The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Concert Revenues - Royalties from live performances of music fell almost 30% in 2021, despite concerts resuming in the summer. Concert revenues were just £8m, down from £11.3m in 2020 and £54m in 2019, said PRS for Music, the body that collects royalties for songwriters. Only 19,300 setlists were reported last year, it added, marking a huge decline from the 124,000 reported pre-pandemic.
"It's a huge decrease," said CEO Andrea Martin, "but we will see a bounce back this year." She said there was "renewed optimism" in the sector, with more than 240 major tours planned for the UK this year. Acts like Dua Lipa, Little Mix and Stormzy are already on the road, while stadium shows by Harry Styles, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Adele are planned for the summer. However, Martin said, revenues are not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2023.
Despite struggles in the live sector, PRS had a good year, collecting £777.1m in royalties - only slightly down on the pre-pandemic figure of £810m. "I'm very excited and proud of these results because they show that the music industry is very resilient," said CEO Andrea Martin. "It really shows that music connects and engages people and that we can bounce back."
The company said it processed 27 trillion "performances" of music last year, including streams, downloads, radio and TV broadcasts, as well as music played in pubs, clubs, hairdressers and concert venues.
Big Weekend - Harry Styles has been confirmed as a headline act for Radio 1's Big Weekend. He'll be performing a full solo set on the main stage, on Sunday 29 May 2022 at the festival. Pa Salieu and Rina Sawayama have also been added to the line-up, with an audience of around 80,000 fans expected in Coventry. Calvin Harris, Ed Sheeran, Aitch, AJ Tracey, Anne Marie, Central Cee and Yungblud were previously confirmed to perform on the Saturday. This will be the first Big Weekend to take place in real life since 2019, as both 2020 and 2021 events moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fan Convention - A two-day convention celebrating musical theatre that will feature performances, Q&As and meet and greets is to be held later this year, supported by stars including Michael Xavier, Kerry Ellis and Alice Fearn. Musical Con, described as a fan convention, will take place at ExCel London over the weekend of 22-23 October and is also being backed by Ben Forster, Aimie Atkinson, Jodie Steele, Omari Douglas, Layton Williams and Jenna Russell. It will offer fans the opportunity to meet the stars of West End shows, with a main stage hosting performances, cast reunions, interviews, Q&As and discussion panels.
A ‘stage door’ area will allow attendees to get “up close and personal” with stars, where there will be photo and autograph opportunities, while a Theatreland area will host interactive show experiences, a marketplace featuring stalls selling merchandise and memorabilia, and a musical theatre themed cafe. The two-day event is also offering workshops, masterclasses, and talks run by the cast and creatives of the shows, alongside a competition to find a new musical theatre star.
Forster said: “This is our chance to say thank you to everyone who has ever bought a ticket to see us in a show.” It is being organised by West End Musical Productions with the support of the Society of London Theatre.
SOLT head of marketing and communications Emma De Souza said: “We are delighted to support this incredible convention which we look forward to becoming a staple of the West End’s annual events calendar, celebrating our world-leading theatre industry and its devoted audience.” Tickets start at £29 for a day pass, and £56 for the weekend.
Album Art - A new exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery in London celebrates the art of the album cover, and includes records by acts such as Diana Ross, Miles Davis, and The Rolling Stones.
The exhibition includes more than 200 covers and focuses on highlighting the role photography plays in defining artists and bands. While many of the artists on the covers will be instantly recognisable, the exhibition also illuminates the contributions of photographers and visual artists that are often overlooked.
"Photography has played such a huge part in the evolution and desirability of album covers, as well as in shaping the careers and profile of photographers, artists and bands, so we felt an exhibition that celebrated this art form was long overdue," says Brett Rogers, director of The Photographers' Gallery.
Stepping Down - The artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is stepping down after a decade in the role. Gregory Doran has been with the company for 35 years and will continue as artistic director emeritus until the end of 2023, said the RSC. He will begin rehearsals next week for Richard III with Arthur Hughes in the title role. It had been a "real privilege" to serve with the organisation, he said.
(Jim Evans)
26 April 2022

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