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PROFILE 29 FRASER
T SMITH MW speaks to the successful songsmith
Progress: Take one
Progress: Take one
A TENSE MOMENT CAPTURED backstage at Take That’s top secret rehearsals for the biggest UK stadium tour to date shows how focused the band are on delivering the pop event of 2011 later this week.
Under the cover of an old airship hanger at RAF Cardington in Bedfordshire, the band have been putting together the finishing touches for Progress Live Sponsored By Samsung, which launches at The Stadium Light in Sunderland this Friday.
The band will perform to 1.75m people – for the first time as a five piece in 16 years – during the recordbreaking 29-date UK and Ireland leg of the 36-date European tour.
Meanwhile, Polydor has announced it will release eight new Take That songs on June 13 as part of a special edition version of Progress, which has already sold more than 2m copies in the UK alone.
The production crew and band exclusively told MusicWeekof their planning, pre-tour panics and confidence going into the shows. • SEE PAGE 10 FOR THE TOUR PREVIEW
HIGHER THAN EXPECTED £53m SALE PRICE GIVES HMV ROOM TO BREATHE
Sale of Waterstone’s chain alleviates pressure on HMV
RETAIL ■ BY BEN CARDEW
HMV CEO SIMON FOX SAID his company had reached a “very significant turning point” with the £53m sale of Waterstone’s to Alexander Mamut.
The sale price was higher than most analysts had predicted and, while the sale has only conditional approval, Fox told Music Week he expected it to go through.
This would mean HMV holding an ace when it renegotiates its lending facilities with banks over the coming weeks, after the retailer realised in January it was set to breach its banking covenants.
“This should alleviate the financial pressure that has been on the group and enable us to continue to develop the business that we want to,” Fox said. “It enables us to pay down debt and ensure that we put in place a new financial facility that ensures HMV’s future.”
This will be good news for the music industry, which has rallied round HMV in what has been a difficult year for the company, pledging to continue trading with the retailer despite reported issues over credit insurance.
Recent figures from Kantar
Worldpanel for the BPI Yearbook 2010 found that HMV had a 24.4% share of the UK’s total music market by expenditure in 2010, almost double that of iTunes (12.8%).
Fox also denied reports that HMV was set to shut additional stores to the 40 closures announced in January.
But it was not all good news for HMV: trading figures released last week showed like-for-like sales at its UK and Ireland stores down 18.8% in the 17 weeks to April 30. email@example.com
CROWS MAKE A FFRR NOISE
PETE TONG IS TO REACTIVATE HIS FFRR label, once home to Orbital, All Saints and Armand Van Helden, under the umbrella of Warner Music UK.
Tong will A&R for the label, working alongside Warner UK CEO Christian Tattersfield and Andy Thompson, who first worked with the DJ during their time at London Records.
The first signing to the relaunched label is Paper Crows, a London-based electronics and vocal duo who play Music Week’s Breakout night on June 8. They are managed by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment.
Tong said he was excited to be returning to the front line of A&R work. “It's a very exciting time for artist development and music in general and I think I can make a positive contribution,” the DJ added.
Tattersfield said Tong’s experience, influence and credibility were second to none.
“Dance is a genre that constantly redefines itself, so someone of Pete’s calibre, who embodies that dynamic and experimental spirit, is going to be a huge asset to our artists and our company,” he added.
FFRR (Full Frequency Range Recordings), a subsidiary of London Records, was once home to artists including Orbital, The Brand New Heavies, Shakespears Sister, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, Lil Louis, All Saints, Jay-Z, Armand Van Helden and Tong himself. ■ SEE DANCE FEATURE ON PAGE 13
INSIDE » 04HARGREAVES REPORT What are the key questions for the industry following delivery of the Hargreaves Report?
09SINGLE SUBS TO THE FORE MW examines the results of the Digital Entertainment Survey
THIS WEEK – THE MUSIC WEEK AWARDS • ROUNDHOUSE, CAMDEN • 24.05.11 • www.musicweekawards.com