Mick Eve, sax player for Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames, was mooching around the musical instrument shops in London’s Denmark Street as one did in 1966. His friend Chas Chandler, whom Mick had known as bassist for the Animals but who had recently returned from a talent-fishing trip to America, ran out of a guitar store and said excitedly in broad Geordie: “Mick, Mick! You got to come and hear this bloke play; I found him in New York!” “I don’t need to go into the shop, Chas,” replied Mick in droll Cockney, “I can hear ’im from ’ere”, which he certainly could – a restlessly remarkable, eerily savage sound emanating from within. This was the afternoon of 22 September, Jimi Hendrix’s first full day in England. Eve’s is one of the many stories not included in the biopic Jimi: All is By My Side, narrating the life of unarguably the greatest guitarist and blues magician of all time, as he left New York for … [Read more...] about When Jimi Hendrix came to London, he changed the sound of music for ever
As streaming services make recorded music accessible and cheap, concerts, tours and live events have become the new money-minting part of the music business. Artists are getting creative with what forms those live events can take and, in turn, fans flock to them for new kinds of experiences with their favorite artists. The latest evidence of this new tactic: A reggae music cruise that’s sold out almost a whole year before it sets sail. The Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, a five-night escapade setting sail on December 9th, 2019 and helmed by Grammy-winning reggae musician Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, sold out in record time this year for its sixth iteration — and with no lineup yet announced, according to promoters. Its first excursion in 2014 hosted 2,400 passengers; by 2016, it doubled to 4,370. Next year’s sold-out cruise will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stop in Ochos Rios and Falmouth, Jamaica. “We are all very proud to see Welcome to … [Read more...] about A Music Cruise Sells Out a Year Ahead of Time
It wasn’t until I saw a copy of the 1938 pamphlet for the Entartete Musik (Degenerate Music) exhibition that I fully grasped the concept behind the Nazi’s music censorship campaign. The cover image, with its caricature of an African-American musician playing a saxophone and wearing a Star of David on his jacket lapel, encapsulated the exhibition’s themes – namely the destructive influence of “Negro Music” on Germanic culture and the “Jewish conspiracy” to sully Teutonic moral decency. While the discovery in Munich of a hoard of Nazi-looted artworks – has raised fresh questions about the scope of the Entartete Kunst exhibition of 1937, the Third Reich’s parallel music exhibit is less well known. Mounted in Düsseldorf in May 1938, the Degenerate Music exhibition was produced during a week celebrating “national music”, and presented the non-Aryan works that didn’t belong in the Nazi’s musical culture. … [Read more...] about Songs of exiles: rescuing ‘degenerate music’ from the shadows
It’s an exciting time for the owners of Universal Music Group. Paris-based Vivendi, parent to the world’s biggest recorded music company, updated its shareholders this month with the news that a $3 billion–plus deal with China’s Tencent — the latter company is set to acquire 10%–20% in UMG – should move to the final stages within the next few weeks. Not only that, but more bidders are apparently now showing their interest in UMG, as Vivendi reiterates its willingness to sell up to 50% of its most lucrative asset. “[There is a] continuing process for the potential sale of an additional minority stake in UMG to other partners,” said Vivendi in a statement dated October 17th. “Some have already expressed an interest in investing at a similar price level [as Tencent].” You don’t have to be an economics wonk to see why such would-be bidders, over and above any strategic “synergies,” might be tempted to … [Read more...] about Streaming Growth Is Slowing at the World’s Biggest Music Company. Could TikTok Help?
Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV — Sony’s recorded music and publishing divisions, respectively — will come together under one umbrella company next month, creating a structure in line with that of the other two major music companies. In an internal memo sent on Wednesday and reviewed by Rolling Stone, Sony Corporation CEO Kenichiro Yoshida told colleagues that the two entities will become one large “Sony Music Group” under current Sony Music Entertainment chairman Rob Stringer. While SME Japan will remain a separate entity, SME and Sony/ATV Music Publishing will now both report to Stringer, who will run both SME and the new umbrella company. The reorganization means that Sony’s record labels and artist roster — which includes formidable acts like Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake as well as newer signees such as Travis Scott and Lil Nas X — will enjoy a “higher degree of collaboration” with Sony’s publishing … [Read more...] about Sony’s Music Recording and Music Publishing Companies Are Now One
Tencent Music Entertainment, the biggest music-streaming company in China, is in trouble. Ever since the company struck a sub-licensing deal with Warner Music Group (WMG) in November 2014 — the first of its kind — it has enjoyed a privileged relationship with the world’s biggest music-rights companies. That privileged relationship is now facing severe scrutiny. In January, China’s State Administration of Market Regulation launched an investigation into Tencent Music Entertainment, and its current contracts with all three major record companies: WMG, plus Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. As part of these contracts, it’s understood, TME not only gains the ability to license the catalogs of these companies for its own platforms (QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo), but also to sub-license this material to its rival services, including NetEase Cloud Music and Alibaba’s Xiami. If TME is found to be unfairly advantaging itself commercially in … [Read more...] about Will Tencent’s Hunger to Own the Music Business Stop at Universal and Spotify?