Aussie Bits: P!nk's Colossal Tour, Allans Billy Hyde Closes, Aria Awards Makeover
Aussie Bits: P!nk's Colossal Tour, Allans Billy Hyde Closes, Aria Awards Makeover


Allans Billy Hyde's flagship store on Melbrourne's Bourke Street is one of 25
instrument retail chain stores going out of business.
(Photo: Lars Brandle)


ALLANS BILLY HYDE CLOSING DOWN

It's curtains for Australia's leading independent instruments retailer Allans Billy Hyde, which has played a bum note for some time.

Parent company Australian Music Group (AMG) was placed into the hands of receivers Ferrier Hodgson back in August, having blown up debts of more than Australian $40 million ($41 million).

Until recently, American firm Guitar Centre was in the frame as a White Knight. But it wasn't to be. Last week, the receivers of AMG confirmed those talks had come unstuck, meaning the 25-store chain will close and its 500-plus staff let go by the end of November.

All stores are now in "hard closedown mode" and a fire-sale is underway, with most instruments reduced by 40-60%. With Christmas on the horizon, the situation has a Scrooge-like feel to it. The managers of the business have decided not to honor gift vouchers and deposits.

"It is a sad day for live music in this country," says the receiver Brendan Richards of corporate restructuring firm Ferrier Hodgson on the chain folding. Richards notes that loss of jobs was "disappointing," adding "we exhausted all avenues and there is no other way forward for this business."

Rival chain owner Con Gallin, Managing Director of Australian Musical Imports (AMI) and Gallin's Musician's Pro Shop, has been in negotiations to buy eight-to-10 stores, though he's disappointed by the all-or-nothing approach of the receivers.

Gallin tells Billboard.biz he's made a "very generous offer" to Ferriers. "Our intention is to keep the business operating and employee as many of the staff as possible. I don't understand why they say they have exhausted avenues of finding a buyer when we haven't withdrawn."

ARIA AWARDS MAKE-OVER

The upcoming 26th edition of Australia's ARIA Awards will have a new look, a new producer at the helm and a new week of activities to get the party started. There's even a newish venue in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, which hasn't hosted the show since 2000,

This time, organizers are going with a "Grammys" style forward-facing seating arrangement, and for the first time there will be an "ARIAs Week" of concerts, masterclasses and a new EDM conference, all of which culminates in the big show on Nov. 29. Michael Long is the new ARIA Awards event producer, who rises from a 10-year stretch as ARIA Awards Director of Operations to succeed Mark Pope in the big role.

The shake-up of this year's show was precipitated by a painful-to-watch 2010 show, held at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. That show will be remembered for all the wrong reasons by all who watched it, when presenters fluffed their lines and artists were caught clueless as to what award they'd actually won.

"In 2011 we really did make some ground back," Long tells Billboard.biz. "In 2012, our response from the general public on ticket sales has been overwhelming."


High Wire Act: P!nk performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. on Sept. 22, 2012 (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

P!NK'S COLOSSAL TOUR: 38 DATES AND GROWING (UPDATED)

P!nk's upcoming Australian arena tour is shaping up to be another colossus. It seems with every week that passes, another date is added to her 38-date-and-growing national arena tour next June, which includes 14 shows at Melbourne's 15,000-seat Rod Laver Arena.

P!nk smashed a host of records when she last toured these parts back in 2008. On that tour, she zigzagged the country to play 58 arena dates, shifting 650,000 tickets and raking in an estimated Australian $90 million ($92 US million) at the box office and from merchandise. The Brisbane Entertainment Centre even gave Pink an Australian royal seal of approval, naming a ladies' bathroom in her honor.

Michael Coppel Presents promoted that blockbuster 2008 run, and he's doing the same again with the "Truth About Love Tour," though through the machine that is Live Nation Australia, which Coppel joined in April this year.

P!nk's latest album, "The Truth About Love," is currently enjoying its fifth week at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart, and is four-times platinum certified (280,000).