Happy New Year and 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
In the first Live Music Exchange blog post of 2013, the Musicians’ Union sets out the background to the Live Music Act 2012, and introduces the MU’s Live Music Kit, available for free download here. The Kit contains advice for venue owners and publicans on how to run successful live music gigs in accordance with new and existing legislation, and demonstrates the benefits of live music within pubs and venues, in terms of increased clientèle, sales and revenue.
The Guardian and the Royal Opera House present a full day of live streaming today – Monday 7 January 2013 – from backstage, with special events and presentations.
What does it take to put on one of the biggest operas? Nicholas Wroe goes backstage at Wagner’s Die Walküre in a preview of what will happen when The Royal Opera House installs Big Brother-style cameras.
Change at Live Nation: Irving Azoff resigns as Chair of Live Nation and CEO of its Front Line Management group on New Year’s Eve 2012, taking advantage of savings that could be threatened by the lapse of of tax cuts in 2013. Azoff’s departure appears to have come as somewhat of a surprise to many, and is predicted to affect Live Nation’s bottom line with the departure of Azoff’s artists, who include the Eagles, Van Halen, Christina Aguilera and Steely Dan.
Meanwhile the company extends the contract and raises the salary of its CEO, Michael Rapino, who has voiced support for the ‘powerhouse’ team of managers working underneath the departing and ‘irreplaceable’ Azoff.
In its operations, Live Nation has agreed to halt its venue-management contract for Wembley Arena, but is in talks to host gigs at Olympic Stadium in the summer and has also expanded into Russia and the Ukraine.
Ticketscript introduces ‘transparent’ pricing: Social and mobile ticketing provider Ticketscript, is introducing changes to its ticket fee pricing structure. In an attempt to ‘increase transparency for ticket buyers’, the group will now show buyers one fee at the point of selecting their tickets.
Some early cancellations for festivals as, following a hiatus in 2012, Sonisphere has announced it is cancelling its 2013 edition ‘because of a lack of suitable headliners’ and will not return until 2014, whilst Leicester’s Summer Sundae also announces that it is taking 2013 off, along with, as previously reported, No Direction Home.
Guernsey’s largest music festival will also not be taking place in 2013, organisers have announced. It has been put ‘on hold’ due to being unable to secure a sponsor.
The Kidderminster Rocks event was also cancelled due to poor ticket sales and problems with the venue.
New events in the calendar are also planned, however.
Irish company MCD has announced plans for ‘Longitude‘, a sister event to run concurrently with the UK’s ‘Latitude’ in July.
Bestival organiser Rob da Bank has announced a benefit night in Liverpool for those injured when a coach that was returning from the Isle of Wight music festival crashed in Surrey in September.
DF Concerts, the organisers of T in the Park, are bidding to take over Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations: The company is preparing a bid for the two events after they were jointly put out to tender for the first time in five years.
Derry-Londonderry marked the start of UK City of Culture year with a pyrotechnic display. Derry will host 140 events during the year – including the Turner Prize and the Royal Ballet’s first visit to Northern Ireland for 20 years.
Newcastle City Hall campaign concert held: A concert has been held as part of a campaign to protect the future Newcastle’s famous City Hall venue.
A campaign to save the Earls Court music and exhibition venue from demolition under proposed development plans for the surrounding area has also been stepped up: The related online petition has now gone live.
Twisted Wheel joins Cavern and Wigan Casino in music venue graveyard: The birthplace of northern soul in Manchester to be replaced by hotel after farewell all-nighter.
Bournemouth’s Winter Gardens plans refused: The outline plans for the former concert hall site included a cinema, restaurants, a hotel and residential apartments.
Brassed Off’s Grimethorpe Colliery Band in danger of closing: A brass band in South Yorkshire which was the inspiration for the film Brassed Off is in danger of closing, according to its manager. Grimethorpe Colliery Band is surviving on income from playing concerts after losing sponsorship money but the band’s manager Nigel Dixon said the schedule of 40 to 50 concerts a year was ‘not sustainable for a long period of time’.
Middlesbrough lottery winner Andrew Garth’s music venue plan: A man who scooped £1m in a lottery draw on Christmas Day said he plans to use some of the money to open a live music venue.
Six leading benefactors of the arts have been awarded the Prince of Wales’ Medal for Arts Philanthropy in a ceremony in London.
Kate Bush, Nicola Benedetti, Dr Michael Berman (chairman of the Southbank Sinfonia), John Butt (Professor of Music at Glasgow University) and Gilly Love (Creative Director of Sage Gateshead’s Silver Programme of musical participation events for the over 50s) are amongst those named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Search begins for new head of troubled Creative Scotland amidst more departures as senior director of creative development, Venu Dhupa, who was behind the arts quango’s controversial restructuring, is to leave her post in February. Dhupa is the second senior member of the under-fire organisation to resign, following Chief Executive Andrew Dixon.
The Royal Opera House has also begun its search for a chief executive, with the aim of appointing a new leader by March 2013. Current boss, Tony Hall is departing to take up the post of Director General of the BBC.
Arts Council England (ACE) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have set out an agreement on how the two bodies will work together to ‘support local cultural offers that make life better for people in all of our communities’.
Debates around funding for music education continue to rage. The chairman of the Friends of Guernsey Music Centre has said support for young musicians in the island will continue in spite of education cuts.
In Newport, performers say they fear proposed cuts to a service that helps children learn to play instruments will lead to music becoming elitist. The council plans to reduce the Gwent Music Support Service (GMSS) budget by around 40%. A group of young musicians held an impromptu concert outside the council protesting against the cuts.
Also in Wales, BBC Radio Cymru has had to cut its Welsh language output after failing to reach an agreement with new collecting society, Eos, which broke away from the PRS and now represents over 300 Welsh speaking artists. Eos has reached an agreement with television station S4C.
Musicians’ Unions speak out over copyright law changes: Musicians’ organisations have spoken out against the Government’s announcement of a private copyright concession making it legal to copy music from CDs onto other devices.
Pussy Riot’s freed member vows to continue with band’s actions: But she admits she doesn’t know ‘what concrete form’ these actions will take. Pussy Riot also face a legal fight in the UK over the right to branded lingerie, music devices and other merchandise. They have less than three months to contest a trademark application which would allow lingerie, beachwear and other clothing, along with miscellaneous media devices branded with the band’s name to be owned by their former attorney’s wife.
Madonna, despite having the highest grossing tour of 2012, continues to court controversy, berating and swearing at a group of fans in Chile for smoking.
Lady Gaga to provide counselling on ‘Born This Way’ tour: The singer announced on Twitter that fans going to her shows will be able to attend the BornBrave bus before the gig, to discuss mental health problems with qualified professionals and ‘break the stigmas around “help”‘.
Green Day to return to touring as singer recovers: Green Day have announced new tour dates in North America, after cancelling gigs because of front man Billie Joe Armstrong’s substance abuse problems.
Meat Loaf to quit touring after Last At Bat shows: The singer has said that the dates in April will be his last ever.
Unfriendly skies: As guitarist Dave Schneider’s vintage Gibson ES 335 is mangled by baggage handlers at a Detroit airport, the LA Times describes the problems faced by travelling musicians.
FA Cup official song to be decided by series of stadium gigs: The Football Association is to launch a Battle of the Bands style competition to find the official song of the FA Cup 2012/2013 – with acts including Lethal Bizzle and The Pigeon Detectives signed up to compete.
Metallica to host their own festival in 2013: This will be the second annual Orion Music + More event, after the metal band put on the inaugural festival in Atlantic City in New Jersey in 2012.
Bruce Springsteen will be honoured as MusiCares Person of the Year during Grammy week with a tribute event featuring performances by some of the biggest names in music. The annual event – now in its 23rd year – celebrates a star’s artistic accomplishments as well as their philanthropic work.
Kings Of Leon and Beyoncé play private New Year’s Eve gigs: The Followills perform for 400 party-goers in the Caribbean, while Beyonce sings for 700 in Las Vegas.
Dutch orchestra is reprieved: The Metropole Orchestra receives an eleventh hour stay of execution.
Philharmonie de Paris: a grand design turned £300m ‘bottomless pit’: François Hollande’s government decides work too advanced to halt despite spiralling cost of Sarkozy-era concert hall project. La Scala cancels opening night as performers walk out: Milan opera house’s ballet dancers and chorus members take action in ‘surreal’ row over bonus demands.
Valery Gergiev, principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artistic director of the world-famous Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, has suggested that the band’s protest was motivated by a desire to create controversy to boost their careers.
Fresh talks signal thaw in Minnesota Orchestra dispute: In the first thaw in an icy labour standoff, management and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra agreed to create a ‘fresh start to negotiations’.
Two sports teams kick in to help stumbling orchestra: The owners of the Indianapolis Colts and the Pacers have donated $1.5 million to the orchestra’s $5 million fundraising target.
Lights out as New York opera company suspends operations: The DiCapio Opera Theatre announces a six month hiatus to raise more donations.
Beijing spends a billion to get China rocking: A ‘Music Valley’ is among plans to boost the music industry. Beijing officials have announced plans to spend more than 10 years and £1.4bn turning the area into the ‘China Music Valley’, a sprawling compound that will be home to recording studios, instrument makers, music schools, five-star hotels and an arena.
Construction is due to finish this month on a new $63million home for San Francisco’s SFJazz organisation, aimed at promoting the music and increasing audiences.
Sydney Opera House and YouTube to live stream events: The Sydney Opera House will live stream 20 performances over a two-year period straight to YouTube, thanks to a new partnership.
Indian rapper’s new year gig cancelled in wake of Delhi bus rape: Yo Yo Honey Singh, who has been accused of encouraging violence towards women with his music, had been due to appear at a Delhi party.
Odd Future respond to claims they beat up 17-year-old fan: Rap collective say fan threw the first punch after altercation at San Antonio show as the man at the centre of the controversy says that he has been receiving threats online.
Brazilian maestro beaten up by Spanish police. Racial motive alleged: Israel de França, a Brazilian conductor and violinist, was assaulted by Spanish Police on Christmas Eve in Granada, where he lives.
Ozzy Osbourne International Airport?: Boss of Birmingham’s Big Bear Music calls for tribute to Black Sabbath singer after naming of John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason saves his old drum shop: Mason steps in to fund the shop where he bought his first kit.
Parrots have musical tastes, with some preferring classical works and others pop tunes, scientists have found. But the creatures do not like dance music.
Small live rock venues – are they going down the pan?: Katie Grant examines the struggle faced by smaller rock venues and the implications for rock and indie music.
No drugs please and ‘keep it down’ – Previously unseen letter from David Bowie to a fan in 1969 reveals do’s and don’ts of putting on a gig.
The Business of New Year’s Eve Concerts: Billboard looks at the economics of New Year’s events.
Personal connections: Now that ticketing means interfacing with customers via websites, smartphones and social media, Roger Tomlinson reviews the advances into personal territory.
Did the American songbook kill jazz?: Scott Timberg in Salon argues that venerating tradition has made the music stale and alienated audiences.
Playing by Heart, With or Without a Score: Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times asks whether it matters if musicians play without a score in changes to concert tradition.
Say Goodbye to White Ties?: An examination of the pilot partnership between the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Parsons The New School for Design, aimed at studying new models for concert attire.
Problems of integration: Norman Lebrecht takes the Vienna Philharmonic to task over the shadow cast by its past in terms of integrating female and foreign musicians.
Benjamin Britten biography reveals how censors cut composer’s ‘obscene’ opera: One of Benjamin Britten’s most famous operas was censored and branded ‘obscene’ before it reached the stage, a new biography of the composer will reveal.
Philip Glass opera shows Walt Disney’s fantasy world in a new light: New work performed by English National Opera portrays a darker side to the cartoon king.
Eurosonic Conference: European music industries conference. 9th to 13th January 2013, Groningen, The Netherlands.
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.
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.
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.
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