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
Our latest guest post is by Asher Baker, an acoustic punk singer songwriter from London who performs under the name Chapter Eleven. Here he draws upon his experience of many gigs across the country to offer broad guidelines, and some specific tips, on how to organise a small scale DIY tour.
One From The Archives
One year on from the protest that saw members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot jailed, this post from the archives by Adam Behr looks at some of the coverage of the Pussy Riot trial in the wider context of the questions it raises about music, politics and censorship. What are the dividing lines between musical and political statements?
Live Music News:
The Metropolitan Police have called for tighter regulation of the secondary ticket market: The ‘Ticket Crime: Problem Profile’ report is the result of Operation Podium, which was set up to deal with ticket fraud and other crimes related to tickets for the Olympics.
The report, which includes the recommendation that government consider legislation to govern the ticket resale market has been welcomed in several quarters. Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, who was proposed such legislation in the past has commented that “ministers now need to take on board the advice from experts in the Police” although a spokesman for the DCMS has said that it doesn’t plan to create “more red tape”.
Prominent resale website Viagogo has said that it welcomes the report because it illustrates the danger of fraudulent tickets from street touts, something it claims its service has significantly reduced.
Other responses to ticket resale are coming via new platforms- Fan-to-fan ticket exchange platform Twickets has launched its first iPhone app, which has topped the iTunes New Apps chart. It is an aggregator of all spare or unwanted UK event tickets made available via Twitter, with one hard and fast rule – nothing is posted that is more than face value.
Also in ticketing, Danish platform Billetto has launched in the UK. Claiming over 10% of Denmark’s online ticket market, Billetto provides a range of flexible ticketing, data and promotion services to event promoters, as well as the facility to sell merch before and after an event.
The latest bids for AEG are coming in at over $2billion under the asking price: It was was expected to fetch $6 billion to $8 billion, although the seller signaled it was seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion and, according to some sources, at least two prospective bidders have offered less than $7 billion.
Live Nation appoints talent booking head in Asia: Live Nation has hired Jason Miller as senior vice president of talent in Asia. He spent over a decade at Creative Artists Agency, serving primarily as a music agent, with an emphasis on the international market.
UK Music to discuss rehearsal spaces at Roundhouse: The move comes as the industry body takes sole control for the running of the fourteen rehearsal spaces it helped set up in tandem with the DCMS. It will seek new funding to secure the future of the existing spaces and also add new rehearsal facilities in other British cities. It will also explore how apprenticeships and other job creation initiatives can be run out of the spaces.
HMV to close 37 more stores in UK: Collapsed music and DVD retailer HMV is to close a further 37 stores leading to the loss of 464 jobs, administrators Deloitte have said. Meanwhile, Elton John has proposed a series of in-store shows to help the chain, and encourage fans to shop on the high street.
The Brit Awards, despite criticism of them as both bland and qualms that they were perhaps unrepresentative of music making as a whole, attracted the biggest audience for more than a decade with 6.5million viewers.
Bruce Springsteen to play Leeds Arena ‘road test’ gig: He will “road test” the new Leeds Arena in July ahead of its official opening in September, Leeds City Council has revealed, after making a “special request” to try out the 13,500-seat arena in a one-off show as part of his Wrecking Ball world tour, the council said. Ricky Wilson, of the Kaiser Chiefs, expressed frustration with decision, having believed that his band would be the opening act there.
Springsteen was high-up on Billboard‘s top earners of 2012, second only to Madonna. Concerts made up 68.9% of revenue for the forty artists on Billboard’s Moneymakers list. 93.5% of Madonna’s total revenue came from concerts. Springsteen earned 92% of his revenue from live shows. Roger Waters, a distant third, had the highest concert share on the list with 93.6%. The entire top ten averaged 84.2% of their income from concerts.
MTV UK is official broadcast partner for Wireless 2013: It will showcase live artist performances across its network of music channels throughout July, which has named Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z as headliners.
In other festival news, the first Love Supreme Jazz festival has named confirmed that Bryan Ferry will join the line-up, his first UK performance with his Bryan Ferry Orchestra whilst Tomorrowland, after selling out 180,000 tickets to its event in Belgium has revealed initial details of a sister event, to take place elsewhere.
Liverpool’s Mathew Street festival hit by cuts: The annual Mathew Street Festival is to be replaced by the smaller Liverpool International Music Festival, the council has confirmed. The city council said the changes cost it £320,000 a year less.
Cuts are also prominent in the news elsewhere across Britain: Arts leaders have welcomed news of Newcastle’s U-turn on 100% cuts to arts funding, and Norfolk County Council have also decided to scrap a plan to cut the budget for arts projects around Norfolk this year. But Taunton’s Brewhouse theatre has cited public funding cuts as the reason for it going into administration, leaving arts groups in the area searching for a new venue whilst plans for an arts hub in Edinburgh have also been shelved after the city council and creative organisations failed to find the funds required.
All- Party Parliamentary Classical Music Group to meet Exchequer Secretary over National Insurance changes for session musicians: Previous guidelines allowed for an exemption but self-employed musicians now fall within the regulations for Class 1 National Insurance contributions, potentially meaning employers will have to make deductions from a musician’s fee. Lord Lipsey, Chairman of the group, said the rule change “threatens to decimate our orchestras and put our musicians out of work.”
Music development agency Generator has secured funding for the future: After after negotiation with the Department of Communities and Local Government, Generator was awarded £600,000 to underpin a new programme of business support in the North East region titled ‘Music Futures’. It has also received a grant through the RBS Inspiring Enterprise fund, which will develop a project called ‘Ladders’ that provides enterprise support to young people as well as Arts Council England support for ‘Mapped Out’, a three year plan to establish pool of promoters who share experience and business practise.
Arts Council England distributes legacy funding: An unprecedented legacy gift of £925k left by a music lover to Arts Council England has been distributed among three music organisations.
The Arts Council has also had to cover a £0.5 million staff sabbatical bill: £500,000 has been earmarked in Arts Council England’s 2012 accounts to cover 20 staff sabbaticals, costing the funder an average of £24,400 each.
Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff under threat: For the past thirty years it has stood out as a distinct venue for the Welsh-speaking community – known to many as the Welsh club. The trustees and secretary are standing down this year and they say if they cannot find people to replace them who will uphold the values the club was founded upon it could end up closing it down or sold to the highest bidder.
Redundancy fears at Birmingham’s New Alexandra Theatre: Staff working for the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham fear they are at risk of losing their jobs after Ambassador Theatre Group launched a consultation about a “restructure” at the venue.
Weymouth Pavilion Community takeover plans approved: A seaside theatre has been saved from closure after a council voted to hand it over to the community. The theatre and music venue was due to close as the end of May as part of council budget savings.
Ritz venue keeps name over door in row with hotel: A Northamptonshire wedding and conference venue has been allowed to keep the Ritz name over its door in a dispute with the famous hotel.
Growing calls for a public inquiry into abuse at Chetham’s school of music with prominent musicians and alumni writing a letter to The Guardian which states that, “Chetham’s appears to have failed… and with such devastating consequences for the personal and professional lives of the alleged victims, now requires some considerable explanation from those who held senior positions of authority.” This comes as Malcolm Laynard, the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) professor named in allegations of sexual misconduct, has resigned. Chehtam’s has also denied accusations that it tried to block the website of commentator Norman Lebrecht, who has been highly critical of the way it has handled the scandal.
The Small Venue License Bill in South Australia has been passed in Parliament, after fears that the Liberal Party would block it if the right to object was removed and capacity wasn’t capped at eighty patrons but they ultimately passed it without objections.
Live music in Sydney is also to receive a boost from a new policy aimed at preventing pubs from being hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and court costs after a noise complaint. Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne will propose a new “good neighbour” policy which seeks regular meetings between licensees and residents instead of the prosecution of venues.
Appeal to Turkish Justice Minister to end trial of God-denying pianist: The court has ordered Fazil Say, accused of blasphemy, to appear before it on April 15 following an investigation of ‘an autistic disorder’. The pianist is accused of tweeting a message allegedly offensive to Islam. His defence counsel, Meltem Akyol, protested his right to freedom of expression. The complainant asked the court to consider autism as a possible cause of the outburst.
Romania cancels Enescu Competition: The Romanian Ministry of Culture has called off this year’s international George Enescu Competition citing budget difficulties.
As the orchestra lockouts continue in Minnesota, musicians are starting to leave for positions elsewhere. Kyu-Young Kim, principal second violinist of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, will join the New York Philharmonic with others joining ensembles elsewhere in the US and as far afield as Zurich.
Violin teacher donates $7 million to USC Thornton School of Music: The money, donated by longtime professor violinist Alice Schoenfeld establishes a new endowment whose earnings will provide scholarships for students studying stringed instruments.
San Francisco Symphony oboist has stroke onstage: William Bennett, the San Francisco Symphony’s principal oboist, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on Saturday night, midway through a performance of Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto.
Three suffer minor burns after flare lit at Soundwave rock festival in Sydney: St John Ambulance volunteers treated three people for minor burns when a flare was ignited in the middle of a mosh pit at at Sydney Olympic Park. But the organisation did not provide first aid to a young woman who was said to have suffered serious arm burns and was disfigured when the magnesium flare was set off during Bring Me The Horizons’ set on Sunday night.
Fisherman’s Friends’ Trevor Grills funeral held in Cornwall: The funeral has been held for the Cornish shanty group singer who died after he was hit by a falling metal door at G Live in Guildford, Surrey.
Musicians are being hit with increased costs as train companies Amtrak and Eurostar have started charging extra for carriage of the instruments. This follows recent problems in airports which have seen instruments seized in Germany and broken in the US.
Taylor Swift sued over advance on cancelled show: Taylor Swift is being sued over a $2.5 million advance she was paid for a Canadian festival appearance that never took place. The ticketing company forced to pay out $1.8 million in refunds after the country festival was pulled is trying to recover the cash to cover its costs but a spokesman for the singer points out that she had no direct agreement with the ticketing firm that her lawyers are yet to see the litigation anyway.
Morrissey LA concert to be ‘100% vegetarian’: Food vendors at the Staples Center in Los Angeles will be going 100% vegetarian at Morrissey’s forthcoming sold-out show on 1 March. It will mark the first time stalls within and around the venue are not selling any meat products.
Comic Relief to stage record-breaking gig in the sky: Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley, Bananarama and Kim Wilde will take part in a gig at 43,000 feet on a British Airways flight to raise money for Comic Relief.
Rumours of high profile tours as Robert Plant hints at Led Zeppelin reunion suggesting he is open to playing with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, saying ‘I’ve got nothing to do in 2014’. David Bowie’s guitarists have also mooted the possibility of a tour, with Gerry Leonard putting the chances at ’50/50′.
Bill Wyman ‘disappointed’ by role in The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary shows: ‘I thought I’d be quite heavily involved,’ says the bassist who played on two songs.
Cirque du Soleil confirms new Michael Jackson-themed Vegas show: Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre announced Thursday that the company’s newest show will be called “Michael Jackson ONE.” It will be the second collaboration between the acrobatic company and Jackson’s estate.
The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood plays gig in Northampton School: Howard Parkinson, the school’s business manager, told NME that the school’s sponser, David Ross, had won a guitar lesson with Wood at a charity auction and donated it to the school.
Nightwish mainman Tuomas Holopainen Working On ‘The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck’ Project: The heavy metal keyboard player took his inspiration from a story called Last Sled To Dawson, which was published in a Finnish Donald Duck magazine and commented that, “With Scrooge, there was also a much deeper level hidden between the stories and the gags. This is a book about life itself.”
Can the UK’s ‘toilet circuit’ of small music venues survive?: From Coldplay to PJ Harvey, a lot of big British rock acts started out playing tiny pubs and clubs around the UK. But with many of these venues closing, John Harris ask who will keep the rock’n’roll dream alive?
How Music Festivals Have Changed in the Last Twenty Years: Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts and Events, looks at the changes in the market as DF’s T in the Park reaches its twentieth year.
Long live Scotland’s music festivals: Brian Ferguson in The Scotsman uses the T in the Park anniversary to celebrate Scotand’s festivals.
New Royal Opera House chief – runners and riders: Rupert Christiansen at THe Telegraph picks out the top contenders for the position of Royal Opera House Chief Executive.
Peter Bazalgette – ‘Maybe I don’t qualify as great or good’: In his first interview in his new role as Arts Council chief, Peter Bazalgette discusses cuts, philistines and his Big Brother past.
Political leaders’ unusual silence speaks volumes about the complexities of orchestra lockouts: A look at the politics behind the orchestra labour disputes in the US.
The musical theatre stigma: Ryan Forde Iosco discusses the prejudice surrounding musical theatre on an actor’s CV.
On Being and Unbeing a Singer: Hanne Blank examines the pressures of the conservatoire and the process of coming back to singing classical music after a hiatus.
Live Music-Related Events:
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
Festival Republic ‘Crime at Major UK Festivals Conference’: Royal Berkshire Conference Centre, Reading. Thursday 28th February 2013
- Chief Superintendent Andy Battle on the Police de-brief of the 2012 festival season
- Jim King, Director of Loud Sound Ltd and Director of Touring and Events AEG Live UK, former Festival Director of Creamfields, on the cancellation of Creamfields 2012
- Radhia Karaa from the Office of Fair Trading on Operation Javelin (Olympic anti touting / website operation)
- Detective Chief Inspector Mark Teodorini and Detective Superintendent Nick Downing from the Metropolitan Police Service on Operation Podium for the Olympics
- David Hill on the work and powers of Company Investigations, who carry out investigations on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
- David Gunning from Reading Trading Standards on enforcing trademarks at Reading Festival
London Bass Guitar Show 2013: London, Olympia. MU at stand B4, 10 am 2nd March-6 pm 3rd March
Includes live performances and masterclasses, with practical advice and new products.
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.
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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