Hip hop festivals get bad rap in Australia:
It’s just turned Spring Down Under, but the temperature is already soaring. And that means the summer festivals circuit is ready to drop.

As previously reported here, the festivals landscape in Australia is going through the state of flux many good promoters have been predicting for two years. No-one quite spotted the shocking death-rate of the country’s hip hop festivals.

The organizers of the Sprung hip hop festival have cancelled its Melbourne leg, which had been planned for Oct. 19, while the third edition of the boutique mini-fest Rap City has also been canned.

Sprung’s Melbourne show was meant to be the brand’s first expansion outside of Brisbane. But a “loss of venue” when local police withdrew support proved to be a push too far for organizers Clockwork Entertainment. The foundation Brisbane show is unaffected,and will feature an all-Australian line-up including 360, Drapht, Seth Sentry and Urthboy.

This year’s third Rap City tour – which was due to visit Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane and feature headliner Talib Kweli – was cut “due to unforeseen complications with scheduling that were beyond control,” organizers said in a statement.

It's been a nightmare year for open-air hip hop shows Down Under. The inaugural Movement fest – five scheduled dates featuring Nas, 2 Chainz, Chiddy Bang, Joey Bada$$, Angel Haze, Spit Syndicate, Thundamentals and homegrown hip hop chart-toppers Bliss N Eso -- was canceled, and its rival Supafest – which would have featured T.I., Ne-Yo and 50 Cent, Akon, J. Cole, Waka Flocka Flame, Young Jeezy and others over four dates -- announced its postponement until later this year.

Supafest has promised new dates would be announced for November, but none have been posted and the fest’s Website hasn’t been updated in months.


Licensing Made Simple in NZ:
New Zealand’s music licensing bodies APRA and PPNZ Music Licensing have launched a joint-initiative to create a single public performance licence.

A new organization OneMusic has been established to offer the “Single Music License,” which is expected to be unveiled this week. OneMusic’s mantra is simple: “We exist to simplify the music licensing process.”

The one-stop approach will enable businesses “quick and easy music licences,” removing the risk of establishments getting hit with a fine. Details can be found at the OneMusic Website and Facebook page.


HMV Goes Back To The Future:
HMV has returned to where it all started. The original HMV store on 363 Oxford Street reopened for business on the weekend, under a new fascia spelling out "His Master's Voice.” In a nod to its glory days, the signage is in pink neon alongside HMV’s mascot, the dog Nipper. 

The entertainment retail chain opened at the address in 1921, and remained there until 2000 when it relocated to another space a few hundred meters away.

Until just a few months ago, HMV was facing a dark future.

Buried in debt, and cutting staff and stores, the business went into administration. Retail restructuring specialist Hilco swooped in with a rescue package earlier this year, and swiftly appointed a new team to run it.  HMV now operates at least 140 outlets in the British Isles.

The HMV Website is expected to relaunch in the coming weeks, and the retailer is planning to launch an app-based music player later this year.

The new operators of HMV have said they intend the multi-level Oxford Street store to be a showcase for the music industry.


Ringo Starr Drums Up French Honor:
Ringo Starr has become the latest rock ‘n’ roller to be appointed a Commander of France's Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), the country’s highest honor in the fields of the arts and literature.

The Beatles drummer was on hand for a ceremony in Monaco, where he was handed the award by France's ambassador Hugues Moret.

Starr joins an elite club of recipients which includes U2's Bono and David Bowie.