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Fairfield Halls operator enters administration

The operator of Fairfield Halls has gone bust just days after the south London music and arts venue closed for a two-year period of refurbishment.

Fairfield (Croydon) Ltd went into administration on Monday after emailing staff to tell them it was unable to pay their redundancy settlements, reports the Croydon Guardian, and appointing Herron Fisher appointed to oversee the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Fairfield, which includes a 1,800-seat concert hall, 750-seat theatre and 500-capacity standing concert area, closed on 15 July. Its operator had favoured a phased redevelopment – allowing part of the venue to remain open throughout – but accepted an offer from Croydon Council of around £500,000 to close for two years.

Before its closure, the Fairfield received an annual council grant of £740,000.

Croydon councillor Tim Godfrey tells the Guardian it has already also paid the company a quarter of a million pounds to fund redundancy pay-outs and other expenses related to the closure. Asked why the £750,000 was insufficient to cover redundancy payments, he says: “That’s a question for Fairfield.”


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Music social network Crowdmix in administration

Crowdmix, a UK-based start-up positioning itself as an ‘Instagram for music’, has entered administration after burning through over £14 million in funding.

The news was broken to Crowdmix’s 130 staff yesterday afternoon, reports Business Insider’s James Cook, after the company failed to secure emergency investment over the weekend.

The company, founded in 2014 by Ian Roberts and Gareth Ingham, soft-launched an invite-only version of its app in May, not long after laying off 8% of its staff and just before Roberts departed. The app, a music-focused social network, presents users with a feed of posts from other users, including 2,000 ‘influencers’ (musicians and celebrities), and also offers music streaming capabilities through services such as Spotify and Google Play Music.

“As Google learned the hard way, there is only room for one major-scale social network”

Crowdmix raised £14m in investment last year alone, including £6.5m from property tycoon Nick Candy. In October it hired Rob Wells, former head of digital at Universal Music Group, who stated that although “initially skeptical, I quickly became incredibly excited by the scale of Crowdmix’s ambition”.

Cook reports that the company intends to sell itself as a going concern (a business making a profit without the threat of future bankruptcy) but says it may only be able to auction off its intellectual property.

Mark Mulligan’s MIDiA Research says Crowdmix “convinced itself it could build an entire new social network around music” and gives three reasons as to why that wasn’t the case: Music is “not important enough” for people to build a social network around; “as Google learned the hard way [with Google+]”, there is only room for one major social network (Facebook); and social networks are “yesterday’s technology”: “Messaging apps have replaced social networks for gen Z and younger millennials,” says Mulligan.


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SFX’s Totem OneLove, Stereosonic promoter, goes bust

Totem OneLove Group, the Australian subsidiary of SFX Entertainment that promotes Stereosonic festival, has declared bankruptcy.

The company, trading as SFX-Totem Operating Pty Ltd, is shown as having entered “external administration” by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and confirmed to theMusic.com.au this morning that administrators have been appointed.

Totem OneLove ASIC administration screenshot

A separate company, Totem OneLove Group Pty Ltd, is currently shown, however, as still being active. IQ has contacted Totem OneLove for clarification.

Totem OneLove and Stereosonic were sold by founders Richie McNeill and Frank Cotela to SFX Entertainment, which filed for bankruptcy in February, in 2013. As of 1 February 2016 the company was owed US$10.7 million by SFX.

Stereosonic itself is on “hiatus” for 2016, although McNeill, who has since moved left Totem OneLove, said earlier this month he doubted the festival would return in 2017.