‘An unspeakably appalling tragedy’

Thomas Ayad, 34. International Product Manager for Mercury Records France (pictured, centre).

Nick Alexander, 36. Merchandise Manager for bands such as Sum 41, Panic! At The Disco, The Black Keys and Eagles Of Death Metal (pictured, bottom right).

Guillaume B. Decherf, 43. Journalist for celebrated French music and culture magazine, Les Inrockuptibles (pictured, top right).

Marie Mosser, 24. Digital Marketing executive at Mercury Records France (pictured, bottom left).

Manu Perez. Music industry marketing executive who worked at Universal Music France for over a decade (pictured, top left).

These are the names of music business professionals whose lives were cruelly taken by a terrorist attack within the Le Bataclan venue on Friday night (November 13) in Paris, following the invasion of an Eagles Of Death Metal concert by at least three gunmen.

UMG boss Pascal Negre tweeted on Saturday (November 14) that “The Universal Music family is in mourning”.

More than 130 casualties have now been confirmed from Friday night in Paris, either killed by gun or suicide bomb attacks across five separate locations.

Tragically, the vast majority of these fatalities happened within Le Bataclan, where more than 80 are understood to have been killed.

Eighty people. People left distracted and defenseless by their focus on – and absorption of – rock and roll. People lost in music.

Eyewitnesses say that many fans initially appeared to assume that the entrance of the gunmen, who stormed Le Bataclan towards the end of the gig, was simply part of the show.

To murder these music fans with military-grade weapons, within the convincing sanctity of one of Europe’s most historic theatre venues, was an act of unthinkable malevolence.

It was also an act of shameful cowardice.

The majority of the audience escaped unharmed, many by crawling through a fire exit.

Other details are too distressing to share.

The strength of security protocol at music halls the world over must now, inevitably, be reviewed.

The sober response to the Paris atrocity is to question whether small-to-mid size music venues can continue to be so trusting of their audiences at the point of entry.

This line of inquiry was compounded by events at the Stade De France on Friday night, where a suicide bomber was reportedly refused entry to a France vs. Germany football match after his explosive vest was discovered by guards.

As a direct result, the terrorist detonated his weapon outside the event. Hundreds of lives may have been saved.

The very purpose of music venues is to provide a conduit for real, rare human connections – sweet relief from the hang-ups and hindrances which plague our working days.

Clearly, that can never again come at the cost of effective surveillance, nor an audience’s immunity from bloodshed.

The trade-off might make for a joyless conversation for the music business and its artists to entertain. But it is a vital one to conduct.

Live Nation has said in a statement: “The safety and security of our shows, fans and venues continues to be our highest priority.

“Due to the recent events in Paris and in an abundance of caution we have implemented heightened security procedures globally. However, because of the sensitive nature of these protocols, we cannot elaborate further on the specific details.”

Today, though, thoughts will be with the family and friends of the 130 people murdered across Paris – including the 80 people killed in Le Bataclan, targeted simply for using their Friday night to do something as commonplace and familiar as watching a band.

Universal Music Group boss Lucian Grainge paid heartfelt tribute to those killed over the weekend, including UMG’s own Thomas Ayad.

In a note sent to Universal staff on Saturday (November 14), he wrote:

Dear Colleagues:

Today, I’m writing to you with a heavy heart.

We, like so many around the world, are struggling with last night’s horrific tragedy in France.

Paris is in our thoughts and prayers. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims as well as our fervent wishes for healing for all of those affected by this senseless violence.

This is especially painful and personal for all of us. As many of you know, the band Eagles of Death Metal is part of the UMe and Mercury France family. The band and its crew as well as our own teams from Mercury and other UMG staffs were present at the Bataclan theater for last night’s show.

“Today is a dark day. Let’s support one another as we grapple with the weight of this darkness.”

Lucian Grainge, UMG

At this point, we have confirmed that Thomas Ayad, an international product manager for Mercury Records lost his life in the attack on the theater. This is an unspeakably appalling tragedy. I cannot even begin to express the depth of my sorrow. On behalf of everyone here at UMG, we extend our most profound sympathies to his parents and all of his friends and family.

We will update you further as information permits. In the meantime, please send all healing thoughts and prayers for those affected by this heinous act.

Today is a dark day. We are a family. Let’s support one another as we grapple with the weight of this darkness.



Nick Alexander from Colchester, Essex, has been remembered by his friends, family and music industry colleagues as “one of life’s good guys”.

He was working on the merch stand for Eagles Of Death Metal at Le Bataclan on Friday.

Amongst an array of artist tributes for Alexander since news of his death emerged, Fall Out Boy guitarist Joe Trohman tweeted: “Just found out Nick Alexander was one of the people murdered last night in Paris.

“Great guy. I’m horrified.”

Alice In Chains said on Facebook: “Nick was a great guy and a true professional. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him.

“Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world.”

Statement from Nick Alexander’s family

“Please keep Nick and his family in your thoughts, along with all of the other victims of yesterday’s brutality. Life is short. Be good to each other…”

Alexander’s family said in a statement: “Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle, he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny and fiercely loyal…

“Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much he was cherished by his friends around the world.

“Thank you for your thoughts and respect for our family at this difficult time. Peace and light.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up in Alexander’s name to raise funds for his memorial. More than $50k has been pledged at the time of writing.

Guillaume B. Decherf wrote for Inrockuptibles since 2008, specialising in rock and metal.

The publication said in a concise statement that it was “in mourning” for Decherf, who leaves behind two daughters.

“All of our magazine is upset by his disappearance,” it read.

“Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”Music Business Worldwide