Local and Industry News

Orlando Ballet has hired Michael Kaiser to help turn around the financially troubled Ballet. Kaiser served as president of the Kennedy Center for 15 years and has helped turn around many other organizations. The Ballet has had six executive directors in six years and has been struggling financially. Live orchestral accompaniment has been cut for most of its productions, and live music was preserved for "The Nutcracker" only due to the generosity of Dr. Phillips Charities.


The U.S. box office had a record $11 billion in receipts in 2015. Revenue increased 7.2 percent from the previous year, and was about $200 million more than the last record set in 2013. Sales were led by "The Force Awakens," "Jurassic World," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," and "Inside Out," with the top ten films grossing more than $3.6 billion.

David Lowery has filed a class action lawsuit against Spotify claiming $150 million in damages. The lawsuit claims that Spotify knowingly reproduced and distributed copyrighted material without obtaining mechanical licenses. The lawsuit comes while Spotify is in negotiations with the National Music Publishers Association over alleged use of unlicensed material. Additionally, Melissa Ferrick has also filed a lawsuit and is seeking class action status. Ferrick claims that her songs have been streamed one million times without a license.

Nearly 550 million album-equivalents were consumed in the U.S last year, up over 15 percent. Streaming volume was up over 90 percent to 317.2 billion songs. Album sales, however, fell 6.1 percent to 241.4 million. Digital track sales also fell, but sales of vinyl increased nearly 30 percent to 11.9 million.


The Florida Orchestra has ratified a new 3-year agreement. The agreement increases the season from 27.5 weeks to 31 weeks in the final year. Wages also increase 1.8 percent in the first year and .5 percent in the second and third years. Substitute pay will also increase to parity with pro-rata scale.

The Woodruff Arts Center has already raised $94.8 million of their $100 million goal for their Transformation Campaign, well in advance of their 2018 deadline. The funds will be used to increase the endowment, to provide free programming, and to renovate the Alliance Theatre.

The Mellon Foundation has donated nearly $1 million to the Nashville Symphony. The grant will be used for the Accelerando education initiative, which will establish a precollege program dedicated to training minority orchestra musicians. The program will start in September with six students, with enrollment rising each year until it reaches 24 students.

The New York City Opera is back in business after filing for bankruptcy in 2013. A reorganization plan has been confirmed where NYCO Renaissance will take over the Opera.

Florida Orchestra venue Mahaffey Theater will be getting a new orchestra shell. The state of Florida has provided a $1 million grant, and the city of St. Petersburg, which owns the hall, has provided another $850,000. Construction is expected to take place in 2017.

The Rochester Philharmonic has ratified a 3-year agreement. The agreement increases the season length from 37 weeks to 38.5 or 39 weeks in the third year, and raises wages by 2.7 percent in the second year.

Hartford Symphony musicians have agreed to management demands for $450,000 in concessions. Salary and benefits will be reduced by 36 percent under the 4-year agreement. Management threatened to shut down the orchestra, and music director Carolyn Kuan voluntarily agreed to accept a comparable pay cut in solidarity with the musicians.

Fort Worth Symphony Musicians, who have been in negotiations since June, have rejected management's final offer. Management will now implement their concessionary contract with 8 percent wage cuts. Musicians have authorized a strike but have not yet called for one.


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