It’s my weekly summary of the five biggest developments in the music business in the week just gone, from CMU.
01: AEG was taken off the market. The venue operator and tour promoter had been up for sale since last year, though recent reports said that bids were coming in somewhat below what current owner Anschutz Inc had hoped for, mainly because of its insistence one buyer take on the whole of the AEG business. The live entertainment company will now remain part of the Anschutz company, with its top man Philip Anschutz playing a more active role moving forward. Meanwhile, in a surprise move, AEG CEO Tim Leiweke will depart the company, with CFO Dan Beckerman taking on most of his responsibilities. CMU report | FT report
02: The Madison Square Garden Company sold its Live Nation shares, which amounted to about 2% of the company. The sale follows the recent departure from the live giant’s board of James Dolan, Exec Chairman of MSG and a close ally of Irving Azoff, the former co-boss of Live Nation who exited the firm at the end of 2012. Meanwhile the live group also this week announced the appointment of Gregory B Maffei, CEO of the company’s biggest shareholder Liberty Media, to the role of Chairman, formally taking over that element of Azoff’s former job (though Maffei won’t have any of Azoff’s former executive responsibilities). CMU report | Bloomberg report
03: ASDA was mooted as a late bidder for HMV. And not just to take over the flagging entertainment retailer’s shops to turn them into convenience stores, but to actually operate an albeit streamlined network of HMV outlets, and maybe launch some HMV-branded departments in its supermarkets. To date HMV administrator Deloitte has been mainly speaking to one bidder for the actual HMV brand, Hilco, the restructuring company that already owns HMV Canada and which bought up most of the UK company’s debts once it went into administration in January. No official comments from anyone on all this, though we are expecting an announcement before the big March rent day hits. CMU report | Sun report
04: Two Pirate Bay founders had their human rights case thrown out of court. Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij had both hoped to fight their Swedish convictions for mass copyright infringement (by being original operators of the Bay) through the European Courts Of Human Rights on free speech grounds. But judges at the ECHR said that the Swedish court ruling against Sunde and Neij was about “protecting the rights of others” and therefore the two men’s subsequent claim to overthrow that judgement on human rights grounds was “manifestly ill-founded”. In theory it means that Sunde and Neij must now serve the prison sentences that were handed down as part of the Swedish ruling. CMU report | SPIN report
05: Global proposed selling three radio stations to get the OK for its Smooth/Real deal. The radio firm stressed that it didn’t agree with the UK Competition Commission’s preliminary report last month that said Global acquiring the Smooth and Real radio networks would negatively impact on the local advertising market in most regions, adding that it has research to back its argument. However, Global said in a submission, if remedies were required to win the all-clear for the Smooth/Real takeover, then it would propose selling the two Real XS stations in Manchester and Glasgow, and its own Gold station in the East Midlands. A Commission ruling is expected in May. CMU report | Guardian report
In CMU this week, we chatted to Steve Mason about his new album, enjoyed a great playlist from the members of The Leisure Society, and Eddy TM discussed the arguments presented at a recent debate he took part in asking whether pop music had lost its edge. Approved were Saturday Monday, Thee Oh Sees, Sparrow And The Workshop and TEEN.