Leading promoter compelled to rethink expansion strategy

UK: In another significant development for the live music industry this week, the Competition Commission has made a final ruling on the sale of the Academy Music Group (AMG) venue chain to leading multinational promoter Live Nation. The development takes place amid fears of increased rental prices and an unfair monopoly situation, writes Greg Parmley.
Author:
Publish date:

UK: In another significant development for the live music industry this week, the Competition Commission has made a final ruling on the sale of the Academy Music Group (AMG) venue chain to leading multinational promoter Live Nation. The development takes place amid fears of increased rental prices and an unfair monopoly situation, writes Greg Parmley.

The ruling upholds a preliminary report published in November which stated that if Hamsard - the joint venture between Live Nation and Gaiety Investments that was originally created to buy Mean Fiddler Music Group - wants to purchase AMG, it must first sell off two London venues: either Brixton Academy or Hammersmith Apollo, and either Shepherds Bush Empire or The Forum.

It is now likely that Live Nation will sell off Hammersmith Apollo, which it already possesses, and The Forum, which is owned by Mean Fiddler, in turn owned by Hamsard.

While the final ruling was unexpected, the news is frustrating for Live Nation UK president Paul Latham, who was tasked with presenting the US multinational's case to the Commission. "At every turn, they just don't get what we do," he says. "It's for middle-aged people who've never been to a stand-up gig in their lives, and they just don't get that the buildings are different and that the agents and the acts decide where they go. They've just taken the easy option."

The Commission made headlines when it was revealed that part of its research included staff watching a DVD of a gig in case they hadn't been to one before.

When the AMG deal is finalised, subject to the Commission's approval, there will also be Brixton Academy, Shepherds Bush Empire and Academy venues in Glasgow, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Oxford.

Web
» www.competition-commission.org.uk
» www.livenation.co.uk

Related

Newly strengthened Academy Music Group eyes up further expansion

UK: Less than a month after the deal that saw Live Nation and Gaiety Investments acquire a controlling 56% stake in the business, it has emerged that long-established venue owner/operator Academy Music Group (AMG) is in negotiations to take on a further two UK sites. Viewed in tandem with the imminent refurbishment of the Oxford Zodiac and the February purchase of the Brighton Hippodrome, the possible development attests to AMG's ever-increasing profile in British live music, writes David Davies.

Shure donating $50,000 to promote hearing awareness

US: Shure Incorporated has announced plans to donate $50,000 this year as part of its Shure Listen Safe programme. Four organisations are set to benefit - Columbia College, Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (H.E.A.R.), The House Ear Institute and the National Hearing Conservation Association Scholarship Foundation, reports PSN-e.

AKG links with Joe Strummer charity for Unsigned Heroes 2008

UK/EIRE: AKG's British and Irish unsigned band competition, Unsigned Heroes, is to return for the third year running. A newly-minted association with Strummerville - the charity which develops and promotes new music in the memory of much-missed Clash/Mescaleros frontman Joe Strummer - means that the triumphant act in the 2008 contest will play live on the Strummerville stage at the next Glastonbury Festival, writes David Davies.

AMG to open new venue this autumn

UK: Leeds Academy will be the Academy Music Group's 13th live music venue, writes David Davies. Situated on the site of the former Town and Country Club at 55 Cookridge Street, the venue will occupy a restored Grade I listed building and offer a maximum main room capacity of 2,300 (1,800 stalls, 500 balcony) for live music and club events. Elbow, Hot Chip, Goldfrapp, Mercury Rev and Billy Bragg are among the acts set to play the venue during its first two months of operation.

OBEDIA eyes European expansion

US/EUROPE: Technical training and support provider OBEDIA has announced a new programme that gives purchasers of Rain Recording DAW systems immediate access to its services. The New Mexico-based company - which supplies services to manufacturers including Sony and Tascam, and recently clocked up its 1,000th 'case' - is also working on plans to expand its presence in Europe, writes David Davies.

Leading Prague club selects DiGiCo SD8

CZECH REPUBLIC: Lucerna Music Bar in Prague has replaced its old analogue console with a DiGiCo SD8 digital desk, reports PSN-e. The purchase comes two years after the venue opted to upgrade its sound reinforcement set-up by installing a new L-Acoustics loudspeaker system.

RCF Group launches on Italian stock exchange amid reports of ambitious expansion plans

ITALY: Loudspeaker, amplifier and microphone manufacturer RCF Group was admitted to Italy's stock exchange, the Borsa Italiana, last month. The development follows the announcement by ceo Arturo Vicari at the IPO presentation that acquisition is likely to form part of a long-term growth strategy that would see the group aim to become the industry's third largest manufacturer of transducers and wholly-owned solutions behind Harman International and Telex, writes David Davies.

O2 and LN/AMG announce 'strategic alliance'

UK: The new arrangement will see the 11 AMG venues assume the name 'O2 Academy', writes David Davies. According to Telef_nica O2, Live Nation and Academy Music Group (AMG), the new alliance will "boost support for future music talent and enhance the music experience for fans visiting the venues as well as allow O2 to offer a number of benefits for its customers".