Local and Industry News

Broadway set a new record for the week ending January 1. Revenue was $49,710,190, up more than $6 million from last year, and halls were filled to over 96 percent capacity. Three shows grossed over $3 million, including Lion King, Wicked, and Hamilton, which broke its own record for a single week's gross at $3.3 million.

The Miami Herald, which eliminated its classical music critic position in 2008, has now completely dropped classical music coverage. The Herald cited space limitations and lack of freelance money as the reasons for dropping coverage.

Sanford Ziff has passed away at age 91. Ziff, founder of Sunglass Hut, was a strong supporter of the arts, having donated $10 million to the Arsht Center, as well as having made donations to WLRN, WPBT, Concert Association of Florida, and the Beethoven Society of Miami.

The Ringling Bros. circus is closing after 146 years of entertainment. The owner blames falling ticket sales and high operating costs. The musicians who performed for the show worked under an AFM agreement.

According to a report from The Hill, the Trump administration is planning on eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The cuts are part of a plan to reduce government spending, even though the two programs together only account for less than 0.02 percent of total spending.


Disney set a new record by taking in $7 billion in global sales last year, breaking Universal's record $6.9 billion in 2015. Disney released four of the top grossing movies of the year, with Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, and Zootopia each bringing in more than $1 billion.

The North American box office had a record year. Ticket sales were $11.4 billion, up from $11.1 billion in 2015. The increase was largely due to increased ticket prices.

The major record labels, the RIAA, Digital Entertainment Group, and several streaming platforms have all announced support for hi-res audio for music streaming. Hi-res audio would likely be offered as a premium streaming service. Notably absent from the list of supporters are Apple and Spotify.

Home video sales declined in 2016 as consumers opted for streaming services. Revenue from sales and rental of movies and TV shows declined seven percent, to $12 billion. Subscription streaming, on the other hand, rose almost 23 percent, to $6.23 billion.

Norway will be the first country to shut down its FM radio network. The country is replacing the analogue FM system with digital audio broadcasting, and the transition is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. Digital audio broadcasts offer better sound quality, more channels, better signal quality in mountainous terrain, and lower power consumption.


The Florida Orchestra has launched a state residency program that will take it to Volusia, highlands, and Alachua counties this year. The program is funded by more than $700,000 in grant money from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Orchestra has already performed in Daytona Beach, and is considering performances in Panama City, Fort Pierce, and Citrus County next season.

The musicians of the Cape Symphony in Cape Cod, MA have voted to be represented by the AFM. The NLRB had previously ruled that the musicians were employees and not independent contractors, opening the door to the recent mail-ballot election. Musicians will now elect a negotiating committee and begin negotiating with the orchestra management.

Florida Grand Opera, in collaboration with the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, presented Florida Grand Opera Family Day at the Center. Children participated in hands-on activities from stage makeup to prop design to singing, and the day concluded with a performance of the family-friendly opera The Toy Shop.

The Naples Philharmonic musicians have a new five-year contract. Wages will rise 18 percent over the length of the contract, to $63,360 in 2021-22. The orchestra will add two musicians to the core, bringing the total to 51 musicians. The season will remain at 39 weeks.


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