Music Industry Winners 2013: Beyonce, Streaming, Rap DJs – Forbes

Posted by Google News | Industry News | martes 31 diciembre 2013 12:46 am

Beyonce: A late entry to the winners’ circle for 2013.

Earlier today I offered up a few big names in the music industry who’ve seen better years than 2013. Now it’s time to outline three of the biggest winners.

There were certainly other success stories in the music business over the past year, but these three struck me as being particularly notable:


As discussed in my previous post, 2013 was supposed to be the Year of Gaga. It wasn’t. Instead, three other pop divas stole the spotlight—first Miley Cyrus, then Lorde, and, most boldly of all, Beyoncé.

That’s not to discredit the cleverness of Cyrus and her team in hijacking the VMAs, not to mention the national discourse on popular music. And it’s no knock on Lorde, who came from nowhere (rather, New Zealand) to deliver music that seems to have made people truly excited about, well, music.

But the surprise launch of Beyoncé’s self-titled album is perhaps most revolutionary not for what it did, but for what it didn’t do. Mrs. Carter is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, signed to one of its more storied labels. Yet she didn’t make use of any of the perks of such an arrangement—the “machine” we’re told is so necessary. There was no radio promotion, no single, no advance press of any kind.

“The fact that nearly 900,000 customers were willing to pay full price to buy this album is testament to the passionate dedication of Beyoncé’s legions of fans,” one veteran entertainment attorney told me. “Most artists have to pre-sell or hype albums by giving away singles on various websites, or streaming the album.”

The result: an opening week total that was more than Gaga’s and Katy Perry’s, combined. Is her success replicable? Probably not. Would it have worked for someone else? Perhaps five or ten other stars. And it’s worth noting that the album, only available as an iTunes download for its first week, was pirated extensively. But having the gumption to take such a risk? That’s what it takes to run the world.


The first six months of 2013 saw 50 billion audio and video streams, a 24% increase over the same period last year, according to a Nielsen report. Meanwhile, a study by Siemer & Associates revealed that industrywide streaming revenue increased by 40%, to $1.1 billion, in 2012.

That’s bad news for MP3s—indeed, individual track sales slipped industrywide in the first half of the year. The trend should continue in 2014, and the beneficiaries are the likes of Spotify, Pandora, Songza, Rdio and iHeartRadio. Who emerges from this crowded field is another question.

The streaming revolution is also bad news for piracy. The aforementioned services have made the user experience so easy that downloading illegally—or legally—is comparatively cumbersome and undesirable (unless, of course, it’s an album like Beyoncé’s that is only available as a digital file).

Streaming services and rights holders still have plenty to sort out, but if and when they do, music could be well on its way to solving one of its biggest problems.

Hip-Hop Producer-DJs

Electronic Dance Music has been heating up—and has perhaps been overheated—for a couple of years now. One need only take a glance at the nightly grosses for some of the world’s highest-paid DJs, many of whom often pull in six figures for a single performance.

It’s a frothy market that is spilling over to some names that might be familiar to hip-hop fans: Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Questlove of the Roots, to name a few. These turntablists can easily earn $20,000-$40,000 per night to spin at clubs looking for a different flavor of music than the ever-present EDM.

“A lot of these EDM dudes have their sets already recorded,” explained Dupri, who DJs about 100 shows per year. “So they don’t really be doing nothing when they get on the stage, they’re just faking the knobs and putting their hands in the air.”

Look for more veteran hip-hop producers like Dupri—and perhaps even bigger names, like Timbaland and Swizz Beatz—to augment their income in a similar fashion during the new year.

Want to learn more about the business of entertainment? Follow me on Twitter and see my Jay Z biography, Empire State of Mind. My next book, Michael Jackson, Inc, is due out next year.

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Music highlights of 2013: Part 1 – Glastonbury, Harlem Shake, more – Digital Spy UK

Posted by Google News | Industry News | lunes 30 diciembre 2013 2:44 pm

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Jimi Hendrix’s London flat to become permanent museum – The Guardian

Posted by Google News | Industry News | lunes 30 diciembre 2013 2:44 pm

A permanent museum is to be created in a bland office space in a London attic. They are rooms that rock music pilgrims have been pleading to get into for decades – the rooms rented in the late 1960s by Jimi Hendrix, poignantly described by him as «the only home I ever had».

The Heritage Lottery Fund will soon announce a £1.2m grant to restore the rooms to their appearance during 1968, when Hendrix paid £30 a week to share the flat with his girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham. The rooms will hold displays on his life, work and musical legacy.

A unique pair of blue plaques on the outside wall of the 18th-century listed building celebrates the two musical giants whose time there was separated by centuries: Hendrix lived at No 23 Brook Street, and George Frideric Handel at No 25. The Mayfair properties, separate houses when constructed in 1721, are now linked as the Handel House Museum.

Hendrix, born in Seattle, and regularly voted the greatest guitarist of all time, was almost unknown when he first came to London in 1966. Word soon spread in the music community of his extraordinary talent. On one night his audience included John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger. The following year his debut album, Are You Experienced, with his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which included the tracks Purple Haze and Foxy Lady, made him an international star.

Although most of Hendrix’s last years were spent touring he returned to make London his base in 1968, and the Brook Street house is his only surviving home.

Although many have assumed Hendrix knew nothing of the Handel coincidence, he was fascinated to learn of his distinguished predecessor, and headed off to One Stop Records in nearby South Molton Street to buy music that Handel wrote while living there, including the Water Music and the Messiah.

Some critics have even claimed to detect Handelian riffs in the thunderous guitar chords of later Hendrix work.

Jimi Hendrix in London
Jimi Hendrix in London in 1967. Photograph: David Magnus/Rex Features

Handel died in 1759 in his bedroom in the house. Hendrix died in 1970, aged 27, in a Notting Hill hotel. His death was probably caused by choking after an accidental drugs overdose, although conspiracy theories abound, with some claiming it was suicide or even foul play.

At Brook Street, the Handel House museum was established in 2001 after the former tenant, a building society, moved out. The museum managers have got used to a steady procession of visitors who are often startled to learn that another musician shared their hero’s space.

The Georgian interiors that Handel occupied for almost 40 years, paying £60 a year for the entire house, have been meticulously recreated, but Hendrix’s rooms, long since stripped of period detail, had become the offices of the museum staff.

Occasionally the staff gave in to pleas and allowed reverent pilgrims from the far side of the world, visiting musicians, or VIPs at private receptions, to peer in at their filing cabinets and swivel chairs.

When the rooms went on display for a few hours during annual Heritage Open Days, places were booked out instantly, and a one-off exhibition in 2010, marking the 40th anniversary of his death, was packed out.

During the exhibition the staff had to move their desks and computers into service corridors and cubbyholes all over the building, but the grant will allow them to leave the Hendrix rooms and take up residence permanently in alternative office space. There will also be an education space and an expanded education programme spanning baroque to rock music.

Wesley Kerr, chair of the London committee of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said the sum of the two spaces was greater than their parts.

«The Handel House Museum is one of the most precious and evocative places in London.  To visit the beautifully restored home where one of history’s greatest composers lived, and invented some of the finest music ever written, is already pure joy.»

He said he was delighted that the grant would open up another chapter in music history. «It will make available to visitors the neighbouring flat where Jimi Hendrix, another extraordinary musical émigré from a more recent era, found inspiration and happiness, transcending musical boundaries in the heyday of rock and roll.»

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The Bands We Lost In 2013 – (blog)

Posted by Google News | Industry News | lunes 30 diciembre 2013 4:39 am
The Bands We Lost In 2013

As the end of the year fast approaches we’ve spent its final few weeks wallowing in all the great music that’s come our way. But, well, it wasn’t all happy families in 2013. Some bands decided enough was enough. Some went out with a spark, some with a whimper and others had little choice but to split. So, let’s take a look back.

«Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing,» wrote My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way on the band’s website in March. «We’ve gotten to go places we never knew we would. We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We’ve shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end.»

It sounds as if MCR called it a day in dignified fashion, coming to a full-band agreement with a statement that combined sentiment and a clear-eyed decision that it was the end of the road. But no one told guitarist Frank Iero. «It was a long time coming,» Iero admitted to Kerrang. «But I didn’t foresee it happening at that moment. The announcement and what happened. It was done for the right reasons. I just wish the timing was a bit different.» Oh dear.

It was a similar story at the polar end of the pop spectrum with Girls Aloud bowing out at the top – with, um, dreadful single ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’ and some blockbuster tour dates – and splitting in regimented, forensically managed fashion. Girls Aloud’s ascension to a better place had been coming for months. Everyone knew that. Everyone, apparently, except Nadine Coyle. «You should know by now I had no part in any of this split business,» she tweeted to the fans.» I couldn’t stop them. I had the best time & want to keep going.» Coming from someone who’d looked as if they’d rather be anywhere else since about 2006, this was less than convincing.

Other bands shuffled off this mortal coil in 2013 in rather more plausible circumstances. There really was nowhere for Lostprophets to go after Ian Watkins’ arrest – «We can no longer continue making or performing music as Lostprophets,» they announced on Facebook in October, but HMV were busy making their decision for them anyway. The Postal Service on the other hand blazed out on pleasant terms, rounding off their belated lap of honour at Lollapalooza in August, never really in it for the long haul. The slightly more volatile Mars Volta fell to pieces just so Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala wouldn’t have to share the same oxygen anymore.

But sometimes it’s all about frustration. This autumn we also said goodbye to Tribes who, after four years, two albums and three whole weeks on the chart, broke heart(s) across the globe. «We are proud of what we achieved together,» their statement read, to blank looks all round. And New York shoegazers Asobi Seksu finally tired of making lovely music no one gave even half a hoot about, but suggested «we may write for Asobi again in a couple of years» to general apathy.

No such promises from Swedish House Mafia, whose long, painful demise was confirmed with their final live appearance in March. Worldwide celebrations were cut short when everyone twigged this only freed up Sebastian Ingrosso, Steve Angello and Axwell to wreak their awful devastation three times over, like an EDM Hydra.

Finally, the killer blow came from The Flaming Lips. On 24 October they shocked Twitter with the terse words, «We have sad news. We’ve broken up…», just months after releasing their finest album in years, ‘The Terror’. Twenty minutes later : «lol just joking guys». The worst part of finding out the feed had been hacked was the realisation that it wasn’t actually them telling everyone to buy the new single from X Factor flops Union J. Now that really would’ve been going out in style.

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Decades of abuse by Royal College of Music piano teacher Ian Lake boosts … – The Independent

Posted by Google News | Industry News | lunes 30 diciembre 2013 4:39 am

Ian Lake was convicted of sexually abusing children in 1995, the same year he was quietly removed from his teaching post at one of the world’s leading conservatoires, but his reputation never suffered. He carried on performing until his death in August 2004 aged 69.

One of his victims has now come forward to describe how Lake ruined his life having abused him over a four-year period at the Watford School of Music, run by Hertfordshire County Council, starting in the 1970s when he was just 10.

The man told The Independent: “Lake had been teaching part time at the school when I was there. My piano lessons were on Saturdays and I was very young at the time. I never breathed a word of what he did to anyone. One day he was there, then suddenly he was gone. My parents received a letter in the middle of term saying he was no longer a teacher and I was allocated to someone else. The abuse ended.”

The victim suffered for years, becoming withdrawn and unable to form healthy, intimate relationships. He said bouts of deep depression have been a regular feature of his life. He said “painful memories” had been awoken by the tragic case of Francis Andrade, the 48-year-old violinist driven to suicide during the trial of her abuser Michael Brewer. The ex-choirmaster of Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester was convicted for indecent assault.

He said: “I didn’t speak about the abuse to anyone until I was in my late 30s and told my parents. My father was absolutely gutted – they had paid for these lessons and driven me to them. I’m still wondering whether to contact the council, who had a duty of care to me as a child.

“The whole point for me is to try to come to terms with it all and find closure. I want to see if others come forward because as a victim you ask yourself: was I exaggerating? Did these events happen or did I make them up? The fact that Lake was allowed to teach at the Royal College of Music for so long is incredible. They must have known about him.”

Lake’s two marriages – to Jen Lien and Barbara Foster – were dissolved in 1975 and 1996 respectively. When he died he left behind five children and five grandchildren. He had managed to deceive his family and friends for so long that by the time he was caught, one person who knew him said many people felt sympathy for him – with the wider music community choosing to push what was seen as an “aberration” under the carpet.

A female victim of Lake’s attentions and a former RCM pupil, told The Independent: “I was 18 when I arrived at the RCM in 1987. When older students asked me who my piano teacher was and I replied ‘Ian Lake’ they warned me to always wear trousers – never skirts.

“In my second lesson he started inappropriately touching my thighs. I went straight to the principal at the time, Michael Gough Matthews, and told him what happened. He just switched me to another piano teacher and that was it. I was shocked that the Royal College of Music did nothing.”

It was not until 18 years after that Lake was finally convicted of sexual offences. It is not known whether he went to jail. Following his death in 2004, newspaper obituaries described him as “a distinguished pianist, teacher and composer” who had toured across Britain and abroad.

The Independent’s obituary added: “Ian Lake’s later years were clouded by a conviction for sexual offences in 1995. But he continued his  concert career.”

Questions were raised on Sunday night as to what those at the RCM, based in south Kensington, knew about Lake. Dame Janet Ritterman was director of the RCM from 1993 until 2005 and earlier this year was appointed Chancellor of Middlesex University.

Two of the other directors in charge during Lake’s time at the school – Sir Keith Falkner and Mr Matthews – are deceased. Sir David Willcocks, director between 1974 and 1984, is now 93 and The Independent was not able to reach him for comment.

Questions were sent to Dame Janet asking what was known by RCM staff regarding Lake’s history of abuse. She declined to respond.

A spokesman for the RCM said it had no record of “what might have happened in 1995” because all staff records are destroyed after they leave “for reasons of data protection”.

The Independent understands that Operation Kiso – investigating allegations of historical sex abuse at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music, both in Manchester – is nearing its end. Four men who taught at the institutions remain on bail.

As police made clear it is not possible for them to investigate cases where the perpetrator is dead, MPs are supporting calls for a public inquiry.

Labour MP Lucy Powell, whose constituency covers
Chetham’s and RNCM, said: “Given the cross-over nature of the offences, an
inquiry under Operation Yewtree, looking at historical allegations of child
abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, that could be specific to music schools would
be welcome. Failing that I support the setting up of a separate public

Hundreds of former music school pupils have added their
names to a petition calling for exactly that. 
Leading campaigner Ian Pace, a former Chetham’s pupil, said: “Only a
full public inquiry into sexual and other abuse in musical education is likely
to get to the bottom of this alleged widespread corrosive abuse and ensure both
that those who have suffered are heard in safety, and proper recommendations
are made to ensure this could never happen again.

“Whilst having known for a while about various
allegations concerning Lake, I also have friends who studied with him and would
point out what an important figure he was in terms of encouraging and providing
opportunities for young composers in particular.

“’It is hard for people to accept that musicians
they know and admire – and sometimes have provided them with work and
opportunities – might also have been responsible for very bad things; it is
also hard for some unfamiliar with the music world to realise that some abusers
can be charming, charismatic and artistic individuals.”

Four men are on police bail as part of the investigation into sex abuse at Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music:

Violin teacher Wen Zhou Li, 57, was held in February on suspicion of rape;

Double-bass teacher Duncan McTier, 58, was arrested in May over allegations of sex abuse against a woman;

Former Chetham’s teacher Malcolm Layfield, 61, was arrested in August on suspicion of raping three females. He was rearrested in October on suspicion of rape and indecent assault of a woman;

Conductor Nicholas Smith, 65, was arrested in July on suspicion of sexual offences against a 15-year-old girl.

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The best and worst music moments of 2013 – Salon

Posted by Google News | Industry News | lunes 30 diciembre 2013 4:39 am

GOOD THING: Instant album popouts

Just last week Beyoncé unleashed her self-titled fifth album with no fanfare whatsoever and ended up owning the Internet for a few days. It was as much of a stunt as anybody pulled, but it didn’t try anybody’s patience, it didn’t embarrass the artist and it moved somewhere in the neighborhood of 600,000 copies in less than a week.


GOOD THING: The Nashville New Wave

This may go down as the best year for country music in many moons — or at least a year when even non-country fans could find something to love about new albums by Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clarka and Kacey Musgraves. Steeped in classic country sounds but thoroughly modern, they challenged the conventions of the notoriously conservative genre without coming across as preachy or condescending, and Musgraves in particular scored a hit with the progressive-minded “Follow Your Arrow,” on which she encouraged her listeners to “kiss lots of boys … or kiss lots of girls, if that’s what you’re into.” That line raised some eyebrows, but Musgraves (who co-wrote the song with Clark and Shane McAnally, both of whom are gay) understood that country fans aren’t quite as closed-minded as the industry might assume.

BAD THING: The old Nashville sausage-fest

Even as a new wave of singer-songwriters emerge in Nashville, the old guard of hat acts continue to rule the city, with acts like Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and suspicious upstarts Florida-Georgia Line spitting out the same blah sentiments about small towns and boat parties against Bon Jovi guitars and the most rudimentary hip-hop beats. And then Shelton had the audacity to badmouth traditional country: “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music,” he told GAC “Backstory.” “And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well, that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.” Never mind that he’s married to a woman who refutes every word of what he’s saying.


GOOD THING: Lorde, “Royals”

In which an Australian teenager scores an international hit with an astute piece of music criticism that exposes the emptiness of pop glitz and tries replace with something a bit more real, a bit more exciting, a bit more meaningful.

BAD THING: Lily Allen, “Hard Out Here”

In which a UK veteran attempts to parody pop’s obsession with cars, dollars, diamonds and asses by making a video full of cars, dollars, diamonds and asses. Is there anything less appealing than a pop scold?


GOOD THING: Pharrell Williams

How is this guy still going? Years after the fifth time I thought his career had nose-dived, Williams is still going strong as a producer and singer on two of the most popular singles of the summer: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Daft Punk’s glorious “Get Lucky.” He’s the R&B Rasputin. He can’t be killed.

BAD THING: Justin Timberlake

“The 20/20 Experience” was supposed to establish JT as a true artist, a juggernaut and the heir to Michael Jackson’s pop throne. Yet, this pair of overstuffed albums was heavy on concept and dapper beats, light on hooks and payoff and sadly subject to cheesy songwriting along the lines of “Pusher Love Girl.” His songs were decked out in designer tuxes, but ultimately they were all dressed up with no place to go.


BAD THING: “Accidental Racist”

Paisley’s notorious flop, off his otherwise strong “Southern Comfort Zone,” is easily the worst single of the year, a well-intentioned yet stunningly naïve track about expunging racism in America. “It ain’t like you and me can re-write history,” went Paisley. “If you don’t judge my gold chains, I’ll forget the iron chains,” went LL. “What the hell?” went everybody else.

WORSE THING: Press coverage of “Accidental Racist”

Suddenly writers and critics who wouldn’t know Cowboy Troy from Cowboy Jack Clement jumped in to denounce “Accidental Racist” as confirmation of every straw man misperception about country music as cultural backwards, socially retrograde, just plain dumb. But where were they when Paisley released “American Saturday Night,” an affectionate ode to American multiculturalism? And where were they when he gave a thoughtful interview to Jody Rosen where he laid out the song’s intentions, shouldered the blame for its failure and turned a faceplant into a teachable moment?


GOOD THING: My Bloody Valentine

Twenty years after their groundbreaking “Loveless” — whose legacy seems to grow every day — My Bloody Valentine returned with only their second album, simply little “m b v.” Suddenly it was 1992 all over again, with head Valentine Kevin Shields indulging his supernatural knack for queasy-beautiful guitar lines, dense rock textures and shimmery melodies. The term “shoegaze” may be as old as “Loveless,” but “m b v” sounded almost impossibly of its moment.

BAD THING: The Pixies

It’s a wave of mutilation alright: Working overtime to destroy any last bits of good will its fans might have for the band, the Pixies have spent the last decade or so on the road rehashing the same old hits with all the enthusiasm of office drones discussing third-quarter profit margins. But it all came to a head in 2013: Frank Black fired bass player Kim Deal because of course he did. He then fired her replacement, presumably out of muscle memory. It was as sordid as a soap opera, but the worst thing the Pixies did was release new music. “EP-1” was four new songs that sounded like some third-tier alt-rock band whose claim to fame was opening for Vertical Horizon. It was a kick in the shins to anybody who ever screamed along with “Debaser,” and rock bottom for a band that deserves better.


GOOD THING: The hook on Haim’s “The Wire”

Was this thing engineered by NASA?

BAD THING: The entire concept of “What the Fox Says”

It’s supposed to be parody, but listeners turned it into a hit, rendered dubstep as kiddie music and turned this supremely annoying pisstake into a sporting event classic. Do you know what your team’s mascot say? Boo.


GOOD THING: Southern songwriters in recovery

Two songwriters from the South, both with roots in Memphis, hit rock bottom and lived to tell about it. Missisippi-born, California-based musician John Murry kicked heroin and chronicled his long slide as well as his shaky rehabilitation (not to mention his reunion with wife and daughter) on his harrowing debut “The Graceless Age,” which is anchored by the ten-minute exorcism “Little Red Balloons” conveying the horrors of detox. Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell made his best album only after he got sober, but refused to wallow in the depths of addiction. Instead, he penned songs like “AAAA” and “Traveling Alone,” which are haunted by the reckless man he once was and fears he might still be.

BAD THING: The cover for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Mosquito”

The album itself was lackluster, but the album cover was an affront to the very idea of album covers. A chintzily digital update on the old Garbage Pail Kids aesthetic, it features a giant mosquito, a messy baby and the dumbest font this side of Comic Sans. What bet did Karen O lose?


GOOD THING: “Looking for the Magic” in “You’re Next”

The inventive horror flick “You’re Next” hinges on the use — and intentional overuse — of Dwight Twilley’s power pop classic “Looking for the Magic,” which provides a chipper counterpoint to the grisly murders that take place while it plays. It was one of the most inventive uses of music in cinema all year.

BAD THING: “Ordinary Love”

The Mandela biopic hasn’t gotten good reviews, nor has U2’s theme song, “Ordinary Love.” Rather than penning another “Pride (In the Name of Love),” the Irish band, who seem so perfect for the job that they might have already had the song written years ago, turned in an insipid ballad that does its inspiring subject a grave disservice. Choice lyric: “Your heart is on my sleeve / Did you put it there with a magic marker?”


GOOD THING: Nile Rodgers, guitar hero

The thing that made Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” so damn infectious and danceable was Nile Rodgers, the Chic guitarist turned super-producer turned junkie burnout who made the comeback of the year as a guitar god on “Random Access Memories.” Without taking any solos or even showing off, he elevated the position of rhythm guitar to lead, delivering the most solid and memorable riff of the year.

BAD THING: Eric Clapton, old guy

Following the release of his instantly forgotten solo record “Old Sock,” Slow Hand was the subject of two reissues this fall — “Give Me Strength” and “MTV Unplugged” — along with a double-live-album souvenir of his Crossroads Guitar Fest. “Give Me Strength” is so wishy-washy you wonder why he even bothers to sing on his songs, and “MTV Unplugged” would have been the worst album of the 90s had Rod Stewart not recorded an “Unplugged” session too. But the worst is the Guitar Fest wankfest, which showcases axemen young and old showboating politely and with no little self-satisfaction.

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My classical music top ten of 2013 – The Guardian (blog)

Posted by Google News | Industry News | sábado 28 diciembre 2013 5:14 pm

That was the year that was: 12 months dominated, of course, by the celebrations marking the anniversaries of those three titans of music: the 300th birthday of Jan Benda, Étienne-Nicolas Méhul’s 250th, and Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow’s 350th. Well, and there was even some room for a bit of Britten, Wagner, and Verdi as well… Actually, in all seriousness, not nearly enough was done this year about Méhul, the most important French composer during the Revolution, who does deserve some rediscovery; but in any case: from operatic behemoths to festivals of 20th century music, here’s a run-down of my top ten of the year in the world of classical music.

 Les Vepres Siciliennes by Verdi, ROH Oct 2013
Erwin Schrott (Jean Procida) and Lianna Haroutounian (Helene) in Verdi’s Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Royal Opera House, London October 2013. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

At 10, Covent Garden’s first-ever staging of Verdi’s Les Vêpres Siciliennes, in star director Stefan Herheim’s production: «ambitious and generally highly successful», Andrew Clements thought.

No 9: English National Opera’s revival of their production of Deborah Warner’s «unmissable» production of Britten’s last opera, Death in Venice, with John Graham-Hall’s show-stealing performance as the ageing Aschenbach.

Ariadne auf Naxos: When Worlds Collide - video
Ariadne auf Naxos, staged at Glyndebourne in May 2013. Photograph: Glyndebourne

No 8: Glyndebourne bucked the trend of all that Wagner and Verdi by opening their season with a controversial staging of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos. Tim Ashley thought Katharina Thomas’s version «annoying»; for me, it was at least a bold attempt to turn Strauss’s magnificent confection into something more serious, staging the piece through the prism of the second world war.

No 7: One of many highlights of the Southbank Centre’s The Rest is Noise festival – a game-changing, year-long programme whose concerts, talks, and events told a compelling story of 20th century music was the presence of both Philip Glass and Steve Reich in London over the same weekend to play two of their minimalist masterpieces, Glass’s Music in 12 Parts, and Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians; a moment that made quite a lot of history – with quite a lot of repeating.

Lohengrin, WNO 2013
Welsh National Opera’s Lohengrin, staged in May 2013. Photograph: Bill Cooper.

No 6: Antony McDonald’s new production of Wagner’s Lohengrin for Welsh National Opera was one of the stage highlights of the Wagner celebrations, conducted by WNO’s new music director, Lothar Koenigs, and with stand-out performances from Emma Bell and Susan Bickley.

At 5, the Manchester International Festival presented an all John Tavener concert in July. There were three world premieres on the programme, including a coruscatingly fearless and compressed dramatisation of Tolstoy’s novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. It’s a piece whose toughness, terseness, and final, hard-won image of transcendence makes it among Tavener’s finest achievements. Tavener had found a genuine musical renewal in the works he was writing before his death in November (and you can hear the piece on Radio 3’s Hear and Now on 4 January).

Link to video: Britten centenary: Grimes on the Beach

No 4: The Aldeburgh Festival’s Grimes on the Beach was the most elementally extreme and crazily authentic production of the whole Britten centenary. Tim Albery staged Peter Grimes on the very shingle on which the work’s drama is set. Singers and audience alike battled – and conquered! – the weather, the sea, and the nocturnal cold to produce some unforgettably briny theatre. The orchestral music was piped in over some miraculously weatherproof speakers, and Stuart Bedford conducted from a bunker buried into the beach. Alan Oke’s Grimes was shatteringly powerful, and the whole show created an astonishing symbiosis of place, sea, and music – even if you did need a rug to protect your extremities.

At 3, the London Sinfonietta’s performances of Stockhausen’s Gruppen at the Royal Festival Hall, also part of The Rest Is Noise, were a virtually sold-out knockout, proving that there is a huge audience for the sharpest edges of the avant-garde – and demonstrating just how viscerally exciting this music can be.

No 2: Illness forced Abbado to cancel his autumn touring commitments, including a scheduled London visit, but I was lucky enough to hear him in August at the Lucerne festival. His concert of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Bruckner’s (also unfinished) Ninth with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was existentially shattering; music-making of sublime, transfiguring, and disturbing beauty.

walkure barenboim proms
‘Spellbinding’: Daniel Barenboim conducts the Staatskapelle Berlin in Wagner’s Die Walküre at the Proms, with Nina Stemme and Bryn Terfel as Brünnhilde and Wotan. Photograph: Chris Christodoulou/BBC

And at no 1? Daniel Barenboim’s concert performance of the Ring with the Staatskapelle Berlin at the Proms was, for me, the highlight of highlights of the whole year. Brilliantly cast (Bryn Terfel’s Wotan! Nina Stemme’s Brünnhilde!), conducted by a musician at the height of his powers, Barenboim’s Ring was as powerful a performance as it’s possible to imagine today. But more than that, the atmosphere created by this music, the sense of communion between everyone in the Royal Albert Hall and the musicians – and even everyone listening at home! – conjured a unique magic. This Ring wasn’t simply an aesthetically transformative experience, but a social and philosophical one, too. The silence at the end of the journey was an astonishing tribute to the concentration of the performance – and the Prommers. And if you missed it, Radio 3 re-broadcast the whole thing again over Christmas, you can catch them on iPlayer if you’re quick.

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What we liked in 2013: music – The Guardian

Posted by Google News | Industry News | sábado 28 diciembre 2013 5:14 pm

You might already have guessed that the outrage surrounding Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines hasn’t prevented it from becoming the year’s biggest-selling single. There was a chance that sales would nosedive after a succession of student unions banned the song – «utterly degrading to the female subject», «promoting a worrying attitude to sex and consent», etc – but it doesn’t seem terribly likely. It also hardly comes as a shock to learn that the Rolling Stones made a huge amount of money from touring – tickets for the next leg of their 50th anniversary tour in Japan range from £83 to £473 – or that Psy’s follow-up to Gangnam Style, Gentlemen, was one of the most-watched videos on YouTube. Perhaps someone out there is gasping in horror and disbelief at the implicit suggestion that Psy’s popularity may be founded more on the public’s desire to watch a chubby man do a funny dance than his sparkling musical oeuvre. Then again, perhaps not.

Indeed, everything appears to be proceeding much as you’d expect, until you reach the UK’s top 10 selling albums of 2013. It was supposed to have been the year in which David Bowie’s shock return and the huge promotional campaign around Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories revived the old-fashioned notion that the release of an album can be a major cultural event. But for the first time since 1971, the year’s biggest-selling album is the same as the biggest-selling album of last year: Emeli Sandé’s Our Version Of Events. In fact, half of 2013’s 10 biggest sellers came out in 2012. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories made it to number nine. David Bowie’s The Next Day isn’t there at all. There was, it seems, substantially more interest in discussing them than in buying them.

It’s not the only surprise the top 10 holds. There’s a commonly held belief that these are tough times for rock bands, that audiences are currently in thrall to dance music, hip hop, T&S and pop. Clearly no one informed the people who buy albums. Nearly half of the top 10 is comprised of guitar acts: Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Mumford And Sons and Bastille. Judged by sales alone, the latter – a London quartet who’ve had a fraction of the coverage afforded Daft Punk and David Bowie, and who are so anonymous in appearance, you rather picture them at rehearsals, looking at each other in bafflement and frowning, «Sorry, and you are…?» – are the year’s biggest breakthrough success. They’re one of only two artists who turn up in both the top 10 singles and albums of 2013 and in Spotify’s top 10 most streamed tracks of the year.

That in itself tells you something about our times. We’ve gone back to an era not unlike the late 50s, when singles and albums are bought by entirely different markets. Judging by the charts, the latter are at once more largely the province of the middle-aged or even older, hence the commercial triumph of easy-listening crooner Michael Bublé, the soundtrack to Les Misérables and Time, the 27th solo album by Rod Stewart, at the age of 68. It’s tempting to say that the people who are still buying them are old enough to remember a time when albums really were major cultural events.

Naughty Boy video
La La La featuring Sam Smith, by Naughty Boy: No1 UK music video.

Top 10 UK music videos

1 La La La featuring Sam Smith, by Naughty Boy.
2 Gentleman, by Psy.
Blurred Lines featuring TI, Pharrell, by Robin Thicke.
Wrecking Ball, by Miley Cyrus.
5 We Can’t Stop, by Miley Cyrus.
Wake Me Up, by Avicii.
7 The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?), by Ylvis.
Get Lucky featuring Pharrell Williams, by Daft Punk.
Roar, by Katy Perry.
10 Waiting All Night featuring Ella Eyre, by Rudimental.

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Miley Cyrus releases ‘Adore You’ video – The Independent

Posted by Google News | Industry News | viernes 27 diciembre 2013 4:08 pm

The video features the former Disney star writhing around in skimpy underwear between white bed sheets, rubbing her body, squeezing her breasts and biting her lips suggestively, before slipping her hand into her knickers – all while filming herself.

In a nod to her «creepy sexy baby» outfit at the now notorious MTV Video Music Awards in August [Miley’s words to US music magazine Rolling Stone], she is also seen sucking her thumb provocatively and, later, singing in a bathtub.

A screenshot from 'Adore You' showing Miley in between her bed sheetsA screenshot from ‘Adore You’ showing Miley in between her bed sheets

Of course, it would not be a Miley video without her sticking out that famous tongue, so viewers get some of that too.

The «We Can’t Stop» singer posted a teaser clip on Instagram earlier this week but was left angered when the «Adore You» video appeared online in full, prior to its planned Boxing Day release.

«‘We all know Smilers [her fan base] would break another record if it wasn’t for the f*** face who leaked my video,» the singer tweeted to more than 16 million followers.

Miley has hit the headlines multiple times throughout 2013, with her VMAs performance of «Blurred Lines» with Robin Thicke kickstarting her penchant for controversial appearances.

The 21-year-old donned a nude latex bikini, grabbed a foam finger from a fan and proceeded to simulate a sex action while twerking against Thicke. It was a performance that had everybody talking – exactly what she wanted.

Other notable ‘Miley moments’ included her smoking a joint on-stage while picking up an award at the European VMAs in Amsterdam, twerking with a black latex-clad dwarf and, memorably, that naked-swinging, hammer-licking «Wrecking Ball» music video in September.

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T-Bone Burnett: the art of matching music with movies – The Guardian

Posted by Google News | Industry News | viernes 27 diciembre 2013 11:06 am

If it hadn’t been for the invention of the CD, T Bone Burnett would probably never have got into films. A decade after playing guitar for Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder tour, he sensed digital audio would destroy the industry in which he worked as a musician, songwriter and producer, and decided he needed new avenues of work. The first people he called were Joel and Ethan Coen. That was 1987. Ten years later, the Coens gave him a gig selecting music for The Big Lebowski. They promoted Burnett to music producer on 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? (the soundtrack went eight-times platinum and won two Grammys) and executive music producer on 2004’s The Ladykillers. Then director James Mangold used Burnett’s talents with great success on the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, and a song he co-wrote with Ryan Bingham for Crazy Heart in 2009, The Weary Kind, won an Oscar. In short, if your film needs music that summons up the American heartland with pedal steel guitar and wounded voices, Burnett’s the man you go to. His stamp is all over the brilliant new Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, about a folk revival singer (Oscar Isaac) trying to make it in Greenwich Village in the 60s, a moment before Bob Dylan became the scene’s breakout star. Here, Burnett explains the golden rules of making music work on the big screen.

1. Let actors be actors when they’re playing musicians

«How much you work on actors when they’re playing musicians depends on how proficient they are when you start, and where you can get them to in what amount of time. There’s a language with actors playing musicians. You don’t get them anywhere by telling them to put their fingers in a certain place and play something; they have to figure that out by themselves. You need to let them have the character inhabit their bodies. Those are the profound moments I’ve seen. I certainly saw it on Walk The Line with both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon; I saw moments when they became their characters and it was some extraordinary alchemy. Reese sings Wildwood Flower in one take, with me playing guitar, and it’s like she’s channelling June Carter Cash. If they can do that, there’s not much else I can add. Generally, actors who haven’t sung for a long time have gotten rid of all their ideas of singing. If you sing enough, you just start telling the story and that’s where acting and singing are the same; that’s where they connect.»

Inside Llewyn Davis
Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

2 Respect your audience

«There’s an underlying ethic that has to do with treating the audience with great respect. That’s the idea. I choose the things I do carefully and I want nothing to do with anything that’s talking down to, or in any way jacking with, the audience.»

3. Get the tone right

«The primary consideration is tone, and that goes for all storytelling.»

4. Get prepared before shooting

«I had months with Oscar Isaac before we started shooting Inside Llewyn Davis and what we discussed was very broad. It had to do with how he carried his guitar case, his wardrobe, hair, everything. It was a character conversation, but it was also about what music he listens to and, in this case, it was important that he listened to music from a character point of view. It’s different with every person. With Oscar, I didn’t have to direct him to play guitar; he had that together already. There were just a few things we changed, the main one being his actual guitar, how he treated that and what it meant. And we talked about how you perform. There’s a big difference between projecting yourself, as musicians do, and submerging yourself while projecting a whole other character, as actors do. Very few people can cross that divide and in this film we have two: Oscar and Justin Timberlake.»

5. Don’t think of music for film in terms of a spin-off album

Link to video: Inside Llewyn Davis: watch the trailer for the Coen brothers’ folk-scene film

«It’s important that the music is strong on its own, but I don’t think it has to exist outside the picture. It’s always so much about the picture that I can’t even think of the music in a separate way. But if the music can work on its own, that’s a great thing. If you listen to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? album, it’s pretty much the music in the running order of the movie and, for me, it’s fun to line it up like that and play it as a standalone thing. I like it when it sounds great.»

6. Use film to introduce people to good music they may not know

«I’m a curator. I’m a songwriter, too, but there’s a part of songwriting that’s curation. And since I am a curator, it’s important to me that I be a trusted curator. I want to try and always do the good stuff. O Brother, Where Art Thou? came out in 2000, and a lot of people now in their 20s and 30s learned that music from the movie and album. It was a portal for them at an important time – going from the 20th century into the 21st. I’m not putting any fine jackets on myself, but one aspires to be like John or Alan Lomax – these people who went around the world and made recordings. I don’t have the same advantage that they had, because there’s not the same regionalism that there used to be, but if I hear something good, I’m going to want to point to that and say: ‘Here, check this out.'»

7. Don’t get too bogged down in authenticity

«The music for Inside Llewyn Davis had to be authentic, but there might be people who would take issue with that. The issue with me is being true to the moment that’s happening in the film. I’m less concerned with how a string band would have played a particular song in 1956 in Cambridge than I am with how that guy on the set is going to play it right now. How good is he going to sound? I want to make sure he sounds as good as possible for the character, and that’s a very specific job.»

8. Understand the difference between a needle drop and a score

«Anyone can put a piece of music to a scene. You go to your collection, find 20 pieces of music and one of them may connect to the scene somehow. A score is different; it tells the story from beginning to end and it has to tell stories within that whole story. It has its own identity and that’s a profound thing to create. I’m getting more into scoring and finding it really interesting. But I’m doing scoring and needle drops. If there are needle drops, I’m adding them, rather than someone else. I’m doing it all as a mash-up, I guess, and that’s a blast.»

Inside Llewyn Davis is released on 24 January.

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