Welcome to our weekly digest of live music news and events in industry, academia and more.
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This Week’s Blog Post
John Wardle is one of Australia’s foremost advocates for live music. A musician and teacher, his research and campaigning work has led to involvement in music policy at both state and federal level. As a leader in the ‘Raise the Bar’ campaign, he was instrumental in the removal of New South Wales’ Place of Public Entertainment Licenses in 2009, which has freed up the provision of live music there. He was also a source of advice for the UK Live Music Forum’s campaign for exemption for small gigs, which culminated in this year’s Live Music Act. His latest success comes with the introduction of the Small Venue License in South Australia, which does away with the ‘needs test’ and a separate process for an entertainment license. Here, he explains this new development and explains what work there is still be done.
One to Watch:
This new report, released today, examines the cost and sustainability benefits to using renewable sources of power at festivals. Investing in renewable technologies now will help reduce climate change impacts in the future, including extreme weather events that are of increasing concern to the industry. Sustainable thinking can also deliver cost savings, and improve the festival experience, and align our events with an increasingly eco-aware audience.
Also available for free download is the The Powerful Thinking Campaign Toolkit, which is designed to help festival promoters, production managers, and power suppliers better understand energy usage on site, in order to improve efficiencies and increase the use of renewable power at festivals.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s budget will be cut by £34 million over the next two years, under plans announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last Wednesday. A spokesman for the DCMS claimed that the cuts will mean ‘real challenges’ for arts.
Chancellor announces training investment boost for creative industries (but not music): The UK’s film and television industries are to benefit from a new £6 million investment in training announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in yesterday’s Autumn Statement.
Councils’ culture spending down £250m in 2011/12: Local authority funding for theatres in England and Wales fell by 6.3% in 2011/12, according to newly released government data.
Programmes help young people find jobs in cultural sector: More than one million young people are currently unemployed yet some cultural and creative employers are finding it hard to recruit the employees they need.
Arts leaders to launch campaign showing the power of culture: Important figures from both the commercial and subsidised sector, including director Stephen Daldry and Cultural Olympiad chief Ruth Mackenzie, have launched a new collective, What Next?
Meanwhile, The Guardian has launched an interactive Case for culture: 100 voices campaign in which 100 people who work in or with the culture sector tell the Guardian why they think UK arts and culture are worth continued investment.
Creative Scotland boss Andrew Dixon to step down: The head of Scotland’s arts funding body is quitting the job, after criticism of how the organisation was operating, while the chairman of Creative Scotland, Sandy Crombie, is facing growing calls to consider his position in the wake of chief executive Dixon’s surprise resignation. Apparently it was the ‘train wreck’ of the announcement of changed funding arrangements for a whole slew of middle order arts organisations earlier this year that was the spark that ‘lit the bonfire’ under Dixon’s seat.
A statement from the Board of Creative Scotland on Friday 7th December 2012 ‘acknowledges its own share of responsibility’ for the deterioration of many relationships in the first two years of operation.
Not everyone is critical, however, as Creative Scotland is being backed by Dumfries and Galloway artists and supporters of the arts, who say that cultural life is booming in rural areas like their own, largely thanks to the productive relationship with Creative Scotland.
Meanwhile, cultural facilities across Scotland will be boosted with Small Capital funding: Twenty-eight awards totalling over £1m have been made across the country to improve cultural facilities as part of Creative Scotland’s Small Capital programme.
Edinburgh is to host a three-day guitar festival, which will be the largest in Scotland: Jazz, folk, country, flamenco, classical and pop musicians are to attend the Edinburgh International Guitar Festival from next year.
The UK Festival Awards were presented at a ceremony last Monday 3rd December. Among the winners were Bestival for best major festival, as well as newcomers Festival No. 6, Jake Bugg for best anthem of the summer, Cambridge’s Lodestar festival for having the best toilets, while Live Nation’s chief operating officer, John Probyn, picked up a lifetime achievement award. The Association of Independent Festivals had a strong showing at the awards with wins for Y-Not Festival (Best Small Festival), Green Man (Best Grassroots Festival) and the aforementioned Bestival.
At the Festival Awards conference during the day, promoter Stuart Galbraith let slip that Sonisphere rock festival will return for 2013 and that they intend to announce the line-up before Christmas.
John Probyn says picky public are biggest challenge of live events market: Live Nation UK boss argues that demanding punters presented bigger challenge than wet weather or economy to industry.
BBC plans special Glastonbury coverage for Red Button relaunch: Next year’s festival coverage is expected to include dozens of live streams from the various stages, as well as backstage footage.
First country music festival comes to The O2, London: The O2 and SJM Concerts in association with the Country Music Association have established C2C: Country to Country with the intention of it becoming an annual event.
Secondary ticketing: ‘A parasitic business with no investment in music’: Writing in Music Week, COO International for Live Nation Entertainment, Paul Latham, explains why the issue of secondary ticketing is one that must be tackled by a unified live music sector:
The secondary ticketing market shows no signs of abating, however, as Seatwave revenues rocketed 50 per cent year-on-year in November as concert tickets on sale fell by almost a tenth in 2012.
Gig venues across UK see drop in tour dates by one half: AEG Live’s Rob Hallett claims that bands are now focusing on other markets including Asia and Eastern Europe.
HMV sells remaining live music assets in £7.3m deal: Private equity arm of Lloyds acquires Jazz Cafe and Barfly in Camden, the Ritz in Manchester and Lovebox festival; further acquisitions planned.
Hyde Park concerts to get ‘tree-mendous new stage‘: Summer concert operator aims to spruce up image with a ‘great oak stage’ after complaints noise, traffic and extra concerts during the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee.
Ministry Of Sound pre-tax profits doubled in 2011, reaching almost £40m turnover for its core business.
Online crowd funding initiative Kickstarter UK raises £2m in first month, boasting more than £2 million pledged from over 45,000 backers, successfully funding 30 projects.
Plymouth’s Theatre Royal ‘still has £1m to raise’: The theatre has raised £1m but it needs to double that if it is to receive £5m from the Arts Council.
Plans for £4.5m Greyfriars Arts Centre in Ringwood: The new venue would have a 250-seat theatre and cinema that doubles as a large social venue, with groups such as Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society looking to submit plans shortly to New Forest District Council.
Weymouth Pavilion Theatre demolition debate takes place: Dorset councillors have voted to put the future of a seaside pavilion out to public consultation.
The Con Club is to reopen in Great Malvern: The license application is now in its final stages – and, if successful, should be open for the Christmas season.
London-based Philharmonia Orchestra turns in a six-figure deficit: The orchestra, which receives £2,245,000 in Arts Council and other public grants, registered a deficit of £189,824. The year before, it lost £129,499.
Gruelling opera role taken from newcomer at the last minute: The Royal Opera House said that newcomer Jennifer Rowley’s departure from Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable was ‘mutually agreed’ but insiders said she was effectively fired and that questions had to be asked why the inexperienced American had been given the role in the first place.
National Youth Orchestra awarded Queen’s Medal for Music: The annual award recognises an individual or group that has had a major impact on the UK’s musical life.
Leeds pupils will get up close and personal with musical stars: Opera North hold launch party for In Harmony, the north of England’s version of ‘El Sistema’; the project proper will start in January 2013.
Dumfries Youth Beatz festival charging attempt rejected: Since its launch, Youth Beatz has been promoted as the largest free event of its kind in Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Nithsdale area committee rejected a second bid to introduce charges for the event – which costs a little more than £100,000 to stage – when it met this week.
LoveLive to stream Save The Children’s Christmas Tree sessions: This online event, curated by BBC 6 Music presenter Lauren Laverne, will be a fusion of entertainment, music, comedy, poetry and literary readings, all with a Christmas flavour.
Blur, Kasabian, and Ryan Adams are to play Teenage Cancer Trust shows being curated by Noel Gallagher at London’s Royal Albert Hall in mid-March 2013.
Dave Brubeck, jazz composer and pianist, dies aged 91: Classically influenced artist’s hit Take Five made him a household name and helped to define 1960s jazz.
Jenni Rivera, Latin music star, dies in plane crash: Learjet was carrying six other people from Monterrey to Toluca and authorities say there appear to be no survivors; Rivera’s father has now confirmed her death.
Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe charged over fan death: Randy Blythe, the frontman of US metal band Lamb of God, has been charged over the death of a fan at a concert in Prague in 2010.
Psy responds after anti-American performances emerge: Psy has been forced to apologise to his American fans after footage appeared online of him performing in his home country in 2002 and 2004 at anti-America protest events.
Amanda Palmer cancels all 2013 tour commitments: The singer songwriter wants to be close to her ‘best friend’ who is battling cancer.
Rick Ross cancels US shows, at first allegedly due to death threats from gang members, now due to an ‘apparent lack of organisation and communication on the part of the tour promoter’.
Madonna gigs outsell Lady Gaga three to one: New statistics show ‘Queen of Pop’ is a bigger hit in South America.
Pythons deny producer is owed Spamalot royalties: Michael Palin, Eric Idol and Terry Jones were giving evidence in a case in which Mark Forstater, who has been described as the ‘seventh Python’, claims he was short changed over royalties from West End and Broadway musical.
Not to be outdone, Reading & Leeds Festivals 2013 have announced new stages, changes, and first acts: Dance, grime and hip hop will feature heavily, and a new hip hop stage will be added.
Elton John to stage opening concert at new Leeds Arena: Sir Elton John is to be the first act to play at the new Leeds Arena when it opens next year [last week’s Live Music Exchange digest reported that Kasabian would be the first to play – is this a marketing ploy by the Arena?].
Kraftwerk to play shows in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall: The Tate described the shows as a ‘chronological exploration of the group’s sonic and visual experiments’ and promised ‘spectacular 3D effects’. Appropriately for the venue, the band’s name translates as ‘power station’.
Tori Amos musical The Light Princess to be staged at the National in 2013: The musical, which is based on George MacDonald’s story, was originally meant to be performed at the Lyttelton Theatre this year but was postponed to allow for more development.
Blues for Mali as music is banned: Islamist fighters have taken over Niafunke, which sits on the banks of the river Niger 100km (60 miles) south-west of Timbuktu. They have introduced a strict social code: Women and girls must be covered, young men cannot wear loose trousers and all forms of music are banned. The rebels have also confiscated mobile phones, replacing ringtones with Koranic verses.
Cuba cracks down on ‘vulgar’ reggaeton music: Country to outlaw musical styles that ‘threaten’ its traditional musical culture and project women as ‘grotesque sexual objects’.
Live Nation to open Russian branch, Tim McWilliams named MD: ‘Establishing an office in Russia is the next step in our global expansion’ said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.
Neil Young’s Pono music venture pursues venue owners: The ‘Pono’ system aims to improve the audio experience by doing away with audio compression.
Broadway takings climb to $1.14bn: Broadway, America’s theatre district, had a record breaking 2011-12 season, with takings of $1.14bn (£708m). However, the boost was largely down to rising ticket prices, as admissions were down from 12.53m to 12.33m.
Eurovision bosses call Greece and Cyprus dropout reports ‘premature’: It has been suggested the countries have taken the decision because of the expense of winning and hosting the competition the following year.
Eric Clapton and Chris Martin join 12.12.12 lineup: Benefit concert for victims of superstorm Sandy will feature Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Paul McCartney and Kanye West, and will be aired on 34 outlets. The Rolling Stones have also been added to the bill.
Spokane symphony musicians, board reach agreement settling a four week strike: After a weekend of intense bargaining, the musicians voted Monday night to approve a two-year contract that includes an 11 percent pay cut and three weeks unpaid personal leave. The pay cut comes in the form of reduced guaranteed services, which include rehearsals, concerts and educational events. The pay cut means core musicians will make about $15,539 a year, down from $17,460, in 160 guaranteed services.
Los Angeles Opera says it has repaid $14 million emergency loan that it required in 2009: L.A. Opera received the loan at a time when it was in the midst of its $31 million production of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle operas and in the depths of the country’s economic crisis.
New York City Opera to hold online auction to shed decades’ worth of old sets, costumes and props. The online auction will begin in mid-January and run through to January 24.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera embarks on $60 million overhaul: The renovation concerns the guts of the place, replacements or upgrades for the Met’s internal organs: the flies, lighting, stage lift, air circulation and internal communication systems.
La Scala under fire for choosing Wagner before Verdi in battle of the birthdays: Italian opera house accused of dealing ‘a blow for national pride in a moment of crisis’ by going German for its season opener.
Music at -30: The world’s coldest gig: Charlie Simpson, the lead singer in Fightstar, has earned a place in the record books by playing a concert in one of the coldest populated places on Earth.
Paul McCartney fulfills ‘personal ambition’ by appearing in ‘The Dandy’: Beatles singer will be immortalised in comic’s last print issue.
Jay-Z’s subway ride with artist goes viral: ‘It’s my 15 minutes of fame’: Ellen Grossman, who sat next to Jay-Z on a subway ride, shoots to internet fame after failing to recognise the rapper in video.
Noel Gallagher on possible Oasis reunion: ‘If The Stone Roses can reunite anyone can’.
Dear George Osborne, is Music no longer a Creative Industry? The DCMS says the money will ‘help the UK’s creative industries contribute to economic growth by ensuring they have the skilled workforce they need to compete in a fast-moving world market’. Just not the music industry.
Time for arts organisations to grow up: With a leaner ACE and impending arts cuts, Annabel Turpin calls for a change in the relationship between funder and funded
Great Art for Everyone: Is There a Point? You Bet! Chief Exec of Arts Council England, Alan Davey, argues that ACE allows people to realise that the arts can be for them.
Why There Is No Going Back For Creative Scotland or ‘why we do need strategies to compete and develop our own distinct product’, by Pete Wishart MP.
Are festivals really on the road to ruin? Festival promoters have hit back at claims that music festival attendance is set for continued decline in 2013.
Why you can’t get a good seat at a fair price. Bob Lefsetz argues that concert tickets are so expensive because of income inequality.
Why arias in the multiplex fall flat: Screening operas at cinemas is helping to bolster the popularity of this frail art form, but it’s no substitute for the emotional intensity, acoustic quality and excitement of live drama.
Contemporary classical comes in from the cold: ‘The National Lottery had an effect on the arts more lasting and more profound than mere money. It gave us a belief in the impossible, that our wildest dreams could actually come true’.
The secret behind a Stradivarius – imperfection: The famous secret behind some of the most expensive violins in the world created by master craftsmen like Antonio Stadivari and Gionvanni Battista Guadagnini may be due to imperfections in the instruments.
India’s music scene – the DJs and singers moving East: What do Metallica, Enrique Iglesias, David Guetta and Bryan Adams all have in common? They are international artists with a huge following in India. And, as the music scene grows, it is also attracting an increasing number of smaller foreign artists. For video, see here.
28 tape decks, playing together as an orchestra: An army of custom microphone-laden cassette players serves up the sound of a near-extinct medium.
How battle rap helped me deal with depression: The medication had unbearable side-effects, but after a suicide attempt this writer found an unlikely way to ease his depression.
UMT Academy Masterclass #005: Training for DJs, Producers and Singers with special guest, Raj Panni (Coldcut). Wednesday 19th December, 6 – 8pm, Loft Music Studios, 4th Floor, British India House, 15 Carliol Square (Above Metro Repro), NE1 6UF.
Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference: Call for papers and works. Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th January 2013, University of Southampton.
Eurosonic Conference: European music industries conference. 9th to 13th January 2013, Groningen, The Netherlands.
Association of British Orchestras 2013 Annual Conference Leeds: 23rd – 25th January 2013, Grand Theatre / Howard Assembly Room, Leeds. The timetable is here.
MIDEM: An international yearly event, dedicated to the opinion leaders and decision makers of the music industry. Palais Des Festivals, Cannes, France. 26th – 29th January 2013.
Rhythm Changes Jazz Research Seminar will be held on Friday 8th February, 4-6pm at the University of Salford.
The Tipping Point Masterclass Day: High profile music industry guests and associations come together to discuss music industry trends, the issues facing emerging artists and future models DIY artists should embrace to get ahead in 2013.
Tickets: £6. The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 . 11am – 5:30pm, Saturday 16th February 2013.
The Clore Leadership Programme – Emerging Leaders Course. Sunday 17th – Friday 22nd March 2013 at Craxton Wood Hotel, Chester.
International Live Music Conference (ILMC): 8th -10th March 2013 at Royal Garden Hotel in London.
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