LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — With recorded music sales continuing to sink like a stone, the traditional industry power-players like record labels are looking for new sources of revenue and are casting their loving gaze towards the live side of the business. This is especially true in the UK where the collapse of Sanctuary has seemingly put virtually everything into play. Rumors of buyouts have been swirling around several major agencies there, and John Gidding's Solo Agency is no different.
"It's no secret that record companies are looking to get into the live music, and we're not alone in having received offers." Giddings told CelebrityAccess "The landscape of the music industry is changing forever. The power base is shifting – I believe that in ten years time the industry will be unrecognizable."
Gidding's Solo Agency has made a name for itself, with a strong roster of talent and their Isle of Wight festival, one of the brighter stars in the large constellation of UK festivals, which would seem to place them amongst the ranks of the hottest properties in the UK. Giddings downplayed the buyout rumors though, telling CelebrityAccess that while there have been numerous offers, nothing concrete had agreed upon. He did put the kibosh on one notable bit of scuttlebutt making the rounds, that he was in negotiations with Universal. "It's quite funny." he said "I've never met Doug Morris in my life."
When CelebrityAccess asked if he was willing to entertain offers, and what sort of offers would particularly interest him, Giddings said "We'd always consider a strategic partnership and we're open to ideas." but cautioned that "I would want to enter into a partnership with a firm who would enhance our business." He expressed a reservations about recent acquisitions in the music industry by VC firms. "I find some of the recent acquisitions to be quite surprising. I believe that such arrangements only serve to weaken the business in the long-term."
Whatever the future holds for Solo, Giddings sees his role in the company remaining the same. "If I sold Solo, I'd like to stay in charge. I'd never turn on the people who helped me build my business. Loyalty is the most important thing in this industry." And as if to put an exclamation point on his stated intentions, Giddings added that they are already hard at work booking acts for the Isle of Wight in 2008. – Ian Courtney