Breaking Biz


Spotify offers stats and figures on 5th birthday

Today (May 22) marks the fifth year since Spotify opened for business in Australia, and to celebrate its milestone the streaming giant is throwing some numbers out there.

Aussies, according to Spotify, have streamed more than eight million years of music since launch, with Drake taking the title as Australia’s Top Streamed Artist of all time. Flume (No. 8) is the only homegrown artist to crack the top 10.

Also, Drizzy’s ‘One Dance’ is the Most Streamed Track (Flume appears twice in the top 10) and Justin Bieber’s Purpose is the market’s Most Streamed Album.

Spotify declares it “remains in a strong leadership position in Australia” and backs this up with comScore research which found 5 million Australians visited Spotify’s mobile and desktop platforms in March, though we’re not told how many paid subscribers use the service Down Under. The music service has also pressed the button on a Spotify Turns 5 on-platform hub, details on which can be found here.

Spotify Aus on the hunt for a new head

As TIO reported last week, Spotify Australia is on the hunt for a new head after its inaugural managing director Kate Vale decided to pursue options elsewhere.

The Information publishes report on Spotify growth

Staying with Spotify, a new report published by investment site The Information suggests the global business will report annual revenues spiking by about 50% at €2.9bn (US$3.2 billion), though annual operating losses will also widen significantly to between €300m and €400m (US$332 million).

Troy Carter makes headlines

And while we’re on Spotify and numbers, Troy Carter made headlines last week when he said something every other artist has been thinking:  that streaming services aren’t paying music creators nearly enough. Carter, who previously managed Lady Gaga and is now Spotify’s global head of creator services, told delegates at the U.S. Music Biz Convention: “We need to reconfigure the value chain”.

Guvera bites the dust

One company which needn’t bother is Guvera. The Australian streaming music platform, which lurched from one financial disaster to another, has finally bit the dust. A year after the ASX blocked its attempt to raise more than $100 million on a float, the company has finally pulled the plug.  Founder Claes Loberg has stepped as director of the company, which was founded on the Gold Coast in 2008 and, according to its ASX prospectus, raised $180 million from 3,000 investors before it went belly up.

Rock is coming to the rescue

John Williamson, Buzz Bidstrup (The Angels, Gangajang), Mark Evans (AC/DC) and Tyrone Noonan (George) are among the musos lending their voices to a benefit concert for Queenslanders hammered by ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie.  Kevin Borich (The Party Boys) and James Blundell are also confirmed to the bill for “The Flood Aid Rock Legends,” a special outdoor fundraising event to be held June 4 at the Logan Village Hotel.  Sponsors include Telstra, Jack Daniels, Mack Trucks and the venue’s owner McGuire Hotel Group, all of whom are contributing cash and in-kind support for the concert. Tickets are available at Oztix and are priced at $39.95 presale, with entry for children (under 12) pegged at $10.

Organisers will allocate 500 free tickets to emergency services, volunteers and flood victims. All profits from gate, food and bar will be donated to the flood victims’ recovery. Some 199 homes and around 20 businesses were inundated by the Logan River in the aftermath of devastating weather event in March.

Twickets to launch in Aus

Look for U.K. face-value ticket resale platform Twickets to announce its launch in Australia (with a hand in some huge upcoming tours) in the near future…

Australians again shone in the prestigious U.S.-based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Winners for the ISC were announced last week.  The 2016 competition honored a total of 60 songs written by Aussies, from the likes of Big Scary, Dallas Frasca, Gang of Youths, Kate Miller-Heidke and Katrina Burgoyne, a result strong enough to rank Australia just behind the U.S.

“Celebrating the talent of so many Australian songwriters reminds the world how important Australia is to the global music landscape,” explains Candace Avery, the founder and director of ISC. “There is so much incredible talent, and it is always a pleasure to discover up-and-coming Aussie artists as well as getting to revisit more seasoned ones.”

The 2016 competition saw more than US$150,000 in cash and merchandise awarded to 71 winners across multiple genre categories, with 10 Aussies collecting placing either first, second, or third in their respective categories.  Organizers combed through more than 16,000 entries from 137 countries throughout the world.  Judges this time included Tom Waits, Ziggy Marley, Bastille, Hardwell, Seymour Stein (Chairman/CEO, Sire Records) and the late Chris Cornell. Entries are now open for the 2017 competition. Visit songwritingcompetition.com for more information.

Jackie Orszaczky Music Lecture and Concert details announced

Get down to the Basement in Sydney on May 30 for the second Jackie Orszaczky Music Lecture and Concert, which this year sees playwright, author, librettist and muso John Shand taking the lectern.

The event, which pays tribute to the late Hungarian-Australian bassist, bandleader and composer, who had an major influence on the musicians orbiting him, will be held in conjunction with APRA AMCOS and the Live Music Office.

Afterwards, Jackie’s music will be celebrated in a performance by members of his bands and the Jackie Orszaczky Composition Competition will roll out in the weeks leading up to the lecture. APRA members are invited to compose a piece in the spirit of Jackie’s music and submit an MP3, with a $2,000 cash prize for the winner, which will be announced on the night.  Orszaczky, an APRA member for 32 years, was a “hugely influential songwriter, performer and bandleader who made a major and enduring impact on Australian music,” explains Brett Cottle CEO, APRA AMCOS, in a statement.

Departures

The final six dates on Soundgarden’s North American tour were scrapped following the death of the grunge rockers’ superstar singer Chris Cornell last week. Cornell, who also performed with Audioslave and Temple of the Dog, sang the Bond theme for Casino Royale and achieved the rare feat of hitting No. 1 on the U.S. albums chart with two bands, is believed to have committed suicide by hanging in a hotel room in Detroit where Soundgarden was performing. Cornell recently told reporters he had made good progress on a new Soundgarden album.

The Dotted Line

We are not worthy… but earMUSIC is

Alice Cooper has signed a worldwide deal with earMUSIC, ahead of the release of his first album in six years, Paranormal.  The veteran shock-rocker cut his new, 12-track album in Nashville with Bob Ezrin on production duties and guest spots from U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.  Paranormal will arrive July 28 on earMUSIC through Sony Music Entertainment Australia. Cooper will support the new release when he tours Australia this October with support from KISS spaceman Ace Frehley.

Niall Horan inks publishing deal

One Directioner Niall Horan has signed a multi-territory music publishing administration agreement with Downtown Music Publishing. The Irishman’s post 1D career is in full swing with two singles to his name, This Town and the new track Slow Hands. NYC-based Downtown was also 1D’s publishing administration partner.

Movers & Shakers 

In other news from Downtown Music Publishing, the publisher’s Nashville office promotes Danny Berrios from A&R manager to A&R director.

Staying stateside, Atlantic Records promoted Dionnee Harper and Marsha St. Hubert to senior vice presidents of Urban Marketing.

There’s a vacancy at Epic Records where executive VP of media and strategic development Laura Swanson was sacked last week. Swanson was seen as a loyalist to the disgraced former CEO L.A. Reid.

The Big Stage

The Amsterdam Dance Event is moving

After 16 years in the Felix Meritis – an impressive multi-story building which served as the HQ for the Communist Party of the Netherlands after WWII – will move to DeLaMar Theater for this year’s confab. It’s only a temporary move while renos continue at the grand old home. This year’s ADE takes place October 18-22.

Live Nation has something for you

Got a chunk of cash burning a hole in your wallet? The live entertainment giant is selling a limited edition “Festival Passport,” which gives its owner access to LN’s 90-plus tickets around the globe, including Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza in the U.S., Reading and Download Festivals in the U.K. and Australia’s Falls Fest. The all-in-one ticket cost US$799 (plus 3% credit card fee plus shipping) and the onsale starts Tuesday morning. Visit FestivalPassport.com for more.

It’s official: Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour is a blockbuster

Billboard has crunched the numbers on ticket sales data and it’s looking like an all-time top 10. Worldwide grosses from the tour now total $308 million and could near $500 million by the time Chris Martin and co. pull up stumps in October. U2’s 360° Tour is No. 1 on the list, earning $736 million from 2009-2011. Coldplay should move past the No. 10 ranked tour pretty soon: The Rolling Stones’ mid-90s Voodoo Lounge trek which banked $320 million.

Crossing Borders

Pia launches Ticketore

Pia Corporation, the company behind Japan’s largest ticket primary agency, Ticket Pia, has launched Tiketore, the market’s first face-value ticket exchange. The service opened for business May 10 and is endorsed by peak bodies the Japanese Federation of Music Producers (FMPJ), Japanese Association of Music Enterprises (JAME), All-Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters’ Conference (ACPC) and Computer Ticketing Council, all of which backed #ResaleNO, a campaign aimed at stamping out the extortionate sums changing hands on secondary sites. Pia reportedly charges the seller and buyer a 10% handling fee, with the latter also paying for the cost of posting the ticket.

Chart Geek

Everyone’s wild about Harry. The former One Direction star Harry Styles blasts to No. 1 in the U.S., U.K. and Australia with his debut solo set, Harry. In the U.S., Harry’s 193,000 combined units are the biggest debut sales week for a U.K. male artist’s first full-length LP since Nielsen Music began tracking sales back in 1991. And he becomes just the second U.K. male artist to open at No. 1 with a debut album in the 60-years-plus history of the Billboard 200. Who was the first? His former 1D bandmate Zayn Malik with Mind of Mine. Styles got a big leg up with his week-long residency last week on James Corden’s Late Late Show and thanks to the spectacular international success of Harry’s lead single, Sign Of The Times.

The big number on singles charts around the globe right now is Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s ‘Despacito’, featuring Justin Bieber, which owns top spot in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.  In the U.S., it’s the first mostly-Spanish language track to reach the summit since Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” in 1996.

Final word

Justin Bieber can seemingly bust U.S. chart records at will right now. He becomes the first artist to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in back-to-back weeks after “Despacito” ousted DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (on which he guests on with three others).