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Recent news, commentary, and ideas.


Nelson Mandela's Subversive Musical Legacy
Spin Magazine : Kyle McGovern:
While Nelson Mandela was on Robben Island, his image was banned. One of the only things that kept him alive for the people of South Africa was music. And the freedom songs, many of which were about Mandela, were being used as recruitment to bring people into the movement and help keep up the fight. 'Music for Mandela' documentary director Jason Bourque comments on the global icon's joyful, inspiring defiance.

The Mandela Playlist: A life and Legacy Told In Music
NPR: Gwen Ansell
It's worth pausing to consider not only the legacy and achievements of former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, but also the rich musical associations of his life.



Classical Pranksters Don't Just Play Music: They Play With It
Collective Cadenza — CDZA for short — is a loose-knit group of musicians in New York that makes videos. These conservatory-trained musicians don't just play music in front of a camera: They play with it, often turning familiar pieces on their ears through visual gags and sonic surprises that have drawn millions of views on YouTube.

The Blonde American Who's Amazing Arabs By Singing Their Music
New York Times
Jennifer Grout, a 23-year-old from Boston who speaks almost no Arabic, sings it so well that she's now a finalist on this year's Arabs Got Talent.

A Chamber Orchestra In ... A Bar?
Christian Science Monitor
Chamber orchestras (smaller than symphony orchestras) are increasingly pushing long-held stereotypes that have defined them as elitist and predictable by performing in nightclubs and firehouses, on public transportation, or atop buildings, often forgoing traditional music for modern works.

Aiming Big, Filling The House For New Music
Greg Sandow (Blog)
Devoting a program to minimalist and microtonal compositions could easily amount to an egghead agenda; leave it to the American Modern Ensemble to make it a party instead.


St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's Turnaround Year
The Star Tribune
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra recorded a surplus of about $280,000 on total revenue of $9.5 million. The extra money will reduce to $512,000 an accumulated deficit that the SPCO hopes to eliminate in the next few years.

Cleveland Orchestra Looks To Expand Its European Bases Further
The Plain Dealer
In addition to its growing residencies in Vienna and Linz (music director Franz Welser-Möst's hometown), the Clevelanders are working on launching ongoing partnerships with venues in Bratislava and Paris (at the soon-to-open Philharmonie).

Milwaukee Symphony Slashing Its Size, Changing Schedule To Fix Budget Shortfall
The Business Journal of Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said Friday that it will cut the size of its orchestra and change its schedule of performances while seeking emergency financial assistance in an effort to address a multimillion-dollar budget deficit in its last fiscal year.

Toronto Symphony Posts A $1.2 Million Deficit
The Star-Tribune
Slumping ticket sales contributed to a $1.2 million deficit for the TSO's 2012/13 season, up from the prior year's $837,736 deficit.


Beats Music Streaming Service Says It Will Begin in January
New York Times
The service, which intends to compete with Spotify, hopes to build on the popularity of Beats headphones.

7 Things You Should Know About Beats Music
Rolling Stone
How Dr. Dre's new music streaming service could break out of the pack.

Spotify to Musicians: Don't Hate On Us
The streaming music service is determined to convince artists, both big and small, that streaming can be a real money maker.

Spotify Opens Analytics In Effort To Prove Its Worth
The Guardian
Streaming music firm opens Spotify Artists website and claims when it reaches 40 million subscribers, even 'niche indie albums' will earn $17k a month.

Yahoo Buys Concert Live-Streaming Startup Evntlive
Yahoo may soon be broadcasting more concerts following its acquisition of live music streaming startup Evntlive.

16 Artists That Are Now Speaking Out Against Streaming
Digital Music News
There used to be one band with the courage to do this sort of thing: Metallica.  Now, there are dozens of high-profile artists, with outspoken critics like David Lowery and Thom Yorke leading a previously-unthinkable level of protest against streaming and content devaluation.

Iron Maiden Rocks Music Business
Heavy metal popular beat combo Iron Maiden is living proof that there’s an upside to consider:  The band is one of the most pirated outfits in history and yet it managed to make £10-20 million for 2012.


Here's How Much Of The Economy America's Creative Industries Generate
Associated Press
Creative industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.

Infographic: How Supporting Arts and Cultural Organizations Makes a Huge Impact
Did you know that art in America was more popular than major league baseball? Arts and culture organizations get visited by 850 million people and generate $135 billion worth of commerce in the Unites States each year.


One Of New York's Top Culturecrats To Step Up Campaign For Arts Education
The New York Times
Mary Schmidt Campbell: "It is a demonstrated fact that if you put well-designed arts programs into the schools - particularly in areas that are underserved - and you integrate them into the curriculum, you can raise the performance in reading, math and science. ... It drives me crazy that we are still struggling to make that case around the country."

Music Business Association Launches Music Tech Startup Network
The trade group formerly known as NARM, is launching resources and a network to help music tech startups. It is the first product that the Music Business Association (Music Biz) has introduced since its rebranding and reorganization in early October.

The FTC Wonders If Music Teachers Are Anti Competitive?
Wall St. Journal
A terrifying tale of how the Federal Trade Commission, a governmental Goliath, crushes an average David, because it can. In March of this year, the Music Teachers National Association received a letter from the FTC. The agency was investigating whether the association was engaged in anticompetitive practices.

Australia's Only Major Classical Music Magazine May Close
Limelight magazine, which won the national award in its circulation category for Consumer Magazine of the Year 2013, needs to find a buyer within less than two weeks, before its current owner, Haymarket, closes its Australian operations entirely.  

Will This Be The Conductor Who Finally Ends Israel's Ban On Wagner?
In a brief essay, Asher Fisch, a native-born Israeli and a protégé of Daniel Barenboim, explains how he believes his mentor went wrong in his 2001 attempt to break the Jewish state's longstanding Wagner taboo - and how he hopes to succeed. Says Fisch, "It's up to me, and it's waiting to happen."

Violin Prices Continue To Soar
The Economist
Despite the recent economic downturn, instrument prices have continued to rise at remarkable rates. Between 1980 and 2011 the average auction prices for Stradivari increased at an annual rate of 15.4%.

Wayne Brown Leaving NEA To Head Michigan Opera Theatre
Detroit Free Press
Prior to working for the NEA, Brown was producer of music programs for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta and managed music events associated with the 1996 Olympics. He also is the former executive director of the Louisville Orchestra.


If You Got Bored And Maybe Fell Asleep During That Opera, Don't Worry
The Guardian
We've all had moments when we've dozed off. But there is also a sense that the best art is like life. Some of it is a bit dull, but you need the boring parts to appreciate the climaxes.


Commentary:The only path to the arts’ long-term viability is connecting with the public
Doug Borwick, blog Engaging Matters

Commentary:The arts need to be more “audience-oriented”
Goldstar’s Jim McCarthy on his blog Selling Out

How to Use Video to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign
If you want to go the extra mile, don't forget the addition of music, graphics, and even fun visual filters to strengthen your work.

Marketing Your Music Blog With Just 3 Tools
Clambr's Richard Marriott got "50 Experts" to weigh in on "How to Promote Your Blog with Just 3 Tools.


Another Study Equates Academic Achievement With Music Lessons
Pacific Standard
While it doesn't provide a definitive answer, new research from Germany presents evidence that improved academic performance truly is a result of musical training.

Shazam! How The Music Industry Hears What You (Will) Love
The Technology Chronicles
At some point in 2014, your friends are totally going to be into this Dutch DJ named Martin Garrix. Or maybe your son will be into a young rapper named Rich Homie Quan. The predictions around these relative unknowns are according to data from Shazam.

Health Check: Is Your Personal Music Player Doing You Damage
It’s happened to all of us – you walk past someone and you can hear every beat, riff and wail coming from their headphones. If you’ve ever wondered whether this could be damaging their hearing, the answer is yes.


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