Universal takes 49% stake in [PIAS]

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By | Published on Wednesday 30 November 2022


Universal Music has taken a 49% stake in [PIAS], a key independent music company which encompasses a network of labels as well as its distribution and services division, which rebranded as [Integral] in early 2021.

[PIAS] announced a strategic partnership with Universal in June last year, under which the major would access the indie’s distribution and label services expertise, while [PIAS] would get access to Universal’s resources so “to further grow its global offering and strengthen its position as the leading independent services provider”.

At the time [PIAS] co-founder Kenny Gates said: “Almost 40 years since Michel Lambot and I launched [PIAS] we are as eager and driven as we ever were and remain wholly committed to providing independent labels and artists with a platform to reach a global audience. This new, somewhat unconventional, strategic agreement with UMG will help both companies maximise the many opportunities we know are available, while not compromising our independence whatsoever”.

Under the latest expansion of that partnership, Universal becomes a significant shareholder in the [PIAS] business. However, the proudly independent music group is very keen indeed to stress that [PIAS] will “remain fully independent and its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot will retain majority control of the company – Universal Music Group will have no seats on the company’s board”.

On that expansion of the partnership, Gates said this morning: “These days we are competing with finance and tech giants, and a partner like Universal Music Group provides the additional support for us to compete and grow”.

“Universal made it clear that they like us, they trust us and they need us, because they can’t do what we do and they value it highly”, he added. “For Michel and I this is our life’s work and an ongoing journey and I am excited about the prospect of this new chapter in the life of [PIAS]. This move makes us stronger and secures the future of our brand, our staff and our partners while maintaining control of our destiny”.

Meanwhile, co-founder Lambot stated: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Universal Music Group team since we announced our strategic global alliance with them last year. Kenny and I are celebrating our company’s 40th anniversary this year and we are still as ambitious as we were when we started out about growing our global presence and providing a world class service to the independent music community”.

Speaking for the Universal side of this deal, the mega-major’s boss Lucian Grainge said: “The boldly independent and music-centric culture that Kenny and Michel have built over the last four decades has provided a vital creative network to so many artists”.

“While much of the past was focused on ‘majors versus indies’, it’s clear that today, the important divide in our industry is about those committed to artist development versus those committed to quantity over quality”, he went on. “We share Kenny and Michel’s passion for developing artists and moving culture, and we recognise that a healthy music ecosystem needs companies like [PIAS] who are committed to amplifying the best voices in independent music”.


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Night & Day noise abatement notice court case begins

Business News Legal Live Business

By | Published on Wednesday 30 November 2022

Night & Day

The court hearing to consider the noise abatement notice served against Manchester venue Night & Day got underway yesterday.

Manchester City Council served the notice last year following a complaint from one of the venue’s neighbours, a person who moved into a residential property adjacent to Night & Day during the COVID lockdowns.

While it’s always annoying when people move into a part of a city famous for its nightlife, and then complain about that nightlife, the Night & Day saga is all the more annoying because when the residential property where the newish neighbour lives was redeveloped, the local council reportedly anticipated the noise issues and told developers to mitigate the problem as part of the building work. But that planning condition was seemingly neither followed nor enforced.

The Night & Day Café was founded in the early 1990s by Jan Oldenburg. When it opened, the part of Manchester in which it is based was, in the words of a recent Observer article, “dangerous and dilapidated”. It was cultural institutions like Night & Day that turned Manchester’s Northern Quarter into a particularly vibrant part of the city, where lots of people now want to live.

The council has been under considerable pressure from the Manchester creative community and the wider music industry to revoke the noise abatement notice, but so far it has refused, hence why the matter is now in court. If the notice is kept in force, it’s likely that Night & Day will have to close, because it would require the venue to alter its operations in a way that would make the whole enterprise commercially unviable.

Night & Day is now run by Oldenburg’s daughter and her husband, Jennifer and Ben Smithson.

According to the BBC, Jennifer spoke in court yesterday, confirming she remains “shocked” that the future of the legendary venue has ended up being decided in court. She told city magistrates hearing the case: “I can’t understand why the council thinks Night & Day have done something wrong. I’m at a loss as to why I’m sat here in a courtroom. We’re running our business in the same way for 31 years and I thought the council would be really proud of what we’ve done for the city of Manchester”.

Acoustic expert Peter Rogers also spoke in court, confirming that he had observed sound engineers at the venue and was satisfied they were doing all they can to reasonably keep noise levels down. The issue, he added, was that the necessary measures were not taken when the residential property next to the venue was redeveloped all the way back in 2000.

He explained, the BBC report continues, that “a bedroom which shares a wall with the venue has such ‘poor’ sound insulation that even the higher frequency vocals could be heard and the only way to address the issue would be to effectively create a ‘box within a box’ in the flat to insulate it from the sound”.

That would have been an expensive solution, he conceded, but something like that should have been implemented when the redevelopment occurred.

The hearing will continue today.


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Cult Of Luna and Russian Circles Teaming Up For Spring Tour

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Cult Of Luna Tour poster
Tour poster

Cult Of Luna have announced that they will be teaming up with Russian Circles next spring when they will be launching a coheadlining tour of Europe.

The Euro tour is set to kick off on March 17th in Copenhagen, Denmark at Store Vega and will wrap up on March 31st in Warsaw, Poland at Progresja. Cult of Luna celebrated the announcement by sharing a special 25-minute recap video of their 2022 touring.

Johannes Persson had this to say, “Not knowing what to expect when we got out from our unexpected and involuntary hiatus, we were blown away by the numbers of people that came to see us.

“The love we received was truly moving and it felt like the tour just started when it was over. But time moves quickly and soon it’s time to get out again.

“In these chaotic conditions that the world is in right now, we can’t do much than trust in music as a rewarding constant. A tool of power and comfort. We hope to see you out there next year.”

Watch the video and see the new tour dates below:

03/17 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Store Vega
03/18 – Berlin, Germany – Huxleys Neue Welt
03/19 – Wiesbaden, Germany – Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
03/20 – Utrecht, Netherlands – Tivoli Ronda
03/21 – Brussels, Belgium – AB
03/22 – Paris, France – L’Olympia
03/23 – Stuttgart, Germany – Im Wizemann
03/24 – Lausanne, Switzerland – Les Docks
03/25 – Ljubljana, Slovenia – Kino Siska
03/27 – Vienna, Austria – Arena – Grobe Halle
03/28 – Munich, Germany – Muffathalle
03/29 – Prague, Poland – Roxy
03/30 – Krakow, Poland – Klub Studio
03/31 – Warsaw, Poland – Progresja

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Tom Petty Unplugged ‘American Girl’ Video Goes Online

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Tom Petty Album art
Album art

(hennemusic) Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers are streaming a video for the live acoustic version of their 1976 classic, “American Girl”, from the newly-released album, “Live at the Fillmore 1997.”

The black and white video from co-directors Adria Petty and Jacques Naudé features audio of the performance as the soundtrack to the clip, which sees lead dancer and choreographer Maya Taylor with dancers Anna Iosipiv, Akane Little and Laura Aronoff as the camera moves through city streets, inside empty warehouses and atop buildings, exploring the lives of diverse characters.

“American Girl” was originally issued as the second single from the band’s self-titled debut album, which featured the US Top 40 hit, “Breakdown.”

“…it was the start of writing about people who are longing for something else in life, something better than they have,” said Tom about the song.

Watch the new video here.

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Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Share Video from CMT Crossroads Special

Bruce Henne | November 29, 2022

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Robert Plant Photo by antiMusic's Rob Grabowski
Photo by antiMusic’s Rob Grabowski

(hennemusic) Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are sharing video of a performance of “High And Lonesome” from their new CMT Crossroads special.

The “Raise The Roof” track recently received a 2023 Grammy Award nomination in the Best American Roots Song field, which honors songwriters – in this case, Plant, Krauss and producer T Bone Burnett.

The project is a finalist in the Best Americana Album category at 65th annual event, which will be broadcast live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 5, 2023 starting at 8 pm ET on the CBS Network and streamed live and on-demand on Paramount+.

“Raise The Roof” debuted at No. 7 on the US Billboard 200 upon its release last November. Watch the live performance video here.

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