Kenny G in concert

One of the highest selling artists of all time, Kenny G has single-handedly made the saxophone a hit amongst music lovers. Perhaps it is the raspy mid-tones of the saxophone that lend it an air of intimacy, or maybe it’s Read more

Splashy Fen is the ultimate Easter concert

It’s been going since 1990, and Easter 2015 will be the 26th year for the Splashy Fen music festival. I have yet to learn why the music event is called Splashy Fen, though I do believe that the farm it Read more

Oppikoppi, a whole series of concerts rolled into one

The small town of Northam in Limpopo Province comes to life every August. Technically it’s spring if you calculate that you are halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and you don’t factor in seasonal lag, but Read more

Richard Clayderman in concert

No doubt the mysterious Frenchman’s greatest gift to the world musically has been “Ballad for Adeline.” Composed by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in 1976, the co-writers could never have imagined how big the song would become, because disco Read more

Albert Hammond in concert

This is not a name that rolls off the tongue like Madonna or Michael Jackson or Elvis, but Albert Hammond has had an amazing music career anyway. A native of the UK, he has done a considerable body of work Read more

Mamma Mia! heads back to Jozi in 2015

The smash hit musical based on the music of those 4 Swedes (well, actually 3 Swedes and a half-Norwegian) returns to the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, for a limited season run from Tuesday 24 March 2015 to Sunday Read more

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse is NOT too cool for school!

On 1 October the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City hosted Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in concert. It’s been 30 years since his hit “Burnout” tore up the charts, and, according to the write-up for his show, 50 years since Read more

Live shows – did they ever really die? Part 4

And here’s what I don’t like about live events. You stand in a queue for hours to get the tickets (or do the same thing in an online queue, and then your computer crashes). Then you have to pay a fortune to go and see it, if you’re even lucky enough to get tickets before they are sold out. You get there, and have to jostle with God and the world to find a parking space. Then you get herded like sheep through a pen with the crowd control measures (the ULTIMATE sheeple experience), with sweaty and annoying people crowding your personal space and rudely pushing past you, only to sit through blaring music which has the potential to damage your eardrums (I always wear earplugs at loud music events), with people dancing around you, again in your personal space (and now inebriated, so twice as annoying), trying to view the artists jumping around on stage half a mile away so you need binoculars to see them.
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Live shows – did they ever really die? Part 3

Ironically, I have never really been a fan of live shows. My sister calls me a music nihilist. I can honestly say that in all my years on this planet I have only ever been to one show: a Mango Groove concert, about 20 years ago, at Ellis Park. Well, I loved it, because I think they are a great group.
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Live shows – did they ever really die? Part 2

Certainly the number of blogs I have written about the live shows that are coming to Johannesburg and Cape Town seems to suggest that live shows are as popular as ever. When I interviewed Sergio Botelho at Soul Candi, where I used to work (I was interviewing him for the students, to get his insights into the music industry and then go and share them with those studying music business), he told me that music consumption is at an all-time high, which makes sense if you consider that there are more people alive today than at any point in the history of the world.
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Live shows – did they ever really die? Part 1

The last 4 blog posts on music at the cusp of innovation made the argument that live shows were at one stage threatened by the advent of technologies that made it possible to experience and consume music away from the creative source. So in Mozart’s day, the best way to experience Mozart was to go to Vienna and attend a concert.
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Music at the cusp of innovation, part 5

Admittedly, some technologies have survived better than others (who will ever need a VCR again?), and I’d much rather take a paperback to the beach than a Kindle (which has more to do with books than music, obviously). There is also something far more sexy about a physical book than a digital one. Nothing smells or feels like a beautiful library full of books, and digital technology can easily get lost, damaged or stolen, which means that you lose the book unless you have a back-up. Possibly the two biggest advantages of digital books are the ready accessibility online and the relatively lower cost (and if you’re about to catch a plane, an e-book would be much easier to lug around than an encyclopaedia).
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Music at the cusp of innovation, part 4

For me as an emerging artist, I am grateful for revenue from live streaming via the Internet. I was recently paid thousands of Rand by an online content aggregator, for a few CD sales, but mostly for either whole album downloads or streaming of my content via one of the many sites. Research suggests that only a small amount of global music revenue comes from streaming, while a hefty percentage of sales still come from physical product (CDs and such), although this continues to drop each year. 2012 became the first year when digital sales outstripped physical sales in the world’s biggest music market, the United States. Similar trends are beginning to take shape in other parts of the world. South Africa’s physical sales are now in decline, and the closure earlier this year of many of the Look & Listen branches is testimony to the effects of digital in emerging markets, weak economic indicators and pressure on consumer spending notwithstanding.
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Music at the cusp of innovation, part 3

And then, behold the dawn of the 21st Century and the new millennium. By 1999 the last big stars of the golden era of the music industry made their mark (Britney, JT, Backstreet), before it all went pear-shaped as the MP3 made its debut. Combined with the Internet, this digital technology threatened not only the CD as the most important medium of music purchase, but also the CD, radio and TV as important media for music awareness and consumption. With YouTube, theoretically it would be possible to never watch TV again, in much the same way that with online shopping, it would be theoretically possible to never go to a physical shop again.
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Music at the cusp of innovation, part 2

The printing press was arguably the first confluence point of the music and publishing industries, which was to be followed centuries later by the second confluence point of the music and film industries. Together these three industries form the holy trinity of the creative core that has been most affected by the Internet and digital technology.
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Music at the cusp of innovation, part 1

Whenever a disruptive innovation (or an innovative disruption, if you prefer) rolls into town, it seems as if music is always the first to climb on the bandwagon. For years, the music industry has been plagued by the scourge (and salvation) of the Internet, that is only just now starting to affect the film and publishing industries. Its large-scale effect on other industries (like retail) is still to come, some may argue.
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Writing songs: hook, line and sinker, part 3

Second, line. It was Drew Barrymore in the movie Music & Lyrics who declared that the music is the carnal attraction and the sexual chemistry that first attracts people to each other, but it is the lyrics which is the period of discovery, where the people get to know each other, as they learn the intimate details.
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