It was a week filled with wheeling and dealing, as new pacts to build, merge, spin-off and create were announced by real-world and digital entities. There was also a pause to remember Robert Freeman, who photographed some of the early and influential Beatles albums.
This week in music:
BMG BUILDS OUT LA PRESENCE: BMG will develop a new full-service music facility in Los Angeles. The location will be a 30,000-square-foot space at 5670 Wilshire Blvd, just seven blocks east from BMG’s current facility at 6100 Wilshire Blvd. BMG currently employs around 135 staff in Los Angeles with plans for further expansion in the new year. The move continues the company’s expansion, which also is taking place in Nashville and New York. The new space will consolidate BMG’s west coast publishing and recording teams, together with synch and licensing, film and books, and BMG Production Music.
SONY PEELS THE ONION: Sony Music Entertainment and The Onion will team to develop original podcast content. The companies will co-create a new daily satirical podcast focused on current events called “The Topical,” which is set to launch in January 2020. The Onion will be in charge of all creative aspects. Sony Music provides its expertise in content creation, marketing and new technology monetization. United Talent Agency (UTA) represented The Onion in the agreement.
GARDEN SPIN-OFFS: The Madison Square Garden Company will spin off its entertainment businesses into a separately traded public company and retain no equity interest in the sports company. The company previously planned to sell two-thirds of its interest in the sports biz to shareholders, with the entertainment company holding a one-third interest. The entertainment company will include Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre in New York; the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and the Chicago Theatre. It will also include MSG’s booking business, productions including the Radio City Rockettes and the Christmas Spectacular, majority interests in TAO Group and Boston Calling Events. The transaction is still expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2020.
DESTINY’S TOKENS: The record label and management company behind Beyonce, Destiny’s Child and Solange is moving their music onto distributed ledger technology. Mathew Knowles, the father of Beyonce and Solange, is making the Music World Entertainment catalog available on Tune.fm, a streaming music platform on the Hedera Hashgraph network. Fans can stream the tunes by using the network’s JAM token to activate micro-payments that calculate every second of music streamed, with auto payments to the artists. The MWE catalog features music from Beyoncé (offering instrumental tracks from her hits Single Ladies, Diva, Sweet Dreams and 47 others – her other music is on her own Columbia Records/SonyBMG imprint, Parkwood Entertainment), plus tracks from Solange, Chaka Khan and Le’Andria Johnson, among others. They join a catalog that features independent artists, most of them smaller names.
YOUNOW ADDS MORE: Livestreaming video app YouNow has added social media influencers Phil Lester, Zach Clayton, Nick Bean, and Jon Rettinger to its roster of content creators earning Props, the SEC-approved tokens used to power the blockchain platform. YouNow has already sold more than $70 million dollars in digital goods. Clayton is a rapper and TikTok personality, famous for his music and comedy videos, with 1.8 million YouTube subscribers and 5 million TikTok followers, while Bean is a parody song creator.
ICE-T HORROR THRILLER: 3 Days Rising re-imagines Edger Allan Poe’s classic tale, The Fall of the House of Usher. Actor/rapper Ice-T has just signed to star in the film and to produce.He is teaming with producer Noel Ashman whose credits include Gotti, The Row, Backtrace Reprisal, and Clinton Road. Ashman will have a small role in the picture as well as a writing credit. 3 Days Rising will also star Peter Greene, author and former NYC mayoral candidate Bo Dietl, Vincent Young, Tony Denison, Kelly Dowdle, Rachel Hilbert, Angel Salazar, Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz and Will DeMeo, Filming is set to begin Sunday in West Orange, NJ. The film is directed by Craig Cukrowski and written by Derek Cukrowski.
RUBBER SOUL FAREWELL: Robert Freeman, a photographer for several Beatles album covers and poster art for the movies A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, has died. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr remembered him with fond online tributes.