Research explores impact of indie stores selling Black music

04 Jul 2023

A major new project is set to explore the cultural impact of independent record stores that specialised in Black music from 1950 onwards.

The project is spearheaded by Midlands-based national organisation 2Funky Arts, which will work with Sound/Image Research Centre at the University of Greenwich in London and Brighter Sound in Manchester.

The Record Store & Black Music: A UK History project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will link in with Black History Month 2024.

The project highlights the importance of early indie music stores in the UK for the Windrush generation and Black diaspora resisting systemic racism.

The project will use oral histories, as well as film, audio and photographic memories to explore how these stores served as incubators for new music and cultural ecosystems that shaped society’s relationship with Black music.

The research team is seeking personal stories from record store customers, owners and artists that illuminate Black, African and Caribbean experiences. Anyone with relevant film, audio or photographic memories is also invited to share.

These materials will be compiled to create an educational resource, a publication, a website and a podcast series.

“2Funky Arts has been planning The Record Store for around four years, in conjunction with DJ Simon ‘Schooly’ Phillips, who will work on our heritage documentary,” said Vijay Mistry, the project’s Director.

“We are thrilled to have received funding for such a culturally significant project. Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to research this fascinating history and will be working with volunteers and practitioners from across the country, to present oral histories in inspiring formats.”

Young creatives embracing AI in music making

04 Jul 2023

New research from Youth Music has found 63% of young creatives are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help them produce their art, including music making. 

In comparison, the charity found that among those aged over 55, only 19% said they would use AI to assist with their creative vision, highlighting how different generations are reacting to shifting technologies.

Young creatives using AI in music making said that it made creating both quicker and easier, which the charity suggested might help to equalise access to the music industry. 

Dr Robert Laidlow, AI Expert at Jesus College Oxford, told the charity, using AI as a “human collaborator” could be helpful for young people attempting to discover new sounds.

Against concern from industry leaders and established artists that AI could lead to a decline in human creativity and innovation, the charity’s findings suggested it could offer to ways to improve imagination and creative thinking.

“There are still important questions to be addressed around the monetising of AI and the ownership of content, for example,” said Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music.
“However, what we're hearing right now from the next generation of creatives is excitement around its potential to equalise access to making, learning and earning in music. 

“Especially those who don’t have the advantage of expensive music education or equipment to aid their learning process, or paid support to run their business.”

The charity said overall young creatives expressed a positive outlook on the future of the industry, viewing AI as a way to assist with the creation of new music, rather than a way to generate it outright.

BBC offers reassurance on future of classical music

blue truck with the BBC Concert Orchestra logo
29 Jun 2023

Broadcaster shares update on how it plans to provide a future for its concert orchestra and BBC Singers, in letter to the Musicians Union.

Outdoor tannoy system proposed for Brixton Academy

exterior of Brixton Academy
28 Jun 2023

Venue operators submit planning permission for tannoy system and new fire doors, as Lambeth Council says date to decide if the venue’s licence will be revoked is yet to be finalised.

Fund offers musicians advances of up to £50,000

26 Jun 2023

A new fund has been launched to support artists working in the independent music sector.

As part of Music Gateway's Ignite fund, eligible artists will be offered advances of up to £50,000 to help them cover recording costs and promote new releases in a variety of ways, including merchandise production, playlist promotion, radio and press campaigns, digital marketing strategies and sync optimisation and representation.

The fund is designed for artists and rights-holders who have an existing portfolio of released songs and a proven track record of income across a period of more than six months. 

Artists participating in the Ignite programme will work with the in-house team at Music Gateway on release strategies, royalty registrations and representation for sync licensing. 

They are not obligated to use the company’s promotional services during the Ignite term – which lasts a minimum of 12 months – but digital distribution and publishing admin has to go through Music Gateway.

The company will be responsible for registering and distributing music, running campaigns and pitching for sync. It will recoup the advance through royalty earnings. Artists will retain 100% of their rights.

“Our team have been fortunate enough to develop and support some incredible talent over the years,” said Sophie Small, CEO of Music Gateway. 

“This fund is designed for us to continue to do this in a way that increases the level of support we can provide outside of services for specific representation or campaigns and bring it all together in a way that still keeps the artists in control of their ownership, which is at the heart of what we do.”

Arena operator pledges support to grassroots music venues

The band Enter Shikari performing on stage
22 Jun 2023

ASM Global to support grassroots music venues with donations, training and marketing support.

Report uncovers discrimination of Black disabled music creators

A young person sitting at a production desk
21 Jun 2023

The majority of Black disabled people working in the music industry say they have experienced discrimination and feel unsupported by the sector.

Public art programme announced for Bristol Beacon reopening

20 Jun 2023

Four artists have been commissioned to create new works as part of reopening plans for Bristol Beacon following its £132m redevelopment.

Artists Rana Begum, Linda Brothwell, Giles Round and Libita Sibungu will create new works for the city centre concert hall.

Bristol Beacon Chief Executive Louise Mitchell said the venue's public art programme "will help us to ensure we make the most of and celebrate this special space, reflecting the 150-plus years of history whilst also looking forward to the future".

She added: "The four artists that were selected to deliver these commissions have proposed exciting new works that are sympathetic to their surroundings and will help to create an uplifting and joyful space that enhances the music and welcomes people in".  

The Grade II listed venue, which changed its name from Colston Hall last year to "distance itself from any association" with its namesake, 17th Century slave trader Edward Colston, is set to reopen in November.

African music festival issues funding warning

19 Jun 2023

Organisers of the Africa Oyé festival have warned they may not be able to continue unless they can bring in more money.

The two-day festival, which was hosted in Liverpool over the weekend (17-18 June), is funded by private donations and grants from Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council.

But the BBC reports that, despite large crowds attending, Artistic Director Paul Duhaney has appealed for more funding to keep it free.

"For people who can't afford to pay for tickets for Glastonbury and other events, they get an opportunity to see world-class music for free," Duhaney said.

"It's such an important event for the city of Liverpool. We've been here for 31 years and we don't want it to go."

Large reduction in music education hub numbers confirmed

19 Jun 2023

Music hubs to begin working over larger geographic areas, as application guidance for prospective Hub Lead Organisations and indicative funding for each area is published.

The impact of AI on the music industry

Black music sheet background with orange drawn musical notes
19 Jun 2023

Far from freeing musicians or aiding their creativity, artificial intelligence could have a devasting impact on jobs and opportunities, writes Stuart Darke.

Website helps musicians input data for royalties

15 Jun 2023

A new website is helping songwriters, composers and artists understand how to input data integral to receiving royalties. 

The Get Paid Guide, a partnership between PRS for Music, The Ivors Academy, the Music Publishers Association and the Intellectual Property Office, will educate music creators on controlling and managing their music data, through a step-by-step guidance on what music data is, why it matters and what to do with it.

The collaboration was driven from a 2021 DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the economic impact of music streaming on creators.

Following the inquiry, government set up a music metadata working group. The group published the Metadata Agreement last month, which identified education on data input as an area that needed vital work.

Across the sector, creators have experienced delays in receiving royalties, and in some cases haven’t been paid at all, due to a lack of awareness around accurate metadata inputs.

In response, the Get Paid Guide features tutorials on International Standard Musical Work and International Standard Recording codes and offers help on frequently asked questions from creators, such as the use of pseudonyms and what to do when covering another artist’s song.

President of the PRS Members’ Council, Michelle Escoffery, says the guide “brings us closer to achieving a healthier metadata ecosystem overall”.

“Getting the data right at the point of works registration is vitally important and is often the difference between being paid or not.

“I encourage all music creators to use this guide, get fluent with the relevant codes and empower themselves to get paid accurately and quickly.”

Grassroots music gets £8m funding boost

musician playing guitar
15 Jun 2023

Government increases support to grassroots music venues and artists breaking overseas markets as part of Creative Industries Sector Vision.

BBC executive says classical music sector 'in crisis'

BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore speaking to the DCMS Committee today
13 Jun 2023

The broadcaster’s Chief Content Officer confirms the BBC’s classical music budget will seek to have a greater impact on education and reaching new audiences.

MVT Chief asks Coldplay for funding commitment

Coldplay performing in 2021
13 Jun 2023

Music Venue Trust head says £1 from each of the band’s tickets to arena and stadium concerts could help safeguard the future of grassroots music venues.

Festival cancelled over cost of living concerns

12 Jun 2023

A music festival in Essex has been cancelled due to escalating production costs.

The BBC reports that artists including Bastille, James Bay, Clean Bandit, Texas and Freya Ridings were due to perform at the Hideaway Festival at Crix near Chelmsford.

A statement put out by the organisers said they had encountered "numerous challenges", including escalating production costs and the prevailing cost of living crisis. 

"Despite our best efforts, we are unable to meet the costs associated with delivering a top-quality event on such a large scale," the statement said.

"We also did not feel that it was the right choice to pass on expenses onto our valued customers and raise ticket prices further. Consequently, we have had to cancel this event."

Frazer tells music industry to support grassroots venues

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer appearing before the Culture Select Committee
08 Jun 2023

Culture Secretary tells MPs she is sending a 'strong message' to major music arenas that they need to do more to help grassroots venues.

Bristol has highest concentration of music artists in UK

07 Jun 2023

Bristol has a higher concentration of music artists than any other city in the UK, according to a new survey based on studio use.

Research by the music studio platform Pirate used its own booking data to examine the number of bands, DJs and recording artists using its studios relative to overall population.

Bristol came out on top across 16 UK cities and Dublin, with Bradford having the lowest density of artists among the featured cities.

The other top five cities for density were: Norwich, Brighton and Hove, Nottingham, and Liverpool.

Despite a thriving music scene, London was in the bottom five, which Pirate said was "likely due to the higher cost of living in the capital".

Rebecca Mason-Evans, who runs the talent initiative Pirate Residency, said: "Analysing the distribution of artists across the UK underscores the importance of supportive environments for nurturing talent outside of traditional music centres."

Rising costs ‘devastating’ independent festival sector

an audience waits for an act to start at Bluedot main stage, with a telescope behind the stage
07 Jun 2023

Trade body says the risks associated with staging a festival are now 'very high' due to increased production costs and a drop in the disposable income of audiences.

Spotlight on new NPOs: Chineke!

Chineke! orchestra
07 Jun 2023

Chineke! is a ground-breaking foundation renowned for its commitment to increasing diversity and inclusivity in classical music. Its founder, Chi-chi Nwanoku shares how it has quickly emerged as a trailblazer.


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