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
Sheffield based sound engineer Mark Hadman’s ‘brusque guide for bands stepping up to the slightly-less-small-time’ provides a few simple tips for working effectively with a monitor engineer at ‘serious’ club level.
One From The Archives
Our research into live music has thrown up a number of venue typologies. This post aims to critically evaluate what is on offer, drawing on industrial, sociological, and architectural perspectives. It includes previously unpublished work by Simon Frith and a recent query with contributions in the comments from a new venue developer asking what bands and musicians look for in a performance space – join in the debate as to the venue essentials that musicians and promoters require.
Live Music News:
Jacksons suing AEG for $40 billion: Katherine Jackson and the children of Michael Jackson are suing AEG Live for a cool $40 billion for damages the family consider they are due should their legal spat with the live music firm succeed.
Meanwhile, AEG is taken off the market as CEO departs: Anschutz Entertainment Group – which includes venue real estate, various sporting interests and the AEG Live tour and festivals business – has been taken off the market after the company failed to find a satisfactory bidder. he announcement also came with the surprise news that President and CEO Tim Leiweke is to leave, to be replaced by CFO Dan Beckerman. The current president and CEO of AEG Europe, Jay Marciano, will relocate from London to Los Angeles to assume the role of Chief Operating Officer for the global business.
Developments in the company’s European business include the news that Brussels Expo and AEG Facilities have partnered in a venue services agreement for the 15,000-seat sports and entertainment venue Brussels National Arena, Palais 12.
Developments also at Live Nation, as Greg Maffei is named the non-executive Chairman of the Board. Maffei is is also CEO of Liberty Media, the biggest single shareholder in the live music, artist management and ticketing group who reportedly bought the $44million holding in Live Nation sold by the Madison Square Garden entertainment company.
eBay to move ticketing category to StubHub in UK: eBay is to officially retire some of its ticket categories in the UK with sellers instead being able to list secondary tickets for concerts, comedy, theatre and sport on StubHub. The specialised platform is part of the eBay family for secondary ticketing.
WeGotTickets study renews call for widespread paperless ticketing: A new study from WeGotTickets has reinforced the positive environmental impact of paperless ticketing, with the company asking all of its customers to avoid even printing confirmation emails at home.
Also in ticketing, a spat has developed in Tennessee over proposals to crack down on ticket reselling. Lawyer John Ray Clemmons, who opposes the legislation, has sent a letter to a state Senator alleging that Q Prime Management’s Fielding Logan, who manages The Black Keys and country star Eric Church, keeps trying to give him free tickets, the implication being that this is to persuade him to drop his campaign. Logan admits offering the tickets but says this was part of a bid to show how easily paperless tickets can be transferred.
Musicians accused of ‘buying virtual fans’ on YouTube: Some music artists are buying social networking statistics to get into the charts, a Newsbeat investigation has found.
Creative Scotland has published an action plan to deliver commitments made following the sector’s cries for reform: The funding body is to clarify funding arrangements, reduce activity that could be perceived as self-promoting and establish an annual conference as part of a range of measures to address concerns raised by the sector and build on the strengths of its work in support of creativity in Scotland.
Arts sector is “scaremongering” says Minister: Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has declared that the arts in the UK are “waving, not drowning”, citing Sage and Baltic in Gateshead, the Turner Contemporary in Margate and the Liverpool City of Culture as “perfect examples of local regeneration being driven by culture.”
In Moray, however, fifty-one artists and arts professionals have signed an open letter to Moray Council, arguing for a rethink of the recently announced 100% cut to its arts budget. The letter points out that arts funding is not for individuals, but provides community support. It also counters claims by council leader Allan Wright concerning engagement with the cultural community prior to the cuts being announced.
There is good news in Dorset, though, as the revived Wimborne Folk festival is given council funding: East Dorset District Council confirmed £14,000 towards running costs and street cleaning for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival. The music and dance event had been running since 1980, but previous organisers ended it last year.
Hackney Marshes – Proposals for more major events: Residents are being asked if they would like to see more large events held on east London’s Hackney Marshes following last year’s Radio 1’s Big Weekend. But sports teams who use the pitches say the fields are yet to recover and fixtures are being cancelled as a result.
Beach Break Live Festival moves back to Cornwall from Pembrey: A student music festival which attracts up to 20,000 revellers is moving from Carmarthenshire back to Cornwall. Beach Break Live was held at Pembrey Country Park and attracted stars like Tinie Tempah and Calvin Harris. But organisers said there were “too many restrictions stopping us from creating the Beach Break dream to the fullest extent”.
Rock stars back Bath’s Bell Inn buyout scheme: Rock stars such as Robert Plant and Peter Gabriel are backing a community buyout scheme by patrons of a music venue in Bath which is facing closure. The owner of The Bell pub has put it up for sale, but a co-operative of customers wants to buy it and run it itself. A share offer has been launched, and people interested in investing can buy shares priced from £500 to £20,000.
The Leadmill eyes international expansion: Iconic Sheffield music venue The Leadmill has ambitions for international expansion as far afield as China and Brazil. The venue’s general manager Rupert Dell is currently in talks with people from foreign markets about developing a brand which he thinks is strong enough to travel far.
Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre revamp plans revised: The new plans from Moirai Capital Investment Ltd will see all the elements of the £95m project brought under one roof at the Oasis site. The scheme will see a snow dome, 7,500-seat concert venue and a hotel built.
A second English music school tightens its child protection guidelines: Purcell’s school has introduced new vetting procedures following the conviction of former teachers at Chetham’s.
Multiple Injuries Reported On Eve of Ultra Music Festival in Miami: Two workers were badly hurt ahead of this weekend’s Ultra Music Festival when a section of an LED screen apparently fell at the Miami site.
Injuries were avoided but the première of A Dog’s Heart by Alexander Raskatov was postponed at La Scala after the set was reportedly too dangerous to use. This comes amidst a welter of accusations by performers of widespread incompetence and mismanagement at the venue.
In other festivals news:
The Wireless Festival has added a third day to the 2013 event, as a preview from Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z of their North American Legends Of The Summer Stadium Tour is added to the bill.
Green Day to headline Reading and Leeds 2013: Green Day, back on the road after lead singer’s return from rehab, are the final headline act to be confirmed for this year’s Reading and Leeds festival. Singer Billy Joe Armstrong is also working on songs for a stage musical adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
Glastonbury Festival organisers have revealed the names of the eight finalists in this year’s Emerging Talent competition, which offers the chance to play the Pyramid Stage, whilst also dismissing rumours about who will headline the festival as “nonsense”.
Music analytics website MusicMetrics has released data claiming that acts playing at South by Southwest in Austin saw average increase of 30% in new fans per day during the annual festival. Among the presenters at SXSW was California company EventLive which plans to increase revenues for artists, labels and publishers through paid and sponsored live concert streams.
Also at SXSW were three Cuban bands, whose presence was the result of a two-year wrangle between activists and government officials over whether they could perform on US soil.
EU Parliament to consider new rules for instruments on planes: It is to discuss a revision in the rights passengers have when taking musical instruments on to planes. The proposals come as part of a wider assessment of air passenger rights and have been welcomed by the Musicians’ Union.
Proposals for instrument passports are also under discussion: US delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok have proposed passports for instruments made with exotic woods, old ivory or tortoise shell parts because, as it stands now, instruments can be seized if musicians don’t have import and export permits for each country they visit.
Vienna Philharmonic and the Jewish musicians who perished under Hitler: On the 75th anniversary of Austria’s Anschluss with Germany, the famous orchestra has published on its website a complete and independent report of its activities from the Anschluss until the end of the war.
Royal Opera music director rails at young opera stars’ ‘weakness’: Antonio Pappano claims that ‘they are weaker in their bodies or don’t care’ and are too ready to pull out of productions. The statement has provoked controversy with prominent singers and musicians taking exception to the comments as an understudy at the Los Angeles opera stepped into the lead role in The Flying Dutchman twelve minutes before the start of the show.
San Francisco Symphony strike continues, with concerts cancelled: The San Francisco Symphony and its striking musicians have failed to agree on a new contract after marathon negotiations, and the symphony announced this afternoon it is canceling an East Coast tour . A letter by departing timpanist David Herbert lamented “a cultural disconnect between the San Francisco Symphony Management and the musicians of the orchestra who make the music come to life” with a letter from the remaining musicians raising concerns that “Management has lost sight of its mission”.
There have been complaints, also, at the Salzburg Festival, over organisers’ policy of not paying singers for rehearsals or hotel costs.
Performers left unpaid after tour: Cast members of A Viennese Strauss Gala, staged by Theatre Productions, are owed thousands of pounds and fear they will not receive full payment after it emerged the show’s producers have a history of not paying performers properly.
A piano recital at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg by Israeli born pianist Yossi Reshef was disrupted by protestors.
Also suffering health problems are Rhianna, who has cancelled a second show whilst “still recovering” from laryngitis and flu, Elton John who has cancelled a show in Alabama for unspecified “medical reasons” and Motley Crue’s Vince Neil who was hospitalised during a performance following a kidney stone attack.
Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth’s UK tour has been cancelled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ which are said to include financial problems at Spekulation Entertainment, which was producing the tour.
Exeter student music society aims to tackle tinnitus: Club-goers in a Devon city have been given free ear plugs to highlight the dangers of exposure to loud music.
En pointe to tackle Parkinson’s disease: Weekly ballet classes specifically targeted at people living with Parkinson’s to help balance and coordination are being run by the English National Ballet.
The Australian arts minister Simon Crean has ordered the first major review of its arts funding body since the 1980s, against the backdrop of a campaign to review licenses for live music.
Kim Wilde and Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley break world record for highest ever gig: A host of musical faces from the ’80s made their way into the record books for performing the highest ever gig on a jumbo jet.
Guns N’ Roses fan sues Axl Rose for knocking his teeth out: Darren Wright damaged his two front teeth and injured his mouth after Rose threw his microphone into the crowd at the end of the band’s set at Perth Arena.
Online spat between economist Paul Krugman and Estonian president turned into an opera: An American expatriate writer and a Latvian economist-cum-composer have turned the incident into the opera “Nostra Culpa” (“Our Fault” in Latin), which is set to come to the stage this spring.
Napalm Death playing at Victoria and Albert Museum: The death metal band’s one-off show is a collaboration with resident ceramicist Keith Harrison who has built a wooden sound system with 10 speakers he has filled with liquid clay and allowed it to solidify. As the band plays, the sound produced will reverberate inside the clay, causing it to slowly crack and changing the music as it does.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra has announced the extension of Principal Conductor Vasily Petrenko’s contract for another three years, a decision which will make him the second-longest serving Principal Conductor of the orchestra.
Composer’s social media symphony for Toronto: Tod Machover solicited contributions from the city’s citizens to produce the piece.
A violin thought to be the one played by the band leader of the Titanic as it sank is genuine, according to a seven-year investigation by auctioneers, although the curator of the Titanic in Lancashire Museum has cast doubt on the claims.
Musical beer tie-ins:
Iron Maiden create their own real ale with Stockport brewery Robinsons, called ‘Trooper’ after the band’s 1983 single.
A beer is also launched that makes donations to the musicians in industrial disputes in Minnesota, called Lomomo Paloooza (for Locked Out Musicians of Minnesota).
Lady Gaga using 24-carat gold wheelchair: Singer commissioned New York designer Ken Borochov to create a bejewelled ‘chariot’ to help her recover from hip surgery.
Vienna Philharmonic’s conservatism has exposed it to unsettling truths: Tom Service writes that revelations about its sympathies with nazism have thrown the 171-year-old orchestra’s uniqueness into a different light.
Antonio Pappano’s comments about the ‘weakness’ of young opera singers have caused some controversy. In The Guardian Peter Conrad and Christopher Gillett debate the question ‘have modern opera singers got the wrong attitude?‘ whilst Rupert Christiansen says that ‘opera singers need to be sensitive’.
Symphony Strike – Many Questions, Few Answers, Some Hope: The San Francisco Classical Voice‘s analysis of the dispute.
Free crisps and water – on the support-act trail: Michael Hann looks at the trials of the support act.
The Long and Winding Road – Disabled Access to Live Music: Musician Rob Maddison describes the problems of access for disabled musicians.
Danse Macabre: The New Yorker‘s David Remnick describes in detail the background to the acid attack at the Bolshoi Ballet.
Fear of Talking: Erica Slipes examines the anxieties felt by musicians at the prospect of talking to their audiences.
The act of asking: The Economist on Amanda Palmer’s crowd funding activities.
Iraq war 10 years on – ‘One problem has been the withdrawal of the educated elite. So many have emigrated’: Composer Husam Aldeen al-Ansari explains how Iraq’s national orchestra has struggled to survive amid religious disapproval.
An unusual heavy-metal love story: Beth Winegarner on the struggle of the Middle East’s female metal musicians.
Auditions for busking: The BBC looks at the process of getting a busking license on the London Underground.
Live Music-Related Events:
Music Education Expo: Seminars and workshops will include:-
- Manageable, whole-class instrumental teaching
- How to be ‘outstanding’ at Ofsted
- Pyschology for music teachers: coping with tricky parents and pupils
- Teaching with tablet computers
- Boosting business for private teachers
- Inclusion and special needs workshop
- Behaviour management
- Keeping pupils motivated
Barbican Centre, London, 20th – 21st March 2013
The State of Play 2013 – Musical Instrument Day: A study day for performers, healthcare practitioners, music teachers, manufacturers and modifiers of musical instruments.
Topics that will be covered include:
- Enhancing performance and facilitating healthier practice
- Bespoke instrument modifications and manufacturing technology
- Investigating tools for musicians’ rehabilitation from injury
- Configuring the musical interface for healthy performance
- Musical instrument ergonomics
- Sessions focusing on brass, strings and guitar
The Old Refectory, Wilkins Building -Main Quadrangle, University College, London, WC1E 6BT, Saturday 23rd March, 10am-5pm.
The Small Economies of the ‘New’ Music Industry: Severn Pop Network inaugural conference.
University of Bristol, UK, 25th March 2013.
Introduction to working in the Community Music Sector : A morning workshop using John Stevens’ ‘Search and Reflect’ approach with afternoon seminar exploring the employment potential and training needs within community music, followed by a panel discussion offering the chance to ask industry professionals questions you get the inside track on working in the community music sector.
Brady Arts & Community Centre, 192-196 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5HU, 28th March 2013, 10am to 4pm.
You’re Hired! : A one-day workshop a designed to give practical advice and support to help you improve how you demonstrate your many skills and abilities to potential clients, through both what you say and how you say it.
Dance City, Temple Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4BR, Thursday 28th March 10:30am-4:30pm
Wide Days: A music industry convention in Edinburgh which is now in its third year. There are panel events throughout the day and gigs to attend in the evening.
Teviot Row House, Edinburgh, 10th and 11th April 2013.
Pathways to mediation for live music in the community: A one-day mediation session, open to live music practitioners, businesses and anyone affected who is interested in learning more about the surrounding issues and the process. Produced by Live Music Exchange and the University of Glasgow with the Scottish Mediation Network. The event is free but spaces are limited.
University of Glasgow, University Main Building, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, Monday April 15th, 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Free (but spaces are limited).
Cr8net: A one-day conference for the creative industries, bringing together industry practitioners, policy makers and businesses.
Village Underground (in ‘Tech City’) on 24th April 2013.
Focus Wales Cymru 2013: Music Festival & Conference in Wrexham: Three days of live music, 100+ lives acts, multiple venues, and music industry discussions.
Multiple venues, Wrexham, 25th-27th April 2013.
Live Music Exchange, London: ‘Sustaining a vibrant live music ecology’: A one-day conference organised by The University of Edinburgh’s Live Music Exchange and City University London’s Department of Creative Practice and Enterprise, featuring speakers such as Paul Latham (Live Nation), Will Page (Spotify), Simon Frith, and Dave Laing.
Performance Space, College Building, City University, Northampton Square, London, EC1V OHB, Thursday 14th May, 2013, 9.00am – 6.00pm, £10 / £5 (conc).
17th Biennial IASPM Conference: Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Challenging Orthodoxies.
Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, Gijón, Asturias, Spain, 24-28 June 2013, .
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