News Updates (Non Geographic Specific)

How global issues are driving a new cultural agenda

The diverse range of global policy responses aimed at protecting the cultural sector from the immediate impacts of Covid-19 have highlighted once again how differently arts and culture are regarded and invested in around the world. The spectrum ranges from the rapid, generous interventions of Germany at one end to the laissez-faire USA response at the other. As often, the UK falls somewhere in the middle: arguably late and poorly targeted, but ultimately significant, at least in financial terms.

These national interventions were aided or hindered by existing policy structures. For example, Germany’s dedicated artist social security scheme offered extensive support for cultural workers by automatically enrolling artists working in short-term and/or low-earning employment and fixing contributions for new career entrants.

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Streaming’s remuneration model cannot be ‘fixed’

The #brokenrecord debate continues to build momentum and new models such as user-centric are getting increased attention, including at governmental level in the UK. But as Mat Dryhurst correctly observes, there is a risk of the market falling into streaming fatalism; that the obsession with trying to fix a model that might not be fixable distracts us from focusing on trying to build alternative futures.

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COVID-19 hit major labels much harder than it did Spotify

COVID-19 was always going to have a significant impact on the music business, and with the Q2 results for all of the major music companies now in we can start to look at just how big that impact has been so far. Year-on-year (YoY), combined major label recorded music revenues fell by 7.8% on a current currency basis while major publisher revenue fell by 1.6% over the same period (though slow reporting for income such public performance means that the full impact on publishing is yet to be seen). The figures in themselves are disappointing for an industry that has grown acclimatised to growth but the factors driving this are global economic and health policy ones. As we identified back at the start of June, income streams such as physical, public performance and ad supported are all vulnerable to lockdown impact. The only truly resilient revenue source so far is paid subscriptions. The dependency on streaming has never been higher but there are questions here too.

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The Global Music Industry Will Decline in 2020

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the global music industry will decline in 2020.

Although we are now nearing the post-lockdown era in many countries across the globe, we are only just at the start of the recession phase that is coming next. Over the coming months we will start to see concrete examples of the downturn (including Q2 financial results) that will transform the recession from an abstract possibility into something far more tangible.

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Who will own the virtual concert space?

2020 will go down as a rough year for many artists, largely because of the income they lost when live ground to a halt. Unfortunately, the live music sector is still going to be disrupted in 2021 and it may take even longer for the sector to return to ‘normal’. In fact, we could see the bottom of the live sector thinned out as the smaller venues, agencies and promoters do not have the access to bridging finance that the bigger players have. So, smaller artists may find the face of live permanently changed for them in a way that larger artists do not. Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: live music is not going to be the same again, and the innovations in virtual and streamed events are not simply a band-aid to get us through tough times. Instead, they are the foundations for permanent additions to the live music mix. The big unanswered question is, who is going own the live-streamed and virtual concert sector?

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Theatre companies are pushing storytelling boundaries with online audiences amid COVID-19

One night in April, I found myself holding my cat up to my laptop, eagerly showing her off to a group of strangers on Zoom. I was, in fact, an audience member immersed in a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest by Creation Theatre, based in Oxford, U.K.

Over the course of the show, produced entirely over Zoom, I was tasked with asking questions of the characters in a news conference, providing sound effects like bird squawks and stormy weather and holding up props (like my cat) when requested.

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Digital Printing: The New Normal

Everyone’s looking for silver linings in their COVID-19 playbooks, and for publishers – along with their distributors and wholesalers – the answer is, paradoxically, print.

In the olden, pre-pandemic days when most books were printed offset, digital files were stored in case a book needed to be reprinted quickly. But this March, that dynamic was upended: everything shut down, some publishers’ warehouses and bookstores closed, and even Amazon slowed its bookselling to prioritize sanitizer over bestsellers.

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The Gray Market: Why the Entire Art World Should Back Canadian Arts Workers’ Push for Universal Basic Income (and Other Insights)

On Thursday, a coalition of more than 300 Canadian artists, arts workers, and institutions publicly released a letter addressed to prime minister Justin Trudeau and other high-ranking officials urging the creation of a permanent basic-income guarantee nationwide. And while the letter from our friends in the North technically only addresses the plight of their own population, its timing and its cogent framing of the larger issues also show why artists and arts workers everywhere should care

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Lessons from lockdown: Four content types that users really engage with

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions have meant businesses have needed to react quickly and adapt strategies in order to continue trading. Retailers were forced online and restaurants had to offer a takeaway-only service, with limited menus, for months. Some industries, such as pubs and the hospitality sector, ground to a complete halt. 

However, many businesses not only stayed afloat but actually managed to attract new audiences through their intelligent use of content marketing. Here are four engaging types of content that have seen businesses succeed during the lockdown

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World | Coronavirus: what support for the music industry around the world?

Faced with the coronavirus crisis and the difficulties encountered by all players in the music industry, public authorities, collective management organizations and associations from countries around the world are setting up aid programs. 

States, OGCs and professional organizations (as well as companies in the music industry) are getting organized to help companies, artists and creators in the sector in many Western countries. In the rest of the world, support is still timid, but actors are organizing themselves to quantify the financial losses and formulate requests for support.

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COVID-19 Mask Makers Are Part Of A Larger History

One of the enduring symbols of the COVID-19 crisis is the homemade mask. Around the country people have been sewing cloth masks, for healthcare workers, community members and themselves. That sewing fits into a larger history.

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Celebrities ‘pass the mic’ to COVID-19 experts

To fight coronavirus misinformation, Hollywood stars are handing over their social media accounts to experts from the US to Nigeria to straighten the record. Julia Roberts first passed the mic to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

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IMC ResiliArt : 5 Music Rights – More than Ever!

The experience of music and music-making is a vital part of the everyday life of all people. It is a basic right for all people to express themselves and communicate through music.

In its holistic approach to music as an ecosystem, the International Music Council considers music as an art form, as a product and as a tool. We acknowledge the intrinsic value of music, enriching and inspiring those who engage in it. As an art form, music has contributed and continues to contribute immensely to the world’s legacy, building a rich heritage that preserves and celebrates the diversity of our cultural identities. Music can also serve as a tool that promotes individual development and brings change to many levels of society: it is a formidable unifier of people, a natural vehicle for social engagement and inclusion and a powerful agent for democratic values. Finally, music is involved in a variety of products that contribute to domestic and international trade, economic growth and job creation.

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COVID-19 sparks urgency around justice for women, new report calls action

The COVID-19 pandemic escalates threats to women’s access to justice according to a new joint report, Justice for Women Amidst COVID-19, released today by UN Women, IDLO, UNDP, UNODC, World Bank, Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies and supported by the Elders.

Curtailed access to justice institutions, rising intimate partner violence, growing injustice for women workers – including those on the frontlines of the crisis – and discriminatory laws are some of the major risks to women’s lives and livelihoods associated with COVID-19.

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25 top theater minds dream the future: What will the post-pandemic stage look like?

No one knows when the theaters will reopen, when actors will be able to rehearse in safety or when audiences will feel confident that attending a show won’t kill them. It could be months away. It could be more than a year.

One thing that’s certain is that theater will return. Man, Aristotle observed in “Poetics,” is an imitative animal. We learn through mimicry, a form of acting, and through enactment, the basis of drama. The stage isn’t simply a leisure time extravagance. It springs directly from that reflective consciousness that distinguishes human nature.

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Coronavirus murals: inside the world of pandemic-inspiredstreet art

There is no aspect of life the COVID-19 pandemic has not affected – and many of us are finding that cultural events and art online are lacking something vibrant and “real”.

One notable exception is street artists and graffiti artists, who have been busy incorporating COVID-19 into their work. The most prominent of these pieces is Banksy’s homage to the NHS and nurses everywhere called “Game Changer”. It hangs in Southampton Hospital, and will eventually be auctioned off for the NHS.

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International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies

ACORNS 400: Valuing Partnership in Times of Crisis
Read here


Leaders in arts, sciences warn there is no ‘back to normal’ after COVID-19

Some of the greatest luminaries in the arts and sciences – from Nobel prize-winning astrophysicists, to singer Madonna to the economist Muhammad Yunus – have published a joint statement insisting that the world cannot go “back to normal” and must consider the COVID-19 crisis an urgent call for new pathways to a sustainable future.

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Artists against an Infodemic: The public art campaign fighting Covid-19

“Photojournalism is a universal language that has the power to demolish stereotypes to inform,” says Benjamin Petit, photojournalist and co-founder of Dysturb, an initiative that designs immersive news and photojournalism campaigns for public spaces. Launched in 2014 by a group of photojournalists and writers in Paris and New York, Dysturb has worked to raise awareness of global issues including the climate crisis, violence against women, and migration. Now, they are tackling the largest public health crisis in living memory: Covid-19.

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As COVID-19 hits the arts, entertainers fight back

Across the arts sector, productions and concerts have been cancelled, film releases delayed and festivals postponed.

But people under lockdown are finding new ways to experience the arts.

Watch Al Jazeera Report 


COVID-19: Social distancing art

German artist Til Kolare has found his own way to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. It’s a world without parties, parks and self-distancing protagonists.

Watch the Video


How 10 Artists Are Staying Creative through COVID-19

How else to describe these past few weeks other than surreal? Seemingly overnight, the entire fabric of daily life has been turned upside down. And yet—between trying to order groceries online and refreshing the New York Times homepage—it’s important that we keep ourselves optimistic, energized, and entertained (and, perhaps, a little distracted).

For help in this department, we decided to turn to artists to see how they’re faring during this crisis. As many of them mentioned, a certain amount of “social distancing” was already a part of their routine, with long days spent in the studio. But how are they coping with the broader effects of COVID-19? And what sort of things are they doing to keep their spirits up in these anxious times?

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The three ways states are using COVID-19 to curb media freedoms

As the world grapples with the speed and scale of the devastation wreaked by COVID-19, the need for access to trusted, accurate and independent information has never been so acute. With global mortality rates showing no signs of slowing, the world’s economy knocked off its axis, and society at a standstill, there is no precedent to this emergency. We are fighting it blindfolded. Each day is costing us thousands of lives. But without the vital free-flow of information – lessons from other countries, warnings from medics, expertise from scientists, guidance to the public – we stand no chance of fighting it at all.

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How “quarantine concerts” are keeping live music alive as venues remain closed

For many live music fans, spring is the most important season, as bands hit the road and huge festivals, such as South by Southwest and Coachella, kick off a busy concert season.

But in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, spring concerts and even the summer music season are in peril, as social distancing and self-quarantining make performing live music and attending live shows all but impossible. Tours have been postponed or outright canceled, and state and local prohibitions on large public gatherings have closed venues indefinitely. Music fans’ calendars, and the calendars of their beloved artists, have cleared at a record rate

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Google announces a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund for Local Newsrooms

The company isn’t disclosing the size of what it’s calling its Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, but in a blog post, Google VP of News Richard Gingras said the goal is to fund “thousands of small, medium and local news publishers globally,” through awards ranging from “low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region.”

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WhatsApp to impose new limit on forwarding to fight fake news

WhatsApp is to impose a strict new limit on message forwarding as the Facebook-owned chat app seeks to slow the dissemination of fake news, the company has announced.

If a user receives a frequently forwarded message – one which has been forwarded more than five times – under the new curbs, they will only be able to send it on to a single chat at a time. That is one fifth the previous limit of five chats, imposed in 2019.

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Protecting the diversity of cultural expressions is more important than ever

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and magnified the creative industries’ pre-existing volatility. Due to the complex nature of their work, artists and cultural professionals are particularly affected and lockdown measures around the world directly impact the entire creative value chain – creation, production, distribution and access. To protect and promote a diversity of cultural expressions in these challenging times, governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector have been quick to react with new policies and measures. This page intends to become a reference for those seeking to draw inspiration from best practices in the development of appropriate responses adapted to national contexts.

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Around the World in Pandemic Street Art

The bright yellow wall with bold, black words shouts for attention. Next to it there is a figure wearing sunglasses and a face mask, holding open a coat to reveal the word “HOPE” tucked into the pockets. Artist Corie Mattie found a wall in West Hollywood, California, and painted this mural by herself in less than 48 hours, according to her Instagram account. She is now seeking additional walls to deliver her illustrated tidings of hope.

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Introduction to the global map on the closure of World Heritage sites due to Covid-19 and analysis

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many governments have taken measures to restrict movements of people and access to certain areas.

This includes the closure of natural and cultural World Heritage sites in the 167 countries they are located in. Please consider the following when reviewing the map.

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How to restore data privacy after the coronavirus pandemic

As scientists around the world work tirelessly to develop a viable vaccine, coordinated data-sharing has become an essential tool in the ongoing fight against coronavirus. In an effort to establish effective public health strategies and protocols for curtailing the spread of COVID-19, mass data collection methods are already being put to use.

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Livestreams Are Moving to Hard Tickets to Replace Lost Touring Revenue

Canadian-based live event platform Side Door was set to make its big launch in the U.S. at this year’s South by Southwest, when the annual Austin festival was canceled in early March. Side Door, which matches artists with unconventional venues for live shows, saw its entire slate of concerts upended before co-founder and artist Dan Mangan decided to host an online show via Zoom.

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Copyright Agency releases $375,000 and brings forward $1.8m in Cultural Fund grants in COVID-19 support

Copyright Agency announces a full program of support for writers, visual artists and publishers in the face of the severe challenges they face as a result of COVID-19.

Under this program, Copyright Agency will provide an additional $375,000 in grants to creators, as well as bringing forward to the first quarter of next financial year the forecasted annual $1.8 million of grants under the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

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