Breaking Biz

Concert business moves quickly after Manchester attack

The concerts business has moved quickly to assuage fans fears after the disturbing events which took place May 22 in Manchester, where more than 22 lives were lost in a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.

Grande postponed her Dangerous Woman tour, which was meant to touch down in Australia this September, and a bunch of European dates have been scrapped, while a string of U.K. concerts from Blondie to Take That, KISS and others were quickly cancelled in light of the tragedy. Grande’s partner Mac Miller nixed shows in the U.S. It’s hard to imagine the live music experience won’t be profoundly changed.

The signs can already be seen Down Under, where security measures were tightened ahead of this year’s Vivid Festival kicking off in Sydney, while Frontier Touring told News Limited that backpacks and large bags will “strictly not be allowed” at Ed Sheeran’s 2018 arena tour.

Live Nation, producers of Grande’s tour, is reportedly offering refunds to ticketholders of its shows throughout the U.K., which include Katy Perry, Iron Maiden, Phil Collins and Depeche Mode. Australia’s terror threat level continues to be graded at “probable,” while the U.K.’s current threat level was raised from “severe” to “critical” and back to “severe”. At the time of writing, Greater Manchester Police had arrested 13 people in connection to the Manchester Arena blasts. Grande has vowed to return to Manchester for a benefit concert later this year.

The Rolling Stones just keep rolling along, despite the band’s latest bout of bad health

Guitarist Ronnie Wood had a lung lesion removed, but is expected to make a full recovery, according to a rep for the band. The Stones are due to hit the road again in Europe this September and the 69-year-old Wood (the youngest in the band) is expected to join his bandmates. Each of the Stones have gone down at some point, but they always seem to bounce back. Drummer Charlie Watts underwent chemo for throat cancer in 2004, and Keith Richards nearly lost his life when he fell from a tree in Fiji in 2006.  And just last year, the Stones cancelled a show at Hanging Rock when Mick Jagger went down with a throat infection. Wood has previously attended rehab to deal with his alcoholism.

Do you have what it takes to create an original piece of music for the grand organ at Sydney Town Hall?

The City of Sydney is putting out the call to a local muso, composer, or music collective to create for the grand organ. The composition will get its debut as part of the 175th anniversary activities for Sydney Open — coordinated by Sydney Living Museums — on Sunday November 5. The commission is $10,000 and you have until June 5 to enter. Email Lisa Murray for a copy of the Organ Commission brief at [email protected] and visit the website for more details.


Congrats go out to Charlotte Abroms, the latest recipient of the Lighthouse Award

Established by APRA AMCOS, the prize supports the professional development of a female manager or self-managed artist based in Victoria. Abroms, a Melbourne-based music manager who guides the careers of Haarlo, Ainslie Wills and Gretta Ray, collects a $5,000 winner’s cheque and joins previous recipients including Jen Cloher, Bonnie Dalton and Bernadette Ryan. The prize honours the memory of the late, trailblazing artist manager Linda Gebar, who worked with the likes of The Killjoys, Frente and The Blackeyed Susans. Read more on Abroms’s endeavours here.


Movers & Shakers 

Danny Hannaford
is the head of the Australian operations for Twickets, the fan-to-fan ticket resale platform which marks its first expansion outside the U.K. Hannaford is based in Melbourne and previously served as Head of Ticketing at U.K. promoter Global Live.

Tidal is scouting for another CEO after Jeff Toig exited less than 18 months in the job. Toig is the streaming company’s third CEO in two years. He succeeded interim CEO Peter Tonstad, who assumed duties from Tidal’s original leader Andy Chen.


Alia Dann Swift passes away

The International Live Music Conference’s (ILMC) longtime producer Alia Dann Swift passed away May 23 at her home in Melbourne after a battle with cancer. The much-loved producer joined the ILMC in 2000, having carved a career in tour management, production coordinator and artist liaison, working with the likes of Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, REM and Peter Gabriel along the way. According to IQ, Swift played a role in the historic reunion of Roger Waters and David Gilmour for a Pink Floyd performance at London’s Live 8 in 2005. ILMC is inviting friends and colleagues to contribute to a permanent page on the website.

Gregg Allman passes

Gregg Allman, the legendary southern rocker who was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame with his band the Allman Brothers, died May 27 at the age of 69. The pioneering blues-rockers were known for such songs as “Dreams,” “Whipping Post,” “Midnight Rider” and “Revival,” and enjoyed life at the summit of the Billboard 200 on one occasion, with 1973’s ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ which led the chart for five weeks. Allman’s brother and fellow founder Duane died in 1971 but the group went on with various lineups, earning Rock Hall induction in 1995 and famously reuniting in 1999 for an 18-night stand at New York’s Beacon Theatre in celebration of its 30th anniversary. The singer and songwriter battled crippling heath issues in recent years. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 and underwent a liver transplant in 2010.


The Dotted Line 

The Dutchess has a new crown

Fergie, the Black Eyed Pea rapper and singer, has signed with BMG ahead of the release later this year of The Dutchess, her second solo album, Double Dutchess. The German music company has nailed a worldwide partnership with Fergie and her newly formed record label Dutchess Music. The deal is a “dream come true,” the ‘My Humps’ singer said in a statement. “This next chapter in my career will allow me the independence to evolve both as an artist and as a businesswoman.” The first single from her new album, ‘M.I.L.F. $,’ cracked the top 30 in Australia on debut last year.

Music Glue lands merch deal through Probity

Music Glue, the U.K.-based direct-to-fan firm, will power the online merchandise sales for a slew of top acts after sticking a partnership with independently-owned music merch company Probity. Through the new arrangement, Metallica is the first act to utilize the relaunched version of Music Glue’s e-commerce platform, while the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against The Machine and Zara Larsson are now on board. Music Glue opened for business 10 years ago and claims to work with more than 35,000 artists, with over 450 new bands signing up each week. The company, which says it’s growing by 15% quarter-on-quarter, allows artists to sell music, merch and tickets from multiple suppliers in the same place.


Chart Geek

“Despacito” means “slowly” in Spanish, but the song has very quickly taken control of singles charts around the globe. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee collaboration, which features Justin Bieber, is No. 1 for a third week in U.K. and a second week atop the survey in the U.S. and Australia. The official video is the most watched clip on YouTube this year with more than 1.65 billion hits.

Ariana Grande’s fans have turned to her music as they struggle with the shock of the Manchester bombing. Her latest album ‘Dangerous Woman’ leaps 62-30 on the latest U.K. chart, and her single One Last Time vaults back into the top 40, for a new peak at No. 11.

Meanwhile, Chris Cornell’s music floods the Australian albums charts in the days after his untimely death. Seven albums on which he performs have returned to the top 50, led by Soundgarden’s Superunknown at No. 7.


Crossing Borders

The international Neon Lights festival brand will take a hiatus from its Singapore event in 2017, organisers have announced. “There are a number of reasons for this and it’s not a decision we have taken lightly,” the NL team writes.  Neon Lights launched with a festival at Fort Canning Park in November 2015 headlined by Chic and Daughter. Last year’s fest featured Foals and 2ManyDJs among its top bookings. Organisers insist they’re “committed to ensuring the festival returns to its full strength and scale in 2018.”


The Big Stage

Is your band hot-stuff live? Let the National Live Music Awards be the judge of that. The NLMAs are urging artists and their reps to show their judges what they’ve got. It’s simple, just fill out some paperwork and provide a link to some kick-arse live video (though fans need not apply).  The application form can be found at and is open until July 31. The NLMAs has 100 judges around the country, with at least 10 in each state and territory.

Final word

Ed Sheeran’s 2018 tour of Australia and NZ will be the biggest single stadium trek of all time (18 shows, beating AC/DC’s 14 shows) and when all the tickets have changed hands, the “super-busker” will own the crown as all-time ticket-selling champ, moving past the 900,000 tickets Dire Straits shifted for their Brothers in Arms tour in 1986. What chance Sheeran will chase down the big number: 1 million tickets sold. Make no mistake, this guy has a fierce competitive streak. Earlier this year he told GQ. “Adele is the one person who’s sold more records than me in the past ten years. She’s the only person I need to sell more records than. That’s a big fucking feat because her last album sold 20 million. But if I don’t set her as the benchmark then I’m selling myself short.”