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:
What makes for a perfect festival? By comparing direct experience of two UK festivals this year, the latest Live Music Exchange post addresses five factors which contribute to making the perfect family-friendly event.
One from the Archives:
With continued pressure on arts organizations and funding bodies, not least Local Authorities arts services being asked to illustrate their economic impact, we revisit a blog post by Leeds Metropolitan University’s expert on event management and marketing, Dr. Stephen Henderson. He discusses the ambiguities surrounding ‘impact’ and calls for a clear approach to its definition.
Live Music News:
The forthcoming Rolling Stones tour continues to generate news and debate as the band plays an intimate warm-up gig in Paris, tickets priced at a modest £12, with Ronnie Wood hinting at surprise club appearances ahead of arena shows in London and Newark as well as saying that he would like them to play at Glastonbury next year.
The high-end status of the main 50th Anniversary shows, however, is the predominant feature of the tour, with premium tickets for the exclusive ‘tongue pit’ at the front of the stage starting at $1,853.50, rumours that the band’s stage clothes will be designed by Yves Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane and criticism of the high ticket price widespread. Muse state that they will try to keep their own prices down and are sceptical of the cost of Stones tickets adding, “There’s only so much money a band needs.”
Ticketing remains of wider interest and concern. MusicTank dedicates its final think tank of 2012 to the practice of secondary ticketing and the BBC uses the Stones’ case to ask ‘What is a fair price for a concert ticket?’ whilst in theatre, Jez Butterworth has defended the decision to sell tickets for his new play only on the day of the performance.
Indie-rock songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird has teamed up with Songkick to launch a crowdfunded tour, with fans in cities bidding upfront for tickets and the tour taking in the ‘winning’ locations with the most pre-sold tickets to minimise the risk financial risk from touring.
The relationship between ticketing practice and social media is reaffirmed by a report released by ticketing service Eventbrite which showed considerable increases in both revenues generated and visits back to the Eventbrite site per share on social media sites Twitter and Facebook.
Live Nation have ended a decade-long history of putting on gigs at Hyde Park, pulling out of the bidding process for a new contract with the Royal Parks Agency. A letter from the promoter to Royal Parks is critical of a “flawed” tender process, suggesting that it fails to take into account the increasingly complex logistics of running major events at the central London location.
Meanwhile, Live Nation’s Senior Vice President of Touring, Kevin Morrow, steps down to form a new entertainment company with Kevin Welk, of the Vanguard/Sugar Hill label. The partnership, Steel Wool Entertainment & Media, is a joint venture focused on creating strategic alliances with artists and content owners.
MAMA Group acquires 50% of All Tomorrow’s Parties: After ATP was forced to restructure due to debt earlier this year, the new deal will see MAMA working to develop the holiday camp based festival, with the ATP also assisting in booking acts for other MAMA festivals like Lovebox, Wilderness and The Great Escape.
Lovelive makes senior hire to strengthen label relationships: Live music content specialist LoveLive has taken a step to bolster its relationship with record labels by appointing Ben Bleet to the newly-created role of label account director.
The NEC Group has restructured its Arenas senior management team, with the introduction of four senior roles which have been put in place to assist the business with its plans for growth and market development.
AEG accuses Michael Jackson family lawyers of leaking sensitive emails to the media: The accusation comes amidst a lawsuit brought by Jackson’s family alleging that the live music giant put pressure on him to prepare for his 2009 ‘This Is It’ tour despite knowing that he was in a weak condition. AEG have also asked a judge to ban the emails from being presented in the legal battle.
Legal issues for Madonna, too, who is facing trademark and image rights litigation in the US from the estate of Marlon Brando for using footage of the late actor in her current MDNA live show. The singer has also been criticised for using a fake gun as part of her show in Colorado, where audiences are still sensitive following a mass shooting earlier in the year at a cinema and other violent incidents over the summer.
Madonna is one of several acts to comment on the candidates as the US Presidential election campaign reaches its final stages. She faced boos and several fans walking out after endorsing Obama in Louisiana. Katy Perry played a rally for Obama and Bruce Springsteen has also continued to support him, even doing an impersonation of the President and playing a humourous ‘campaign song’, whilst Lesley Gore has given her support to a Public Service Announcement using her song ‘You Don’t Own Me’ to address the issue of women’s rights.
Chuck Berry has praised Obama, whilst Meatloaf sang ‘America the Beautiful’ for Mitt Romney. Axl Rose used a rare interview to say that he leaned towards Obama but has no plans to vote.
But with a more positive stance towards Creative Scotland, the director of Celtic Connections, Donald Shaw, used the launch of the festival’s 20th Anniversary to highlight the work that the arts body has done in funding Scottish recording and to call for a new “nationalised” record label for folk, traditional, jazz and alternative music. Celtic Connections will be staging shows this year at the Kelvingrove museum and gallery as well as the Barrowland Ballroom although part of the main venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, will be out of action because of a forthcoming expansion.
Dance sector warns ministers over education reform plans: Dance leaders have joined forces to speak out against the exclusion of arts from the government’s proposed English baccalaureate reforms.
Conservatoire funding must remain ‘priority’, says peer: The chairman of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has urged the government to continue specialist funding for such arts schools.
The Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) announces Event Management and Music Business courses. The BA (Hons) courses have been created in conjunction with industry professionals.
More industry inroads into music education are being made by Mercury label duo Chase and Status, who are to open a free free, east London-based music school to cater for students aged 16-19 with courses from music performance to music technology but also a focus on getting students through GCSE Maths and English.
Theatre protection fund reveals its first grants: Wilton’s Music Hall in London, Sleaford Playhouse and Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre are among the first to benefit from the Theatres Protection Fund’s new small grants scheme.
Royal Opera House looks to overhaul pension scheme: It is proposing an overhaul of its pension scheme for technical staff, citing a £16 million deficit and the projected cost of auto-enrolment.
Arts Council England bows under pressure over Artists Taking the Lead: The selection process for the Artists Taking the Lead (ATTL) award in Yorkshire is to be subject to an internal review by Arts Council England after revelations of links between Leeds City Council and ACE Yorkshire in the run-up to the ATTL submissions.
Local Authorities Arts services merge and search for alternative funding: Local Authority arts services are being increasingly asked to justify their economic impact and are actively seeking out external funding sources, according to survey results published in the Arts Development UK Local Annual Arts Funding Survey for 2012.
Government publishes minimum standards for Collection Societies: The new minimum standards which are to underpin the self-regulatory framework for UK collecting societies – PRS and PPL – cover fairness, transparency, and good governance. (They are available in full on the Government website here).
Pussy Riot – ‘The Russian government listen to our telephones’: Freed member of the punk collective says the women were under ‘constant surveillance’ in prison.
New York strip club denied ‘dramatic art’ tax exemption: A strip club in New York state cannot claim a tax exemption for the performing arts because lap dances do not promote culture in a community, the state supreme court has ruled.
Australia’s leading independent instruments retailer Allans Billy Hyde is to close after parent company Australian Music Group (AMG) was placed into the hands of receivers Ferrier Hodgson back in August, with debts of more than Australian $40 million.
Courtney Love planning Kurt Cobain musical, says manager: Sam Lufti reveals plans for stage show about Nirvana frontman while under oath as part of lawsuit against Britney Spears
Sir Tim Rice’s first show in 10 years will open in the West End next year: An adaptation of the 1951 novel – and hit film – From Here to Eternity, the musical will play at the Shaftesbury Theatre from September 2013.
Foster the People frontman Mark Foster was temporarily thrown out of Prince’s show at a Hollywood club, having fallen foul of the purple themed performer’s ban on mobile phones with recording capabilities.
Scientists at Duke University have named a newly identified genus of ferns, with nineteen species, after Lady Gaga but Justin Beiber receives the rather more dubious honour of a lawsuit from a man who claims that the pop star stole his credit card to pay for a penis enlargement.
Sustainability should be at the heart of our collective artistic vision: Alison Tickell of Julie’s Bicycle makes the case for creativity as one of our most sustainable and renewable resources.
With both of the major orchestras in Minneapolis locked out by management over contractual disputes, CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg looks at the background to the struggles and the personal cost to musicians, while Bruce Ridge, Chair of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, places them in the context of labour disputes more generally and calls for unity.
Mali: no rhythm or reason as militants declare war on music: Andy Morgan describes the repression in Mali, with an examination of how highly valued music is in cultural life, and how successful it has been as an export.
New gay club nights bring hip-hop out of the dark, into the bright lights: Lemma Shehadi reports on hip-hop’s historically difficult relationship with gay culture and asks if things are changing.
A guide to gig etiquette – Do unto other gig-goers as you would have them do unto you. So stop with the beer-throwing, eh?: Michael Mann lists his 10 key points of good gig etiquette.
The Music Man: University of Southern California’s Gabriel Kahn looks at a programme using drumming to teach literacy in Los Angeles which is popular with schools, libraries and detention centres, but facing scepticism from scientists.
Subsidised companies must face the vexed question of employing overseas artists: Julian Meyrick, Professor of Creative Arts at Flinders University, examines the legislative context of state subsidised Australian arts and international recruitment of talent.
Madness: Suggs on 30 years as music’s most dysfunctional family. The lead singer discusses how their longevity has rested on prioritising live performance and stand-in musicians for each member.
Live Music Exchange, Cardiff
Saturday 10th November 2012
ATRiuM, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff
A conference with a difference, the Live Music Exchange gathers together leading academics with people working directly (and indirectly) with live music, to exchange ideas about how to encourage and assist a vibrant and sustainable live music ecology.
Panels on: Live music policy, skills & training and more, plus round-table discussions.
Keynote Speaker: Professor George McKay (Professor of Cultural Studies, University of Salford and AHRC Leadership Fellow, Connected Communities Programme)
Panellists include: Fiona Stewart (Green Man Festival), Simon Dancey (British Council), Huw Williams (founder Welsh Music Foundations), Arts Council Wales, John Rostron (SWN Festival), and many more.
Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Other Live Music-related Events:
Green Events Europe Conference: November 5th – November 6th, Wissenschaftszentrum, Bonn
Federation of Entertainment Unions – Free workshops on ‘Marketing Your Work’:
Colchester: November 6th, 10am-4.30pm, Mercury Theatre, Blakebourne Gardens
Newcastle: November 9th, 10am-4.30pm, Dance City, Temple Street.
The Musicians’ Union and the International Guitar Festival – free industry seminars: The MU is working with the International Guitar Festival to host free industry seminars. Includes panels on ‘The Working Musician’ and ‘The Live Music Industry’. Saturday 17th November 2012 at the Floral Pavilion (Wirral), the venue that will also be hosting many of the festival’s shows.
The Association of Festival Organisers Conference 2012 is to be held between Friday 16 November to Sunday 18 November 2012 in Eastwood, Nottingham.
Generator’s Music Futures Conference: Live Theatre, Broad Chair, Newcastle, Thursday 22nd November, 10am – 6pm. Includes Alison Wenham, Jeannette Lee and Tony Wadsworth In Conversation.
Association of British Orchestras – Introduction to Marketing: This course is suitable for people who are expected to ‘do’ marketing as part of their job, but haven’t received any formal training, for those who want to get into marketing and for those who are currently doing it and want a better grasp of the bigger picture.
27th November, 10am – 5.30pm. 32 Rose Street, London WC2E 9ET
Festival Awards UK 2012 at the Roundhouse, London, on Monday 3rd December 2012. Voting now open.
Royal Musical Association Research Students’ Conference: Call for papers and works. Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th January 2013, University of Southampton.
Rhythm Changes Jazz Research Seminar will be held on Friday 8th February, 4-6pm at the University of Salford.
The Clore Leadership Programme – Emerging Leaders Course. Sunday 17th – Friday 22nd March 2013 at Craxton Wood Hotel, Chester.
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