Great read about Music and ideas

MAJOR LABELS

Survive. Because they’ve got the money and the relationships with radio. Wanna compete? Have the money and the relationships. Until the radio hegemony is broken, the major labels will sustain.

RADIO

It’s the curation, stupid! And the ability to garner and maintain an audience. No one wants to go where no one else is. Prior to the Internet there was very little off the grid and we were all aware of it. Now, music, like information, is infinite. Do you really want to live on Pluto?

SOUNDSCAN

Toast.

Let’s see, they get their “accurate” numbers from record stores, which are declining, and sales no longer mean anything, gross does. Look at your bottom line, not specific elements. Add up your recording and streaming revenue and tickets, merch and sponsorship dollars then tell me whether you’re winning or not. Tickets are much more expensive than they used to be. And sponsorship dwarfs the dollars of yore. To focus on recording dollars is to miss the point.

SPOTIFY

Helped Universal’s numbers. Read the reports. If you believe streaming is the death of music and there are no dollars involved, you’re uneducated, you’re probably still saying that P2P is gonna kill the incentive to record! But the truth is there are more recordings than ever and I don’t know anybody who steals music anymore, why?

BILLBOARD

The bible no more! To think Janice Min can save “Billboard” is to believe Guggenheim didn’t overpay for it! But focusing on pictures and celebrities in an era where viewpoint and voice matter…is to miss the point. In other words, whatever “Billboard” was it will never be again.

ROLLING STONE

Losing Matt Taibbi is like your lead singer quitting the band. Just like MTV, “Rolling Stone” fumbled its digital future. Neither of these outlets mean much online. There’s still a vacuum without an inhabiting music site. Wanna know why? Because everybody in music is so busy saying their stuff is better, and there’s so little money involved, that anybody with a brain is in tech and all we’re left with is the nerds who believe the mainstream is anathema. But the truth is, we’re all gravitating towards the mainstream, it’s inevitable in a Tower of Babel society, you want to find someone who can speak your language, anyone.

BLOCKBUSTERS

Will rule the future. If you’re not a star, you’re a nobody. Sure, fans will support journeymen, but the old saw wherein you pay your dues and you gradually climb up the ranks? It don’t happen that way no more. Now either you write and play music that many can get, or you reside in your niche.

MANAGERS

Same as it ever was. Every hit act has one. Having a great manager is more important than having a great deal, just ask the Beatles!

ALBUMS

Look at it from the perspective of the listener… He’s time constrained and only wants the best. No one has a short attention span, everybody can just separate the wheat from the chaff, instantly. Don’t tell people they have to give your music time to percolate, no one’s got that time. You’re in the hit business whether you’re radio-friendly or not. You need to create the one hit listen. Which is why Max Martin and Dr. Luke are so successful, they understand the game. You might pooh-pooh the hits, but a lot of work went into them and they’re not easy to create. Making money is hard. Not because people don’t want to pay, but because they don’t want to pay for crap! If every one of the tracks on your album is a certifiable smash, release an LP. But it turns out the public only had time for Adele’s “21.”

VISIBILITY

This week’s soon to be forgotten new album…BECK’S! An unbelievable publicity campaign with absolutely no sticking power. Next week there’s no story. Unless your track is going to get radio play or you’re constantly on the road playing it it’s got a shelf life of close to zero. Your hard core fans buy it, everybody else forgets it. Tomorrow’s musicians have a full time job staying in the public eye. It’s your job to figure out how to do this. But the best way is to dribble out quality music. Because remember…it’s about the bottom line, not anemic record sales.

EXPERIENCE

Not everybody can divine a hit. Not everybody knows where the bodies are buried. Which is why the business is run by old men (and a few women!) They’ve got intuition. You might think you know what’s going on, but you really don’t. Pay your dues!

TAYLOR SWIFT

Is the second most influential artist working. The first is the rappers. Anyone can be a rapper, note I didn’t say a GOOD rapper, but a rapper. Learning how to play an instrument and write songs requires a bigger investment. But people are making it. Just like Mariah Carey begat Christina Aguilera and the Melisma Maddies of TV singing competitions, we’re going to have a bunch of girls singing songs from the heart. Ms. Swift is the biggest star in America, if you’re not trying to replicate her success, you’re looking up a blind alley. She’s represents everything classic rock used to…catchy stuff sung from the heart that sets your mind free.

COUNTRY

Is only going to get bigger. Because not everybody’s a hipster and people clamor for songs that speak to their condition that they can sing along with.

YOUTUBE

Just like Netflix is the majority of bandwidth, YouTube is propped up by music. It’s where fans go to testify. If they’re not making videos of themselves singing your song…it’s not a hit. Video is the new radio. Especially now that everybody can compete. Not everybody is listening to the same radio station, if they’re listening at all. But everybody has YouTube at their fingertips and visits the site on a regular basis. It’s America’s radio station. Just check the views of those monster hits!

ELECTRONIC MUSIC

Who knows? It survives. Does it surpass hip-hop to become the dominant format? Maybe… After all, Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” just became the most played Spotify track of all time. Worldwide. And it is a worldwide business, more than ever before. Everybody’s got money, music is the universal language, speak it.

CREDIBILITY

Do not conflate the wannabe famous no-talent youngsters with true stars. Biggest star of the under twenty set this year? Lorde, with “Royals.” Yes, the less than perfectly good looking geek with the nerdy boyfriend who speaks her mind and truth to power. If you think it’s about cozying up to the Fortune 500, you’re still living in the last decade, or admitting to yourself your music doesn’t capture the zeitgeist, and therefore most people are not interested in it, or can enjoy it today and then forget it. Quick quiz… Name two songs from Jay Z’s Samsung album! Better yet, two songs from Beyonce’s new LP! How about two from Springsteen’s! Those three albums had reams of press, but none of them have stuck. Sticking is the key, not mainstream media coverage, certainly not paid for by an electronics company that’s hipper than your tunes.

CLASSIC ROCK

Soon to be dead on the road. We’ve got somewhere between five and ten years left. See ’em now, before they lose their voices or die. We’re in the middle of a transition wherein the younger acts are generating the touring dollars. It’s happening.

MBAs

Will continue to have no place in the music business, because art can’t be quantified and one hit record blows all your projections to hell. Sure, controlling costs and knowing where the dollars are is important, but not as much as great music. There’s no soul in tech, but soul is the foundation of music.

By Bob Lefsetz

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Rory Kockott for the Springboks at the next Rugby World Cup?

Is it really that daft a prediction that Rory Kockott will feature for the Springboks at the next Rugby World Cup?

He is a wild card, at best, given that he is yet to feature in any way in the plans of Bok coach Heyneye Meyer that have included other French-based players in Morne Steyn, Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha.

They played for the Boks last November on loans from French clubs, along with Japanese Boks in Jaque Fourie, JP Pietersen and Fourie du Preez.

The name of Kockott comes up not only because he last season was voted by his French peers as the best player in the French Top 14 competition, but also because we have just lost another leading South African scrumhalf to that part of the world in Charl Mcleod, who moves to Grenoble in August.

As mentioned, Meyer’s No 1 choice, Du Preez is in Japan, No 2 is Ruan Pienaar and he very happy at Ulster and the third choice last year, Jano Vermaak is also in France. The previous No 1, before Fourie du Preez was back in the reckoning, was Francois Hougaard, and he is thankfully back playing for the Bulls and there is solid back up him in Pretoria in up-and-comer Piet van Zyl, who last year was with the Cheetahs.

Otherwise there is not a lot out there in terms of proven scrumhalves after the Sharks’ first choice in Jaco Reinach and the Cheetahs’ Sarel du Plessis, the nippy 9 that everybody loves for his brilliance on attack but who few coaches will choose in big games because they regard him as a liability on defence. Newcomer Faf de Klerk, the revelation in the current Lions’ renaissance , is still to prove himself over a period of time, so let’s face it, when it comes to reliable scrumhalves, the South African No 9 larder is relatively bare.

Many who have played overseas will argue that probably the most proven South African scrumhalf in the business is the former Storrmers and Springbok man, Neil de Kock, the 35-year-old who has been the rock at Saracens for 12 years. He has amassed 180 caps for the London club and he would certainly have played for England had he not played 10 games for the Boks early in his career when he was still with Western Province. No South African scrumhalf in 2015 will know English conditions better than him.

And then there is Kockott, who after battling to tie down a regular starting place at the Sharks five years ago because of the arrival of McLeod from the Lions, moved to Castre where he quickly became a household name because of his pugnacious approach to scrumhalf play and his unerring boot.

Kockott was a favourite at Kings Park, too, because of aggressive nature and ability to get things going, not to mention his very good strike rate with the boot. But he never settled down under coach John Plumtree, who once succinctly summed up his feeling on Kockott as a playmaker when he said: “Rory is a very good rugby player, and one you always want on your side rather than against you, but he is not always a good scrumhalf.”

What Plumtree meant is that Kockott’s competitiveness sometimes meant that he leant towards individualism, neglecting his primary role of distribution to the backline.

Plumtree may have been right, and it could be that he has been proved wrong in the testing conditions of rugby in France, but one thing is certain for Kockott, he has risen to the top.

He is still just 27, and the product of Selborne College in East London this year qualifies to play for France. If he is not in Springbok colours in London in 2015, he almost certainly will be there with Les Bleus.

By Mike Greenaway

JIMMY CARR in South Africa in March 2014

Good news South Africa, Jimmy Carr is coming back to South Africa in March 2014 and this time he is playing Durban too. With a month to go to the shows, don’t forget to get your tickets to his Gagging Order tour to South Africa, brought to you by Comedy Central Africa and East Coast Radio.

Following another stellar year for Jimmy, which saw him host 10 O’Clock Live, two new series of 8 Out Of 10 Cats and record his eighth live stand-up DVD, Laughing and Joking (released in the UK in November), Jimmy returns to South Africa with his brand new tour, Gagging Order.

Having now played to over 1.5 million people on his live tours Jimmy knows a thing or two about making people laugh.

“Gagging Order” promises to be an hilarious night out…let’s see shall we.

The show will be packed with one-liners, stories & jokes. Some clever, some rude & a few totally unacceptable. Everybody’s welcome. Just leave your conscience, sense of common decency & moral compass at home & come on out for a laugh. Jimmy has sold over a million DVDs & hosted countless TV shows but live comedy is what he does best, come and see for yourself. Brand new show, brand new jokes, same old Jimmy. Over the past 10 years, Jimmy has deservedly earned his place amongst the very best of British comics. His stand-up achievements to date include a British Comedy Award for Best Live Stand Up Tour, a Loaded LAFTA Award for Best Stand-Up and a Perrier Award nomination. Jimmy’s new tour, Gagging Order is a chance to catch this award-winning comedian at his near-the-knuckle best. Tickets available from 25 September at Computicket
Venue: The Big Top Arena, Carnival City, Johannesburg
Date: Saturday 29 March 2014
Tickets: R441 to R743 at Computicket

Venue: The Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino, 1 Vanguard Drive, Goodwood Cape Town
Date: Sunday 30 March 2014
Tickets: R371 to R743 at Computicket

Venue: ICC Durban
Date: Monday 31 March 2014
Tickets: R371 to R743 at Computicket

For more information visit www.realsa.co.za or follow Real Concerts on twitter @RealConcerts or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RealConcerts

AKA, Mos Def, RJ Benjamin, Moreira Chonguica, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, Tim Renner, Jimmy Nevis, Rob Vember, Ian Bredenkamp all at Music Exchange 2014

MUSIC EXCHANGE – South Africa’s premier music, film and entertainment programme returns to Cape Town City Hall for the 4th time between 7 and 8 March 2014, and with it the best of what makes local export work.

 

When the calibre of RJ Benjamin signs up for Music Exchange 2014, punters of all things pop music conducive are keen to hear more. Add Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Mozambique’s Moreira Chonguica to the mix, and you have a 48-hour exciting emersion!

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If you are serious about your creative career, come to MUSIC EXCHANGE between 7 and 8 March 2014, at Cape Town City Hall, because that’s where and when the best in homegrown talent will be sharing.

Topics as diverse as The South African Music Industry Today, Idols South Africa, Mashlab and Is Radio Still Relevant, look out for the calibre credible Jimmy Nevis, Vicky Sampson, GoodLuck, PJ Powers, Selim Kagee, AKA, Andrew Mac, Mark haze, Jody and Anke, amongst many more, will all stand up and allow themselves to be counted as the select few putting their voices and reputations behind all that helps take good to great.

Add topics geared to empower and artists, right through to key industry players and young, up-and-coming players, and MUSIC EXCHANGE’s success is clearly anchored in attracting the best in their respective fields. International film composer Dr Trevor Jones returns to MUSIC EXCHANGE, and this year the District Six born and raised music maker will once again share his more than four decades worth of knowledge with delegates.

Music industry stalwart Benjy Mudie also returns to MUSIC EXCHANGE, as will 5fm DJs John SAVAGE and Rob Vember, each promising to share and connect with people as passionate about the business of music as they are.

MUSIC EXCHANGE is where talent pools and relationships are forged. As a stepping-stone to bigger things, everyone, event organiser and owner Martin Myers included, directly and positively influence South Africa’s entertainment economy.

Tickets are available now through Computicket, Shoprite and Checkers outlets countrywide, online at www.computicket.com, or by calling 0861 915 8000. R 220.00 per day or R 400.00 for two days.

For more information contact: Razia Myers

E-mail: info@musicexchange.co.za

Crusaders Named To Play Blues Friday 8.35am SA time

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder has named his team to play the Blues in Auckland this Friday night. There are four changes to the starting line-up that faced the Chiefs last week.

Kieran Read returns for his first start of the season to play at number 8 and captain the side. Richie McCaw and George Whitelock are the starting openside and blindside flankers, and Matt Todd will again provide support from the bench.

Rob Thompson will be the 175th player to make his Crusaders debut when he takes the wing on Friday night. Nafi Tuitavake will make just his second start on the other wing.

Tom Taylor, who played the second half against the Chiefs last week, starts at first five this week. Colin Slade has recovered from his bruised calf to start at fullback, with Israel Dagg ready to make an impact off the bench.

The team fly to Auckland tomorrow and kick-off at Eden Park is at 7:35pm Friday night.

1. Tim Perry
2. Corey Flynn
3. Owen Franks
4. Samuel Whitelock
5. Dominic Bird
6. George Whitelock
7. Richie McCaw
8. Kieran Read (c)
9. Andy Ellis
10. Tom Taylor
11. Nafi Tuitavake
12. Ryan Crotty (vc)
13. Reynold Lee-Lo
14. Rob Thompson
15. Colin Slade
Reserves
16. Ben Funnell
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Nepo Laulala
19. Luke Romano
20. Matt Todd
21. Willi Heinz
22. Adam Whitelock
23. Israel Dagg

Deception and betrayal at the Baxter in the world premiere of John Kani’s latest play, Mis sing opens 4th March

As South Africa marks 20 years of democracy Missing …, the latest play by esteemed South African actor, director and playwright John Kani, will have its world premiere at the Baxter Theatre from 4 until 29 March at 8pm nightly.

This is Tony-award-winning Kani’s first full-length play since his Nothing But the Truth in 2002, which received numerous accolades locally and abroad. Once again he teams up with theatre bluebloods Janice Honeyman (director) and Mannie Manim (lighting designer) to bring to life this new South African love story and political thriller. The three have worked together for nearly 30 years and they last collaborated at the Baxter on the international hit production The Tempest, produced by the Baxter and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Patrick Curtis (set) and Birrie le Roux (costumes) complete the formidable team.

The cast features Kani as Robert Khalipa, Susan Danford as his Swedish wife, Anna Ohlson, and newcomer Buhle Ngaba as their daughter, Ayanda, a medical student. Apollo Ntshoko plays Peter Tshabalala, a young comrade and Robert’s assistant in the ANC office in Stockholm.

Robert has been living in exile in Stockholm for over 30 years with his wife (who has inherited her father’s large electronic and communications company) and their daughter Ayanda, who was born there. They are a happy family but this is all about to change. Something that Robert has been waiting for all his life while in exile has finally happened: Mandela has been released. South Africa is on the road to democracy. Going home has become a reality. But where is home?

Instead of a celebration, this new situation becomes the catalyst that threatens to break up the Khalipa family. To add insult to injury, Robert is not called by the ANC to come home and be part of the negotiations. What follows is a plot full of intrigue, lies, backstabbing, conspiracy and political in-fighting. How can the release of Nelson Mandela be the reason for this family to break up?

“I am very excited to present my latest play at the Baxter since we have such a long and wonderful history of creating theatre together for our very own local and international audiences. It always feels like a home-coming for me to perform here and in Cape Town. This is where we launched Nothing But the Truth more than a decade ago,” says the four-times honorary doctorate recipient, Kani.

Kani’s list of awards which he has received in his career for his performances as well as for his contribution to the arts is impressive and has garnered great praise earning him respect and veneration worldwide. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Durban Westville, an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Rhodes University and the University of Cape Town, as well as an Honorary Doctorate from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for his contribution to the arts and to the struggle for the liberation of his country. In 2005 he received the Order of Ikhamanga – the highest recognition in South Africa – from President Thabo Mbeki.  Over the years Kani has performed at the Baxter in productions such as Sizwe Banzi is Dead, The Island, My Children My Africa, Miss Julie, Waiting for Godot, Antigone and Hamlet.

“Working on the script has been like restoring and fine-tuning a classy classic instrument – it is equally exciting, challenging and exacting,” says director Honeyman. “We are dealing with a very human story – a family in conflict, the foundation of which is political but the content of which is deeply personal. There is an ever increasing line of tension in the play that hooks the audience in and finally captivates them in true psychological thriller fashion. With this, his second play, John has achieved a piece of drama that proves to be compelling storytelling and shows a deep empathy and grasp of human nature.”

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Missing … previews on 4 and 5 March, opens on 6 March and runs until 29 March with performances at 8pm nightly and matinees at 2pm.

Tickets cost R110 for the matinees and previews, R120 on Monday to Thursday and R140 on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets for students, senior citizens and block bookings of ten or more are R100 (Monday to Thursday only).

Bookings can be made at Computicket 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted block bookings, charities, schools, corporate bookings and fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or sharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

Ends

Production Information

Production title: Missing …

Produced by: The Baxter Theatre Centre in collaboration with JK Productions

 

Written by: John Kani

Directed by: Janice Honeyman

Starring: John Kani, Susan Danford, Apollo Ntshoko and Buhle Ngaba

 

Lighting Design: Mannie Manim

Set Design: Patrick Curtis

Costume Design: Birrie le Roux

Stage Manager: Marisa Steenkamp

 

Date: Previews 4 and 5 March, opens 6 March and runs until 29 March 2014

Venue: Baxter Theatre

Ticket Prices: Previews and matinees R110, Mon – Thur R120, Fri – Sat R140

Booking: Computicket 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

Block-bookings, fundraisers: For discounted block bookings, charities, schools, corporate bookings and fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 orsharon.ward@uct.ac.za or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993 or carmen.kearns@uct.ac.za.

Sharks at “finishing school”

No doubt the Sharks will find themselves in “finishing school” when they get back from a well deserved break on Thursday but in most respects they have hit their bye week with a feeling of “mission accomplished”.

The Sharks are top of the overall log, having harvested nine points from a possible ten from their matches against the Bulls and Hurricanes and have a bye this week before hosting South Africa’s other unbeaten team, the mystifying Lions, on Saturday, March 8.

The Sharks were outstanding up front against the Hurricanes but for all their dominance scored just two tries, one of them an intercept, and coach Jake White will certainly want his team to be more clinical in their finishing as the competition wears on.

“The lesson that the players will take out of this game is that we have to work hard on converting pressure into points,” White said. “Often we seemed to be doing everything except get the ball over the line.

“Still, there were lots of positives to take out of the game. Our set-piece was excellent. The opportunities you expect to get from a good set-piece were created and we were good defensively. The week before we played a forward dominated side (in the Bulls), who bashed away at our defensive line and got a try, this game we played a team with a great attack and to keep them tryless is fantastic.”

White is content that his team has hit target by going into the bye on top of the log, and the reward for the players is a four-day holiday, something they will cherish after a tough pre-season schedule that had them at the Stadium training every day in hectic heat.

“Obviously we wanted to make sure we won the first two games,” White said. “I thought we looked tired against the Hurricanes at times, that’s because we’ve worked really hard in the last three or four months. The players are now off from Sunday to Wednesday, and I’ve told them I don’t want them to think about rugby, to spend time with their families. Then we will get back on Thursday, work hard, get some nice conditioning done and top up the tank, and then start preparing Saturday, Sunday for the Lions, which is going to be a massive derby.”

The manner in which the Sharks’ annihilated the Hurricanes at scrum time is seldom seen in rugby these days because over-officiating by referees often negates the advantage a superior pack might have, and White naturally wants his superb pack to have a chance to out scrum the opposition.

“You don’t want to take away the scrum as a weapon in rugby,” he said. “With a front row and pack of forward like ours, it’s very important to get the opportunity to use our strength. The law is quite simple. We’re not asking anyone to make the scrum contest equal, just fair. Sometimes it’s turned into an equal contest and that’s unfair because it takes away the dominance you might have as a front row.”

White himself will enjoy the break this week in the knowledge that not only has he got nine points in the bank, but his squad has emerged injury free from two bruising battles. He fielded an unchanged team against the Bulls and has the luxury of going the same route against the Lions next week.

by Mike Greenaway

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