Covid-19 music industry update: Taylor Swift postpones dates, IMPALA backs indie retail, Montreux Jazz Festival cancelled

Covid-19 music industry update: Taylor Swift postpones dates, IMPALA backs indie retail, Montreux Jazz Festival cancelled

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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Swift reschedules
Taylor Swift is the latest major artist to reschedule her touring plans. Swift's performances at Glastonbury Festival and British Summer Time had already been hit, but she has now cancelled all scheduled appearances for 2020, including her planned LoverFest shows.

"I'm so sad I won't be able to see you guys in concert this year, but I know this is the right decision," Swift said on social media. "Please, please stay healthy and safe. I’ll see you on stage as soon as I can but right now what’s important is committing to this quarantine, for the sake of all of us."

A statement said that the US and Brazil shows will be rescheduled to take place in 2021, with dates to be announced later this year.

IMPALA backs indie retail campaign

IMPALA has urged music fans to support indie retail as part of the Europe-wide #LoveRecordStores campaign.

While records shops are closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, many are operating online and providing mail order services.

IMPALA also urges governments to include record stores in the first wave of shops that are allowed to re-open, subject to the necessary restrictions on the number of customers. 

#LoveRecordStores is an online campaign where artists, music fans and many others are posting messages of support for their local record shops. IMPALA promotes its roll-out across Europe, together with other campaigns to support local record stores and other initiatives to promote music during the coronavirus crisis.

Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA, said: "Independent music companies across Europe support #LoveRecordStores. This is particularly important ahead of Record Store Day, one of the biggest events in the music calendar, supposed to be this weekend, but postponed to June 20.”

Montreux Jazz Festival cancelled

Montreux Jazz Festival has been cancelled. It was set to be held from July 3 to 18 2020. The programme planned for this summer will be partly carried over to next year’s festival, which will take place from July 2 to 17, 2021. 

The Swiss Federal Council announced that it would be gradually easing some of the protective measures against the coronavirus, but keeping the majority of the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

It is the first time the festival has had to be cancelled in its 53-year history. Organisers are working on rescheduling the concerts that have already been announced, including Lionel Richie, Brittany Howard, Lenny Kravitz and Black Pumas.

Bluedot line-up to play in 2021

The organisers of Bluedot festival have confirmed that this year’s event will be put back to July 22-25, 2021 due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Al three headliners – Bjork, Metronomy and Groove Armada - have confirmed their appearance on the bill next year with many other artists and speakers from this year’s line-up set to join them. Tickets already purchased will be valid for next year’s festival or alternatively full refunds will be available.

The organisers said in a statement: “It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we are announcing the postponement of Bluedot to 22-25 July 2021. We are happy to confirm that our three Lovell Stage headliners – Björk, Groove Armada and Metronomy – will join us on these new dates, and we are working to transfer as many of 2020’s artists and speakers to Bluedot 2021 as possible, alongside new additions.

“Our teams have been working with partners and authorities to assess the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the festival. Although Bluedot may still seem some time away, the virus and its associated effects are unlikely to ease for some months and it is important to us that any additional or unnecessary strain on medical services is avoided. This decision has been a necessary but difficult one to make as it affects not only our wonderful Bluedot family of festival-goers and staff but also a large number of artists, performers, speakers, suppliers, traders and freelancers, many of whom have been hit hard during this period. Within our limited means, we will continue to do everything we can to support them and the wider sector during these difficult times.”

Worldwide FM ratings up

Worldwide FM has announced a new ‘lockdown schedule’ that aims to build on the station's listenership, which the station said has doubled over the last three weeks.

Previously at just over 400,000 listeners prior to the UK country lockdown, the online digital platform is now approaching one million listeners a month, with an average daily reach up by over 60% in recent weeks. 

Founded by DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson (BBC 6 Music) and co-hosted by Thris Tian (Boiler Room co-founder) Worldwide FM approaches it’s fourth year since launching with 130,000 listeners a month in 2016. It won Best Digital Station at the ARIA radio awards.  

Peterson said: "I am so proud to see the success of Worldwide FM at this moment in history when people need great curators and unique music more than ever before.”

Fairport Convention’s festival postponed

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention has been postponed until August next year. The move is in response to the continuing Covid-19 outbreak in the UK.

The three-day event had been scheduled to take place on August 13-15. It will now be staged over August 12-14, 2021 (the equivalent weekend) on its usual farmland site in Oxfordshire.

The line-up of acts will be carried forward as artists booked to appear this year have agreed to switch to 2021. Acts on the bill include Trevor Horn Band, Clannad, Steve Hackett – Genesis Revisited, Richard Thompson, Matthews Southern Comfort and host band Fairport Convention. Refunds will be available.

Festival Director Gareth Williams said: “We have no alternative but to postpone Cropredy until 2021. The safety of our festival-goers, performers, suppliers, crew and local residents must come first.”

Mouth Of The Tyne Festival rescheduled

North Tyneside Council has rescheduled this summer’s Mouth of the Tyne Festival due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Shows for Keane and Lighthouse Family were nearly sold out, so organisers have worked to reschedule their performances for the same weekend next year.

Keane’s rescheduled show will be on July 8, 2021 and Lighthouse Family’s will be on July 10, 2021.

BBC reveals One World: Together At Home line-up

Clara Amfo, Claudia Winkleman and Dermot O’Leary will present BBC One’s coverage of One World: Together at Home.

Ellie Goulding, George the Poet, Jess Glynne, The Kingdom Choir, Little Mix, Michael Bublé, Rag‘n’Bone Man, Skip Marley, Tom Jones and more will also give exclusive performances for the BBC One programme.

Lorna Clarke, controller, BBC Pop, said: “I’m delighted that three of the UK’s best loved presenters, Clara, Claudia and Dermot, will be fronting BBC One’s coverage of One World: Together at Home – bringing viewers some exclusive performances from some of the world’s most popular artists. Our two-hour programme promises to be a very special way to support and thank frontline healthcare workers at this challenging time.”

One World: Together at Home is a special event from Global Citizen, being held in support of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, led by the World Health Organisation and is curated in collaboration with Lady Gaga. It will celebrate and support the heroic efforts of healthcare workers around the world. The event will support the Covid-19 Response Fund, set up by the UN Foundation.

BBC One will air coverage from the live US event (which takes place on April 18) on Sunday, April 18, from 7.15-9.15pm.

Spotify backs Irish music Covid-19 relief fund

A new fund to support Irish music creators has been set up by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO), the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and First Music Contact (FMC), who will administer the fund. 

In addition to the financial contributions by IMRO and IRMA, Spotify is making a donation and is also matching donations made to the Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund via its Spotify Covid-19 Music Relief page, dollar-for-dollar, up to a total Spotify contribution of $10 million for the collective verified organizations worldwide.

Successful applicants will receive a once-off emergency relief payment to the value of €750. 

Tom Connaughton, UK and Ireland MD of Spotify, said: “Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Spotify has engaged partners across the industry to discuss how we can support artists and the creative community who have been deeply impacted by the effects of the virus. Though streaming continues to play a key role in connecting creators with their fans, numerous other sources of revenue have been interrupted or stopped altogether by this crisis. That is why we're supporting the Irish Music Industry Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund as part of our wider Spotify Covid-19 Music Relief project, which recommends verified organizations that offer financial relief to those in the music community most in need around the world." 

Germany extends events ban

German chancellor Angela Merkel has extended the country's ban on live events until August 31. The move has led to the cancellation of the 35th anniversary of Rock Am Ring, the 25th anniversary of Rock Im Park and the 2020 edition of long-running heavy metal spectacular Wacken Open Air (WOA).

"Our whole team has been working intensively on the festival these last months and the more all of us are bitterly disappointed that we are not allowed to celebrate a Wacken Open Air with you," said a statement from WOA organisers. "This administrative order affects us heavily and we will need some time to process the bad news. Nevertheless, we support the decision of the German government in this difficult situation for the whole world." 

David Guetta’s livestream

David Guetta will stream a live, two-hour set on Saturday, April 18 in support of the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Guetta will perform from a unique location in Miami to raise funds for the World Health Organisation, Feeding South Florida, Feeding America, and the French Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris.

Guetta’s performance, which will begin at 6pm (EDT), can be viewed live on social media through the DJ’s social channels. 

“I’m very excited to share what’s been in the works for some time now,” said Guetta. “My heart goes out to all those suffering from the global health pandemic and I hope that this livestream event will bring people together and help raise money for those in need.”

Through the livestream, Guetta will raise funds for four nonprofits around the world, including $150,000 for Feeding South Florida, which will allow the charity to distribute over one million meals in the region.

Spotify’s One World: Together At Home playlist

Spotify is supporting the One World: Together At Home event on April 18 with pre-show and post-event listening experiences.

A pre-show playlist includes songs from performing artists, with real-time updates during the broadcast so fans can listen to all of the songs from the global telecast. There will also be emails and in-app notifications to Spotify’s global fan database for participating artists including Lady Gaga, Chris Martin, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin and more.

Metroland Cultures launch fund for Brent artists

Metroland Cultures has announced it will launch a brand new fund of £25,000 to support artists and creatives in the Brent area throughout the pandemic. The charity which was set up by Brent 2020, London Borough of Culture aims to offer up to £1,000 grants to its artists who have lost work so that they may maintain their craft throughout this period.

“Brent 2020 is more than just a programme of events. It is an investment in the creative life of the borough, now and in the future," said Brent 2020's artistic director, Lois Stonock.

"Culture has always been an important part of Brent, in good times and bad. The Metroland Cultures Fund will be essential to supporting Brent’s creative community during this challenging time.”

The grant will be open to all types of creatives living in Brent, and can support them in multiple ways from buying equipment to taking online courses. Deadline for the applications will end May 11, and can be made on the Brent 2020 website.

Beverley Knight and Joss Stone join forces to support NHS

Beverley Knight and Joss Stone together with Dr. Ranj Singh have joined forces to create a campaign showing the UK's appreciation for the NHS and to support its key workers during this outbreak. Knight and Stone covered Bill Wither's Lean On Me with musicians and singers from across the UK, recording the track at home and using over 30 remote studios, which you can now watch here.

The campaign aims to raise money for NHS Charities Together and You Okay, Doc?, after being inspired by the nation's turnout for #clapforourcarers. 

"I was asked to come on board by Dom & Al who I had worked with previously and as someone who has at least a third of my entire family working for the NHS, I didn’t only feel compelled, I felt that it was an absolute obligation to get onboard and to try to help others as much as I can," said Knight.

Dr. Ranj Singh added: "The NHS is a big part of my life and I know how important it is and how important it is right now. Anything we can do to boost morale and make people on the frontline feel more appreciated is vital, because they're doing an incredible job for all of us. This is a really lovely thing to do for them in return.”

Fatboy Slim’s NHS gig

Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) has announced a free concert in his home town of Brighton for staff of the NHS, ambulance and police workers. The gig will take place on October 28 at Brighton Centre.  

Cook said: “Recently, friends of mine who work in the NHS asked me to send a little video message to thank and cheer on the frontline troops and in it I, (half) jokingly said, we should all have a big party together when this is all over’. Careful what you wish for, as so many people responded to the comment, I thought, ‘why not?’ By the time life returns to normal we will all want to celebrate together, and I would like to do my bit to reward and thank everyone who has been holding our lives together in these most difficult of times.”

Tickets will be available from 7pm on April 17 2020 for eligible workers.

Industry urged to support NHS groceries appeal

B-Unique is urging the music industry to back the Fuel Our Frontline initiative to deliver groceries to hospital staff.

The 100% voluntary initiative provides quality groceries directly to hardworking NHS medical staff in London hospitals to save them shopping after long and gruelling shifts during the pandemic.

Ellie Goulding and Tap’s phone campaign for homeless

Ellie Goulding and her management company, Tap Music, have joined forces with Crisis in the collective effort to support people who are homeless in the coronavirus outbreak by sourcing 400 phones from EE to help people stay connected.

‘We’re all worried about coronavirus, but people who are homeless are particularly exposed to and threatened by the pandemic," said Goulding, a long-term campaigner on ending homelessness and Crisis supporter. "Over the last few weeks we have seen an unprecedented and phenomenal effort to rehouse people sleeping rough by the government, local authorities and homelessness charities, but I have remained very worried about how many people will still need support. I’ve been determined to help keep them connected.”

To help with this initiative, Goulding joined up with her management team Ben Mawson and Ed Millett of Tap Music to source mobile phones preloaded with £20 data to supplement Crisis’s supply.

“After calling many companies, we’re really grateful to EE for delivering and working with us to help with this emergency for people facing homelessness,” said Mawson.

The phones sourced by Ellie and Tap Music will go to people that Crisis supports, as well as those currently in hotels across London.

Superstar additions for One World: Together At Home

Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Shawn Mendes, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Usher and Pharrell Williams have joined the line-up for One World: Together At Home.

The April 18 global streaming and TV event is organised by Global Citizen and curated by Lady Gaga. BBC One will screen performances from the livestream on April 19.

Global Citizen has also confirmed more names for a six-hour streaming event before the two-hour special. Acts confirmed include John Legend, The Killers, Hozier, Maren Morris, Michael Buble, Adam Lambert, Sheryl Crow, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox and Common.

The event aims to celebrate the efforts of health workers and support the World Health Organization in the global fight to end Covid-19.

Live Nation cost-cutting

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino will give up his $3 million salary (£2.4m) as part of cost-cutting moves in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Other senior executives at Live Nation will see their salaries reduced by up to 50%. The reductions in salary will last until circumstances “warrant restoring compensation to contractual levels”, according to an SEC filing.

“Given the uncertainty associated with the duration of current conditions globally, the company has launched a number of initiatives to reduce fixed costs and conserve cash,” said the company. “As part of these cost reduction efforts, the company will implement salary reductions, with salaries for senior executives reduced by up to 50%, and the company’s CEO voluntarily forgoing 100% of his salary for the duration of the salary reduction program. Additional cost reduction efforts include hiring freezes, reduction in the use of contractors, rent re-negotiations, furloughs, and reduction or elimination of other discretionary spending, including, among other things, travel and entertainment, repairs and maintenance, and marketing.”

Live Nation revealed that 8,000 shows have been affected by the lockdown, of which 7,000 were postponed and the remainder cancelled. For those events, 15m tickets were sold. Refunds have been issued on the 1.6m tickets sold for events that have been cancelled. Live Nation expects to allow some refunds for postponed shows when new dates are confirmed.

Liam Gallagher’s NHS gig

Liam Gallagher is to play a gig at The O2 for NHS staff and careworkers. The date is scheduled for October 29.

Tickets are available to NHS and contract staff from April 15.

“It's an honour to announce that I will be doing a gig for the NHS and careworkers at London’s The O2 on 29 October,” said Gallagher. “They do an incredible job, we are very lucky to have them.”

Andrea Bocelli offers hope

A performance by Andrea Bocelli at Milan Cathedral has reached more than 32 million views on YouTube.

Andrea Bocelli: Music For Hope featured the Italian tenor singing in the empty cathedral to global audiences on lockdown via a YouTube livestream.

The event was 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 was entirely pro-bono (in collaboration with Almud and Maverick Management).

STIM’s £4m royalties fund

Swedish collection society STIM has set aside 50 million Swedish kronar (£4m) for advance payments to songwriters, composers and publishers.

The initiative means that rights holders who received at least 10,000 krona (£800) from STIM during 2019 can apply for an advance payment.

“We do not rule out that further initiatives may become relevant in the future, but this is an important measure that we can take right now to lessen the burdens of our members when concerts are cancelled and businesses that are playing music are shut down,” said STIM CEO Karsten Dyhrberg Nielsen. “This is the most extensive offer of advance payment in STIM's almost 100-year history and we are proud to be able to make it happen.”

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