Breaking Biz

Ed Sheeran isn’t the only guy making and breaking records

Drake’s latest album, More Life, is predictably flying after its release March 18. More Life collected nearly 90 million streams globally in its first 24 hours on Apple Music, a new single-day record on that platform. Drizzy’s latest shot past 61 million global streams on Spotify, eclipsing the previous record holder, Ed Sheeran’s Divide, which clocked up 56.7 million on day 1.

According to Billboard, More Life nudged past 505,000 equivalent album sales for the biggest week for any album in the U.S. since Drake’s own Views managed 1.04 million units in a single cycle last May. The Canadian hip-hop star will end Ed Sheeran’s reign at the top of the new Billboard 200, dated April 8.

Success, it is said, has many parents. If that’s true, Drake’s new album has a blood relative from Australia in Hiatus Kaiyote. The Grammy-nominated future-soul act’s ‘Building a Ladder’ is sampled on More Life opening track ‘Free Smoke.’

It doesn’t pay to be a ticket tout, especially if you’re Daniel Mercede

The Ohio man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraudulently buying stacks of concert tickets and reselling them on the secondary market – for a $3 million-plus profit. The 29-year-old was hit with a 79-month prison sentence and a fine of almost US$425,000 (AUS$557,000) after pleading guilty to bank fraud, access device fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Mercede reportedly used stolen credit card details, bought tickets from secondary ticketing site ScoreBig and resold them on StubHub…and splurged his ill-gotten rewards on luxury goods. Pro tip: don’t mess with the IRS.

Spotted in Virgin Blue’s in-flight magazine: Kate Vale

A spotlight on Spotify Australia’s inaugural managing director Kate Vale and her relocation to L.A. Vale tells the title she returns to Australia at least once a month to reconnect with staff and industry. The move to La La Land, she explains, places her at the epicentre of the music biz.

Want a gig in radio?

The commercial radio industry is offering a new scholarship that will expose students to the news rooms of four leading Australian networks. The Brian White Scholarship offers aspiring journalists an eight-week paid work placement consisting of two weeks each at Macquarie Media, Southern Cross Austereo, Australian Radio Network and Nova Entertainment. Applicants can submit their entries online at and have until April 13 to do so.

Movers & Shakers

Monti Olson becomes senior vice president of A&R at Warner Bros. Records 

Olson most recently served as Executive VP of Global Entertainment and Managing Director of Global Music Publishing, after working as Executive Vice President/Head of A&R at Universal Music Publishing Group. The publishing veteran has worked with the likes of Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera and Ellie Goulding, and will be based in L.A. and report to WBR president Dan McCarroll.

Geffen Record is getting a makeover

Veteran A&R exec Neil Jacobson has been installed as president. The move was announced by John Janick, chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M. Jacobsen has been with Interscope in various roles for about 15 years. The label, which had a golden run in the 80s (with the likes of Elton John and Guns ‘N Roses) and 90s (Nirvana), currently boasts Avicii, DJ Snake, AlunaGeorge and others on its roster.

Manny Smith rises

Smith rises to A&R executive to Senior VP of A&R at Interscope Records. Smith joined Interscope in 2003 as an intern and made a name for himself in A&R, notably signing seven-time Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar via a joint venture with Top Dawg Entertainment and Aftermath Entertainment.

Jane Huxley exits

Jane Huxley, who launched Pandora in Australia and New Zealand five years ago, has left the Internet radio firm. With Huxley at the helm as managing director of Pandora’s ANZ activities, the Pandora’s listener base grew to more 5 million registered users, the company says. She’s off to her “next adventure” while Taly Yaniv, director of revenue operations for ANZ, becomes interim head of ANZ.

The Dotted Line 

The future is here

MelodyVR and Universal Music Group (UMG) have agreed to create virtual reality music experiences featuring artists on Universal Music’s roster. Think immersive music videos and performances. MelodyVR’s music platform is currently in beta and will launch proper at an unspecified time later this year.

Smith Street Band land global deal

Independent music publisher Native Tongue has signing The Smith Street Band to an exclusive worldwide deal. The publishing pact was announced ahead of the Melbourne rockers’ fourth album release More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, due out April 7.

The time is now for Pnau

The Aussie electronic act has completed writing the songs for a new album, founding member Nick Littlemore tells The Industry Observer. There’s no word of a title or date on the album, the follow-up to their Elton John collab Good Morning to the Night, which reached No. 1 in the U.K. Pnau’s comeback is hitting all the right notes.

Their latest single ‘Chameleon’ is their biggest hit to date, completing No. 1 stints on ARIA’s Australian Artist Singles Chart and Dance Singles charts, and earning platinum status. After completing a string of shows Down Under, the trio return to their second home — Los Angeles — to prep for a busy touring schedule.

Crossing Borders

Alibaba bolsters activities in entertainment

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is bolstering its activities in the entertainment space with the acquisition of Beijing-based ticketing platform, which facilitates online ticketing sales for concerts, sporting events, live theatre, movies and other events.

“We believe the full acquisition this time will lead to even greater synergies,” Alibaba boasted in a statement. claims to have sold tickets for more than 1.8 million events from 46 regional offices, and is active in 330 cities around the world.

Warner Music Korea is beefing up its presence

It’s through a strategic partnership with local independent hip-hop label Brand New Music (BNM). Clayton Jin, Managing Director of Warner Music Korea, describes the deal as a “landmark” and a “significant partnership for WMG” which allows the music major to tap into BNM’s artist roster and A&R expertise. BNM was founded by Korean hip-hop artist and producer Rhymer in 2011 and is considered one of the more influential labels in its space.

The Big Stage

Live Nation acquires majority stake in Isle of Wight

Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promoter, builds its portfolio in the festivals world with the acquisition of a majority stake in Britain’s iconic Isle of Wight fest.

Through the new arrangement, Live Nation partners with the fest’s chief John Giddings and his London-based Solo Music Agency to develop and lead the event. The first incarnation of IOW festival started in 1968 but came unstuck in 1970 when an estimated 500,000 revellers arrived on the island to catch headliners Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. Giddings revived the event in 2002 and this year’s IOW will be held June 8-11 at Seaclose Park with a bill featuring David Guetta, Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart.  LN recently reported a sixth consecutive year of growth with revenue up 15% in 2016 to US$8.4 billion (AUS$11 billion) and operating income up by 48% to US$195 million (AUS$255 million).

LN recently reported a sixth consecutive year of growth with revenue up 15% in 2016 to US$8.4 billion (AUS$11 billion) and operating income up by 48% to US$195 million (AUS$255 million).

LN’s bottom line will take a small hit after the city of Seville fined the promoter for failing to provide refunds for AC/DC’s show in the city’s Olympic Stadium last May. The Rock or Bust tour date received a complaint from Spanish consumer watchdog Facua–Consumers in Action, which argued LN breached local laws by ignoring some ticketholders’ requests for refunds and closing the refund window after just three days. The complaint stemmed from GNR switching out long-serving frontman Brian Johnson mid-tour (due to a medical complaint) and inserting Axl Rose. LN’s fine: €15,000 ($21,000)

Chart Geek

Ed Sheeran’s days are numbered at the summit of the U.S. Billboard 200. Drake will have to wait another week for his crown. For a second straight week, Sheeran manages the chart-triple in the U.S. with Divide at No. 1 for a second stint, ‘Shape of You’ snatches an eighth week atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Brit logs a second week atop the Billboard Artist 100.  It’s a feat only four other artists have achieved: Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Adele and Drake.

Meanwhile, Starley’s ‘Call On Me’ is up three places to No. 75 in its 11th week on the U.S. singles chart.

It’s all about Sheeran in the U.K. and Australia, with the singer- songwriter again locking up the chart double in both markets. Divide is certified three-times platinum in Australia, for three weeks on the chart – all at No. 1.

The Final Word

600,000. That’s roughly the number of tickets Adele shifted across just eight stadium shows in Australia. Add another 130,000-plus for her three shows in Auckland, and that’s an astonishingly successful tour for a first-timer in these parts.

How does it stack up with other tours? AC/DC did 750,000 across 14 stadium shows in Australia and New Zealand in 2010. Pink’s 2009 Funhouse journey also did 650,000 tickets across 58 Australian arena shows. But it’ll take something extraordinary to topple Dire Straits’ legendary 1986 Brothers In Arms trek, which played to an estimated 900,000 people.