Brandle’s Global Bits: Sydney Entertainment Centre’s Name Change, Ian James’ Academic Turn, KickassTorrents Blocked

Ian James

Cybele Malinowski/Blue Murder Studios

SEC’s Two-Year Stay of Execution:

The Sydney Entertainment Centre won’t be turned into a pile of rubble anytime soon after Qantas’ credit union flew in with a naming rights sponsorship deal.

The venue will be renamed Qantas Credit Union Arena until it’s demolished as part of a planned billion dollar “complete facelift” of the Darling Harbour precinct. AEG Ogden, the Brisbane-based venue management company, has assumed responsibility to operate the arena until the end of 2015 -- at which time the wrecking ball is expected to swing in. AEG Ogden also operates the across-town rival, Allphones Arena.

News of the sponsorship deal with a division of Australia’s national airline comes soon after the SEC’s GM Steve Romer announced his departure. His successor, Steve Hevern comments, “Our business case for the Sydney Entertainment Centre remaining open for a further two years included the securing of sponsorship revenue. Qantas Credit Union has stepped up to the plate in being a major contributor to the financial viability of the Centre during the next two years.”

Financial terms of the pact weren’t disclosed.

As previously reported, New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell last year confirmed the venue would be demolished as part of a redevelopment of the area. Plans include creating a premium entertainment facility with a capacity of more than 8,000.  

The 12,500-capacity Sydney Entertainment Centre has staged more than 4,000 events for more than 26 million guests since it opened for business back in November 1983, according to the company.

“Over the years,” adds Hevern, “it has become the spiritual home of music and entertainment in Sydney and it’s only appropriate that another uniquely Australian brand has come on board.”

Upcoming shows at the SEC include Arcade Fire, a double-bill of Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, Dolly Parton and Arctic Monkeys.


Mushroom’s Ian James: The Music Biz Professor

The Sydney Entertainment Centre isn’t the only Australian icon to take a new title. Mushroom Music Publishing managing director Ian James has been named Adjunct Professor in Victoria University's College of Business.

The veteran Melbourne-based exec is well-known in industry circles for his witty riposts and his sharp-as-tacks intellect, so his professorship won’t come as a major shock. 

James, who holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Applied Psychology) from the University of New South Wales in psychology, has been involved with VU’s Bachelor of Business (Music Industry) course since its inception in 1998. “It is great how the music business course at Victoria University is growing in reputation,” comments James, who is a regular guest lecturer at the institution. “I’m proud to be associated with it and enjoy interacting with the students coming through. They are the future of our business.”

James, who also serves as chairman of mechanical rights collecting society AMCOS, joined Mushroom Music more than 27 years ago. He continues to lead the firm, which he has guided to its lofty position as one of the most important independent publishers Down Under. Mushroom Music is a division of Michael Gudinski's Mushroom Group of Companies.


Ireland Puts the Boot Into KickassTorrents

Several Irish ISPs have begun blocking access to the popular torrent site KickassTorrents.

The country’s High Court has ordered a handful of providers to block the site, following legal action launched last year by the major music companies. Ireland’s biggest ISP Eircom has apparently followed suit voluntarily, while users of the ISPs Magnet, Imagine and Vodafone are confirming access to the site has been barred, according to reports.

When attempting to enter the site, users are now greeted with the message, “access to this IP address relating to this Website has been blocked.”

Back in 2009, Ireland became one of the first countries to have an ISP block The Pirate Bay on copyright grounds. Eircom didn't initially play ball, but it later agreed to participate in a graduated response scheme voluntarily.

KickassTorrents -- or KAT -- has been operating since 2008 and until now was considered the country’s top torrent site.


Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie Nominated for NME Awards

With eight nominations, the Arctic Monkeys and the British alternative rock group’s singer Alex Turner are in the driver’s seat ahead of the NME Awards.

The likes of Haim, Palma Violets, David Bowie and Queens of the Stone Age are all up for multiple trophies. Bowie, whose comeback album "The Next Day" made the shortlist for the Mercury Prize, will duke it out in the NME categories for best solo artist and hero of the year.

Click here for the full list of nominees. 

The ceremony takes place Feb. 26 at London’s Brixton Academy.