Industrial Strength January 11, 2019

Industrial Strength: All the major stories from the Christmas break

Industrial Strength: All the major stories from the Christmas break
Left to right: Andrew Taylor (managing director, Frontier Comedy), Michael Gudinski (chairman, Mushroom Group/managing director, Frontier Touring), Jim Jefferies,  Matt Gudinski (executive director, Mushroom Group). Pic by Rick Clifford - @rcstills.


Jim Jefferies finished off a massive Australian tour, breaking his own record with 56,000 tickets sold. 


A report from Deutsche Bank values Universal Music Group at €29 billion, or US$33.25 billion.

It previously valued at €20 billion.

The report, released on January 7, comes at a good time as Vivendi is hoping to sell off Universal Music Group by the end of 2019.

According to Deutsche Bank, possible suitors are Live Nation co-owner Liberty Media, Chinese digital giant Tencent,  Alphabet (aka Google), Facebook, Amazon, Spotify, Alibaba and Apple.


The inaugural Circus Paradise comes to the Gold Coast on Sunday, March 10, courtesy of Mark James, creator of Future Music and Summafieldayze.

It will be James’ first major event since 2012, during which he decided to go on hiatus and start a family.

Four stages will take in electronic dance and live music at Broadwater Parklands in a circus environment, with the 35-strong Australian and international bill headlined by Belgian techno DJ Charlotte de Witte.


Sydney’s Secret Garden festival announced that its 11th instalment – on Friday, Feb 22 and Saturday 23 in Brownlow Hill – will be its last.

“We have known for a long time that Secret Garden 2019 would be our last year,” organisers said.

“We have always wanted to go out with a big bang and the stars have aligned for this year to be the perfect time to drop the mic and say, Secret Garden –  11 and out.”

Secret Garden started out as a “mate’s mate” event where it was less about headliners and more about creating a community where audiences were encouraged to participate alongside musicians, dancers, performance artists and visual artists.

The event would sell out before the acts were announced, and raised almost $500,000 for charity.


* Niche welcomed hip hop act BIRDZ to its talent agency roster. The act’s new Trials-produced track “Place of Dreams” feat. Ecca Vandal was quickly playlisted by triple j, and launch dates are at Melbourne’s Gasometer (February 1) and  Waywards in Sydney (2)

* Sony/ATV Nashville signed Grammy-winning Josh Osborne to a worldwide publishing deal. In The US, he has had more than 40 singles as a songwriter, including 14 chart-toppers.

* Melbourne duo IV League are now repped for live bookings by Rob Giovannoni of Select Music. In February they play club shows in Brisbane and Melbourne, and appear at The Hills Are Alive festival in Victoria on March 29.

* 123 Agency added WA band Great Gable to its representation, with a national run behind new single “Cool Mind Blue”.

* Melbourne duo Skydeck’s debut record is out following deals with Sydney’s Dinosaur City Records and California’s Burger Records.


In its first year, the Australian Music Vault triumphantly drew 750,000 visitors.

The free permanent exhibition was created by the Victorian government and the music industry to include displays, learning programs and digital and interactive experiences.

Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer thanked “the many artists, producers, creators, managers, record labels, promoters, roadies and technicians who generously shared their stories and expertise this past year.

“I would also like to thank all our partners for their valuable contribution to the Australian Music Vault, in particular, our major partners – ARIA, APRA AMCOS and Spotify – for their ongoing support and collaboration. Arts Centre Melbourne looks forward to further enriching the lives of Australians through the power of music for many more years.”


Figures released on Sam Smith’s The Thrill of It All global tour revealed his eleven Australian shows drew 118,857 fans and grossed US $10.5 million.

Smith played 94 shows around the world, grossing  $86.1 million and shifting 1.07 million tickets.

Broken down the grosses were $36.9 million for North America  (473,414 attendance from 41 shows), $26.1 million for Europe (390,544 tickets from 31 shows) and $12.6 million for Asia where eleven shows generated a gross of $12.6 million.

Last week Smith was sighted holidaying in New Zealand.


A US judge has rejected Ed Sheeran’s attempt to have a copyright case dismissed.

The family of US songwriter Ed Townsend Jr. contends that Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud”, infringed Marvin Gaye’s 1973 classic “Let’s Get It On” (which he co-wrote).

US District Judge Louis Stanton in Manhattan found enough similarities in the two to warrant a jury decision.

Sheeran is also battling “similarity” claims over the song “The Rest of Our Life” which he penned for US country performers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and in 2017 surrendered ownership of “Photograph” to settle another lawsuit.


Adam Brand and Amber Lawrence will host the 2019 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) to be staged in Tamworth on Saturday, January 26.


Viscera Arts is a new Sydney-based record label set up by Tristan Berry, ex-Sony Music Australia, Nightlife Music and Universal Music Australia.

Berry has set it up as a model which builds an act up via singles and a “generous” royalty split.

Viscera Arts, distributed via The Orchard, officially launches on February 1 at the Lansdowne showcasing its first three signings – Moody Beach, Baby Beef and Dress Thèque – and a special guest.


* Among England magazine NME’s 100 tips for 2019 were Sydney’s Body Type, Brisbane’s Emerson Snowe, Haiku Hands, Brisbane’s Hatchie and Byron Bay’s Imbibe.

* Courtney Barnett’s “Need a Little Time” was listed by Barack Obama as one of his favourite tracks of last year.

* Barnett also is in the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee lineup in June.

* RÜFÜS DU SOL are, alongside Martin Garrix, headlining the two-day Shaky Beats 2019 in Atlanta in May.

* Kylie Minogue will play Sunday ‘legends’ slot at 2019 Glastonbury festival.

* Tame Impala are headlining April’s Coachella with Childish Gambino and Ariane Grande, as well as Boston Calling with Twenty One Pilots and Travis Scott.

Coachella has extended its deal with YouTube to this year also stream its second weekend.. Just as well: tickets sold out after six hours on sale.


French-based streaming service Deezer ended 2018 with seven million paid users and 14 million monthly active users.


UK music retail chain HMV is on the brink of administration for the second time in six years.

The 97-year-old chain has been hit by declining DVD sales and customers rapidly shifting to music and video streaming services.

Trading before and after Christmas was disappointing. 2,025 jobs are at risk.

Turnaround fund Hilco rescued HMV from insolvency in 2013.


Here’s a turn up for the books! A venue complaining of the other’s noise.

Canberra nightspot Hopscotch Bar is accused by its Lonsdale St neighbour, Tipsy Bull restaurant, of patrons making twice as much noise as allowed and upsetting its customers.

The bar insists it has done things to lower the din, including spending $20,000 on its sound system to adjust the music’s volume, but the two were marched into ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to begin mediation on Wednesday.


South Australia’s Newstyle Media, which decided to cease magazine production last year, now announces “We will no longer be continuing our coverage of Fritz online.”

It emphasised: “Newstyle Media will continue to play an active role in media and marketing in South Australia.”


As part of its rehabilitation program, the Northern Territory’s prison population will be downloading $783,669.80 worth of music as part of a rewards scheme by the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice.


A Californian judge has thrown out claims by NWA’s late manager against Universal over Straight Outta Compton.

In 2015, Jerry Heller claimed he had been defamed in the movie and simultaneously contended that the movie was based on a screenplay that he had helped write.

He died a few months later but his estate kept the case going – only to be told it hadn’t come up with enough proof.


* Reports suggest that a young man’s death at Victorian music festival Beyond The Valley was due to a snake bite and not a drug OD.

* Police were called when a 36-year old woman went missing from Woodford Folk with friends concerned she has a medical condition which requires medication.

* “How many more have to die?” a Parramatta Local Court Sydney magistrate snapped at a 27-year patron of Sensations who was nicked by a sniffer dog carrying 14 MDMA tablets in a condom internally. He is serving a 12-month community corrections order.

* The ABC reported that Victoria Police is investigating an incident at Falls Lorne when a car attempting to leave the campsite allegedly slid on a hill drove over a number of tents and landed on 24-year old Andrew Pepper who says he was told by paramedics he remains alive only because he was sleeping on his stomach and escaped with just a fractured vertebra.

* The Embedding Peace installation at Woodford Folk was created from the legacy of late Brisbane music journalist Ritchie Yorke’s work and his involvement with the powerful days of John and Yoko Lennon’s peace activism. Raised voices of patrons at the amphitheatre were recorded and carried to Montreal for the ’50th Anniversary Bed-in and War is Over Exhibition’, beginning April 2019, to share with Canadians in celebrating Yoko’s work in carrying the message to future generations: Woodford Folk stated: “’People Power’ is our biggest strength. All we need is love.”

* NYE on the Hill sold out for the sixth year in a row.

* Adelaide’s FOMO, headlined by Nicki Minaj, drew 10,000 to Elder Park.


SBS/Eurovision’s Australia Decides added drag queen (turned TV host) Courtney Act, The Voice semi-finalist Aydan and 16-year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter Leea Nanos.

They join Kate Miller-Heidke, Mark Vincent, Sheppard and Electric Fields to represent the country at Eurovision in Tel Aviv in May.

Electric Fields previewed their Eurovision entry, “2000 And Whatever” at the Woodford Folk Festival.

Three more names will be announced shortly.


A Brisbane venue’s successful appeal to allow ID scanning of patrons to begin later at night under certain circumstances has led to a rule change.

In those circumstances, those scanning IDs in Safe Night Precincts no longer have to be licensed crowd controllers.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said: “We’ve listened to the industry, who have said that the requirement of an additional security guard to scan IDs is a significant financial impost on them.”


* JJ (John James) Hackett was the drummer with Stars (1978-1979) Mondo Rock (1981-1990), during which he co-wrote “Primitive Love Rites”, The Fabulaires and Hoi Polloi, and also appeared on albums by Men At Work, Greg Champion and The Doug Anthony Allstars. He died at his home in Adelaide but cause of death was not revealed.

* Perth music producer Charlie Young worked at Northbridge studio Crank Recording and was deeply interested in marine conservation and the safety of sharks. The 26-year old was diving along the Rockingham Wreck Trail when he got into difficulties.

* Rob Wilson was a country music singer/songwriter, record producer, the owner of Longhorn Studio and member of the Australian Highwaymen tribute show who released his debut album Rough Around The Edges in 2003. He was diagnosed with cancer in October and passed on New Year’s Eve, aged 58.

* Al Slade was a photographer based in Lismore, NSW, who focussed on country music. A constant identity at gigs and festivals, he amassed a huge catalogue of artists and events. He passed after a battle with cancer.

* Rob Neil began in radio in the mid-80s after watching an episode of Simon Townsend’s Wonder World which featured Jonathon Coleman interviewing Max Rowley about his Radio Academy. The teenager went on to work on air in stations as 2WS, 2CH, 2SM, MIX 106.5 and 2GO. He fought a long battle with cancer, and passed at 56, leaving behind his wife Sue and five small children.


After an 18-month relationship, singer-songwriter Samantha Jade and Sony Music exec Pat Handlin got engaged.

Can we see Spicks and Specks back this year? Its reunion episode on Boxing Day drew 407,000 overnight metro viewers, signalling there was great consumer love for the show.

Jimmy Barnes’ next album Criminal Mind is out in May through Bloodlines/ Mushroom Group, while Sia has a new album and a feature-length musical which she wrote and will direct on her 2019 slate.

Two Prince tribute concerts planned by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for February have been cancelled after a conflict over performance rights with the late US rock star’s estate.

Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival director Colin Thompson was placed on 12-month diversion over an incident at the Golden Vine music club on July 19, where he swung a punch and grabbed the victim on the upper torso after  “a disagreement over a sensitive personal matter”.

Matthew Flame, who has been charged with murder of Angry Anderson’s son Liam will face court in January. Family friend Greg Van Borssum set up a GoFundMe page.

Ocean Grove play their last show with Luke Holmes (vocals) and Jimmy Hall (guitar) at UNIFY Gathering in Victoria on January 11. A new lineup will be unveiled down the track.

In New Zealand’s New Year’s Honours List, Malcolm Black, entertainment lawyer and singer with Netherworld Dancing Toys, became an Officer of the Order of Merit.

Becoming a Member of the Order of Merit was Paul Ellis former Sony Music NZ A&R exec (he signed Dave Dobbyn, Shona Laing, The Strawpeople and Bic Runga) and later was a judge on TV’s NZ Idol for two seasons and later New Zealand’s Got Talent.

In the UK version, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and composer and producer Nitin Sawhney picked up Commanders of the British Empire, while David Grant, singer-songwriter Gordon Giltrap and Mike Peters from The Alarm got MBEs (Members) as did UTA’s global head of touring Neil Warnock anti-secondary ticketing campaigner Claire Turnham, founder of the Victim Of Viagogo group.

At the end of Twenty One Pilots’ Australian tour, drummer Joshua Dun and longtime girlfriend, Debby Ryan journeyed to New Zealand where he proposed in a treehouse.

Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne married his longtime partner Katy Weaver inside the giant plastic bubble which the band uses as a prop at its concerts.

In a move to apprehend the culprits, WA police released CCTV footage of three people who broke into the Voyeur Bar in Subiaco last month and set the ground alight, causing $250,000 worth of damage. Police believe the three may have suffered minor burns as a result.

A campaign has started in Lancashire by McDonalds in Fleetwood to get Stevie Nicks (as in Fleetwood Mac) to come and serve customers for a few hours on a busy Saturday morning. 2,000 fans said they would attend, 13,000 reckoned they were “interested”.

The upcoming DVD release of Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will feature an extended (22 minute) and unseen scene from the band’s seminal Live Aid performance. A sing-along version of the film will launch in the UK this month.

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