- Stream Local will launch on April 11, and will exclusively feature South African Acts.
- The SA Government announced a R150m ($8.3m) fund to support arts and culture sectors.
Apple Music are continuing to do their part to support musicians affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As well as recently announcing a $50million cash advance fund for independent labels, the media giant has now announced ‘Stream Local’ which will specifically support South African Artists. Stream Local is a new series of playlists that will be heavily promoted on the streaming service, exclusively featuring South African Artists. The goal is to encourage consumers to stream music by local acts – and thus, generate income for the SA creatives and rights holders.
Like many other countries, artists who rely on income from touring are unable to generate this revenue due to current restrictions on mass gatherings.
At the time of writing, South Africa had over 1,934 confirmed cases of coronavirus – with 45 recoveries and 18 deaths. The African nation has seen the most cases in the continent, so far. Today, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country’s lockdown will be extended by an additional two weeks. Since the start of the initial lockdown, the daily increase in cases has dropped from 42% to 4%.
According to OkayAfrica, Apple’s ‘Stream Local’ playlist initiative is set to launch on April 11th – and will feature some of the biggest artists in the nation, including Blaq Diamond, Elaine, Ami Faku, and Kabza de Small. Gospel Group Joyous Celebration and Hip Hop Artists Nasty C and Cassper Nyovest will also be listed.
Some of the playlists will be ‘Mzansi House’, ‘Afrikaanse Treffers’, ‘Mzansi Hits’, ‘Amapiano Lifestyle’ and ‘Mzansi Soul’ – as well as a number of ‘Essential’ playlists filled with hits by respective SA talent.
Last week, the South African government recently announced that R150million ($8.3million) of its Q1 budget had been ‘reprioritized’ to provide relief to those within the arts and culture sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Grammy Awards Postponed, New Date Revealed
The 2021 Grammy Awards has been rescheduled. Details surrounding the format of the show still remain unclear.
- March 14, 2021 has been confirmed as the new date for this year’s telecast due to COVID-19.
- Format and structure of the show still unknown.
In a joint statement from Harvey Mason, Jr (Interim President/CEO, The Recording Academy), Jack Sussman (EVP, Live Event, CBS Television), and the show’s Executive Producer Ben Winston, the 63rd Grammy Awards have been officially pushed back to March 14th, 2021. Citing ‘the deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles’ (where the ceremony is scheduled to be held) as the reason for the postponement, the statement confirmed what had already been speculated regarding the upcoming ceremony for some time.
According to Variety, a ‘limited’ show was being planned for the original date of January 31st – with only performers and presenters being allowed on-site (at The Staples Center), meaning nominees and winners would only make remote appearances. However, Recording Academy Interim CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. later stated that the event will be held “in and around Downtown Los Angeles”, and also mentioned plans to work with “independent venues” – which could mean we see it not held at Staples and perhaps take a similar production style to the 2020 BET Awards, where all presenters, performers and acceptance speeches were all pre-recorded and/or remote. The statement sent to Music Biz Nation regarding the new March date did not mention that it would be a live telecast – suggesting this may well be the case.
Top nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards include Beyonce (leading with a total of 9 noms, with 2 for ‘Record of the Year’), followed by Roddy Ricch, Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift – who each have 6. You can view the complete list of nominees here.
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$500m of Live Nation stock was just purchased by Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment, according to an SEC filing.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment.
- Saudi are now the third largest shareholder of the live music giant.
In an opportunistic move, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has purchased over $500million worth of Live Nation Entertainment shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Amongst other media conglomerates, Live Nation has seen a big dip in stock value amid COVID-19. After closing out at $76.08 on February 19, company stocks have closed at as low as low as $25.50 within the past two months – reaching an 52-week low of $21.70. However, after the half-a-billion dollar transaction by the middle eastern nation was revealed in a SEC filing today, value for the company shot up by 15% (at the time of writing).
As a result of this major purchase, Saudi Arabia now owns 5.7% of Live Nation Entertainment – holding the title of the third largest shareholder of the company. To be precise, that is a whopping 12,337,569 shares.
Music Biz Nation previously reported on the impact COVID-19 has had on the Live Music Industry, and specifically, Live Nation. Due to a widespread cancelation of concerts for the remainder of the year, LNE shares have been down around 40% since this time last year.
Company CEO Michael Rapiro announced he will be forfeiting his 2020 salary, and a number of senior Live Nation executives will be taking up to 50% pay deductions to compensate for loss of income occurred by the cancelations.
Prior to COVID-19, the Live Music Industry was set to see a record-breaking year in 2020 – but may instead incur potential losses of up to $9billion. With the year-on-year growth the industry has been experiencing over recent years (as reported by Pollstar), it is likely the demand for concert tours will see an unprecedented demand once the coronavirus pandemic has settled, globally. This, of course, creates a perfect opportunity for investors – that Saudi Arabia has capitalized on.
According to reports, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund has made a number of investments during the COVID-19 period, including oil companies – though this has not been confirmed.
Due to the strict islamic culture of Saudi Arabia, this $500million purchase of LNE shares raises questions about the country’s overall interest in entertainment. Due to some of their restrictions – which have been protested by Women’s Rights and LGBGTQ Activists, many artists have avoided performing in the region. Nicki Minaj famously turned down an offer to perform at Jeddah World Fest in Jeddah (Saudi’s second largest city) last year.
Time will tell if this buy was strictly an economic move – or one to boost tourism, which has been a focus of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since he took office.