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
This video is the keynote address from the Live Music Exchange: Cardiff event, November 10th, 2012. Professor George McKay gives a wide ranging presentation, which covers the history of music festivals in the context of the music industry, and also deals with its relationship to a sense of place in terms of both society and geography.
One to Watch
In reaction to the often poor sound quality at live music events and subsequent issues of noise pollution, Davies Roberts, founder of loudspeaker manufacturer Flare Audio, has developed a new type of speaker which produces a much ‘purer’ sound than those currently used within the live music industries. The following blog post introduces the first of two papers authored by Roberts and argues that the standards of audio testing should be raised in order to create a better audio experience for artists, audiences, and, ultimately, local residents.
Live Music News:
The news has been dominated by HMV, which has gone into administration, with knock on effects for music labels and distributors. As well as changes to the face of the high street, the collapse of the music retailers has been described as a ‘major blow for the Scottish music scene’ more generally whilst Ireland was at the centre of a pay dispute, with staff at two shops staging sit-ins.
The chain has failed to pay money owed to charity, but potential bidders have come forward and the major labels have assembled a rescue package, cutting prices of CDs and DVDs in rescue package. Meanwhile, some independent record stores are seeing increased sales.
Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival is underway, marking its twentieth year. Artistic director Donald Shaw has admitted that this is the toughest year yet, however, due to to the loss of its headline sponsor, the part-closure of the Royal Concert Hall and a late scramble to find a venue for its late-night club.
Also in Scotland, musicians are to receive extra help from Creative Scotland’s ‘Made In Scotland’ initiative, a scheme that makes cash available to enable Scotland-based musicians to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is also to reduce the commission it charges companies and producers on ticket sales from 6% to 4%, starting at this summer’s event.
The run-up to Glastonbury continues, as Malian singer Rokia Traoré is the first act to be unveiled for the 2013 festival as organisers plan a show of solidarity with the African country. US singer-songwriter Rodriguez has also said he is going to play, and entries for the 2013 Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition have opened. Open to independent acts from the UK and Ireland, the winners will perform on the main stage at this year’s festival in June.
The Rest Is Noise: A year long festival on the South Bank in London has started. Shining a light on 20th Century classical music, it will also include a score by Frank Zappa as well as works by Strauss, Mahler and Schoenberg.
Jersey Live parking change prompted by house building: Houses are to be built on the field normally used to park for Jersey Live and construction workers have started to clear and peg the land.
AIF to host seminars on bad weather and festival marketing: The Association of Independent Festivals will run the event on February 6th in London’s Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall.
Tenacious D reveal plans for comedy-rock festival: Comedy duo hope to book Flight Of The Conchords, Spinal Tap, Tim Minchin for Festival Supreme in October. A venue has not yet been confirmed.
UK festivals collaborate for new event in Croatia: The Warehouse Project, which puts on an annual series of gigs in Manchester, and London one-day festival Field Day have joined forces with Hideout festival to launch a new music weekend in Croatia later this year.
Identity crisis looms for Big Day Out as festival loses water-cooler allure: Sales are slowing for Australia’s biggest and oldest travelling music festival.
Mathieu Jaton named new Montreux Jazz Festival head: He takes over from founder Claude Nobs, who died following a skiing accident over the Christmas period.
In ticketing news, re-sale site Viagogo has struck out against the English Cricket Board’s ‘Touts Out’ campaign arguing that online ticket resale sites are providing a valuable service in promoting capacity crowds and protecting fans from fraud.
Ticketfly Expands Into Canada: The San Francisco-based ticketing company signed on Calgary-based Union Events, Canada’s largest independently owned concert promotion company and secured Toronto-based Collective Concerts.
WeGotTickets raises record amount for Nordoff Robbins: £4433.25 was raised for music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins for its 2012 Christmas appeal, £3,087 of it via a WeGotTickets donation box at the point of purchase on the site.
PRS For Music Foundation to manage new Arts Council fund for artists: The Music Industry Talent Development Fund, the first fund of its kind in England, will make over half a million available to support artists and bands looking to take their next career step.
The Arts Council has come under fire, however, for footing the bill for an Executive Director’s eleventh-hour sabbatical, costing taxpayers up to £200k. This comes as it is revealed that 91% of people starting out in the arts have worked for free.
Arts Council chief accuses Gove of abandoning cultural education: Education secretary risks leaving a generation exposed and robbing children of their birthright, warns Liz Forgan. This comes alongside the news that schools will be ranked by the number of teenagers taking academic A-levels, prompting fears that the arts will be sidelined.
Funding cuts in Wales: A leading composer has renewed his warning that Wales’ reputation as a musical nation will decline with further cuts to youth music services.
Also in Wales, the row over royalties continues. Singer Bryn Fon, a leading member of Eos, the body representing Welsh language musicians in the dispute with the BBC, has criticised the corporation’s offer of a mediator and MP Hywel Williams has called for an inquiry.
Echo Arena Liverpool renews sponsorship deal with Liverpool Echo: The venue has renewed its sponsorship with Liverpool Echo parent company Trinity Mirror in a three-year deal.
Nottingham’s Rock City ‘targeted’ by criminal gangs: A Nottingham music venue said it has been targeted by criminal gangs following a large number of reported mobile phone thefts.
Car park to replace Blackpool venue: Blackpool’s former ABC Theatre, which in the past has hosted performances from the Beatles and Morecambe and Wise, is facing demolition following a council decision to buy the site and turn it into a car park.
World-renowned museum and concert venue wins £76,500 redevelopment funding: St. Cecila’s Hall in Edinburgh the project has won £76,500 in first-round Heritage Lottery funding as part of a wider £900,000 application.
Exeter Cathedral organ to undergo £1m restoration: The project will begin at the end of January with the dismantling of the instrument, which has 4,000 pipes, as well as components dating back to its initial construction in 1665. A bid is also underway for the restoration of a music organ, at Kinloch Castle, believed to have been made for Queen Victoria.
The Vaccines to play tiny Southampton show in aid of local venue: All proceeds from the gig will go to support The Joiners, which is facing an uncertain future.
Financial troubles for English National Opera: The Arts Council considers a shakeup as ENO posts £2.2m loss, falling into the red after losing £1.3m funding and filling only 71% of seats.
Sacked oboist wins appeal: Sandy Johnston, the oboist sacked by Welsh National Opera, has succeeded in the Employment Appeal Tribunal against an earlier ruling on his dismissal. WNO were ordered to pay the costs relating to the Court of Appeal – more than £30,000
Changes for the English National Ballet: Justin Bickle has been appointed as the new chairman and it has launched a campaign to re-brand itself by creating a new logo and website and joining forces with Vivienne Westwood, who has provided clothes for the campaign pictures.
Cirque du Soleil to cut 400 jobs: 7% of the workforce is to go as part of a restructuring to make the company as ‘profitable as possible’.
Bolshoi Ballet director was attacked with acid: Sergei Filin says the assault must be linked to his work in latest incident at scandal-prone Russian theatre. He is undergoing surgery to save his sight.
Pussy Riot member denied appeal: Maria Alyokhina had asked to defer her sentence to care for her five-year-old son, but the court ruled against her.
60 ‘arrested’ at illegal Iran concert: The heavy metal drummer who is trying to enter Australia claims to have fled Iran after 60 of his friends were arrested at an unauthorised concert.
Malian Musicians Call for Peace: More than 40 pop musicians from Mali have recorded a song pleading for peace after the country has been hit in recent days by fighting between government forces aided by French troops and warplanes and Islamic rebels who control the north.
Rolling Stones tour bonanza: Ticket sales reach ticket sales reach $38.6 million for the band’s 50 and Counting Tour.
Lang Lang solo recital sells out UK’s biggest hall in 48 hours: The pianist has broken all recent records for the Royal Albert Hall.
Increased sales for a Cleveland Orchestra are attributed to programmes aimed at children and students.
Sounds Australia Appoints Dr Ianto Ware National Live Music Coordinator: In a statement, the Arts Minister Simon Crean said, ‘The creation of this new position is part of the Australian Government’s $3 million commitment to boost industry innovation, music export and address skills development in the live music sector’.
Birds make music with bum notes: A piece of music that was composed by waiting for bird droppings to fall onto giant sheets of manuscript paper has received its premiere.
5ive plea for fifth member: Reunited boy band also consider changing name to account for revised line-up.
Live Music Features:
The cash-strapped ENO must take a long, hard look at itself: Charlotte Higgins argues that it has also fallen behind in programming, fundraising and knowing its audience.
Notes and noise: The Economist calls for a reassessment of modern classical music, as ‘The Rest Is Noise’ festival begins.
NEA’s Jazz Masters Live program gets farther, still farther to get: Howard Mandel says that there’s still work to do on promoting jazz to new audiences in the US, while in ‘Jazz, the sound of soft power in the desert’, the BBC investigates its emergence in Qatar.
Personal connections: Now that ticketing means interfacing with customers via websites, smartphones and social media, Roger Tomlinson reviews the advances into personal territory.
The OFT Should Re-Examine Ticketing: Caitlin Graham of Which calls for action on the Music Tank blog.
I Am the One in Ten – Tinnitus and How We Get It on the Agenda: Eddy Temple-Morris makes a plea for more attention to tinnitus.
Queens of noise – heavy metal music encourages heavy-hitting women: Kim Kelly celebrates the presence of women in heavy metal.
How we fell out of tune with the piano: Thousands of pianos are being sent to the scrap-heap despite having the ability to still tug at our heartstrings, Paul Kendall discovers.
Study finds benefits of singing for older people: A study at Canterbury Christchurch University into community singing for older people has found it has noticeable wellbeing and mental health benefits. Meanwhile, research at the other end of the age range suggest that musical genius comes easier to early starters.
Live Music-Related Events:
Morgensterns and MU Orchestral Audition Masterclasses: Morgensterns and the Musicians’ Union (MU) are launching three pilot Orchestral Audition Masterclasses in January and February 2013 to help musicians with professional orchestral experience hone their orchestral audition skills.
Association of British Orchestras 2013 Annual Conference Leeds: 23rd – 25th January 2013, Grand Theatre / Howard Assembly Room, Leeds. The timetable is here.
The Musicians’ Hearing Services: Lofi Studios, 20 Anchor Lane, Glasgow, G1 2HW Glasgow on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th January. MU members can receive a hearing test at the special discounted price of £20, along with a consultation and advice from Geraldine Daly of the Musicians’ Hearing Services. Members can also purchase made-to-measure ear protectors at discounted prices.
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.
Association of Independent Festivals Seminars: Bad Weather Planning / Festival Marketing & Sponsorship, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX, 6th February 2013, £35-80.
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.
Dr Louise Montello’s Performance Wellness Training – Level One
The two- day workshop will give you an introduction to Performance Wellness – for musicians who are new to the Performance Wellness Approach. The workshop will also teach you advanced relaxation and breathing practices for dealing with the stresses of playing in public and resultant technical and physical problems.
Cost: MU members – £85.00, Non members – £95.00, Students – £50.00
MU HQ 60-62 Clapham Road, London, SW9 OJ – Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February
Green Events & Innovation Conference – 7th March 2013 at The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London. Tickets for the Conference (which include lunch, and a day of panels, keynotes and workshops) are £75, with a discount rate of £50 available for AIF Members, Yourope Members, ILMC delegates and students. You can register here. Spaces will be limited and offered on a first come first serve basis!
International Live Music Conference (ILMC): 8th -10th March 2013 at Royal Garden Hotel in London, hosted by A Greener Festival, Bucks New University and the Association of Independent Festivals.
The Clore Leadership Programme – Emerging Leaders Course. Sunday 17th – Friday 22nd March 2013 at Craxton Wood Hotel, Chester.
The Small Economies of the ‘New’ Music Industry. Severn Pop Network inaugural conference, University of Bristol, UK, 25th March 2013.
17th Biennial IASPM Conference: Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Challenging Orthodoxies, 24-28 June 2013, Oviedo, Spain.
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