|WEDNESDAY 25 MAY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A new study by the BBC has found that just 13% of headliners booked to play UK festivals this summer are a female solo artist or an all-female band... [READ MORE]|
BBC study finds only 13% of UK festival headliners are female
Critics say that, despite efforts to shift the gender balance of festival line-ups in recent years, this shows that promoters are still not taking the issue seriously enough. Others argue that much has actually changed, especially when it comes to full festival line-ups, even if there is more to be done, especially when it comes to headliners.
According to the BBC, a study of the UK's biggest music festivals found that 149 headline acts - or 74.5% - are male solo acts or all-male bands. Meanwhile, 24 headliners - or 12% - are bands featuring a mix of male and female musicians, with just one headline act identifying as non-binary.
It was partly in response to another BBC study in 2017 - which showed that 80% of festival headliners in the UK were male - that the PRS Foundation launched its Keychange initiative.
Since then, more than 300 festivals have signed a Keychange pledge to achieve a 50/50 gender balance on their line-ups by this summer. And while some have now reached that target - or are moving towards it - others still lag behind. And, clearly, any positive moves occurring lower down the festival line-ups are not really being reflected at the top.
In part, this is down to wider systemic issues in the music industry, Keychange Project Manager Francine Gorman tells the BBC: "Women and gender minorities have had access to far fewer opportunities than their male counterparts over the years, and therefore it does take a little bit of time to build artists to the status that they'd be able to take a headline spot".
"I think the progress that has been made over the last couple of years is going to pay off", she adds. "We are going to start seeing a lot more women and gender minority headliners across stages in the future. There does seem to be some myth flying around the live music industry that women artists don't sell tickets, but I'm yet to see any evidence to support this. In fact, the evidence that I have seen is quite the contrary".
One festival to meet the Keychange target is Standon Calling, although three of its four main headliners this year are all-male acts.
"When we signed up to Keychange back in 2018, we pledged that we would commit to ensuring 50/50 gender balance on our line-up by 2022", says Standon Calling founder Alex Trenchard. "At the time this felt like a huge challenge, but we're delighted to say that we're on track to exceed that figure with 54% of acts on our 2022 line-up identifying as female or non-binary".
"Our line-ups are stronger and more diverse than ever", he adds. "We're delighted to be leading the way amongst the industry, showing that gender balance in festivals in 2022 is both possible and a key component of curating an exciting line up".
Responding to the latest BBC study, Paul Reed, CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals, says: "While gender inequality in music is often easiest to see on festival line-up posters, this is a problem that exists right across the talent development pipeline, with festival main stages at the very end of that process".
"It is an issue that the entire industry must take responsibility for", he goes on. "There are a number of initiatives - including Keychange and The F List - that are having an impact here, [while] festivals such as Standon Calling and Strawberries & Cream [achieving] 50/50 line-ups ... set a good example for others to follow".
"It's also really positive that our latest member demographic survey suggested that 49% of AIF festivals are run by promoters who identify as female, so we have come a long way in that regard", he adds. "We hope that this kind of progress and continued efforts under the Keychange initiative will soon translate to greater representation on festival stages".
It is true that festivals - with their very public line-up posters - are more in the spotlight when it comes to assessing gender balance. And it's generally assumed (and sometimes contracted) that on those posters the names of headliners should be much more prominent, which means a festival that has a pretty well balanced line-up across the board might still seem to skew male at first glance.
As for why headliners still often skew male, it would be interesting to know how diverse the pool of available headline level acts is to start with. That likely differs from genre to genre, with those festivals that have gender balance at the top of the bill possibly benefiting from a more diverse pool of potential headliners to pick from.
Where that headliner pool is dominated by male artists, that poses some interesting questions. Why is that? What role does the wider music industry have in addressing any lack of diversity at that level? Will existing initiatives already bringing about more diverse line-ups lower down the bill ultimately increase the diversity of the headliner pool too? And if so, how quickly?
And should festivals be more adventurous in how they define headline level acts? Or in terms of which genre pools they book artists from? Or is a festival sector already facing significant economic challenges not really currently in a position to take such risks?
Either way, the debate continues, with the BBC's latest study a timely reminder that - while progress has been made - plenty more still needs to be done to remove the barriers that prevent diversity across the wider music industry.
Judge sides with insurer in SXSW insurance dispute
That legal battle relates to a dispute regarding whether or not the insurer should cover costs the SXSW company incurred when it was sued by a group of ticket-buyers following the COVID-caused cancellation of its 2020 edition.
The SXSW music conference and showcase festival was one of the first major music events to cancel as the COVID pandemic first started to spike in the US.
Those who had bought tickets to the cancelled event were told that they could defer those tickets for use at the 2021, 2022 or 2023 editions of SXSW. However, some ticket-holders reckoned that they should have been given the option of a cash refund.
The exact rules regarding the rights of ticket-buyers when shows are cancelled differ around the world and, in the US, from state to state. But nevertheless, some of the aggrieved SXSW ticket-holders filed a class action lawsuit accusing the festival of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion, the latter meaning they unlawfully interfered with the personal property of another.
That lawsuit was ultimately settled, but resulted in this additional litigation as SXSW sought to recover the costs it incurred in reaching said settlement from its insurer. Federal Insurance Co refused to compensate the festival on the basis its insurance policy included a professional services exclusion that applied in this case, meaning it wasn't obliged to cover any legal fees.
According to Law360, after considering arguments presented by both sides, judge Susan Hightower concluded that that exclusion did indeed apply, because this was ultimately a contractural dispute between SXSW and its ticket-buyers, and legal costs stemming from contract disputes are among the things excluded from the coverage provided by the insurer.
She also didn't accept SXSW's argument that the insurer was applying an "overboard interpretation" of the exclusion, nor that the unjust enrichment and conversion claims in the class action should be treated separately and therefore not be subject to the contract dispute exclusion. Those other claims were a consequence of the disputed contract between SXSW and its ticket-buyers, she said.
It's now up to district judge Robert Pitman to decide whether to follow Hightower's recommendation and issue the summary judgement in the insurance firm's favour.
TikTok teams up with JD Sports to celebrate the UK rap scene
Called 'Oi TikTok', each show will feature, and I quote, "interviews, performances from established and emerging artists, comedy shorts and lots more". I don't know about you, but it's the "lots more" I'm looking forward to most. Today's edition, airing at 7pm, will be hosted by TikTok comedy creator Moyo and hip hop DJ Ellie Prohan, with Dréya Mac and SwitchOTR also along for the ride.
The programme is part of TikTok's recent campaign to promote the rap scene to its UK audience. The platform's Parris OH says: "We wanted to take this even further to bring a new kind of entertainment to our TikTok community, celebrating UK rap culture with some of the best young talents in the business, alongside the team at JD Sports. We've got some exciting plans coming up, with some big surprises that we're confident rap fans will love".
Meanwhile Peter Cowgill, Executive Chair at JD, adds: "JD is delighted to be supporting the launch of 'Oi TikTok'. Our partnership with TikTok goes from strength to strength as we continue to deliver unique, engaging and entertaining content with the platform. As a brand, JD has a long-standing association with rap music, youth culture and fashion, so this collaboration aligns closely with our core values as we continue to champion the UK rap scene, as well as support grassroots talent".
Radio 3 announces participants in next phase of its New Generation Artists programme
The programme, in the words of the BBC itself, "supports young musicians at the beginning of their international careers with performance opportunities in London and around the UK".
That includes solo shows as well as performances with the BBC orchestras and appearances at festivals including the BBC Proms, Cheltenham Festival and Edinburgh International Festival, with broadcasts of those performances on Radio 3 and other radio stations around Europe bringing participating musicians to a wider audience.
The new team taking part in the programme includes three UK musicians - accordionist Ryan Corbett, jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie and countertenor Hugh Cutting - plus, from beyond the UK, Colombian cellist Santiago Cañón-Valencia, Berlin-based Leonkoro Quartet, New Zealand-born violinist Geneva Lewis and South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha.
Says Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey: "It is a privilege for Radio 3 to be providing performance and broadcast opportunities to young artists as they embark on their international careers. This year, we are particularly proud that the New Generation Artists joining the scheme showcase a variety of instruments and voices and come from many corners of the world".
"This means that our audiences can experience and discover a variety of music by encountering these inspiring young performers", he adds. "We hope listeners will enjoy witnessing these young artists as they push boundaries, evolve, and leave their own personal mark on the art of music".
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler enters rehab
"As many of you know, our beloved brother Steven has worked on his sobriety for many years", say the band in a statement. "After foot surgery to prepare for the stage and the necessity of pain management during the process, he has recently relapsed and voluntarily entered a treatment programme to concentrate on his health and recovery".
"We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must cancel our first set of Las Vegas residency dates this June and July while he focuses on his well-being", they continue.
"We will continue our 2022 dates starting in September, and we'll let you know any further updates as soon as we can", they conclude. "We are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who often travel great distances to experience our shows. Thank you for your understanding and for your support for Steven during this time".
The next set of Vegas shows are set to begin on 14 Sep and run through to December. The band also have two other US concerts booked earlier in September.
In January this year the band cancelled European dates, citing "uncertainty around travel logistics and the continued presence of COVID restrictions".
It was then announced in March that drummer Joey Kramer was taking a "temporary leave of absence" from the band "so he can focus his full attention on his family during these uncertain times", meaning he would not take part in any of the band's 2022 shows.
Gold Panda releases first new music since 2019
"I made this when my daughter was two years old and I felt knackered and I'd turned 41", he says. "The samples just came together and sounded like 'I've felt better...', and at the same time I was looking at my anti-depressants feeling tired and just thought, 'ha, that's right!'"
"I mess with chopping up samples until I get an interesting loop so I never set out to write a track", he goes on. "I'm led by the samples and then go from there. Funnily enough, my life now is actually way better than it was ten years ago and I'm a bit healthier and I probably actually do feel better in general - apart from when I had that brain haemorrhage last year".
The track is the first taste of a forthcoming new album, with more new music to come soon. Watch the video for 'I've Felt Better (Than I Do Now)' here.
PPL PRS Ltd - the joint public performance licensing venture operated by UK collecting societies PPL and PRS - has appointed Helen Sachdev as its new Chair. She replaces Theresa Robson-Capps. "I feel very privileged to take on this role", says Sachdev. "PPL PRS Ltd plays such a critical part in enabling businesses to easily access wonderful music, whilst ensuring our very talented music creators and rights-holders are recognised and rewarded for providing it".
Madelaine Napoleone has been appointed VP Marketing at Warner Music Canada. She joins from Universal Music Canada, where she was Senior Director Of Marketing. "I'm excited to be joining Warner Music Canada and being part of the next chapter of its evolution", she says. "I want to support the brilliant marketing team and help them focus on creative ideas, long-term strategies and artist specific goals".
Tanya Keogh has joined music and cultural PR agency Huxley as Strategy Director. "Huxley's vision is uncompromising with impeccable taste on what hits culturally", she says. "I am absolutely delighted to join this powerful team and share my cross-industry experience and strategic approach".
Universal Music's Island Records in the US has promoted Nick Barr to VP A&R And Creative Strategy. He was named General Manager of the label at the beginning of the year. "I'm not only humbled by this opportunity, but also extremely excited for my next chapter with Island Records", he says. "I grew up on a lot of Island Records artists, many of which helped shape who I am and what music I listen to today".
Artist management group Three Six Zero has appointed Tim Pithouse - previously with The Orchard - as its President Of Central Services, which will see him overseeing marketing, brand endorsement, streaming and creative activities, and a load of Web3 nonsense too.
Amanda Shires has released new single 'Hawk For The Dove'. Her new album, 'Take It Like a Man', is out on 29 Jul.
Rico Nasty has released new single 'Intrusive'.
Kelley Stoltz has released new single 'We Grew So Far Apart'. His new album, 'The Stylist', is out on 10 Jun. He'll also be playing shows around the UK in June and July.
GIGS & TOURS
Deaf Havana have announced UK tour dates in November, including shows at the Manchester Academy and London Roundhouse. Tickets go on sale on Thursday.
Mallrat has announced headline UK dates in August and September, including shows at Heaven in London and King Tuts in Glasgow. Next week she begins a tour supporting Conan Gray.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Plaster cast of Jimi Hendrix's penis to go in display in Iceland
The Hendrix cast was made by Cynthia Albritton - aka Cynthia Plaster Caster - in 1968 and was donated to the Icelandic museum shortly before her death last month.
"It is with feelings of sadness and pride that The Phallological Museum announces that, prior to passing, Cynthia 'Plaster Caster' Albritton decided to donate to the museum ... one of a few casts of Jimi Hendrix", said the museum in a statement on Twitter.
Hendrix was not the only rock star who Albritton convinced to have their erect penis dunked in plaster - although he was the first. Others include The MC5's Wayne Kramer, Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and Ariel Pink. Kiss even wrote a song about her, although none of the band were ever called up to take part in her grand project.
At the turn of the century, she began to add female musicians to her collection, taking casts of the breasts of artists including Peaches, Karen O and more.
The Hendrix cast is due to be unveiled at a private event at the Phallological Museum in early June.