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
Maps are increasingly integrated into our everyday media consumption and there’s a growth in mapping musical activity – by academics, communities and businesses. In this week’s post, Adam Behr tries to unpick some of the different motivations, methods and implications of mapping the music.
One To Watch
UK Music announces the launch of a massive research project to assess size of the music industry and its contribution to the British economy, while NESTA has released a report suggesting that the cultural sector pays too little attention to ‘big data’.
The report is authored by Anthony Lilley OBE (writer, consultant and CEO of Magic Lantern Productions Ltd) and Professor Paul Moore (University of Ulster). It argues that arts organisations need to think of data “more as an asset and not just as a tool of accountability”, and to encourage them to do so, suggests that funding bodies should set key performance indicators for data usage for the organisations they fund.
Read the NESTA report here.
Live Music News:
Alongside the news that sales of recorded music have grown for the first time in thirteen years, UK Music have announced a substantial investigation into the value of music to the UK economy. One of the aims of the research is to address gaps in previous assessments by working with different areas of music making to define ‘the industry’ and by working with a peer review process at different stages of the work.
Economist Jonathan Todd, a former ministerial advisor and senior consultant at Europe Economics, is leading the project which has the working title ‘How Important Is The Music Industry To The National Economy?’. The report will be produced in conjunction with with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Office of National Statistics.
Live Nation revenues up 8.1% in 2012 but net losses almost double from 2011: Revenues across the business hit $5,819m in 2012 compared to $5,384m in 2011. However, Live Nation’s net loss nearly doubled year-on-year from $83 million in 2011 to $163 million in 2012.The company’s president and CEO Michael Rapino said that he is confident Live Nation will be able to continue growth of its core business. Among the losses it was revealed that the departure of chairman Irving Izoff cost the company $5.5million, as with 26 staff and 12 artists followed him.
Most recently, Azoff’s ally James Dolan – Executive Chairman of Madison Square Garden Company – resigned his seat on the board of Live Nation last week, somewhat abruptly. It is thought his departure may be the logical conclusion of Azoff’s exit at the end of last year, rather than the result of any internal conflict.
Meanwhile, AEG Live, which is up for sale although receiving bids which are below what was expected, is planning to build a privately funded, 20,000-seat indoor arena in Las Vegas in co-operation with MGM Resorts.
Retail restructuring group Hilco is reportedly in talks with HMV administrators Deloitte to secure a £50 million deal to save the High Street retailer by taking on 130 of its stores. Deloitte have sold the retailer’s business in Asia to Hong Kong-based private equity firm Aid Partners and Morrisons has bought six of the stores with plans to re-open them as Morrisons M local branches this summer.
Secondary ticketing website Viagogo has been strengthening its presence. It has been announced has been announced as a reselling platform for the Isle of Wight Festival and also as an official marketplace for Boyzone’s BZ20 Anniversary Tour.
OfCom finds Sky Arts in breach for failure to warn about The Prodigy at Download: OfCom has found Sky Arts1 in breach of its code for failing to warn viewers about flashing lights used during a pre-recorded performance of ‘Take Me To The Hospital’ by The Prodigy during a broadcast from last year’s Download Festival.
Meanwhile, this year’s Download festival sees a partnership with Google, as Live Nation, organisers of the rock festival have partnered with Google +, often regarded as a lesser used social network, to provide an online space for artists to ‘meet’ fans and answer questions. Artist-centric Google+ ‘Hangout sessions’ have been more common in the US and in the pop domain to date, but they’re being introduced to the UK via the metal oriented festival.
Green gains at festivals in 2012: A Greener Festival have released details of the environmental efforts of the forty-two successful festivals which took part in the 2012 Greener Festival Awards scheme. The data, analysed by Nicolas Pianet, shows ongoing improvements in many areas of environmental performance, but continuing problems with issues such as discarded tents.
A Greener Festival, along with The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), and Bucks New University will also present the fifth edition of Green Events & Innovations at ILMC this year.
Shell targeted by musical protest at South Bank concert: Climate activists sing out against oil company in latest in series of actions against controversial arts sponsors.
Bumblebee opera premieres at Royal Holloway Science Festival in Surrey: The premiere of The Silence of the Bees: A Science Opera about the decline in bumblebee numbers will be held in Surrey later this month to launch the start of the week-long Royal Holloway Science Festival.
In other festivals news – an award for the new Festival No.6: The festival held for the first time last autumn in Gwynedd has been named Best Small Festival by judges at the NME Awards. The Rolling Stones were named best live act at the same awards.
Australia’s Laneway Festival, which has run since 2004, is looking to launch in North America: It currently t spans seven cities across three countries – Australia, New Zealand and Singapore – and if the development is successful will mark the first Australian festival to move to the US or Canada.
Less successful has been the Arabic Music Festival Australia which has left investors hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket: The event was to feature Amr Diab who has sold more than 30 million records worldwide and featured in video clips with Britney Spears, Beyonce and Pink, and is the biggest-selling artist in the Middle East. Investors are angrily trying to track down the event organiser, Le Mirage International Entertainment Group. Support acts have also not been paid and it is understood that Ticketek, which handled ticket sales for the concert at the ANZ Stadium, has reported to police a suspected fraud involving online credit card ticket sales.
The Stones, meanwhile, are threatening legal action over a new musical Carnaby Street set in London’s Swinging 60s which was set to include one of their hit song ‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’.
Judge likely to let stripped back Jacksons v AEG case to proceed: The judge overseeing Katherine Jackson’s lawsuit against AEG in relation to the death of her son Michael said she was likely to let the case proceed to court earlier this week, though with its claims and listed defendants likely to be limited a bit. Jackson’s claims that AEG, promoter of the singer’s ill-fated ‘This Is It’ London residency, should be held liable for the actions of Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted for his death through negligent treatment.
British singers criticised for taking tobacco money: Joss Stone, Craig David and Lisa Stanfield have been criticised for promoting the aims of “Big Tobacco” by agreeing to perform at Indonesia’s Java Jazz Festival, which is sponsored by one of the country’s largest cigarette companies.
Kendal Calling overhead 11,000 volt cable ‘an obvious risk’: An 11,000 volt overhead cable that left a man with brain injuries during an electric shock was a “serious and obvious” risk, a court has heard. The accident happened despite the fact that the festival had had undergone £3,350 of safety checks.
Mosh-pit physics could save lives: An audience of frenzied heavy-metal concertgoers behaves just like molecules in a gas, according to the first-ever study of crowd motion in a “mosh pit”. The work was done by physicists at Cornell University in the US – who claim that a better understanding of the collective motion of the mosh pit in front of a stage could lead to better designed music venues and improved crowd-control tactics.
One-to-one music tuition ‘may be abolished’: Abuse claims may force a review of traditional teaching methods, claims new head of Royal Northern College of Music. The RNCM has also renamed a piano prize. The Ryszard Bakst Prize will now be known as the RNCM prize for Chopin after Bakst, who died in 1999, was named by ex-students in investigations into abuse at the school. Composer Michael Berkeley, who was this week appointed a member of the House of Lords, has also said it should be an “absolute rule” that teachers should not have sex with their students – even if the student is over eighteen.
BBC Performing Arts Fund awards £190,000 under music fellowship scheme: Birmingham Royal Ballet and English Touring Opera are among the organisations that have been awarded funding to host a music fellow, as part of an initiative launched by the BBC Performing Arts Fund.
Open meeting dates set by Creative Scotland: Creative Scotland has announced dates for its promised open consultation meetings with arts practitioners in Scotland. Pat Kane, the musician, journalist and cultural commentator, will act as an informal chair for the sessions which are the latest part of the organisation’s restructuring of its working practices.
Organisation for arts entrepreneurs launches in partnership with private investment firm: Me We 360 supports its members by providing networking opportunities and helping them to find workspace and identify financial investment. The programme has been set up with around £1 million of funding from Arts Council England.
The art world has admitted it knows little about Diana Kurzman who died a decade ago and left Arts Council England a £925,000 which took it by surprise.
West End strike action averted after BECTU and Ambassador Theatre Group resolve dispute: A dispute between union BECTU and Ambassador Theatre Group that saw theatres around the UK threatened with strike action has been resolved although ATG, as well as Charing Cross Theatre and The Old Vic, have been censured by the Adverstising Standards Authority for quoting misleading ticket prices on their websites.
Councillor suggests allowance cut to save Taunton’s Brewhouse: Councillors in Taunton are being asked to cut their annual allowance to help rescue the town’s theatre which said last week that it would have to close.
Felixstowe Spa Pavilion demolition considered: Two bids to keep a Suffolk theatre as a leisure or entertainment complex have been rejected by the local council.
Leicester bids for 2017 UK City of Culture title: Leicester has joined the race to become the second UK City of Culture in 2017. It will compete with Aberdeen and Plymouth in a bid to succeed Londonderry, which became the first City of Culture in 2013.
Two-thirds of orchestral musicians suffer at least one health problem: A study published today by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts finds that two in every three professional musicians are carrying a health disorder. The commonest are tinnitus, hearing loss, noise sensitivity and shoulder and neck pain.
Scottish Opera’s orchestra has reincarnated as musical co-op McOpera: Members pay £100 to join and are then offered freelance gigs booked through the co-op – anything from a solo slot at a wedding to a full orchestral concert. Each musician is paid a set fee for the work and McOpera takes 10-15% on top. Any profit goes back into the co-op, most likely to be spent supplementing orchestral concerts down the line.
BBC National Orchestra of Wales offers concerts for deaf people: The BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ latest concerts have been designed especially for an audience who cannot actually hear them.
The New York Metropolitan opera will be lowering it’s ticket prices, after admitting that they were too expensive, and amidst speculation that simulcasting performances was contributing to a drop in attendance by a “cannibalization” of the audience by the Met’s high-definition movie theatre broadcasts.
Beijing to get new opera house and concert hall: Peking University (PKU) has announced a plan to build an opera house on its campus that seats 1,000 people, as well as a concert hall seats 200 people.
Orchestra to Disclose Its Nazi Past: The Vienna Philharmonic, in response to criticism occasioned by the its trademark New Year’s concerts, themselves born of the Nazi era, promised a thorough review of its activities during World War II and shortly before and after. It appointed three historians said to be independent, with the results to be posted on the orchestra’s website.
William Bennet, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra oboist has died following the stroke that he suffered mid-concerto.
Stanley Snadowsky, founder of landmark Greenwich Village club, dies: a founder of the Bottom Line, a Greenwich Village nightclub that for 30 years presented artists like Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis and Billy Joel has died in Las Vegas aged 70.
Zanzibar church killing mars music festival promoting religious tolerance: Catholic priest shot dead and church torched during Sounds of Wisdom festival in latest examples of hate crimes on holiday island.
Cradle Of Filth banned from China: In a statement the band said: “Unfortunately at this time the cultural section of the Chinese government have decided that Cradle Of Filth are unsuitable to play in Mainland China and so we are currently banned from playing there. Therefore the show… has had to be moved to Hong Kong″.
Kenya election – Musicians sing for peace: A peace concert has been held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, ahead of key elections next week. It was organised on the fifth anniversary of the accord that ended post-poll violence in which more than 1,000 people died.
Hip-hop mogul hopes to enlist Beyoncé and other stars in gun buyback programme: Michael Williams’ ‘Gun for Greatness’ initiative would offer concert tickets to people turning in guns in New York City.
Stradivarius, stolen in London, is recovered in Bulgaria: A violin, snatched from Min-Jin Kym in a cafe at Euston station, has been recovered in a police raid on the house of a gang leader in Bulgaria.
Madness to play BBC Television Centre farewell gig: Madness will perform live in the front of BBC Television Centre as part of an evening of entertainment bidding farewell to the iconic building.
Thousands ‘smash’ world record in Londonderry: More than 5,400 people are thought to have broken a world record singing a song from the hit musical, Annie.
Novelist Margaret Attwood to debut as a librettist: Pauline will be a chamber opera based on the life of legendary Canadian poet Pauline Johnson (1861-1913), with an original score by Canadian composer Tobin Stokes and will run at the York theatre in Vancouver.
Singer Anastacia has cancelled her upcoming European tour after being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time: She previously announced that she had recovered from the disease after a series of treatments in 2003.
Eric Clapton – ‘When I’m 70, I’ll Stop Touring’: ‘The struggle is the travel”, the guitarist tells Rolling Stone
Morrissey pulls out of Kimmel Live over duck killers: The singer pulled out of the programme after learning that it would also feature the stars of an American reality show called ‘Duck Dynasty’, which follows the lives of the Robertson family, who made their fortune selling products for duck hunters.
Beyoncé agreed to sing at local UK carnival – but only for £50,000 fee: Organisers of the Maldon Carnival’s audacious bid to invite Beyoncé as their VIP guest nearly became a reality after the pop star agreed to appear but they couldn’t meet her management’s demand for a £50,000 fee.
International soloist throws up, student steps up and steals the show: The Louisiana Philharmonic were about to play Aaron Copland’s clarinet concerto when the Spanish soloist Jose Franch-Ballester fell prey to a violent stomach bug. The orchestra’s principal clarinet on the night – Juilliard student Christopher Pell – stepped up and gives a blinding performance.
Neil Warnock – Music man’s agency hits the right note: Head of The Agency booking group talks to The Independent about his history, HMV and 360 degree deals.
Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk – ‘How Do We Let People Pay for Music?: The singer talks about her crowd funded activities and how they have assisted her touring (with summary of the talk by Billboard).
As The Stage looks at how dance is muscling in on the musical, The Guardian Culture Professionals Network presents a panel of experts giving tips for for making musicals.
For Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Joy of Live Music: The New York Times on the sign language communicators interpreting gigs for the hard of hearing.
A Historic Archive Faces Digital Life: The Wall Street Journal on the process, and necessity, of digitising the Alan Lomax archive of field recordings.
Small club nights just aren’t where people go to hear new music these days: Nights like London’s FWD>> and YoYo were great but club connoisseurs can now gurn in their own homes, while joining together for reliably large raves, says Joanna Fuertes-Knight.
Can the music at sporting events and ditch the entertainment ‘experience’: There may be a time and a place for Let Me Entertain You, says Rob Bagchi, but it’s not at rugby, cricket or football – and we could do without the palaver around national anthems.
Rare Colour Photos of 1960s Chinese Operas: Photographer Zhang Yaxin was one of the only people in China with access to colour film during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Zhang was a photographer for Xinhua News Agency when he was chosen by Jiang Qing, the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong, to photograph the performances of themodel operas she developed after the Communist Party leaders banned traditional Peking opera for being too bourgeois. Zhang’s photographs were shown at Stephen Bulger Gallery, in Toronto, earlier this month.
Live Music-Related Events:
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.
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
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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