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WEEKLY DIGEST | 02/05/2018
News, Research, & Opinion



Keeping Score of Who’s in Charge of America’s Orchestras
NY Times: Michael Cooper
Here’s your cheat sheet on the comings and goings on some of the nation’s (and Europe's) top podiums. Moving or staying in this review are: Riccardo Muti, Dianandrea Noseda, Jaap van Zweden, Stéphane Denèv , Thomas Dausgaard, Gustavo Dudamel, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Franz Welser-Möst, Osmo Vänskä, Manfred Honeck,Louis Langrée, Marin Alsop, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Robert Spano.


In the Streaming Age, Musicians Scramble to Redraw the Touring Map
Paste Magazine: Eric Danton
Now that it's almost impossible to make money selling records, artists have to get creative on the road to sustain their careers.

Contemporary Operas Evolve as Composers Reach for More Singable Music

Toronto Star: William Littler
Some composers are moving away from aggressively dissonant music. Recent production successes may mean this is the right path to take.

Is It Classical, or Pop? Nils Frahm Is Worried, but Not About That

NY Times: Anna Codrea-Rado
Since Mr. Frahm’s breakthrough album, “Felt,” was released in 2011, he has become the face of a new breed of musicians who combine elements of electronic dance and classical music to produce a new, more contemplative kind of pop.

Classical Musicians Aren’t Hiding their Rock Enthusiasms Anymore

San Francisco Classical Voice: Allan Kozinn
If you spend much time talking to art music composers, you realize pretty quickly that their public musical lives are only part of the story — that privately, many of them listen to, and in some cases, perform, a broader range of music than you might expect. Classical composers, particularly those who also perform, are giving their inner rockers some time in the spotlight, and the yield has been interesting.

5 Hours of Glenn Gould Outtakes. Why? Listen and Find Out.

NY Times: Anthony Tommasini
In four intense sessions in a Manhattan studio in June 1955, the 22-year-old Gould recorded his breathless, uncannily clear account of the “Goldbergs.” It made the gangly, eccentric Gould an unlikely classical superstar.

The Rise of the Social Media Fembot

NY Times: Amanda Hess
The fembot has long been a pop culture fixation, but now feminized tech is all around us. Digital helpmeets like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are fitted with nonthreatening feminine voices and programmed to respond to sexist comments with cutesy repartee.


ZOFOMOMA is Mesmerizing
San Francisco Classical Voice: Lisa Hirsch
On Saturday, January 28, 2017, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music the piano duet ZOFO (Eva-Maria Zimmerman and Keisuke Nakagoshi), gave the world premiere of a remarkable new suite of works composed for them. Called ZOFOMOMA, the suite is a 21st-century twist on Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Mussorgsky wrote Pictures in response to works by a single artist, the Russian Viktor Hartmann. ZOFO reached farther afield for ZOFOMOMA, commissioning 15 composers from 14 countries to write movements responding to paintings by artists of their home countries.

Super Bowl LII: Watch Justin Timberlake Honor Prince in Halftime Spectacle
Rolling Stone: Althea Legaspi
Justin Timberlake tore through a bevy of his hits including "Suit & Tie," "Rock Your Body," "SexyBack" and his new song, "Filthy," during his performance at the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show.

Universal Music Executive Charlie Walk Faces Serious Sexual Assault Accusations
Digital Music News: Paul Resnikoff
High-profile music industry executive Charlie Walk is now being accused of serious sexual abuse and assault by a former employee.  The string of alleged incidents involved Tristan Coopersmith at Columbia Records (part of Sony Music Entertainment) in the 2004-5 timeframe.

Recording Academy Chief Asked to Step Down by Female Executives
The Hollywood Reporter: Patrick Shanley
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's comments after Sunday's Grammy Awards when he said female musicians must "step up" for more representation in the industry following this year's heavily male-skewing roster of nominees, have sparked backlash from the music community. Now, a group of female record executives is calling for Portnow's resignation.

People on Twitter Turned Super Bowl Sunday into Janet Jackson Appreciation Day

ComPlex: Jasmine Grant
The hashtag's users are celebrating Janet's many contributions to music throughout her multi-decade career. They've also been putting the Super Bowl and mainstream media on blast for the way they treated the icon following the “wardrobe malfunction” incident.

The US Government is Forcing Streaming Services to Pay Songwriters 43.8% More
Digital Music News: Jeff Price
A new ruling from the US Government requires that streaming music services raise their royalty rates for songwriters and music publishers.  Here are the details.


Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, at 18 Years Old, Makes Chart History
Rhinegold Publishing: Katy Wright
Sheku Kanneh-Mason has become this year’s best-selling British debut artist – across all genres – to enter the Top 20 in the Official UK Albums Chart with his album Inspiration. The release, which features repertoire ranging from Shostakovich to Bob Marley, has entered the main chart at No. 18, and is at No. 1 in the classical chart.

‘O Canada’ Will Become Gender Neutral With New Lyrics
NY Times: Ian Austen
Canada’s Senate on Wednesday approved changing the words of “O Canada,” the country’s national anthem, to make the English-language version gender neutral. The move came after decades of unsuccessful efforts, and some last-minute political drama.

The Beatles Launch a Massive, $100 Million Legal War Against Counterfeiters
Digital Music News: Daniel Sanchez
If successful, the lawsuit would force multiple online retailers to take down unauthorized merchandise featuring The Beatles.

Mapping the Journey of Syria’s Artists
The New Yorker: Eliza Griswold
When civil war broke out, musicians, painters, and writers were among those fleeing the country. Where did they go?

Burkina Faso Music Honored at Grammys, but Artists Cry Foul
Voice of America News: Bagassi Koura
For musicians from the West African nation of Burkina Faso, a nomination for a Grammy Award should have been the crowning achievement of a musical career. Instead, musicians based in Bobo-Dioulasso, whose work is featured on the three-disk compilation “Bobo Yeye,” didn’t even know they had been nominated or that the album even existed.

They Told the Women in Bahia They Couldn’t Drum. Try Telling That to Banda Didá.
NY Times: Shannon Sims
Meet the all-female Brazilian drum group that is challenging gender norms.


Super Bowl Soundtrack: How the Music Industry Gets In the Game
AdAge: Garett Sloane
The Super Bowl is about football and commercials, but also it's about music. It wasn't always that way.

Best Buy to Pull CDs, Target Threatens to Pay Labels for CDs Only When Customers Buy Them

Billboard: Ed Christman
If the majors don't play ball and give in to Target's new sale terms, it could considerably hasten the phase down of the CD format.

Here’s Why Migos, Drake, and Rae Sremmurd Are Releasing These Giant, Bloated Records

CoS: Greg Whitt
By padding their "playlists," artists try to game a system rigged against them.

Spotify is Dramatically Changing the Rules for Remixers

Digital Music News: Lennon Cihak

The music streaming giant stated in a blog post that remixers will now receive credit for their remixes by having the streams count towards their monthly listeners.  While this only applies to remixes that were published post-2015, this is a major change for the platform.

Pandora Hitting Hard Times: Laying Off Staff, Shifting Away from California

Digital Music News: Marsha Silva
Pandora CEO Roger Lynch has now made it official.  The company is laying off 5% of his workforce.  That’s part of a broader pare-down as the company tries to retread itself and survive long-term.


Watch the Met Opera Stage a Sea of Blood
NY Times Photos by Damon Winter, text by Michael Cooper
When it comes to blood, Quentin Tarantino has nothing on the Metropolitan Opera. Stabbings, shootings, torture and beheadings are routine at the Met. But the bloodiest show of them all may be François Girard’s production of Wagner’s “Parsifal,” which returns on Feb. 5 and floods the theater’s vast stage with some 1,250 gallons of the stuff.


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