Terrorist Acts Bring Cities, Music Biz To A Standstill
The U.S. music industry went into a state of near-total paralysis yesterday (Sept. 11) following the deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.The U.S. music industry went into a state of near-total paralysis yesterday (Sept. 11) following the deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The second annual Latin Grammy Awards, scheduled for last night at the Forum in Los Angeles after relocation from Miami, led a list of nationwide cancellations last night. Latin Academy senior VP Enrique Fernandez says all events surrounding the awards have been postponed; no new dates have been set.
This afternoon, it was announced that the CMJ Music Marathon -- scheduled to begin tomorrow in New York -- has been postponed until Oct. 10. More information about the event, which was to feature several hundreds of bands, many of them internationally based, is available at its official Web site.
The National Asssociation of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) has cancelled until further notice its Fall Conference, which was scheduled to begin today in Bal Harbour, Fla., and run through Friday.
In New York, activity came to a virtual standstill. Among confirmed concert cancellations were Babyface at the Apollo Theatre, Flickerstick at Irving Plaza, and the Levi's Self Engineered tour featuring the Roots, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Bilal, Pru, and Amel Larrieux at B.B. King's Blues Club & Grill.
With telephone traffic completely snarled in New York, few record labels could be reached, but it appears that most were closed. Universal Music Group left its offices open and gave employees the option to remain in Manhattan, providing blankets, sleeping bags, and food. Ray Cooper, the L.A.-based co-president of Virgin Records, said last night he thought the label's New York office would re-open today, but added, "We're going to take it day-by-day as far as New York is concerned."
Some artists witnessed the day's events first-hand. Mary Chapin Carpenter, who had just flown to New York to tape an episode of the new PBS series "Life 360," says she saw one of the planes crash into the World Trade Center. Garth Brooks, his manager, and his publicist were in midtown Manhattan on their way to meetings when they saw smoke downtown. Brooks was slated to fly to Washington, D.C., to receive ASCAP's Golden Note Award. The event was postponed.
In Washington, D.C., Alanis Morissette's testimony before the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel was cancelled, as were events at the Kennedy Center. The national headquarters of the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Association of Broadcasters both closed early.
Clear Channel Entertainment, the world's largest promoter, cancelled all U.S. events yesterday. The company, which operates 44 U.S. amphitheaters, issued an internal memo to all its offices stating that events would be cancelled "out of respect for the victims" of the tragedy, and that details on refunds or exchanges would be announced at a later date.
Like Virgin in L.A., the West Coast operations of Warner Bros., Interscope, Capitol, Rhino, and Hollywood Records shuttered their offices. Among many L.A. postponements were concerts by Madonna at the Staples Center, the Black Crowes at the Greek Theatre, and the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. House of Blues, the Roxy, the Knitting Factory, and the Key Club were among the venues that remained closed for the night.
Overseas, PJ Harvey's album "Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" (Universal/Island) won the 10th annual Technics Mercury Music Prize, which was handed out at London's Grosvenor House. The U.K.'s Channel 4 is due to air the gala tonight at 11 p.m. Although the Prize was presented last night, the terrorist acts affected several events across the Atlantic. BMI has cancelled its annual dinner, which was to be held today in London, honoring writers and publishers belonging to the U.K.'s Performing Right Society.