Covid-19 music industry update: Dixie Chicks postpone album, TRNSMT Festival 2020 cancelled and more

Covid-19 music industry update: Dixie Chicks postpone album, TRNSMT Festival 2020 cancelled and more

Music Week is monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 spread around the globe on the biz.

The outbreak has already led to the cancellation of Glastonbury and urgent calls to support grassroots venues.

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Dixie Chicks

Dixie Chicks have today (April 24) announced that the release of their fifth studio album, Gaslighter has been postponed. Their comeback was originally scheduled to drop on May 1, 2020 via Columbia Records. An official press release stated: “Fans should continue to check @Dixie_Chicks social media for additional updates and announcements.”

TRNSMT Festival

TRNSMT Festival has announced that it will no longer be going ahead in July 2020. The festival was due to be headlined by Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi and Courteeners. An official press release confirmed next year’s festival will take place on the weekend of 9-11th July 2021. You can read the statement in full below:

“TRNSMT Fest Fam,

We are absolutely gutted to announce that due to the comments made by the First Minister of Scotland during the daily briefing on 23rd April, TRNSMT will be unable to go ahead as planned in July 2020.

We did not want to take this step but it is unavoidable. The health and safety of our fans, artists, staff and community will always be our top priority.

We are now working hard with all the artist teams to try to get the 2021 line-up as close to this year’s as we can and will be able to update on this fully over the next two weeks. We’d like to thank the artist teams for their hard work in helping us to try and achieve this.

This 2021 line-up announcement will be made soon and you will be able to either hold on to your ticket and carry it over to next year's festival in order to secure your place well in advance or request a refund. Your ticket provider will be in touch so look out for an email coming from them soon. Please only get in touch with them if you haven’t been contacted after 14 days as they are very busy at this time.

We can confirm that next year’s festival will take place on the weekend of 9-11th July 2021.

Finally, TRNSMT would not be the amazing festival that it is, without YOU – our amazing audience so we thank you for your support.

Stay at home, practice social distancing and stay safe.

We will be back next year to celebrate like never before – see you all then!

Love, TRNSMT x”

Sound Royalties

Sound Royalties has announced that it will extend their $20 million no-cost funding programme, originally scheduled to expire April 16, by 30 days. An official press release stated: “Through May 16, songwriters, performing artists, producers and others, including independent labels, distributors and publishers receiving royalty income, can apply for financing on a one-year repayment schedule with no fees or costs of any kind.”

Red Bull Records

Red Bull Records is set to launch its first-ever Virtual Festival next week. The multi-genre festival will feature exclusive, intimate at-home performances from The Aces, Beartooth, Gavin Haley, PineappleCiti, Kofi, Blxst and Sad Alex. The festival will air Friday, May 1 at 11AM PST / 2PM EST exclusively on Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.

Royal Albert Hall

Richard Thompson, Jack Garratt and Jesca Hoop are the latest headliners confirmed for Royal Albert Home – the Royal Albert Hall’s series of free streamed shows, coming direct from artists’ living rooms.

Longborough Festival Opera

Almost 1,000 audience members who were due to attend Longborough Festival Opera this season have chosen to donate the value of their tickets, generating a fund of over £300,000. Of the money raised, £200,000 will go directly to the freelance artists involved in each of the 2020 festival’s four productions. The remainder will be used to develop further work for artists this year, as well as to help the organisation mitigate upcoming financial uncertainty.

An official press release stated: “Some will also be used to sustain the festival’s work as a whole, ensuring that we can welcome our artists and audience back as soon as we can. Thanks to this remarkable show of support from our audience, the show will go on.”


More than 140 culture ministers convened by UNESCO (on April 22) have backed a global strategy to help culture and the creative sector survive and recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. CISAC has worked in partnership with UNESCO, highlighting the vital part played by authors and authors rights in managing the crisis. You can read the actions and recommendations here.

4AD x Sea Change Festival

Bing & Ruth and Dry Cleaning are to feature on the line-up for Sea Change Goes Online this weekend. Both have recorded live performances of new and unreleased material for the free event, an online version of the independent music festival usually hosted in Devon. It will be broadcast worldwide throughout April 25 and 26, beginning at 6pm BST.

Foo Fighters, BMG and Kobalt donate royalties

The Foo Fighters, BMG and co-publisher Kobalt have confirmed that royalties generated by the performances of Times Like These on BBC coronavirus telethon The Big Night In will be donated to charity.

Proceeds from the song being performed by the Live Lounge All Stars will benefit BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief in the UK, and the World Health Organization's Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund internationally. The charity single is available on iTunes, as well as streaming platforms. 

Foo Fighters’ 2003 hit was selected for a special BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge during the show, when it was covered by the artists including 5 Seconds Of Summer, Anne-Marie, AJ Tracey, Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Celeste, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dermont Kennedy, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Grace Carter, Hailee Seinfeld, Jess Glynne, Mabel, Paloma Faith, Rag N Bone Man, Rita Ora, Royal Blood, Sam Fender, Sean Paul, Sigrid, Yungblud and Zara Larsson.
Foo Fighters, BMG and Kobalt Music will pay advances against all future royalties so that funds can be available as soon as possible to help those in need.

“I am so honored to be a part of this incredible recording and blown away by all the heart and soul these amazing artists have put into our song,” said Dave Grohl. “I hope that it helps lift people’s spirits, and reminds them that we’ll all be back in one of those muddy fields again someday soon, singing our hearts out together.”

A statement on behalf of the publishers said: “BMG and Kobalt are proud to be part of this historic and benevolent event. It’s Times Like These indeed that so many of us turn to music for comfort and solace, and that music can give back even more with acts of generosity like this.”

Three of the song’s co-writers – Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Chris Shiflett – are signed to Kobalt for publishing. Nathan Mendel is signed to BMG.

Music Support to host online support groups 

Music Support is set to launch a weekly online support group so that the 12 Step recovery community can continue during lockdown. The meetings will take place on Mondays from 6-7pm starting April 27 until September 28.

The service will be confidentials and available to any of those working in the music industry.

Music Support services officer, Joanne Croxford, said: “It might be that someone is in need of a secure virtual space to share their experiences, while others may want to take part in these meetings simply by listening in and feeling accepted and connected during isolation. Music Support will offer strength and hope as we all navigate our way through these testing times.”

Music Support managing director, Eric Mtungwazi, further stated: “The 12 Step Support Group Meetings have been a key part of our work backstage at festivals during the typical summer season. This year, as we’re unable to offer this service in-person due to the Covid-19 lockdown - which has resulted in the cancellation of festivals across the UK - we’re delighted to be able to offer support online and keep this community connected.”

Apple to support BBC's The Big Night In Appeal

Apple has announced it will be supporting BBC The Big Night In Appeal, which aims to help vulnerable people of all ages needing support during this time.

Children in Need and Comic Relief have joined together for the three hour TV event available to watch on BBC One, iPlayer or Apple TV at 7pm tonight.

Fierce Panda announce Covid Version Sessions

Independent record label Fierce Panda have announced they will be launching Covid Version Sessions. The sessions will be available on the artist's YouTube channels and will feature Fierce Panda bands at home performing music in support of the NHS.

National Service's lead singer Fintan was the first to perform a session, choosing Last January by Twilighit Sad, followed by Desparate Journalist who performed The Fear by Pulp.

Vans for Bands announce Bus-tival with DIY magazine

In association with DIY magazine, Vans for Bands will be hosting Bus-tival – a 10 hour livestream to take place between midday and 10pm on April 25.

Vans for Bands previously announced it was offering its sleeper buses to NHS hospitals for staff to use during the coronavirus crisis, with Hillingdon Hospital, Whittington Health NHS Trust and Lewisham Hospital among those who have accepted the offer.

The livestream will be free-to-view and aims to encrouage people to donate to their JustGiving page to help keep the buses available to the staff. Glen Matlock, Frank Turner, Soph Nathan, Oscar Pollock, Whenyoung and Yonaka are among the artists set to take part inbetween live link-ups to those staff members using the buses throughout.

Director and co-owner of Vans For Bands, Ed Thomson, said: “Despite the fact that the live music industry has been decimated by the effects of social distancing due to COVID-19, we are so pleased to see the music industry coming together to bring BUS-TIVAL to the public free of charge. A huge thank you to our partners at DIY Magazine and indeed the artists themselves without which this exciting and ground breaking event would not be possible.”

Director of DIY Magazine, Rupert Vereker, added: “When we were approached by Vans for Bands and heard what an amazing thing they were doing for frontline NHS staff, it was a no brainer that we would help raise awareness of this incredible cause and be media partner to the live stream event. This is wonderful example of people in the music industry, all with different talents, coming together to do something really important, despite their own industry being destroyed by the virus. There have been huge sums raised for the NHS, but this is a fundraiser to ensure frontline NHS staff continue to enjoy the rock star treatment they deserve, here and now.”

The Beatles to host Yellow Submarine film sing-a-long

Partnering with Youtube Music, The Beatles' animated Yellow Submarine film will be shown as a sing-a-long on April 25 through YouTube Premieres on The Beatles' channel.

The film has been restored and includes song lyrics at the bottom of the screen for you to sing-a-long at home with The Beatles.

Originally premiering in 2018, the sing-a-long version was released to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary and includes Eleanor Rigby, When I'm Sixty-Four, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, All You Need Is Love and It's All Too Much.

You can watch the film at 9am PDT, 12pm EDT, and 5pm BST.

RockBox announce £250k advertising fund

RockBox have announced a new advertising fund of £250k to support independent businessess. The fund will offer 100% free of charge advertising across its sites including Universities, Student Pubs and Music venues when they're open again.

The businesses included for the fund will be: 

Music venues, local music promoters, independent festivals, independent pubs with regular live music, record shops, musical equipment shops, independent bookshops, museums, art galleries, independent cinemas, community events and organisations that promote the arts or music.

It will also account for music charities, artist mental health organisations and unsigned music artists.

Jeff Beck's UK tour rescheduled

Jeff Beck's upcoming UK tour has been rescheduled to take place in 2021 following coronavirus. The tour which was due to kick off in May, will now start Wednesday, April 21 and end Sunday, May 2, 2021. 

Tickets purchased will still be valid for the new dates, which will see Beck headline Birmingham Symphony Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and London's Royal Albert Hall among others.

Steven Wilson postpones The Future Bites

The Future Bites, Steven Wilson's upcoming sixth album has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. The album orinally due to be released June 12 2020 is now set to be released January 29 2021. Personal Shopper – a 10 minute track – was the record's first single released in March.

Speaking on the news, Wilson stated: "As with many of my albums, The Future Bites is not just about the music, it's a high concept project which involves design, artwork, video and a tour production, all on a grander scale than anything I've attempted before. However, due to the pandemic, there are unprecedented challenges, ranging from manufacturing issues (particularly in relation to the elaborate deluxe edition) and the uncertainty facing record stores as the coronavirus forces them to close their doors, to being unable to shoot most of the video material I planned. It's therefore with a very heavy heart that I reluctantly need to postpone the release of The Future Bites until such time everything can happen as intended. This will now be January next year, with new music and video starting to be issued again around October.  In the meantime the pre-order page for the various editions of the album will remain online. Myself, management, agent and promoters are monitoring the situation regarding the live shows scheduled for this autumn. Should events change we will let everyone know as soon as we do.

“I understand that this may be disappointing news, and to no one more that myself, believe me.  I worked on the music and background of this project for the last two years and was thrilled to finally be able to launch it. The response to the Personal Shopper track released last month has been phenomenal, and I was looking forward to unveiling more over the next few months in the build up to the release of the album. But alas due to the current circumstances it was not to be."


Senate bill adds billions to Small Business Administation's loan

The RIAA has released a statement today as artist rights and music companies praise the passing of a bill which will add $310 billion to the Small Business Administration's COVID-19 loan programme. This will also include $50 billion for loans for economic disaster aid. The bill is due to be approved by the House later this week.

The organisations involved stated: "We applaud leaders of the Senate and House, Secretary Mnuchin, and the Administration who worked to find an agreement to include more funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. This action is an important next step to ensure the program has funds to reach all Americans who need it.

“Musicians, songwriters, and composers have had their ability to work upended by the pandemic. Because they often act as independent contractors and sole proprietors, traditional unemployment benefits fail to provide financial relief. That’s why it remains essential that the PPP make independent contractors and sole proprietors fully eligible for loans and loan forgiveness including accounting for lost wages and insurance costs during the eligibility period.

“Because time is of the essence in addressing this crisis, there has been understandable confusion about where to get a PPP loan, how to apply, and shifting guidance concerning necessary paperwork. States are also offering conflicting guidance about eligibility for new unemployment benefits provided in the CARES Act. In some states, updated application forms are still not yet widely available, and there are misunderstandings about the duration of eligibility for unemployment and the calculation of benefits.

“We applaud the Administration, Congress, and the States for moving forward with this relief and look forward to further improvements on this very good foundation to help all Americans get through this difficult time.”

Special televised gig planned for Anzac Day

Australia and New Zealand's music communitites are set to unite for a one-off televised gig in order to pay their respects to Anzac Day. Set to air on Saturday, April 25, artists such as Courtney Barnett, James Morrison, DMA's, and Amy & George Sheppard will unite to bring you Music From The Hokme Front for channel Nine in Australia and Three in New Zealand.

“In times when the same spirit that underpinned the Anzac tradition is combatting the COVID-19 menace, the RSL is proud to be associated with this fabulous initiative," said RSL Australia.

The event will not be a fundraiser, however ways to donate to charities will be suggested throughout the show, and all artists have volunteered to take part with a paid fee for each performance. Some artists have been in talks of giving this fee to their band and crew or to charaties such as Support Act in Australia and MusicHelpsLive in New Zealand.

Spotify artist fundraising

Following Spotify’s support for the music community affected by Covid-19, the streaming giant has now introduced a feature for artists who are fundraising.

“First and foremost, this feature enables artists who are interested in raising money to support themselves, their bands, or their crews, to get the word out to their fans on their Spotify artist profiles," said Spotify. The 'tipping' feature is now live, though Spotify noted that as it's a new development it will "evolve as we learn how to make it as helpful as possible for the music community".

The Artist Fundraising Pick will also enable acts on the platform to highlight a fundraising destination. Artists can choose to add a link to Cash App, GoFundMe and PayPal. Spotify has created the option for artists to select from verified organisations and fundraise for an initiative connected to helping those most impacted in the music industry.  

“This is an incredibly difficult time for many Spotify users and people around the world – and there are many worthy causes to support at this time,” said the company. “With this feature, we simply hope to enable those who have the interest and means to support artists in this time of great need, and to create another opportunity for our Covid-19 Music Relief partners to find the financial support they need to continue working in music and lift our industry.”

Black Deer Festival line-up rescheduled for 2021

Black Deer Festival has announced that this year’s planned event, which was set to be held from June 19-21 in Kent, it will now take place on June 18-20, 2021. Many of this year’s acts – including Wilco, The Waterboys and The Felice Brothers – have reconfirmed for next year, along with new additions.

Gill Tee and Deborah Shilling, Black Deer Festival co-founders, said: “This announcement has taken longer than we hoped but what was so important, other than the obvious safety of our community, was to do everything we could to make sure we were able to recreate the same excitement for our line-up in 2021 that we were all looking forward to at Black Deer Festival this year.”

The festival will also invite 1,500 NHS and key workers as guests to Black Deer Festival 2021.

Help Musicians secures £50,000 donation

Help Musicians has announced support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The £50,000 donation will assist in continuing frontline support for musicians during the Coronavirus crisis.

The donation is being made via the Spotify Covid-19 Music Relief project, which established a partnership with Help Musicians in March alongside other verified organisations worldwide, with Spotify matching the donation to take the total up to £100,000.

James Ainscough, Help Musicians CEO, said: “It is through challenging times like these that we see music bringing people together. Neighbourhoods become choirs and homes become global concert halls. It is wonderful to see musicians, music companies and music lovers working together to support artists who have seen their livelihoods completely disappear. I am so grateful to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Spotify for this combined £100,000 donation, which provides Help Musicians with vital resource for us to reach more artists in urgent need, and highlights the matched-donation opportunity at Spotify that all music-lovers can utilise.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "I am pleased that my Foundation has been able to help support my fellow musicians during these exceptionally difficult times for self-employed professionals in the live entertainment industry. I would also like to thank Spotify for matching the donation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.”

Tom Connaughton, UK/IE MD, Spotify, said: "At times of great challenge, music helps to uplift us. But right now, thousands of creative professionals in the music industry need help. We’re working with a growing list of organizations offering financial relief to creators around the world, and we're delighted to match the donation from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation as part of our wider support for the global music community."

At Home With Apple Music

The latest edition of At Home With Apple Music features Dua Lipa, Jennifer Lopez and Charli XCX with Apple Music hosts Zane Lowe and Rebecca Judd.

In the new series, Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and other Apple Music hosts will be sharing some of the FaceTime chats they’ve been having as they catch up with artists all over the world. Episodes will be available in the new At Home With Apple Music dedicated space, along with videos, playlists, shows and more.

ICMP calls for governments’ support

The ICMP (International Confederation Of Music Publishers) has written to governments globally calling for support following a “deeply alarming” analysis of the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the sector

“Many industries are weathering commercial hardship and uncertainty now,” wrote director general John Phelan. “What differentiates ours is that it has been among the first to be harmed and will be among the last to feel the crisis’ impact.”

One World: Together At Home Shazams

Shazam has revealed the most Shazamed performances during the One World: Together At Home special.

Burna Boy’s performance of African Giant/Hallelujah came out on top, followed by Maluma’s Carnaval, Billie Joe Armstrong’s rendition of Wake Me Up When September Ends, Eddie Vedder’s River Cross and The Prayer by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli

Barn On The Farm postponed

Barn On The Farm has been postponed until July 1-4, 2021.

“Although we are still a couple of months away, the current restrictions coupled with the uncertainty of how the next few months will map out, have meant that building and planning for it to go ahead has become almost impossible,” said a statement. 

Lamb Of God delay album

Lamb Of God have delayed the release of the new self-titled album by five weeks. As a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the band’s eighth album will now drop on June 19. 

“We're in extraordinary times due to the current global reality and the delay of shipments of all-but essential goods needed in the fight against Covid-19,” said the band. “After talks with our labels, there is no other option than to delay the release so that fans who pre-ordered the album can receive the record they paid for.”

Debut Lamplight Festival pushed back to 2021

Sunderland City Council has announced the postponement of the inaugural Lamplight Festival until 2021.

The new outdoor music festival was due to take place in Mowbray Park this August featuring headliners Kaiser Chiefs and Deacon Blue. The first Lamplight festival will now take place on August 7-8 2021 with the same line-up. 

Victoria French, assistant director of culture and events, said "This news is disappointing for lots of people but we hope that everyone will appreciate that the health of our communities must and always will come first in steering our decision making during this time. Planning has already begun for the 2021 event, we are delighted to be able to keep the headline artists intact and look forward to welcoming everyone then.”

All existing ticket purchases are now valid for the new 2021 dates. Refunds are also available.

PRS For Music launches event in aid of songwriters

PRS For Music is staging a virtual event, PRS Presents Lckdwn, which will celebrate music creators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

From noon on Friday, April 24, artist from the UK and beyond will come together for the event here staged in aid of the PRS Emergency Relief Fund, which was launched to help songwriters and composers facing significant financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

Black Futures, Joy Crookes, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Linda Perry, Nadia Rose and Nitin Sawhney are among the line-up of music creators who will perform from their homes. 

Andrea C. Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: “We have seen first-hand the difference the PRS Emergency Relief Fund has made and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated so far. PRS Presents Lckdwn is a way for us to collectively celebrate music creators, to support our industry as a united community and to champion the music lifting spirits and getting us all through this challenging time.”

Livestream for emerging acts via UMG’s Spinnup

Lockdown With Spinnup has launched to give new and emerging acts a livestreaming opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Launched on April 20, the series via the UMG-owned platform will introduce new artists each and every weekday. As well as interviews at 1pm on IGTV by tastemaker Jamz Supernova (BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra), acts will launch into live performances at 5pm presented by Jess Iszatt (BBC Introducing London).

The first run of acts includes Joy Anonymous, Maya Law, Jimothy Lacoste and Mei.

Spinnup manager Harrison Seward said: “This period of lockdown is particularly challenging for the new artist community who traditionally rely on performing live to showcase their work and build their audience. At Spinnup, we are committed to helping artists across the world develop their talent and so it was a natural progression for us to create an online stage for some of the most exciting unsigned talent to play on.” 

JLS’ NHS gig

JLS have announced a free matinee concert for all NHS frontline staff and hospital workers set to take place on Saturday, November 28 at Birmingham Resorts World Arena.

The reformed group have announced the additional matinee NHS free show during their Beat Again comeback tour. The one-off gig will be centred around celebrating and honouring the efforts made by the UK’s NHS frontline staff and primary care workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Speaking on behalf of the whole band, JB said “We can never be too grateful for the NHS. The privilege of free healthcare from professionals who have studied for many years to obtain the knowledge and skills to keep us healthy cannot be underestimated; and not just in the face of adverse times as we are facing now. With multiple close friends who are doctors in the NHS and my Mum who has worked as part of the NHS for over 25 years, it’s incredibly important for us to give back to our health heroes”.

Those eligible for tickets will be all NHS frontline staff that work within NHS hospitals across the United Kingdom.

BBC One World: Together At Home ratings peak at 6m

TV ratings for the BBC One broadcast of One World: Together At Home peaked at six million.

Click here for the full story.

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