Covid-19 music industry update: Pale Waves & more for DIY Magazine Easter festival, The O2 to open as NHS training facility...

Covid-19 music industry update: Pale Waves & more for DIY Magazine Easter festival, The O2 to open as NHS training facility...

Music Week is monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 spread around the globe on the biz. Click here for the latest updates...

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DIY Magazine to hold virtual festival for Easter weekend

DIY Magazine has announced details of DIYsolation Festival, with more than 20 acts set to take over the title’s Instagram Live to perform over Easter weekend.

Featuring former Music Week cover stars Pale Waves, Self Esteem, Sports Team, Marika Hackman and many more, the event kicks off tomorrow (Friday, April 10) and will run from 2-10pm, with the same to follow on Saturday and Sunday.

Following on from the title’s DIYsolation streaming project – which launched during lockdown and takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays on Instagram Live – the event will raise money by enabling donations to Help Musicians.

Sarah Jamieson, managing editor of DIY, said: “We understand how important the connection between artist and fan is on any given day, let alone during these circumstances. With DIYsolation Festival we're hoping to provide a welcome distraction for our readers and build a new kind of community right from their sofas. Many festivals and events might be on hold for now, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate live music - this is just our way of doing just that.”

Help Musicians fundraising manager Emma Jones added: “Help Musicians is incredibly grateful to DIY for choosing to fundraise for us during this difficult time for the music community. DIY creators are innovative and adaptable by nature, but the current climate poses unique challenges for even the most creative thinkers. During the Coronavirus crisis, we have seen music play a pivotal role in global morale and in our charity’s 100-year history, there has perhaps never been a more important time to ensure they have a way to continue.”

The full line-up so far is:

Alfie Templeman
Anna Prior (Metronomy)
Black Honey
Lucia & The Best Boys
Lynks Afrikka
Marika Hackman
Master Peace
Matt Maltese
Pale Waves
Peach Pit
Porridge Radio
Self Esteem
Sports Team
The Districts
Walt Disco
Willie J Healey

The O2 to open as NHS training facility

The O2 has been made available as an NHS training facility, operating from April 12 to June 29 to help support the NHS with their preparation for the large number of additional staff needed in the effort to tackle Covid-19.

The staff trained will go on to work at the NHS Nightingale field hospital at ExCel London. The NHS will be using this as an educational training facility to prepare staff and no patients will be treated on site.

A spokesperson for the venue said: "While this will require further rescheduling of events booked to take place during this period, the priority for us all at this time is to help save lives and we know our customers will understand our desire to support the NHS in this way. The rest of The O2 will remain closed to the public until further notice."

Manic Street Preachers to celebrate the NHS 

Manic Street Preachers have announced two nights at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena (December 4-5, 2020) to support and celebrate the NHS. The first show will be entirely free for NHS staff, and the second show will be ticketed with its profits donated to Welsh NHS charities. 

Speaking on the reveal, the band said: “We wanted to do something to show our appreciation, love and respect for the NHS and its amazing brave workers. One free show and one fundraising show seemed the best way for us to express our deep gratitude for all their heroic work.”

Tickets will be on sale on Friday, April 10 at 7pm, available here.

BBC Proms delay announcement

BBC Proms have taken the decision to delay the reveal of its next season in light of the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak. The BBC is still in hope that the Proms will take place this summer, and it is currently working to adapt its current format that was orginally planned.

The Official Proms Guide and the tickets for the festival will not be going on sale May 16, but the BBC will announce it's updated plans by the end of May for its 125th Anniversary season.

Ticketmaster reveal new plans for Homecoming gig series

Ticketmaster have announced it's will be adapting its original Homecoming gig series for the home, where fans will be able to gain an inside look at their favourite artists' homes. Filmed by the artists, HRVY, Arlo Parks and Matthew "Murph" Murphy will be the first to give this exclusive look all in aid of supporting charities. 

The funds raised will be donated to CrewNation, Music Venue Trust, Help Musicians UK and Cancer Research UK, and the content will be available via Facebook. Check out the full line-up with donation links here.

BST Hyde Park cancelled

BST Hyde Park 2020 has become the latest major festival to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Promoter AEG Presents concluded it was "the only possible outcome" following government actions and statements and consultations with event partner The Royal Parks, and wider agencies.

Acts such as Kendrick Lamar, Little MixPearl JamTaylor Swift, Post Malone and Duran Duran had been set to perform as part of the July concert series. 

"This would have been the eighth year of this event and we were looking forward to putting on amazing, unique shows for hundreds of thousands of fans in the world’s greatest outdoor venue. But safety always comes first," said a statement by organisers. 

"In addition to the government rightly enforcing a prolonged period of social isolation, we would not want to place any extra strain on the emergency services, who we are lucky enough to have working alongside us at our events.  We have the utmost respect for them and wish to express our admiration for their dedication and professionalism, which is proving so vital at this time.

"We also have a responsibility to our staff, fans, event workers, suppliers and sponsors, so we have been closely monitoring all developments before making a final decision.  We would like to thank them for their excellent work and we look forward to seeing you all next year when we can celebrate once again."

Royal Albert Hall launches #RoyalAlbertHome livestream series
Royal Albert Home will open its virtual doors this week, as one the iconic venue launches a programme of livestream sets from artists’ living rooms

Rufus Wainwright will launch the series on Thursday (April 9). The specially-curated opening week will also feature Alfie Boe, Baxter Dury and Idlewild frontman Roddy Woomble, as well as singer-songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson, spoken word act Toby Thompson and cellist Peter Gregson.
On April 13, Hard-Fi frontman Richard Archer and vocalist Krysten Cummings will perform hits alongside songs from their new collaboration, OffWorld. The Albert Hall will also present at-home versions of shows which have had to be cancelled.

Lucy Noble, artistic director of the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The Hall has always been a place where people come together at times of national crisis. Right now that isn’t possible, but we want to keep the venue’s spirit alive, and provide something that will cheer you, inspire you or just distract you during this difficult time.These events will reflect the diversity of the shows that we put on each month, allowing audiences not just to spend an evening with a favourite artist, but also to discover new favourites and try something different, whether that’s genre-hopping singer-songwriters, award-winning spoken word, or world-class classical music.”

The shows will all be free of charge to stream, but with the option to donate to the venue. The Hall, which turns 150 next year, is closed for the first time since World War II, meaning that it has no regular income to support staff or its Grade I-listed building.

Apple Music’s Covid-19 royalty fund 

Apple Music has launched a $50 million advance royalty fund to ensure that artists get paid.

The streaming service informed independent labels about the move to support artists this week. Indies that earn at least $10,000 in quarterly Apple Music earnings under direct distribution deals will qualify.

“These are difficult times for the music industry globally,” said the letter to labels. “Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help.”

John Prine (1946-2020)

Tributes have been paid to John Prine, who’s died aged 73 of complications from coronavirus. Click here for the full story.

ISM calls for amendments to government support

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer seeking clarification and further amendments to the financial measures the government has set out to support workers in the UK following the Covid-19 lockdown

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, said: “We are grateful to the government for its efforts to meet the needs of musicians during this difficult time and are deeply appreciative of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

“Following the Chancellor’s announcements, the ISM has received hundreds of emails from members and the wider music sector with their concerns, which we have set out in several letters to the Chancellor. We are working tirelessly to ensure that no musicians fall through the cracks of any of the schemes that have been announced.” 

The letter calls for a review of the furloughing of employed staff, who at present are unable to provide services or generate revenue for the organisation or business they are furloughed from. Other countries, such as Canada (Emergency Wage Subsidy) and Australia (Job Keeper Payment), have put schemes in place which allow furloughed employees to continue working – even if it is just on a volunteer basis – so businesses can survive during and beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

Dame Vera Lynn x Katherine Jenkins

Following the Queen’s address to the nation at a time of national crisis, Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins have come together to release a duet of We’ll Meet Again. Released on April 11, 100% of Katherine Jenkins’ and Decca Records’ proceeds from the single will be donated to NHS Charities Together to NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients. 

Dame Vera Lynn said: "The words 'We'll meet again' speak to the hope we should all have during these troubling times".

Jenkins said: “As Dame Vera herself has said, while the lyrics of We’ll Meet Again take us back to the time of WW2, the sentiment feels appropriate and meaningful today and relevant to the current crisis. It is a song of hope and Dame Vera and I sing this in honour of (and in aid of) our superhero NHS workers and their families. They are putting themselves at risk to ensure we will meet our dearest again.”

Donations to NHS Charities Together will be granted to 140 NHS charities in England, Scotland and Wales supporting frontline NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients.

The White Buffalo launch pay-per-view livestream

The White Buffalo have launched a new pay-per-view livestream via the Cadenza platform.

The band had fans from 68 countries paying $10 each for access to the interactive livestream on Sunday (April 5).

Andrea Bocelli’s Easter message

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will give a solo performance on Easter Sunday (April 12) at the historic Duomo, the cathedral of Milan, Italy, by invitation of the City and of the cathedral.

“On the day on which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honoured and happy to answer ‘Sì’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan,” he said.

There will be no audience present, and strictly no access for the public (in compliance with government regulations on Covid-19), but the concert will be exclusively streamed live globally on Bocelli’s YouTube channel, from 6pm UK time.

The event is promoted by the City of Milan and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, produced by Sugar Music and Universal Music Group, with support from YouTube. Bocelli’s participation is entirely pro-bono, in collaboration with Almud and Maverick Management.

Sir Lucian Grainge recovers from Covid-19

Universal Music Group CEO/chairman Sir Lucian Grainge has updated staff at the major on his recovery from Covid-19. The full memo is below:

Dear Colleagues 

I apologize for not having written earlier, but I know only too well how difficult these times can be, for you see, I contracted Covid-19 and was one of the 20% whose symptoms were severe. 

Today, I am at home and recuperating. Thanks to those on the front line of this crisis — the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers whose dedication and skill brought me back to health — I am on my way to a full recovery. I will never be able to thank them enough. And the first responders and all the other essential workers putting their lives on the line out there for all of us—they are heroes, justly entitled to our deepest respect and gratitude. 

Take it from someone who’s been there: this thing is not just some bad flu. It's as serious as it gets. As serious for the young and strong as it is for the old and infirm. Wherever you are in the world, take this pandemic as seriously as it deserves to be taken. Listen to and obey the guidance of your public health authorities. You will be doing it not merely for yourself, but for your families and—as we all know by now—for literally everyone in the world.  

Let me close by thanking you as well. Without exaggeration, you are the greatest team the music world has ever brought together. Your amazing work—from home nonetheless!—during these past weeks only goes to prove it. I’m so proud of how your support for our artists and songwriters has not faltered, remaining as creative and devoted as it’s ever been, even as you’ve found the energy and time to lend helping hands to our COVID-19 response effort. You are remarkable. 

Please take good care. If you need some special help the company might be able to provide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Human Resources representative. 

Remember: one day this will all be behind us. And I hope that day comes soon, because, honestly, I can’t wait until we’re all back in the office together.  In the meantime, I’ll see you on Zoom. 

Stay Safe,


Verftet Online Music Festival

Made Management and the USF Verftet venue in Bergen have launched the Norwegian online music festival Verftet. Running until April 8, the line up includes Aurora, Datarock and Moyka. Previous concert streams are available on YouTube and Twitch.

West End closes until June

The Society of London Theatre has confirmed that London’s West End will remain closed until June due to the pandemic.

“We are now cancelling all performances up until and including May 31, 2020, to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen,” said SOLT.

It follows announcements from Ambassador Theatre Group and Delfont Mackintosh that theatres will remain closed for the coming months. 

Charli XCX self-isolation album

Charli XCX has announced that her new album will be written, recorded and released in self-isolation. How I’m Feeling Now will drop on May 15. 

The release was announced by Charli XCX to 1,000 fans live on Zoom. She also urged people to make donations to LA Alliance and LA Food Bank.

HM Queen inspires streaming spike

Spotify's data has revealed that streams of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again increased by 209% week-on-week, following the Queen’s address on April 5. Spotify analysed streaming data from March 29 and April 5.

The Queen echoed Vera Lynn’s lyrics ‘We will meet again’ during her rare address to the British public, inspiring the nation to stream the iconic WWII record from 1943.

One World: Together At Home

BBC One has secured the first UK television broadcast of One World: Together at Home. 

The global televised and streamed entertainment special, curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga, will celebrate the heroic efforts of community health workers around the world. Click here for the full story. 

Grace Jones' Meltdown moved to 2021

Grace Jones’ Meltdown is to move to 2021, with all announced acts including Solange, Peaches and Skunk Anansie confirmed for next year.

The move follows the Southbank Centre’s closure of all of its venues until June 30 following the latest Government advice relating to coronavirus and social distancing. Southbank Centre will be in touch with all ticket holders in early May with information on how tickets can be transferred to the new dates. 

Grace Jones said: "Regretfully my Meltdown festival this year must be rescheduled to June 2021 due to the coronavirus.  I am gravely disappointed, but also delighted to be working with the amazing Southbank Centre team who have been able to successfully move the festival dates, along with all of our incredible line-up. Stay safe, stay home and see you next year!” 

Bengi Unsal, head of contemporary music, the Southbank Centre, said: “We are pleased to announce that Grace Jones’ vision for Meltdown will still be realised, albeit in June 2021. We’d like to give the biggest thanks to Grace Jones, all the artists on the line-up and their hard working teams, without whom this would not have been possible.

"The safety of our staff, artists and visitors is our top priority at this time and although we are disappointed Meltdown won’t go ahead this year, we feel this is the best course of action for such a big festival. We look forward to Grace Jones’ Meltdown in 2021 which we are sure will be one to remember!”

Rita Wilson and Naughty By Nature

Rita Wilson and Naughty By Nature have released a charity collaboration in aid of Covid-19 Relief Fund and MusiCares. The Hip Hop Hooray (Remix) is being released via Tommy Boy Music, and made available exclusively on YouTube from today (April 6). 

Speaking of the collaboration, Wilson said: “Hip Hop Hooray is like modern day Shakespeare. I originally learned the song for one of the most fun roles I ever played in the film Boy Genius. It took me a month to learn because it’s so complex and nuanced; it was like training for a marathon. The rhythms and tempos are so unique and creative. When I was quarantined and recovering from COVID-19 I wanted to see if I still remembered it, kind of like a brain exercise. To my surprise I did. I thought it would be fun to put it on my Instagram to show people I was doing okay and to make them smile. When Naughty By Nature commented about it, I couldn’t believe it. What a joy to be doing this remix with legends of the Hip-Hop world. I’m forever grateful for their generosity of spirit and for being able to raise money together for MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.” 

Naughty By Nature added: "We are honored to have Rita Wilson recite our song. We were totally shocked she could rap the verses so well. We were aware she contracted COVID-19, and was quarantined along with her husband Tom. The next thing we know, everyone began to inbox us her Instagram. We are honored to be part of the remix of our classic song to raise awareness and help fight the coronavirus. Thanks again to Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks for embracing us, and for helping us take the unexpected viral moment further for such a great cause.” 

Elton John launches $1 million emergency fund

Elton John has announced a new $1 million emergency fund to protect those who have HIV during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund will be distributed by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“For almost 30 years my foundation has prioritised the most vulnerable people to HIV, to end the AIDS epidemic and we’re committed to this during the COVID-19 crisis too,” he said.

“Distributing medicines, testing and preventive treatment is not as simple as it was a few weeks ago, so our new Covid-19 emergency fund will help frontline partners to prepare for and respond to the pandemic and its effects on HIV prevention and care for the most marginalised communities.”

Neil Lasher dies from coronavirus

Music industry veteran Neil Lasher has died from complications related to Covid-19. He was 73.

Lasher had reportedly been admitted to a Connecticut hospital almost two weeks ago and spent nine days on a ventilator.

Lasher was a consultant for Sony/ATV in the latter part of his career.

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Neil’s family and friends, which include many of us at Sony/ATV mourning this devastating loss,” said Jon Platt, chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV. “His passionate work as a music executive led him to his true purpose, helping others, and we are forever grateful for Neil and his legacy.”

Creative Industries Federation’s appeal 

The Creative Industries Federation, the membership body for the UK’s creative sector, has sent an open letter to government calling for urgent grant support for creative businesses and charities who ‘fall between the gaps’. 

The Federation welcomed the business support measures announced by the government, but suggested they will not reach a large proportion of creative businesses and charities, many of whom have lost 100% of their income due to the fallout from Covid-19.

Caroline Norbury, CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, said: “The crux of it is that creative businesses need money now, and they can’t wait another month. Through no fault of their own, many creative industries businesses are on the brink of collapse - with all the economic knock-on effects and hardship that entails. And more will follow. Government must act rapidly to get grants to where they are needed most.

“The creative industries are one of the UK’s biggest success stories - previously growing at five times the rate of the wider economy. The creative sector will be critical to driving the UK’s economic recovery - and transforming lives for the better in every community - as we re-build. It is essential to ensure that the UK doesn’t become a cultural wasteland post Covid-19.”

Marianne Faithfull hospitalised

Marianne Faithfull has been hospitalised with Covid-19.

Following a period of self-isolation, Faithfull was admitted to hospital in London. The 73-year-old has reportedly contracted pneumonia.

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