The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Freelance Survey - More than half of theatre freelancers feel insecure about their jobs as a result of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, a major survey has found. According to the Big Freelancer Survey, almost a third (27%) of respondents also said their debt levels had increased since the pandemic. In addition, it found that in the past 12 months, half of all respondents had witnessed at least one form of harassment and/or discrimination – totalling 1,701 incidents.
The survey of 1,497 freelancers was conducted in February 2022. It is the second in a planned series of five Big Freelancer Surveys until 2025, following the publication of the results of the first survey in 2020 of more than 8,000 participants. In its second iteration, the survey aims to provide insight into the impact of the pandemic and ongoing pre-pandemic issues on freelancers, alongside the insecurity of the landscape they are currently operating in during the cost-of-living crisis.
During the lockdowns, freelancers warned that they were missing out on vital financial support, often falling through the cracks of schemes designed to help organisations and workers. The survey found that 55% of respondents said they felt "quite" or "very" insecure about their jobs in the sector.
The report from campaign organisation Freelancers Make Theatre Work, entitled Open to All, But Not Open All Hours: Hopes and Fears for the Future of the UK’s Entertainment Industries, also includes a series of recommendations for the industry to support freelancers better. These include more funding to subsidise accessibility, access to training and development opportunities, holiday and sick pay, paid maternity/parenting leave on a par with PAYE employees, better investment in digital work and an industry-wide safeguarding system.
Welsh Cabaret - A 140-seat cabaret venue is to open at the Wales Millennium Centre that will host drag, comedy and burlesque. It forms part of a £4m refurbishment of the venue’s foyer, which also includes a refurbished members’ club and new bar. The three-area makeover is said to be the venue’s biggest refurbishment in its 18-year history. The refurbishment will support the venue’s future financial sustainability, with the new foyer set to open in early 2023.
Mathew Milsom, managing director of Wales Millennium Centre, said: "Our new spaces are designed to welcome you – whoever you are and wherever you’re from – into our new gateway to the arts in Wales. And once you’re here, we hope to inspire and intrigue you to try some of the wealth of experiences we have to offer – from the best West End musicals to immersive virtual reality journeys.”
Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran has been ordered to stand trial in the US over claims he copied his hit song Thinking Out Loud from Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On. A judge denied Sheeran's bid to dismiss the case, saying a jury should decide on the similarities between the songs.
The move comes six months after Sheeran was cleared of copying his hit song Shape Of You at a trial in London. After that ruling, the singer hit out at "baseless" copyright claims, which he said were "way too common". The claim over Thinking Out Loud was originally lodged in 2018, not by Gaye's family but by investment banker David Pullman and a company called Structured Asset Sales, which has acquired a portion of the estate of Let's Get It On co-writer Ed Townsend.
Seeking $100m (£90m) in damages, they allege that Sheeran and his co-writer Amy Wadge "copied and exploited, without authorisation or credit" the Gaye song, "including but not limited to the melody, rhythms, harmonies, drums, bass line, backing chorus, tempo, syncopation and looping". US District Judge Louis Stanton cited a disagreement between musical experts on both sides of the lawsuit as a reason for ordering the civil trial.
No Jacket Required - Phil Collins and Genesis have sold the rights to their music in a deal reportedly worth $300m (£269m). Concord Music, which has bought the rights, said the sale included Collins' blockbuster solo albums No Jacket Required and ...But Seriously!. Stars selling their catalogues has become a major music industry trend in recent years, with artists including Blondie, Shakira, Mark Ronson, Chic, Tina Turner and The Killers also handing over control of their songs in exchange for large lump sums.
(Jim Evans)
4 October 2022

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