa Mencher (now chief people officer), and Jeannette Perez (now president of global synch and brand partnerships).

UK Music has looked outside the industry’s ranks for its new CEO

Michael Dugher, a Labour MP, will replace Jo Dipple who is standing down from the position at the umbrella trade body. Dugher will resign as member of parliament for Barnsley East ahead of June’s general election. It would appear UK Music has a fighter as its incoming CEO.

Dugher was sacked as Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport last year after he publicly criticised the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on several occasions. Speaking on his appointment, Dugher says he’ll work to “ensure our industry is protected during the Brexit process and that we continue to thrive. Safeguarding intellectual property, protecting venues, promoting new opportunities and broadening diversity in the sector are all central to our work at UK Music.”

Departures

Vale Kevin Garcia

Kevin Garcia, the 41-year-old bass player with American indie rock act Grandaddy, died May 2 after suffering a massive stroke. Grandaddy returned earlier this year with their first album in more than a decade, Last Place. Garcia contributed bass parts to the LP and was meant to join the band for a U.S. tour, which has been cancelled in the wake of his death.

The Dotted Line

Universal Music Publishing Australia has signed Olympia to a worldwide Publishing deal

The Melbourne singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist won fans with her debut album Self Talk, which was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize for the best album of 2016 (eventually won by A.B. Original’s Reclaim Australia).  The artist (real name Olivia Bartley) will take her show on the road when she plays the Great Escape in Brighton, England later this month.

The Damned are mounting a comeback

The British punk legends signed with the Search and Destroy label ahead of their 11th album release, their first for nearly a decade. The as-yet-unnamed new set will be recorded this summer and is the follow up to, So, Who’s Paranoid? from 2008. The influential rockers’ 40-year-plus career was the subject of a Wes Orshoski -directed 2015 documentary film, Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead. The label is a joint-venture of Spinefarm Records/Universal and Raw Power Management, the international artist management company that guides the careers of Bring Me The Horizon, At the Drive In and others.

Ratbag Records ink new signing

Rockhampton foursome Pandamic has joined the roster of Dune Rats’ Ratbag Records.  With the deal tucked away, Pandamic will release their ‘Archer’ EP on June. They’ll give the new EP a good push when they hit the road with Dune Rats and Tired Lion for a regional tour through June and July.

Crossing Borders

‘The Voice’ is coming to Singapore and Malaysia. But if you can’t sing in Mandarin, don’t bother coming to the audition

A single version of the TV talent quest will be produced for the two markets by mm2 Entertainment, Starhub and Malaysian broadcaster Astro. But wannabe pop stars aren’t thrilled with the terms.

“’The Voice’ is always on the search for true talents with good voices regardless of their appearances,” reads a statement on its website. “You are welcomed to join as long as you are at least 16 years old, have a good voice, are fluent in Mandarin, and are able to perform Mandarin songs.”

Not surprisingly, social media is giving the show a kicking about its language exclusivity. Commentators point out the new ‘Voice’ is likely trying to take on the hit series ‘Sing! China,’ which features singers performing in Mandarin. We’ll sit back and watch how all this pans out.

Chart Geek

DJ Khaled is The One right now. The Miami record producer snatches the top spot on the U.K. and Australian singles chart at the first attempt with the guest-crammed “I’m The One.” It’s his first No. 1 in either market, and is no doubt helped by the high-profile feature slots from Justin Bieber, Migos’ Quavo, Chance The Rapper and Lil Wayne.

Ed Sheeran might have lost his singles chart crowns, but his third album Divide does enough to stave off Gorillaz’ Humanz to bank a ninth week at the summit of the U.K. albums chart, the longest unbroken run at the top for any of this three albums. In Australia, Bliss N Eso  collect another chart topper with Off The Grid which opens at the top of the ARIA Albums Chart, with Sheeran’s Divide dropping to No. 2 and Gorillaz’ latest starting at No. 4.

In the week Bruno Mars announced an arena tour of Australia and New Zealand, the R&B-pop partyboy climbs 3-1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “That’s What I Like,” while Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. continues its reign atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.

The Last Word

She says she might never tour again, and she certain doesn’t need to. Adele made £40 million last year, and is now worth £125 million, good enough to mark her out as Britain’s top-earning female artist, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Still, with all that cash, she’s only equal 19th on a list dominated by old, white rockers. Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell top the list with £780 million.