|TUESDAY 11 OCTOBER 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Animal Collective have cancelled their European tour, which was due to take place next month, explaining that - while preparing for the shows - they realised they were looking at "an economic reality that simply does not work and is not sustainable"... [READ MORE]|
Animal Collective cancel European shows after concluding that international touring in 2022 isn't economically viable
In a statement issued yesterday, the American band say: "Friends, we are absolutely gutted to announce today that we are making the decision to cancel our UK/EU dates for this November. We love playing music for you and truly wish we could be there".
Noting previous COVID-caused show cancellations earlier this year, they go on: "It has been a wild year for us trying to push through a mountain of touring obstacles related to COVID and the economy. Three of us got bad cases of COVID [and] we were forced to cancel shows and lost large amounts of the income that sustains us and our families".
Nevertheless, "the one constant has been that we have had an incredible time playing music in front of our fans at every show. You are all amazing. We chose to push through because we love to do it".
However, they then add, the economics of touring at the moment - and especially international touring - mean they can't simply push on with the planned European shows. "Preparing for this tour", they add, "we were looking at an economic reality that simply does not work and is not sustainable".
"From inflation, to currency devaluation, to bloated shipping and transportation costs, and much much more, we simply could not make a budget for this tour that did not lose money even if everything went as well as it could", they explain.
"We have always been the kind of people to persevere through the difficult times and get on stage unless our health prevented it. We are choosing not to take the risk to our mental and physical health with the economic reality of what that tour would have been. We hope you understand and that you know we would not make a choice like this lightly. We truly want nothing more than to make it out there again."
They then conclude: "Thank you so much to our team, the promoters and venues who worked so hard on this tour for us. We look forward to getting back out to play for all of you and hope you will be there with us when we do".
This frank explanation of Animal Collective's tour cancellation follows a similar statement issued by Santigold last month when she was forced to call off shows in the US.
She talked about how most artists were keen to get back out and play shows once the COVID restrictions of 2020 and 2021 started to lift, but "as a touring musician, I don't think anyone anticipated the new reality that awaited us".
"We were met with the height of inflation - gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs skyrocketed - many of our tried-and-true venues unavailable due to a flooded market of artists trying to book shows in the same cities, and positive [COVID] test results constantly halting schedules with devastating financial consequences", she added.
"All of that on top of the already-tapped mental, spiritual, physical and emotional resources of just having made it through the past few years", she said. "Some of us are finding ourselves simply unable to make it work".
While there has long been a narrative that, in the 21st century, live performance is where artists make the good money, the truth is that the live side of the business has always been top heavy.
Once artists are playing the bigger venues, live can be very lucrative indeed. However, smaller capacity shows often operate on incredibly tight profit margins, which means that if costs suddenly rise across the board - but artists don't feel ticket prices can increase at the same rate - then gigs can very quickly become loss-making.
And even if you can cut overheads and increase ticket prices so that shows are budgeted to make a slight profit, the tighter the profit margin the more risky touring activity becomes financially speaking. Which can add significant stress for the artist and their team on top of the physical strain of actually being on tour.
Some of the current economic challenges around lower-level touring are a hangover from the COVID-forced lockdowns, which resulted in a very saturated marketplace this summer once things were back up and running.
That in turn made it harder to achieve sell-out shows, which - coupled with the cost of living crisis - made artists and promoters very nervous about increasing ticket prices to meet rising costs. Plus, of course, in some cases artists were performing postponed shows where the tickets had actually been sold more than two years ago.
Meanwhile, the surging costs of staging shows are obviously linked to the wider economic challenges that are impacting on people and companies in all industries, especially those which operate on tight profit margins.
As we get further away from the pandemic, the challenges created by COVID specifically should start to subside. However, that alone doesn't deal with the issues raised by Animal Collective and Santigold. And even when the economy at large starts to recover - whenever that happens - some reckon that the mechanics and margins of lower-level touring need to be overhauled in some way to make that side of the music business more sustainable in the longer term.
Rex Orange County charged over sexual assault allegations
According to The Sun, the musician - real name Alexander O'Connor - has been charged with six counts of sexually assaulting a woman. The charges relate to incidents that allegedly took place over two days in June. O'Connor is accused of assaulting the woman twice on 1 Jun, and then four times the following day, including once in a taxi and three times at his West London home.
He pleaded not guilty to all six charges at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday. He was released on unconditional bail with a provisional trial date set for 3 Jan.
In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Alex is shocked by the allegations, which he denies, and looks forward to clearing his name in court. He is unable to make any further comment because of the ongoing proceedings".
Warner invests in Serbian label Mascom Records
The new deal builds on an existing partnership between Warner and Mascom, with the latter having long worked as the former's local distributor in the region. Mascom has also utilised the services of Warner's ADA distribution division, and that part of the relationship will also continue.
The new partnership is already in effect, with Warner and Mascom together working on the latest releases from notable Serbian TikToker Sergej Pajic, those being the tracks 'Kabul' and 'Mia Bella'.
Commenting on the expanded partnership with Mascom, Warner Music South East Europe GM Izabela Ciszek-Podziemska says: "This is a landmark development within the South East Europe region. By investing in Mascom we'll have the infrastructure and a team of local experts on the ground to discover great new talent, while we can tap into Warner Music's fantastic global network to give artists the opportunity to become global superstars. Sergej is a great example of someone we hope to see on the global stage soon".
Mascom CEO Slobodan Nesovic adds: "We're delighted that Warner Music has made this investment into our company. We've enjoyed a great relationship over the years and this next stage of our partnership will allow local Serbian artists to join a major record label and enjoy worldwide success. It's an exciting time for our company and the Serbian music industry".
Wolverhampton Civic Hall due to reopen next June
It was announced last year that AEG Presents will be running the Wolverhampton venue complex once the multi-year revamp is finally completed. Among other things, the live firm will be programming the two main spaces in the building, The Civic with a 3404 capacity and The Wulfrun with a 1289 capacity.
Confirming the reopening plans, AEG Presents CEO - and Wolverhampton local - Steve Homer says: "Having hosted artists from The Clash, Bowie and Nirvana to the Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey, who debuted his first solo performance post The Smiths at The Halls, it's incredible to be able to bring an iconic venue back to life and as a local lad, this is all the more special".
"I saw The Clash perform here in 1978 and it was an event that forever cemented my love of music", he goes on. "We can't wait to open the doors of The Halls Wolverhampton and bring the world's best artists to the West Midlands stage".
Meanwhile, Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City Of Wolverhampton Council, which owns the venue, adds: "We're THRILLED to be working with AEG Presents on this, who understand the venue's rich heritage and share our vision of reimagining an iconic institution that will continue to bring joy to the lives of locals for years to come, helping shape our city centre, creating jobs and boosting local businesses".
For those wondering what will be different at the venue following the rather long reconstruction work, well - we are told - "visitors will enjoy more comfortable seats, a greater number of bars and enhanced space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities, and lift access for those viewing from the new balcony level".
Plus there will be "better access arrangements for disabled visitors, a greater number of accessible viewing points and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air handling system".
And, not only that, but "sustainability and accessibility are at the heart of AEG Present's plans and The Halls Wolverhampton will use new mechanical and engineering services resulting in the venue running to the utmost efficiency".
Sevdaliza releases song in support of women protesting in Iran
"I wrote a song for oppressed women around the world", she says. "I stand proud as an Iranian woman and I am supporting the fight of my sisters who shed their blood, hair, hearts and brains to give us all the hope, that one day, we will be free".
"At a young age I became aware of the systematic means of forcing women into obedience through violence and intimidation", she goes on. "To persuade women that their minds, bodies and freedom do not belong to them. Our humanity demands we stand up against the oppression of women. Now. And forever".
"We must continue to speak up and fight institutions that condone oppression, violence and murder", she concludes. "We must face the people that deny the dignity and respect for all of us women. We are so tired of being told how to be, what to be".
Protests began in Iran three weeks ago, following the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly breaking the country's strict dress code. Hundreds of people have died in the unrest as security forces clamp down.
Yesterday, the UK announced sanctions on Iran's morality police and other security figures, banning them from entering Britain and freezing any assets they hold here - a largely symbolic gesture, as this is unlikely to affect many of those sanctioned.
More winners of Artist & Manager Awards announced
Bose Ogulu, co-founder of Spaceship Collective and the long-term manager of Burna Boy, will be presented with the Manager Of The Year award; Carl Cox will get the Pioneer Award; Krept & Konan will be presented with the Entrepreneur Award; while the Innovation Award will go to the team behind the Abba Voyage shows.
Commenting on this year's Manager Of The Year winner, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick says: "Bose's boundary-breaking and artist-led approach to business has undoubtedly helped Burna Boy develop into a genuinely global talent, while Spaceship Collective and its ethos of empowerment epitomises her positive impact on a new generation of artists".
"It is an African success story, but with a major foot in the UK", she goes on, "and we felt it important to recognise the success of such a prominent groundbreaking manager".
Meanwhile, FAC CEO David Martin adds: "I'm so happy we can celebrate such a wide-ranging and eclectic group of artists at the awards. I'm particularly delighted that the FAC can pay tribute to Carl Cox's achievements as a pioneer. His influence on bringing techno and electronic music to the world is simply staggering".
"Equally remarkable", he continues, "is the sheer innovation behind ABBA Voyage and the entrepreneurial drive of Krept & Konan. All demonstrate how artists continue to operate outside the box and thrive in exciting new areas".
The awards take place on 17 Nov in London.
BDi Music has signed singer songwriter Aimée to a worldwide publishing deal. "I am extremely grateful and excited to be part of BDi Music", she says. "They have such great enthusiasm and excitement, which makes me feel really heard and appreciated. I am so excited for this next chapter in my career with such an incredible team. Big things are coming! Watch this space".
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING
Organisers of the Drake Yolanda Award funding scheme have announced the ten emerging artists who will receive grants this year, and they are: Jerub, Kymara, Erica Manzoli, B-ahwe, John Dhali, Renato Paris, Finn Doherty, Ceitidh Mac, Ana De Llor and Loba. The award is run by entrepreneur/philanthropist James JP Drake and saxophonist/broadcaster Yolanda Brown.
Liam Gallagher has teamed up with mental health charity Talk Club to create a video for his song 'Too Good For Giving Up'. "We all know someone affected by suicide which sadly seems to be at an all-time high", he says. "I've lost many people far too early and it's important to talk. I'm really pleased to be able to help in anyway with this song and will be partnering with Talk Club on my track 'Too Good For Giving Up'".
Lil Baby has released new single 'Heyy'. His new album, 'It's Only Me', is out this week.
Caroline Polachek has released 'Non Voglio Mai Vedere Il Sole Tramontare', taken from Kurt Cobain-inspired opera 'Last Days', which is based on the 2005 Gus Van Sant film of the same name.
Sault have released new ten minute single 'Angel'. The group recently hinted that a new album, called 'Ten', is on the way.
Dagny has released new single 'Highs And Lows'. "[It's] one of the most raw songs I've ever written", she says. "You could say it's about unconditional love - about steadily standing by someone's side through all the highs and the lows, all the easy and the challenging. I hope this song is gonna feel like a warm hug for someone who needs it".
Amy Shark has released new single 'Only Wanna Be With You'. "It's got so many pop, Amy Shark elements to it, but there's this gritty, fuzzy punk guitar that comes in", she says. "I used to be really scared of guitars and maybe just recently, with what I've been listening to, it's brought it to life. I've gone with my gut a lot more on this song and the whole new era".
Albertine Sarges has released new single 'Deep Well'. "This is the slowest and also the longest song I ever put out", she says. "I guess the message is: radical deceleration and contemplation". Her new EP, 'Family Of Things', is out on 25 Nov. She'll also be touring the UK next month, and you should absolutely go and see her play.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Punk museum to open in Las Vegas
Originally conceived as a retail unit that would display various artefacts that Burkett has collected over the years, the venture has since ballooned into the 12,000 square foot Punk Rock Museum, which will officially open its doors in the new year. Among the items on show will be Debbie Harry's Vultures t-shirt - once described as "a sacred relic" by Blondie guitarist Chris Stein - and Devo's energy dome helmets.
But there will be plenty more besides those. "If you're a punk band, you're fucking in", Burkett tells Spin about his approach to the new museum. "It's that simple. We want people to come from Indonesia and see the flier of their band on the wall. You know how proud they would feel? I want anyone in a punk band around the world to have that opportunity".
Also involved in the project are former Less Than Jake drummer, and co-founder of the Fueled By Ramen label, Vinnie Fiorello and Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge.
"This is a love letter to punk rock", says Fiorello. "We want to show this common passion amongst so many different people for this form of music".
Dragge adds: "[Punk] becomes the soundtrack of your life. It's such a dedicated fanbase and these people are in it for fucking life. When people get into punk rock, they really sink their teeth into it and don't let go. We wanted to create a place for these people and for people who don't know much about it".
This isn't the first time punk has been formally commemorated, of course. In the UK, the National Lottery and Mayor Of London Sadiq Kahn supported a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the genre. Incensed by this, son of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, Joe Corré, announced plans to burn £5 million of memorabilia on a barge on the River Thames.
The Punk Rock Museum will open on 13 Jan. More info here.