Breaking Biz

There’s been a reshuffling at the top of the local affiliate for Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promoter, where Michael Coppel rises to chairman of Live Nation Australasia and Roger Field rises into the vacant leadership position as Chief Executive Officer. Field, who was Chief Operating Officer, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of LN’s concerts activities in Australia and New Zealand, which include Adele’s current stadium tour. The two promotions come five years after LN bought Michael Coppel Presents and Coppel took the reins as President and Chief Executive Officer of its company Down Under.

Internet radio giant Pandora is plunging into the crowded all-you-can-eat streaming space. More than a year in the making, Pandora Premium represents the California company’s first crack at an on-demand streaming service, and sets up a tantalising competition with Spotify and Apple Music. At this stage, it’s only available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. According to reps, new users will get a chance to try it out in the coming weeks. Pandora Premium will cost about US$10 a month, with access to 40 million songs on-demand plus offline listening and curated playlists.

Two people died and a dozen more were injured in a crush at an Indio Solari concert in Buenos Aires on March 11. Organisers were expecting up to 170,000 fans at the open-air concert but the venue was well-over capacity, with Argentine officials speculating up to 300,000 showed up.

Movers & Shakers 

British music publishing veteran Guy Moot adds duties as President, Worldwide Creative at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a position which extends his creative responsibilities into the U.S. , the world’s biggest music market. Moot continues in his role as U.K. Managing Director at the major publisher and reports to Sony/ATV Chairman & CEO Martin Bandier.

Warner Music has hired an exec from the ranks of the movie biz to lead its China company. Jackson Wong, formerly General Manager of Strategy and Investment, Business Development and Digital Business with Oriental DreamWorks, the film production and distribution company, becomes managing director of Warner Music China. Wong will oversee the day-to-day running of WMG’s Beijing office and will be tasked with expand the company’s business in Mainland China. He’ll report to Sam Chen, WMG’s CEO of Greater China.

Anthony “DJ Reflex” Jaramillo, a radio veteran, producer and artist, is the new Head of Music at TuneIn, the U.S.-based audio network which boasts more than 60 million monthly active listeners tuning in to 100,000-plus live radio stations. Jaramillo, who is managed by Roc Nation, joins from Tidal where he was Head of Radio.

Joe Cuello, Chief Creative Officer at digital distributor Tunecore, has jumped ship to join mobile app company EscapeX as general manager. According to EscapeX, more than 13 million consumers downloaded its apps, with average user “stickiness” at 18 minutes in-app each day.


Chuck Berry, a towering figure in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, whose works were covered by The Rolling Stones and Beatles and influenced pretty much anyone who slung a guitar, died March 18 at the age of 90. The St Louis-born showman may well have ignited the rock genre with the song ‘Maybellene’ in 1955. A swag of timeless hits followed, from ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ ‘Memphis,’ ‘My Ding-a-Ling,’ ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’ and ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ which was included on the golden record launched into space on the Voyager mission in 1977. Berry’s music was introduced to new generations of fans through the classic movies ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ and he was among the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s first group of inductees in 1986.

Don Warden, the longtime manager of Dolly Parton, died March 11 at the age of 87. A highly regarded steel guitar player (he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2008), Warden first met Parton when she appeared on TV’s Porter Wagoner Show in 1967. It was a relationship which lasted almost five decades.

Tommy LiPuma, the former Verve Music Group chairman and multiple Grammy-winning record producer, died March 13 in New York City after a brief illness. LiPuma’s productions resulted in more than 75 million albums sold (with 35 of these certified gold or platinum) and 33 Grammy nominations, for five wins. LiPuma produced for a who’s who of music stars, including Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson and Diana Krall. As an exec, he served in senior positions with Warner Bros. and Elektra into the 1990s and was became president of the jazz labels GRP and Impulse, and served as chairman of Verve from 1998-2004.


Joni Sledge, founding member of the disco-era group Sister Sledge, died March 10 at the age of 60. A family statement confirmed the singer died from natural causes relating to complications from a pre-existing condition. Sister Sledge were one of the defining bands of the disco era, with a string of hits including ‘The Greatest Dancer,’ ‘We Are Family,’ ‘Thinking Of You,’ ‘Lost In Music’ and ‘Frankie,’ which reached No. 1 in the U.K. in the 1985. All told, the group collected 12 Top 40 singles in the U.K. and three in the U.S.

Joey Alves, founding rhythm guitarist for ‘70s and ‘80s American hard rockers Y&T, died March 12 after a battling ulcerative colitis and other complications. He was 63. In its heyday, Y&T toured with the likes of AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne and Aerosmith and scored three albums on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Frontman Dave Meniketti is the only surviving member of the original four-strong band, which is the focus of a forthcoming documentary, ‘On With the Show.’

The Dotted Line 

Jonti is back with new music, and he’s hooked – up with some fine company. The multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer, vocalist and Avalanches touring member has signed with Future Classic, the award-winning label home of Flume and Nick Murphy (FKA Chet Faker), Flight Facilities and Jagwar Ma (Future Classic won the coveted Best Independent Label category at the 2013 Independent Music Awards.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jonti to the future classic family and it’s a privilege to be a part of the weird and wonderful universe he creates with his music,”  Future Classic told The Industry Observer.

To celebrate the new deal, Jonti dropped his first new solo music in five years, the dreamy ‘Scrood’ featuring Steve Lacy (The Internet). Check it out here.

Play It Again Sam has signed British musical duo Public Service Broadcasting to a worldwide licensing deal. The Londoners’ third, as-yet-untitled third album will arrive through PIAS in the northern summer. The band’s second album, the Race for Space, reached No. 11 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart in 2015. PIAS recently acquired the treasured Aussie indie Inertia.

Friends and family of Aussie hip-hop pioneer Sharline Bezzina (aka Spice) want your help.  The community activist, youth worker and mother of two has been troubled with spiralinghealth problems in recent years, and is in need of medical assistance. A fundraising event is in the works for May 21 in Sydney, and organizers are appealing for donations of time or goods, from items to auction, campaign crew and performers. “We are asking that you please find it in your heart to contribute to the cause. No amount is too small or too large,” says Randy Glazer, of Joint Adventure / Not The Average, who is coordinating the efforts. Glazer can be reached at [email protected] or 0423-042-370. You can donate to assist Spice on her road to recovery here:

New York-based independent music publisher Spirit Music Group has launched Spirit Production Music following its purchase of the production music division of Alan Ett Creative Group (AECG).

Chart Geek

Like it or not, Ed Sheeran is still monstering sales charts around the globe. The British singer and songwriter nails down nine of the top ten singles in the U.K., including the No. 1 with ‘Shape Of You’ for a tenth week. ‘Divide’ is at No. 1 for a second week in his homeland, clocking up almost one million combined sales since its release.

It’s a similar story in the U.S. and Down Under, where Sheeran claims chart double. ‘Divide’ logs a second week at No. 1 on the U.S. albums chart, and “Shape of You” spends a seventh frame at the top of the national singles chart (outselling the second-best performer by 2:1).  In Australia, he boasts 14 songs in the top 50, and all three of his albums are inside the top 10, led of course by ‘Divide’ for a second week.

Starley continues to shine in the U.K., where ‘Call On Me’ rests again inside the top 40. In its 18th week on the Official U.K. Singles Chart, the Sydney singer’s tune comes in at No. 33, down one place from the previous week, and just one position ahead of Lorde’s comeback track ‘Green Light.’

Crossing Borders

Australian drum and bass outfit Pendulum will swing into Ultra Singapore, which takes place June 10 and 11 near Marina Bay Sands with a lineup also featuring Tiesto, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Steve Aoki, Sasha & John Digweed and others. Rob Swire’s Pendulum is billed as a live performer, posters for the fest reveal.

The Singapore show is the first in a slate of comeback gigs posted for the year. In recent months, Swire has hosed down rumours of a comeback. “FYI you can probably ignore all the “Pendulum reuniting” bullshit tweets. It’s a one-off DJ set, because we happened to be in Perth,” he tweeted last October.

Late arrivals, fan riots, mudbaths, and spontaneously combusting drummers (well, not exactly). Guns ‘N Roses fans never quite know what to expect when the rock monsters hit the road. GNR’s recent show in Singapore was typically chaotic, with ticketholders complaining about ridiculous queues and a dodgy payments system for food and drink which swallowed up credit and didn’t spit it back out. After a public back-and-forth between RFID supplier Sandpiper and promoter LAMC Productions, a website has been set up for refunding unspent wristband credits. Better late than never.

Final word

We’ve all heard the income generated from streaming services is peanuts. Canadian hip-hop megastar Drake’s works have now been streamed more than 10 billion times on Spotify, a milestone no other artist has reached. Crunch those numbers and the reigning IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year has banked more than US$50 million from the market-leading streamer. That’s a whole lot of peanuts.