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Berlin Festival taking a “creative break” in 2016

There will be no Berlin Festival this year as the Festival Republic event takes a “creative break” in 2016.

“The last two editions – and especially 2015 – were the perfect Berlin Festival in our eyes, exactly as we had envisioned it from the outset,” explains the event’s artistic director, Hörstmann/Melt! Booking’s Stefan Lehmkuhl. “The festival has ‘arrived’, no doubt.

“But now it is up to us to expand on the concept as an integral part of the capital – and for that, we need a little more time than planned. We hope our festivalgoers understand this and look forward to the next edition.”

Last year’s Berlin Festival, the 11th, attracted 15,000 attendees to Arena Park in Treptow with a line-up that included Underworld, Róisín Murphy, Chet Faker and James Blake.

In a statement, the festival says it will announce the “exact date of the festival’s return in due time, as soon as our plans are more concrete”.

All Tomorrow’s Parties denies cancellation rumours

All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) has denied rumours that its two April ATP 2.0 festivals at Pontin’s holiday park in Prestatyn, north Wales, have been cancelled.

Despite Pontin’s telling The Quietus that “both ATP events for this year have been cancelled by the organiser”, ATP insists that’s not the case, blaming “miscommunication”:

The two ATP 2.0 weekenders are scheduled for 15–17 and 22–24 April, curated by Stewart Lee and Drive Like Jehu, respectively.

Sun Ra, The Fall and 13th Floor Elevators’ Roky Erickson are booked to perform on the first weekend, with Rocket from the Crypt, Diamanda Galás and Drive Like Jehu themselves playing the latter.

Paul Hutton departs Metropolis Music

Paul Hutton has left Metropolis Music.

The leading British concert promoter was a long-serving director of Metropolis, where he had worked for 28 years. He announced the news on Facebook today.

Hutton is now working at a start-up called Crosstown Concerts.

Metropolis is one of the UK’s leading independent promoters and artist management agencies. It promotes over 600 shows a year and produces events including Summer Series (in Bristol and at Somerset House), the NME Awards and V Festival.

This article will be updated.

Post-Grammys bump for Adele, Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar

Demonstrating the powerful influence high-profile live concerts can have on the popularity of recorded music, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Andra Day, Gwen Stefani and Adele all experienced a spike in sales and streams immediately following their performances at the Grammy Awards on 15 February.

According to a new report by Nielsen, Lamar, an album of the year nominee, saw a 67 per cent spike in online streams and 47 per cent increase in radio plays on the Monday and Tuesday after the Grammys. Alabama Shakes, who won the prizes for best rock song, best rock performance and best alternative music album, experienced a 170 per cent increase in online streams, a 56 per cent boost in radio plays and a 239 per cent spike in album sales in the week after the awards, while Andra Day, who performed on the night with Ellie Goulding, experienced a 429 per cent jump in album sales.

“What’s clear is that performing during a live event like the Grammys or Super Bowl keeps toes tapping well after the live show is over”

Gwen Stefani, meanwhile, reported a 275 per cent spike in album sales following her “live music video” for ‘Make Me Like You’, and Adele (pictured), whose performance was marred by technical difficulties, saw a 990 per cent increase in sales of her single ‘All I Ask’ in the two days after the event.

Coldplay and Beyoncé also saw spikes in streaming and sales following their performances at the Super Bowl halftime show.

“What’s clear [is] that performing during a live event like the Grammys or Super Bowl definitely turns the volume up and keeps toes tapping well after the live show is over for musicians,” says Nielsen.

Stop suing Sillerman, requests bankrupt SFX

SFX Entertainment has requested permission from a judge to halt a lawsuit against its chairman and former CEO, Robert FX Sillerman, while it focuses on its post-bankruptcy restructuring.

According to Dow Jones’s Daily Bankruptcy Review, the US bankruptcy code protects bankrupt companies from being sued during a bankruptcy case. However, that same protection doesn’t automatically extend tothose companies’ officers and directors.

Electronic dance music (EDM) promoter SFX calls the lawsuit, which alleges that Sillerman (pictured) misrepresented the company’s health to investors, “an enormous distraction” and says that it needs “all of [its] team focused” on the bankruptcy process, reports Billboard.

SFX went into administration on 1 February, entering into a ‘restructuring support agreement’ (RSA) which will wipe over US$300 million in debt from its books.

Earlier this month IQ revealed that many of the company’s largest creditors are SFX-owned promoters awaiting deferred purchase price payments, with the largest being Amsterdam Music Festival organiser Alda Events.

Oscars 2016: Sam Smith scoops best original song

British singer-songwriter Sam Smith pulled off one of the biggest upsets of last night’s 88th Academy Awards, beating clear favourite Lady Gaga to win the Oscar for best original song.

‘Writing’s on the Wall’, written by Smith and Jimmy Napes for James Bond film Spectre, was released in September to a decidedly mixed reception (according to Variety, one person backstage at the Oscars said the track “wasn’t even the best song released that week”).

Conversely, Lady Gaga’s critically lauded ‘Til It Happens to You’, written by Gaga and eight-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, a documentary on sexual assaults on university campuses, was widely expected to win – especially after Gaga left many stars, including Rachel McAdams, Kate Winslet and Eddie Redmayne, in tears after after sharing the stage with rape victims and US vice-president Joe Biden for an emotional performance of the song earlier in the evening.

Smith, who mistakenly referred to himself as the first openly gay Oscar-winner (he isn’t), dedicated his award to “the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] community all around the world”.

Smith also performed, as did The Weeknd (playing ‘Earned It’) and Dave Grohl (performing The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ for the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the show).

Other best original song nominees were ‘Earned It’ by The Weeknd, from Fifty Shades of Grey; J. Ralph and Anohni (formerly Antony Hegarty)’s ‘Manta Ray’, from Racing Extinction; and ‘Simple Song #3’, by Sumi Jo, from Youth.

Ennio Morricone took home the prize for best original score for The Hateful Eight, beating the incidental music from Bridge of Spies (composed by Thomas Newman), Carol (Carter Burwell), Sicario (Jóhann Jóhannsson) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (John Williams).

A full list of winners is available on the Academy Awards website.

Eagles of Death Metal cancel European tour (again)

Eagles of Death Metal have cancelled the remainder of their Nos Amis European tour – itself a replacement for the tour cut short by the tragedy at the Bataclan in November – due to frontman Jesse Hughes injuring his hand.

Hughes (pictured) tore a tendon in his middle finger on the band’s return to Paris on 16 February.

According to a statement on Eagles of Death Metal’s Facebook page, Hughes “tried to play through the injury during the current tour, but doctors have advised that the only way to properly heal it is to stop playing now or risk further injury and hav[e] to cancel several weeks’ worth of shows”.

“I’m devastated that we cannot continue what has been a life-changing return to Europe”

“I’m devastated that we cannot continue what has been a life-changing return to Europe,” says Hughes, “but I need to get repaired so we can continue to play rock music around this beautiful world, including coming back to Europe even stronger in the summer.”

Fans who have bought tickets for the eight remaining dates, including shows in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, will be reimbursed.

The band will return to Europe in August, kicking off a string of shows and festival dates on 9 August at Mega Club in Katowice, Poland.

Global tours, secondary ticketing drive record LN revenue

It was a record-breaking 2015 for Live Nation (LN) as the concert giant posted its highest-ever annual revenue of US$7.6 billion – an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year – in its annual results yesterday (25 February).

Its adjusted operating income, at $616 million, was also up 11 per cent, with operating profit hitting a record $155.9m.

LA-based LN did, however, post an operating loss of $33.8 million in the fourth quarter of the year, blamed in part on foreign exchange factors.

Live Nation Concerts promoted over 25,000 shows globally – up 12 per cent from 2014 – and some of the biggest tours of 2015, including Taylor Swift, One Direction, Madonna, U2 and Fleetwood Mac. Attendance grew eight per cent to a record 63 million.

Significantly – and in good news for the live music market as a whole – 13 of LN’s 20 best-selling artists in 2015 were new compared to the previous year.

Despite increased competition in the ticketing sector, Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster also had a bumper year, shifting over 530 million tickets for a record 12 per cent growth. Much of that growth came from its secondary ticketing operations, represented by platforms such as TicketsNow and TicketsExchange in North America and Get Me In! in the UK, which experienced 34 per cent growth in gross transaction value (GTV) in 2015, to $1.2bn.

Revenue from Live Nation’s sponsorship and advertising business grew 17 per cent (and revenue per fan eight per cent) through high-profile partnerships with over 900 sponsors, including Coca-Cola, American Express and Pepsi.

CEO Michael Rapino says the results reflect “the tremendous power of live events, with strong global consumer demand”

In a letter to investors, LN CEO Michael Rapino says the results reflect “the tremendous power of live events, with strong global consumer demand”. He writes: “Live is a truly unique entertainment form – it cannot be duplicated. It is elevated, not threatened by technology, and is borderless. Fans around the world can now discover, follow, share and embrace artists, creating greater demand for live shows.

“We believe the live business sector will continue to have strong growth for years to come as fans globally drive demand, artists are motivated to tour and technology drives conversion.”

Looking ahead to 2016, Rapino says ticket sales are already up five per cent year-on-year, driven by 18 per cent growth in amphitheatres and 47 per cent growth in stadia. “We are confident we will again see strong growth in fan demand across our business this year,” he writes.

Alluding perhaps to recent acquisitions in South Africa (of promoter Big Concerts) and Canada (of Union Events’ festival portfolio), Rapino says Live Nation in 2016 plans to hold “more concerts for more fans in more countries than ever before”. It also expects to “sell more advertising, both onsite and online”, and “through continued product innovation at Ticketmaster” plans on selling “more tickets and driving increased conversion”.

Madonna an agent of the devil, says Filipino cleric

Not content with tempting faithful Singaporeans away from the the path of goodness with her dangerous brand of “sensuality, rebellion, disrespect, pornography [and] abusive freedom”, Madonna (the singer, not the mother of Christ) has apparently outraged Catholic leaders in the Philippines, too: Ramon Arguelles, the archbishop of Lipa, called her two concerts on 24 and 25 January “subtle attacks of the evil one” – the devil’s work.

The American singer played two shows, promoted by MMI Live, at the 12,000-capacity Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Manila as part of her Rebel Heart tour, leading Arguelles to wonder: “Why is the Catholic Philippines the favourite venue for blasphemy against God and the Holy Mother?”

“Let us pray for our country that the devil will not succeed in drawing anyone from the pueblo amante de Maria [the (Filipino) people’s love for Mary] to his evil ways,” he added.

While Madonna won’t be allowed to perform the ‘Holy Water’ segment of her current touring show – which features scantily-clad backing dancers dressed as nuns and dancing with crucifix-shaped stripper poles – in Singapore tomorrow, it looks like she got away with it Manila:

Sorry, did someone say something about the Virgin Mary?

Birthday blow-out for 20 years of Inertia Entertainment

Toronto-based metal promoter Inertia Entertainment will celebrate its 20th birthday tomorrow (Saturday 27 February) with a Sacrifice-headlined concert at the city’s 850-capacity The Opera House venue.

Inertia founder Noel Peters has brought some of the biggest metal bands in the world to Toronto since the company’s founding in 1996, including Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Mastodon, Trivium, Machine Head and Ghost.

Joining Toronto legends Sacrifice (pictured) at the 20th anniversary gig will be Chicago band Macabre and black metal acts Goatwhore and Panzerfaust, all of whom were hand-picked by Peters.

Yesterday Peters spoke to Chris Pappas of Ticketfly, of which Inertia is a client, about promoting before the internet, his career highlights so far and what’s in store for the next 20 years. Read the interview here.

Ticketfly added 48 new venues and promoters to its Canadian roster last month with the acquisition of Toronto-based TicketBreak.