Sony Music Entertainment has a new CEO, and he has big plans – to “create the pre-eminent record company in the world.”Record companies, including new music start-ups have been finding new ways to make money off of music, despite the record fall-off in sales over the last ten years. While services like Pandora and Spotify are promising, many are still unsure whether the music via subscription can bring the industry anywhere close to its previous state.
New York City’s American Composers Orchestra presented its inaugural Sounds of New Century (SONiC) Festival October 14th- 22nd. The festival included performances of works by over 100 composers age 40 and under at various venues throughout New York City.
Composer Derek Bermel and pianist Stephen Gosling co-curated the 9-day event that began at Zankel Hall with a performance by the ACO featuring five of new pieces under the direction of conductor George Manahan. Throughout the festival, orchestras and ensembles also took up stage space at many different venues all over Manhattan, including the Miller Theater at Columbia University, The Stone, Symphony Space, Roulette and more. In total, 16 extraordinary performances featuring at least 18 world premieres, eight US premieres, and eight New York premieres were showcased.
The American Contemporary Orchestra premiered new compositions at the World Financial Center October 22nd
The SONiC festival concluded on Saturday with a free symphony concert at the World Financial Center in the Winter Garden atrium. Once again, ACO Music Director George Manahn led the orchestra as they premiered a number of new compositions by Ruby Fulton, Paul Yeon Lee, Bryce Dessner, Ryan Gallagher, Andrew Norman and Suzanne Farin. This final performance was hosted by John Schaefer and presented on WNYC’s New Sounds Live.
Q2 Music, New York Public Radio’s Internet radio station will broadcast audience favorites in a special program dedicated to SONiC. Notably, the festival made great use of ipads at performances to collect votes in real-time from audiences, in addition to distributing a smart phone app to audiences for off-site voting.
For further information on the festival, visit http://sonicfestival.org/
Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom presented a keynote and interview at the Dublin Web Summit last week, and offered some insights into his experiences in the online video space. He mentioned that when he launched Joost, an online TV portal, in 2007 he quickly found out that it is “pretty much impossible to start an online company [video] and to have the licenses”. “The timing was right,” he said, mentioning that Hulu and other online sites popped up around the same time as Joost. Joost did not survive long, however – by the end of 2008 the company shut down its application-based service, and in 2009 sold its assets. What Zennstrom did not discuss in his interview is his move back into the online video space with Vdio, but instead the music licensing company which he co-founded, Rdio. He indicated that part of Rdio’s success is owing to the company’s tenacious efforts to form licensing partnerships with content owners. In his keynote above, you can hear Zennstrom’s advice for internet entrepreneurs. A video of his interview can be found here: http://new.livestream.com/channels/58/videos/4072
On October 15th, the Creator’s Project came to Brooklyn. The event was an art and technology festival sponsored by Intel and Vice Media which featured musical performances from DJs and indy groups, installations, and film/video screenings. The mission was to bring together art works by young people that use new technology. The atmosphere was buzzing, and the variety of offerings, split across a number of different venues in DUMBO, made exploring the project an adventure. For a clear view of what was on offer over the weekend, take a look at the video above.
WNET President-Emeritus Bill Baker hosted the 9th annual Giants of Broadcasting ceremony on October 14th. The ceremony paid homage to thirteen “media giants” who transformed the broadcasting industry over a span of seven decades. The luncheon was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where guests wined and dined while enjoying celebratory montages and acceptance speeches.
Honorees included Brian Williams, Christiane Amanpour, Fred Pierce, Charles Kralt, Robert Northshield, Charles Osgood, Rand Morrison, John Dille III, Brian Lamb, Frances Preston, James Arness, Rick Buckley, and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail.
While most honorees spoke of their past achievements, current ABC international correspondent Christiane Amanpour discussed her hopes for the future of broadcasting. “I do hope in the future that we see many more women on the screen, and that there is a balance between men and women,” she said. “I would like to see the day where women were not judged by the amount of highlights in their hair, not judged by the shortness of their hemlines or deeply plunging cleavages, but [judged] for their professionalism, competence, and the quality of their work.”
The ceremony acknowledged that broadcasting is still relevant. The awards honored media entrepreneurs of the past alongside broadcasting icons of the present. The late James Arness and Dawson ‘Tack’ Nail were commemorated for paving the way for twenty-first century journalism. Meanwhile, CBS anchor Charles Osgood and NBC correspondent Brian Williams continue to make waves in modern day broadcasting.
The ceremony was sponsored by the Library of American Broadcasting, which acts to preserve historical records from past television and radio broadcasts. Their ultimate goal is to “make records available to a wide audience of academia, industry, and the public, while simultaneously keeping a weather eye on the future”. The luncheon is the Library’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
This video was produced by my students at Juilliard. Their goal: to bring classical music to a 20th century art form, the music video, on a 21st century platform, the internet. Notably, their production was financed through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website which helps bring together donors and artists seeking funding for their projects.
The New York Times reported earlier in October that the Met has recently seen “a record amount of contributions for the fiscal year that ended in July.” The recent successes of the institution, including its HD broadcasts which reach 1,600 theaters in 54 countries, are in part owing to Gelb’s “‘effort to democratize opera’” as the Met seeks to reach new audiences. Read more at nytimes.com
Sitcoms are making a comeback on network television. With viewer numbers down in the 18-49 demographic across all networks except Fox, one area of growth is in comedy programming. Via The Altantic
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a statement discouraging young children from using electronic media. Meanwhile, a new study from Common Sense Media reports that between 40-50% of children regularly use new mobile devices such as smart phones, iPads, and iPods. More at Washington Post
What impact are tablets having on news consumption? Some have touted the tablet as a savior of the publishing and newspaper industries, and the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s study of tablet users and their news consumption habits indicates that the written word is very much still popular with news readers, young and old. The in-depth, comprehensive study is available on their site, journalism.org
Can the creators of Skype challenge Netflix’s muscle in the online streaming market? Their attempt at revolutionizing television in 2007 with Joost – a web-based tv platform, failed to take off due to a lack of premium content. Although the market is growing crowded with powerhouses Amazon and Youtube increasing their offerings by the day, Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis seem to be betting that they can offer something new with their service, Vdio, which will launch first in the UK. Stay tuned.
Last night, PBS premiered the first of five-parts of Women, War and Peace, a series in part featuring Liberian peace advocate and women’s rights leader Leymah Gbowee. The series seeks to “challenge the aesthetics of war” by exposing the reality of a woman’s role during warfare. The premiere comes just days after news of Gbowee’s 2011 Nobel Peace Prize win for her nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy, and gender equality.
Gbowee shares the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize along with other two other women, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf and Yemen peace-maker Tawakkol Karman. Gbowee told the New York Times that their win is “finally a recognition that we can’t ignore the other half of the world’s population. We cannot ignore their unique skills.”