MUSIC NEWS – INDUSTRY. TikTok owner launches social media for music / As concert income drops, could fan investments create a new revenue stream for artists? / Musicians ask Spotify to triple payments / 17 blockchain music companies reshaping a troubled industry / $3.3b sale of Universal Music Group stake to China’s Tencent / Could hip-hop’s next global superstar emerge from India?
TikTok owner launches social media for music
Resso allows users to stream, share lyrics, comments and engage with other listeners, generate music-accompanied GIFs and videos, something that’s also a hit on its sister app TikTok, the company said in a statement.
As concert income drops, could fan investments create a new revenue stream for artists?
Global Rockstar enables fans to become “shareholders” of new hit songs. In return, these fans benefit from revenues from streams and radio plays for the next 70 years. The Austria-headquartered company plans to accelerate its growth in Europe and expand its team in Vienna “with a focus on IT and product optimization”.
According to Global Rockstar, its priorities for the coming months are “process efficiency, user experience, artist acquisition and expansion of the network of hit producers”
Musicians ask Spotify to triple payments to cover lost concert revenue
Musicians are calling on Spotify to triple its royalty rates following the coronavirus pandemic. Many venues have closed and tours have been cancelled, removing what has become a key revenue stream for the majority of artists.
An online petition posted by musician Evan Greer asked Spotify to triple its rates permanently and make a $500,000 (£432,140) donation to the Covid-19 fund of Sweet Relief, a California-based charity that provides financial assistance to musicians and industry workers.
A spokesperson for Spotify told the Guardian: “There’s no question this is a challenging time for our creator community and we are working to assist them through MusiCares’ Covid-19 relief fund to provide much needed assistance.”
17 blockchain music companies reshaping a troubled industry
Blockchain proponents champion blockchain’s distributed ledger technology as a way to efficiently release music, streamline royalty payments, eliminate expensive middlemen and establish a point of origin for music creators. Which is to say blockchain can re-establish the way music is produced, bought, sold, listened to and managed in a fair and transparent way.
Vivendi closes $3.3b sale of Universal Music Group stake to China’s Tencent
The deal values Universal Music at €30B ($33B). Universal operates labels responsible for artists including The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Nirvana. The agreement also gives Tencent and its partners the right to increase their stake to as much as 20% at the same valuation until January 15, 2021. The two companies also intend to enter into a second agreement that gives Tencent an option to acquire a minority equity stake in UMG’s Greater China business.
Could hip-hop’s next global superstar emerge from India?
Raja Kumari was not born in New Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata — rather, 8,000 miles away, in Claremont, California. But Kumari and her record label have a huge ambition this year: to smash down doors for Indian rappers all over the world. Hip-hop artist Kumari is incorporating Indian music and has signed with Indian record label Mass Appeal India, a joint venture spawned out of Universal Music and New York business, Mass Appeal. It sees immense potential in a market the industry has traditionally overlooked.
MUSIC NEWS – INTERNATIONAL. Culture Action Europe on Covid-19 / Pussy Riot members arrested – LGBTI video / Singapore gives special funding / Hong Kong: arts community self-help / From New Zealand’s national funding body / N. Ireland’s Disability Action Plan and Equality Action Plan / An accelerator under-used? / This is a moment in classical music history
Culture Action Europe has words to say on Covid-19
Covid-19 has hit the arts and culture sector severely. Cultural operators make enormous efforts to maintain activities to ease people’s feeling of isolation. But with cultural venues closed, performances, festivals cancelled, the sector is already impacted by the immediate economic, social, cultural and human consequences. Workers in the sector, who are often in an already precarious situation (self-employed, freelancers) are left for months without any income. In order to sustain European cultural life, national governments and EU institutions must adopt emergency measures that specifically and adequately support the sustainability of the cultural ecosystems. Hence, we urge the European Commission to make the 25 billion emergency package to Europe’s economy also available to the arts and culture sector.
In confinement, instead of social distancing we should practice physical distancing and social solidarity. As we go through these arduous times, let us take the moment to stop and reflect. Which Europe do we want to live in after the crisis is over? Are we ready to rethink our collective and individual aspirations regarding our communities and our common goods? Are we ready to take actions to tackle climate change together and to recognise culture’s role in fair development? Will we be ready to address social inequalities and put solidarity above the immediate economic gains? Instead of going back to business as usual, will the governments pluck up the courage to implement drastic systemic changes?
If we manage to do it, we will come out of this crisis more united, stronger human beings sharing a sustainable European project.
Russia: Pussy Riot members arrested because of an LGBTI video
11 February 2020: Nadya Tolokonnikova and 12 other members of the Pussy Riot were released from detention after being arrested during the photoshoot of a new video about LGBTI issues, reported The Moscow Times.
Pussy Riot announced in a Twitter post that the arrested members were accused of “gay propaganda” and “extremism.”
Today, 9th of February 2020, St Petersburg, the Russian police broke into the location where Pussy Riot were filming a video for our next single “БЕСИТ / RAGE”. We were accused of “GAY PROPAGANDA” & “EXTREMISM”.
150 activists, mostly female & queer, took part in the shoot
According to New Europe, the police were allegedly responding to a call about a gas leak in a place where the photoshoot was happening. They further requested to shut down the power and prohibit Pussy Riot from using a power generator. The arrested members were released the next day which they announced on Twitter.
The photoshoot of a Pussy Riot’s new song called “БЕСИТ / RAGE,” features “150 activists, mostly female or queer.” Tolokonnikova reported on Instagram that the disruption of the shoot cost Pussy Riot $15,000 (13,90 euros) and asked her followers for help in crowdfunding the amount.
In 2013, Russian law was signed prohibiting propaganda for “non-traditional sexual relations”. Freemuse reflects more on artists being targeted through this law in the latest report on the state of artistic freedom in Europe titled Security, Creativity, Tolerance and their Co-existence: The New European Agenda on Freedom of Artistic Expression.
Singapore gives special funding
In Singapore, the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth has announced that the government will allocate S$1.6 million for the arts and culture sector to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The National Arts Council of Singapore has also announced two initiatives to support the arts community during COVID-19, including one-off funding for a Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (CDSA) to encourage upskilling and grow organisational capabilities; as well as a subsidy for venue hire at national cultural institutions for arts and culture activities.
Hong Kong: arts community self-help
Hong Kong’s beleaguered art community is pulling together to show the world that it remains a creative hot spot despite the coronavirus emergency.
As efforts to contain the virus have put a damper on public gatherings including art exhibitions, auctions, and fairs, cultural institutions in the city have joined forces to launch an online platform to show the resilience of its art scene. The public health emergency comes on top of months of pro-democracy protests and clashes with the police.
From New Zealand’s national funding body
Creative New Zealand has shared with the sector how the institution is approaching the situation; outlined responses for possible scenarios that may affect the sector and grant recipients; conveyed its intention to better understand the consequences of COVID-19 on arts practitioners, arts organisations and individuals; and encouraged sector leaders to consider their responses too. You can find direct links to their websites here.
Arts Council publishes Disability Action Plan and Equality Action Plan 2019-24
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has affirmed its commitment to ensuring fair access to the arts for all with the publication of two new documents – the Disability Action Plan and the Equality Action Plan.
Actions include the continuation of the Arts and OIder People’s Programme, to address issues of isolation and loneliness amongst people over the age of 55, and the Articulate Programme, which supports artists to work with young people to improve emotional, physical and social wellbeing. The papers also outline a range of new measures including: a new lending programme to place artworks in schools; a Premium Payments Programme, to help arts organisations remove barriers to engagement by disabled people; and a commitment to enable greater participation by disabled people in policy-making groups, to better reflect the needs of underrepresented audiences and participants.
An Accelerator Under-Used?
With only ten years left to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals – and clear evidence that we are not on track – there is a pressing need to mobilise all resources, seize every opportunity, and identify every accelerator that can help us get there. One such potential accelerator is culture.
No audiences, but concerts streamed to the world. This is a moment in classical music history
At a time of profound upheaval, music is being made not for an audience, but for the world. Last night, Bach Collegium Japan performed Bach’s St. John Passion at the Cologne Philharmonic. The performance was full of passion and the highest artistry. At the end of the final chorale, orchestra, choir, soloists and conductor turned and bowed, but very poignantly, there was no sound or ovation to be heard.
That’s because in the Spring of 2020, the world’s musicians are not playing to audiences, they are not showcasing their craft for the applause, or even rapt silence. They are simply playing to share music with a world that needs to hear it.