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WEEKLY DIGEST | 03/05/2018
News, Research, & Opinion



Airbnb Experiments with Smaller Concerts in Non-Traditional Venues – and It’s Taking Off
Digital Music News: Daniel Sanchez
Can Airbnb Concerts truly revolutionize the live concert industry? Need to find an affordable place to stay while you’re in town?  How about the chance to attend an intimate music gig as well?  Now you see where Airbnb’s business model is heading.


Why Music Is Not a Universal Language Marissa Fessenden
To say that music is a universal language … is oversimplifying things. The latest research supports the idea that music similarities aren’t really all that similar. For instance, in a recent study of 200 musical field recordings from 137 countries, a whopping 1,706 were flagged as outliers by computer analysis.

The Oscar for Best Original Song is a Garbage Category
The Washington Post: Dan Zak
The list of undeserving — or worse, unmemorable — winners is a long and embarrassing one. Even more damning, many of the nominees and winners seem to have little to do with the movies themselves, blatant cross-promotional devices that serve only as the closing-credits Muzak for your shuffle to the exits.

Are Women on the Verge of Big Progress on the Conductor's Podium?

The Inquirer: Peter Dobrin
If change has been slow, the pace appears to be picking up with the arrival of a new crop of female conductors. Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, Emmanuelle Haïm, Jane Glover, Nathalie Stutzmann, Karina Canellakis, Susanna Mälkki, Xian Zhang, and several others are getting high-profile guest work, though not necessarily big posts.

The Art and Life of Street Performers with Valentin Spurchisi (podcast)

Creative Strings: Christian Howes
Live music makes a huge difference for people on the street, in hospitals, in war zones, refugee camps, schools, and all kinds of venues. Sharing music directly, without filters, is profoundly important for musicians to do more of.  We should play in every circumstance we can, to grow and connect more deeply with every kind of audience in any kind of situation. This podcast episode explores street performing as a professional violinist.

A Woman’s Place … is in the Tenors: Female Singers Revel in Opera’s Looser Gender Divide

The Observer: Vanessa Thorpe
Divas whose voices mature and change can enjoy longer careers by taking traditionally male roles

John Williams Says He's Only Got One More of These Damn Star Wars Movies in Him

AV Club: William Hugues
But while the Star Wars machine will endure indefinitely, its human components have understandably human limits, and it sounds like one of the most iconic parts has finally reached his.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic talk new ‘Hamilton Polka’

Rolling Stone: Andy Greene
The duo discuss Yankovic's wild new medley, how they became close friends and hanging with Larry David on the set of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'.

Translation and the Idea(s) of Early Music

Early Music America: Rebecca Cypress
Why do we come back, again and again, to early music? What is it in the styles, the sources, the instruments, the communities, that draws us in and keeps hold of us?


At the New York Philharmonic, a Contract Aimed at Labor-Management Harmony
NY Times: Michael Cooper
The new contract, which the orchestra announced Friday, was approved by the Philharmonic and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians. Under the agreement the musicians will receive a 4.5 percent increase in wages over the next three years, raising the base salary at the orchestra to $153,504 a year from $146,796; musicians will pay more for health insurance.

African Rhythms, Ideas of Sin and the Hammond Organ: A Brief History of Gospel Music’s Evolution
The Conversation: Robert Stephens
The enslaved Africans who first arrived in the British colony of Virginia in 1619 after being forcefully removed from their natural environments left much behind, but their rhythms associated with music-making journeyed with them across the Atlantic.

The California Jazz Conservatory on The March

San Francisco Classical Voice: Andrew Gilbert
Launching its accredited degree program and finishing an ambitious expansion plan, the CJC is entering a new era.

‘Elektra’ Returns: The Week’s 8 Best Classical Music Moments on YouTube

The New York Times
Our critics and reporters offer a glimpse of what’s moved and delighted them on YouTube this week.


France’s Indie Music Labels Find Their Voice
Ozy: Harriet Agnew
Small producers enjoy l’exception culturelle after a tax break and the shift to streaming. Because France may be showing a model for indie music to other nations too.


Is Spotify Really Worth $20bn?
The Guardian: Alex Hern
When Spotify lists on the New York Stock Exchange in the coming weeks the loss-making music streaming service is likely to be valued at more than $20bn (£15bn): such is the faith of investors in its charismatic Swedish founder, Daniel Ek.

The CD Business Isn’t Dying—It’s Just Evolving

Fast Company
As streaming takes over the music business, there are signs that the CD is still going strong–just not at Best Buy or Target.

Why Almost No One is Making a Living on YouTube

The Washington Post: Todd C. Frankel
One of the main attractions of YouTube is that anyone can become a star: There are no gatekeepers, no talent agents and no television executives who need to be won over. Stars can come from anywhere — and they do. Forbes’s recent list of the richest YouTubers is proof: It’s filled with people who post clips about playing video games or kids playing with toys. The top spot went to Daniel Middleton, known as DanTDM. He’s a 26-year-old British gamer — and he earned $16.5 million last year. But a new study finds that the odds of striking it rich on YouTube — or even making a modest living — are small.


The Epic Story Behind Nokia’s Iconic Ringtone
Quartzy: Corinne Purtill
Nokia’s famous ringtone dates back to the 19th century. Frédéric Chopin’s 1834 waltz “Grand Valse Brillante” was the original inspiration for the chimes heard round the world.


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