In Decline - Britain has 20% fewer nightclubs than it had when the country first went into lockdown in March 2020. Nightclubs have been in decline for the last 15 years or so and figures released by the Night Time Industries Association highlight that the trend of closures is continuing. That's despite the government offering billions of pounds in grants and loans throughout the pandemic to support hospitality businesses which were forced to shut down.
The NTIA recorded the lowest number of nightclubs on record - 1,130 - in its latest set of data, based on the situation in England, Wales and Scotland. In March 2020, when the figures were last published, the number was 1,418. The body is now warning that the "culmination of pandemic debt, growing energy bills, workforce challenges, supply chain, increased insurance premiums, landlord pressures and product cost increases have created a perfect storm".
Some parts of the country fared worse than others, such as the Midlands in England, where nearly 30% of nightclubs have closed since the first lockdown just over two years ago.
Streaming Challenge - The UK's competition watchdog has found streaming has made the music industry challenging for many artists. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said more than 80% of recorded music was now listened to via streaming, with more than 138 billion streams in the UK last year. MPs had demanded a "complete reset" of the industry, amid "pitiful returns" for artists. They had called for the CMA to look into the power of the major players.
Although the primary focus of the report was on consumers, the watchdog found a small number of high-profile artists enjoyed most of the financial success while the majority made no substantial earnings. CMA interim chief executive Sarah Cardell said: "For many artists, it is just as tough as it has always been - and many feel that they are not getting a fair deal." But the report notes streaming has made it easier not only for listeners to access music but also for artists to record and share it.
In The Courts - Netflix is suing the creators of an unauthorised stage musical version of its period drama Bridgerton. According to Reuters, the complaint was filed against The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical’s co-creators Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear at a federal court in Washington three days after a sold-out performance of the show in the city’s Kennedy Centre. A performance of the musical is scheduled to take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 20 September.
Netflix said that after its first series of Bridgerton – based on the romance novels of Julia Quinn – was released in 2020, Barlow and Bear started posting about the series to social media platform TikTok. This included songs based on characters, scenes, dialogue and plot points. The company claimed it repeatedly warned the defendants to stop, but they went on to create an album entitled The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical, which won a Grammy, and their musical. Netflix argued "it is blatant infringement of intellectual property rights."
Mercury Calling - A singer-songwriter has been nominated for a Mercury Prize for an album sung almost entirely in Cornish. Gwenno Saunders has been nominated for her third album Tresor - with lyrics in the language she learned as a child from her father, a poet, Tim Saunders. She has been nominated alongside artists such as Harry Styles, Sam Fender and Little Simz. The prize has previously gone to acts like Pulp, PJ Harvey, Dizzee Rascal and the Arctic Monkeys.
(Jim Evans)
2 August 2022

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