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
The the first in an occasional series of posts originating from ‘The Musicians’ Union: A Social History’ – an AHRC and ESRC funded research project based in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. You can find about more about the project, and the history of the Musicians’ Union here.
John Williamson looks back at how Archer Street in Soho became a hub for musicians during the days of mass unemployment during the 1930s.
One From The Archives
In March 2012 Live Music Exchange supremos Martin Cloonan and Simon Frith got together to chat about music and politics in the context of Simon’s academic career. Here we present an edited transcript of the interview.
Live Music News:
The suicide of violinist Frances Andrade midway through the indecent assault trail in which she was the complainant has thrown the spotlight on top music schools and court procedures:
Her death has sparked debate on how courts handle abuse cases after barristers questioned whether she was telling truth with her husband saying she felt traumatised after being accused of lying in court.
During the trial of former choirmaster and director of music at Chetham’ school Michael Brewer, claims of sexual misconduct against more former Chetham teachers have emerged. Two witnesses made claims implicating Malcolm Layfield, who moved from Chetham’s to the Royal Northern College of Music, since which time ten women have come forward with claims about a third former teacher.
Cellist Michal Kaznowski has also made claims that mistreatment and abuse were more widespread, taking place at the Yehudi Menuhin School and elsewhere, whilst pianist, teacher and musicologist Ian Pace has called for a public inquiry.
Music will be taught in schools following Government U-turn on GCSEs: Arts campaigners, including the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the Musicians’ Union have welcomed the government’s climb-down on plans to replace GCSEs with an English Baccalaureate qualification that did not include arts subjects.
Arts to integrate with the primary curriculum: A new project is aiming to help integrate the teaching of core subjects with various artforms by linking primary schools with actors, musicians and dancers. Led by Artis and the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts, the ‘Artis Impact’ project is based on interdisciplinary methodology from the Learning Through the Arts programme from The Royal Conservatory in Canada Schools and is currently in a test phase in the UK.
Arts organisations support backstage training college: Ambassador Theatre Group and Elstree Studios are among organisations backing the launch of a school that will specialise in training students for backstage jobs in the arts.
A thumbs-up for Generator in the House of Lords: During a speech as part of a debate on regeneration in Arts and Culture, Lord Shipley said: “Generator works with emerging bands and artists; mentoring and showcasing talent; providing key help such as PR, booking agents, sources of funding and securing media exposure. Such a comprehensive and progressive artist development programme fills a gap in the market for effective development of artists at any stage of their careers. There may be potential for replicating it”.
AEG launches AXS Ticketing in Los Angeles: AXS Ticketing, AEG’s new ‘fan friendly’ ticketing platform, has officially landed in Los Angeles: The service, which launched in the UK in 2012, allows ticket buyers to reserve adjacent seats for friends and fans can enter payment details and view available seats before general tickets go on sale. It has replaced Ticketmaster at key AEG owned venues.
Wilko Johnson farewell tour – ‘Heartless’ ticket touts criticised: Music venues and fans have criticised “heartless” touts and agencies selling tickets for guitarist Wilko Johnson’s farewell tour at inflated prices. A spokeswoman for one venue said she was “sickened” that tickets for the sold-out shows were being advertised for nearly 10 times face value. Ticket website Viagogo said it provided a “secure marketplace” for sellers.
Ingenious to pump £30m into live events – small music festivals get £4.2m: Creative industries investment specialist Ingenious is to launch of two major fundraising initiatives that will see £30m pumped into the live events arena. The first, Impresario Festivals PLC, will look to raise approximately £4.2 million (€5 million) to invest in live music festivals. The second, the Entertainment VCT H Share, hopes to raise up to £25 million to invest in live events including music festivals, trade fairs and sporting events.
Live Nation wins European Sponsorship Association award for O2 Academy sponsorship: Live Nation Entertainment has won a European Sponsorship Association Excellence Award for its O2 Academy sponsorship. The sponsorship tie-up between Live Nation and O2 and Academy Music Group has introduced new ticketing solutions and a priority ticketing program at venues and shows.
HMV announces 66 store closures: The administrators of HMV have said that sixty-six of the music and DVD retailer’s stores will close over the next two months. Eleven stores in Scotland are amongst those to go, with 109 jobs also on the line due to the closure of nine shops in Northern Ireland. Trevor Moore, CEO of the chain, is amongst 60 new redundancies while supermarkets look towards purchasing some of the empty shops, and offers starting from £6million are being considered for the centrepiece Oxford Street store that hosted gigs from the likes of Madonna, Coldplay and Primal Scream and Blur.
Angel Music becomes GlobalGathering Group: Following a revamp of what is now known as MAMA & Company, one of the music company’s subsidiaries, Angel Music Group, will relaunch as the GlobalGathering Group.
Bestival’s Rob da Bank weather fears for future UK festivals: The promoter of Bestival in the Isle of Wight fears for the future of many UK festivals if there is a repeat of the wet summer saying potential festival-goers could be put off by the rain and muddy conditions at outdoor events.
Rhythms of the World cancelled for 2013: A Hertfordshire music event will not take place this year after organisers failed to find a new venue, although they are confident that it will return next year.
BandWagon announces new festival partners: BandWagon, a UK-based online artist/promoter exchange for the grass roots live sector, has announced partnerships with music festivals goNORTH and Secret Garden Party, which will use the digital platform to accept submissions from new bands interested in playing.
Bloc to return with programme of parties: The team behind the Bloc Festival have confirmed they have a new venture, though it will take the form of ten parties at a new venue in East London rather than a new festival.
Wimborne Folk Festival revived by volunteers: The music and dance event had been running since 1980, when the couple who ran it announced in August tat they were retiring due to financial reasons and the festival would end. A team of locals determined to organise a 2013 festival came together after a social media campaign.
Tafwyl festival saved – Labour accused of cherry picking: Ministers have been accused of “cherry picking” worthy causes after they stepped in to secure the future of a Welsh language festival. The Tafwyl event was under threat after Cardiff council proposed to cut its grant but less than a week after the cut was proposed, the Welsh government says it will provide the festival with £20,000 as it is “a unique case”.
Also in Wales, the Presteigne Festival has been shaken by the news that Powys County Council will be cutting by 75% its Community and Voluntary Sector fund, which pays for Presteigne’s outreach work.
U-turn on Isle of Wight festival taxi image: The Isle of Wight Council has made a u-turn on its decision to ban an image of a scantily-clad woman designed to promote the Isle of Wight Festival on the back of a taxi.
‘Barrier-breaking’ music festival Tectonics heads for Glasgow from Iceland: A festival billed as the first of its kind in the UK will showcase the likes of American experimental composer Alvin Lucier and Scottish indie rocker Aidan Moffat in. It aims to break down barriers between different musical genres.
Exit Festival challenges Serbia’s royalty collection agency: The case involves the right of Organization of Phonogram Producers of Serbia (O.F.P.S.) to collect royalties for communication to the public of Italian sound recordings. The Exit Festival, one of Serbia’s biggest live events, has challenged the right to collect revenues from recordings played before and after concerts.
London’s Bull & Gate to shut on May 4th: North London venue the Bull & Gate is to cease operating as a live music venue. The building has been sold to the Youngs chain and will be closed for refurbishment. It is likely to reopen as a pub restaurant in the summer.
Ministry of Sound appeals to music industry: Ministry of Sound CEO Lohan Presencer has appealed to leaders of the UK music industry to assist the company in its fight to keep its world-renowned London club alive.
Former Luminaire owner explains his concerns over Live Music Act: Although largely supported by the industry, Andy Inglis has voiced concerns – chiefly that an increase in pubs staging free music events to increase footfall could negatively impact on those grass roots venues for whom music is their core business.
Baby in audience stops Aberystwyth dance music gig: Police stopped a dance music event temporarily in Aberystwyth when they were told a baby was in the audience.
Lindisfarne Christmas concert returns to “save” City Hall: The band’s legendary concerts ran for seventeen years until they stopped them in 1993 but the Christmas concert will return this year to support the endangered venue.
Sheffield Arena to have multi-million pound facelift: Sheffield Arena is to have its first major upgrade since it opened in 1991, with a new roof and seating planned.
Royal Opera House selects Stanton Williams Architects to make venue more inviting: The ‘Open Up’ project will improve the venue’s physical entrances as well as develop the Linbury Studio Theatre and the Paul Hamlyn Hall. It aims to make the ROH’s creative, technical and education work more visible to people.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales presents concerts for the deaf community: A new series of free events will make music accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. They will feature sign language and live subtitles, and allow audience members to sit within the orchestra, in order to feel the vibrations from instruments as the musicians play.
Wembley seeks projects for public performance space: Brent Council is launching a national competition calling for proposals on how to best use a new community space in Wembley.
Creative Scotland to advertise for new chief executive: Arts funding body Creative Scotland is to advertise for a new chief executive after its previous chief stood down following a protest by artists.
ACE and Visit England announce three-year partnership: Arts Council England and national tourist board VisitEngland have announced a new three-year partnership aimed at boosting cultural tourism which will see the two organisations collaborating on a portfolio of projects as well as sharing research findings and seeking to improve skills in both sectors.
Arts groups given funding for digital projects: The Royal Opera House and Leeds-based Unlimited Theatre are among the cultural groups set to receive funding from Arts Council England for digital projects.
Firms give £4.5m to arts in the West Midlands: More than £4.5m was invested into the arts in the West Midlands by businesses between 2010 and 2011. Rob Bhol, managing director at DBS Law, which has been working with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra on projects with schoolchildren, said it had been “enlightening for staff” along with everyone else involved.
Welsh National Opera director defends arts spending: The artistic director of Welsh National Opera (WNO) has defended the public funding given to the arts in Wales. David Pountney said that without support for the cultural institutions, we risk “turning back into animals”.
Developments in the royalty collection row in Wales as Eos members agree to a Radio Cymru interim licence vote. The group, which represents Welsh language musicians, has voted in favour of offering BBC Radio Cymru an interim licence to play its music as a dispute over royalty payments continues with the BBC planning to take Eos to the copyright tribunal.
Also in collections agencies news, PRS for Music has appointed a new Chief Economist: Maurice Samuel fills the role after previous chief economist Will Page departed the performance rights organisation for streaming service Spotify. He has worked for a wide range of public and private sector organisations, including HM Treasury, the Office of Fair Trading, the London Stock Exchange and, most recently, BT.
Fisherman’s Friends tour manager dies in G Live accident: The tour manager for the shanty group Fisherman’s Friends has been killed in an accident at a music venue. Paul McMullen died and singer Trevor Grills suffered critical injuries when a metal door fell at G Live in Guildford, Surrey.
Nightclub Fire Draws Focus On Brazil’s Carnival: Just over a week since a nightclub fire killed nearly 240 revelers in southern Brazil, Carnival festivities hit full stride Friday, raising questions about the safety of those who will pack party spaces across the nation.
Opera house found guilty in death of stage technician: Vlaamse Opera in Belgium has been found guilty by a labour court of responsibility in the death of stagehand Stefaan Monsieur, who was hit by a 400-kilo chunk of backdrop in a production of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de loin.
Baroness bus driver to face dangerous driving charges: Norman Markus, the driver of the tour bus carrying US metal band Baroness, which crashed in Somerset last August and fell 30 feet off a viaduct, is to face a variety of charges in relation to the crash.
Lamb Of God manslaughter trial delayed: Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe will apparently return to the US later this week, after his trial for manslaughter in the Czech Republic was delayed. The trial began in Prague on Monday, with Blythe pleading not guilty to charges of killing a fan by pushing him off stage at a gig in the city in 2010.
China tightens concert rules after Elton John’s ‘disrespectful’ Beijing show: Officials considered ban on foreign artists without university degrees, after star dedicated gig to Ai Weiwei, say sources.
Kashmir’s first all-female rock group disband following threats: Pragaash quit three months after forming, pointing to fatwa from cleric and local opinion, including threats of violence on social media.
Thai performer reportedly arrested for singing his own hits: A popular singer was arrested recently for singing at least two of the hit songs he is known for without the permission of the publisher of said tracks. Montchai Raksachart fell out with his former publisher, GMM Music Publishing International, which owns the copyrights in his songs. When they failed to agree terms for a new contract last month, the publisher told the singer that he was not allowed to perform in public any of the songs GMM had published, and that if he did they would take action.
Cee Lo Green sued by concert promoter for $14.2 million: Singer accused of no-showing two shows.
Mick Jagger attacks former financial adviser over Rolling Stones Book: Written by the band’s financial adviser Prince Rupert Loewenstein, it lays bare how he made them become tax exiles, reshaped the way tours were run, and ended the practice of the brown paper bag stuffed with cash.
Winter Storm Nemo Impacts Live-Music In Northeast America: Shows by George Clinton were amongst those postponed as more than half a million people were without power. The Boston Symphony Orchestra was also forced to cancel concerts.
Coldplay cancel South American tour: The band were due to play a run of already postponed dates starting next week in Chile.
Morrissey still ill, postpones shows: He has cited “concussion, a bleeding ulcer” and Barrett’s oesophagus – a throat condition that can, in certain cases, prove pre-malignant – as the reasons for the cancellations.
Marilyn Manson collapses on stage: The singer was playing his song ‘Beautiful People’ when he keeled over and, according to some audience members, started vomiting. The band still played the rest of the song without him and flu was given as the reason for the collapse.
Whitney Houston remembered at pre-Grammy gala: Musicians including Dave Grohl, Janelle Monae, LA Reid and Miguel have paid tribute to Whitney Houston, a year after her death, at the age of 48.
Beyonce’s Super Bowl Halftime Show Draws Estimated 104 Million Viewers and prompts a boost in sakes of her own and Destiny’s Child back catalogue of 197%.
Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s life story is heading to Broadway: Singer and producer husband working on stage musical about their journey from Cuba to international stardom.
Italy arts receive 21 million Euro cut – but arts bosses will have their salaries boosted, although there is good news for one orchestra as Nicola and Paolo Bulgari, makers of expensive jewellery have announced a 1.2 million Euro donation to orchestra the Santa Cecilia in Rome.
The Bolshoi has named Tatiana Baganova as a replacement for British choreographer Wayne McGregor who pulled out of the centenary Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring after the acid attack on Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin as another prominent artist is attacked in Moscow. The concertmaster of the State Tchaikovsky conservatoire, Marat Mansyrev, was attacked and severely beaten near the Shchukinskaya Metro station.
For the third time, customs at Frankfurt Airport have stopped a passenger of Japanese extraction who was carrying a violin and confiscated the instrument: The person concerned was held for two hours while officials demanded proof of purchase and valuation of the violin.
A Crack in the Ice Between Musicians and Management: The Minnesota Orchestra plays to celebrate its Grammy nomination but more concerts are cancelled.
Lost Sibelius piano piece to receive premiere in Brighton: The manuscript was found at Harvard University Library and thought to be the accompaniment to a missing song but is apparently a piano piece all on its own.
Lamberhurst firm microchipping musical instruments: A microchip developed by a company based in Lamberhurst, Kent, is being used to tag valuable instruments at the Royal College of Music in London
Harrods shuts lid on piano departments as sales drops: Store closes its piano department after 118 years, as sales of the musical instrument fall across Britain.
Symphony orchestra hijacks airport departure lounge: Things were quiet this at the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra, so the musicians got dressed up as airline staff, pilots, traffic control officers and construction workers and took over the departure lounge at Henri Coanda International Airport.
Paul McCartney ‘mistaken for busker’ on New Orleans train: Music legend reportedly ignored when he began performing Beatles songs on a train in America recently as passengers thought he was a busker.
Pianist Clayderman’s Love Songs For Tortoises: Pianist Richard Clayderman has been encouraging Galapagos tortoises to mate by playing romantic ballads for them at their enclosure at London Zoo.
Are City Orchestras a Dying Breed?: With lockouts, deficits, and dwindling audiences, Maggie Stevens looks at US classical ensembles’ fight for survival.
Classical – What If It’s (Gasp) Entertainment?: Michael Zwiebach at the San Francisco Classical Voice argues for abandoning claims to ‘high art’.
Lean But Seen – The Joy Of Smaller Opera: Anastasia Tsioulcas examines the benefits of smaller productions of opera in ‘black box’ venues.
English National Opera’s beards smell “like wet dog”: The Independent goes backstage to look at the wig making department at the ENO.
Get-in shape: The Stage looks at the new Code of Conduct for Get-ins, Fit-ups and Get-outs, produced by the Theatrical Management Association and BECTU.
Green Speakers – A Field of Dreams?: Ben Challis is optimistic about the possible environmental benefits of new speaker technology.
Musicians caught up in Mexico’s drug wars: Following the murder of members of the group Kombo Kolombia, the BBC’s Will Grant in Mexico City looks at the dangers for musicians who play for the drug gangs.
Bulgaria’s chalga pop-folk – A cultural rift: Bulgaria’s sex-soaked pop-folk music culture known as chalga has come under the spotlight following the controversial decision to award EU development money to a top producer. Ina Sotirova, in Sofia, finds out why it has caused such a storm.
Desert sounds – Kalahari metalheads pursue a dream: Botswana’s heavy metal bands defy criticism – and heat – in their search for artistic freedom.
Dancing on the Edge – what was life really like for black jazz bands in 1930s Britain?: Stephen Poliakoff’s new drama tells the story of a jazz band feted by high society in 1930s London. But John Fordham asks whether it paints an accurate picture of the music of the time and the experience of black musicians?
Live Music-Related Events:
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.
Roundhouse Rising brings an explosion of new music to The Sage Gateshead for the first time in association with Generator. Sunday 17th February, The Sage Gateshead (Hall Two).
Diversifying your Portfolio workshop: This workshop will help you explore how to use all the great skills and talents you have to diversify your career (often to support your core work), increase your choices, efficiency and your earning potential. The workshop is free of charge to MU members.
February 22 in Manchester at 10.30am to 4.30pm
WFA Media & Cultural Centre
9 Lucy Street
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.
Music Futures Network – Crowdfunding: At this special networking event arranged by Generator, we will hear firsthand accounts of those who have successfully launched albums, films and games by embracing crowdfunding platforms. Guest speakers will discuss what went right and wrong in their campaign. What they’d do differently next time, if indeed if they would they do it all again.
Tom Williams, Tom Williams & The Boat
Sally Hodgson, Sound it Out
Thomas Bidaux, ICO Partners
Live Theatre, Broad Chare, Quayside, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE1, 3DQ
Thursday February 28th, 5pm-9pm
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.
Music Industry Uncovered, Bristol : An in-depth day looking at the diverse career pathways into the Music Industry, Colston Hall, Bristol. 16th February 2013
Writing for Musical Theatre – Panel discussion and reception: This MU event will focus on the crafts of composition, song-writing, orchestration and music preparation. The panel discussion and Q&A will be followed by a reception with a chance to meet some of the speakers, MU officials and fellow MU members. Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ, Monday 25th February, 5.30 – 8.30pm (5pm doors).
The Clore Leadership Programme – Emerging Leaders Course :Sunday 17th – Friday 22nd March 2013 at Craxton Wood Hotel, Chester.
Compact: Making Money In Dance Music: This event is aimed specifically at DJs and Producers looking to progress from a bedroom hobby or from the early stages of success into a long-term successful career. The sessions feature guest speaker Danny Ward and cover a wide range of topics including,
- The various income streams available to DJs and Producers/Artists
- How to approach record labels
- Working with record labels
- How to get more gigs
- Choosing the right opportunities
- Promoting yourself and building an audience
- How to set up your own record label
Centre for Enterprise, Teeside University, Middlesborough, TS1 3BA
Wednesday 13th March, 10am – 5pm
Learn to Play Day: Music stores across the UK will be offering people taster sessions on instruments for Learn to Play Day on 16 March.
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.
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.
17th Biennial IASPM Conference: Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Challenging Orthodoxies, 24-28 June 2013, Oviedo, Spain.
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