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Guide to the Week’s Parties – The Hollywood Reporter

A few dozen bashes, invitation-only unless otherwise noted, are scheduled in the lead-up to the big night; here are the top ones to make:

JAN. 31

Amazon Music’s Artist Space takes over Culver Studios with a vinyl set by DJ Pee Wee (aka Anderson .Paak).

FEB. 1

The Billboard Power 100 event rocks Goya Studios.

The NPMA publishing association holds its Songwriter Showcase with performances by Sabrina Carpenter, Jimmie Allen and Demi Lovato at Nightingale Plaza.

Sony opens the Whitney Houston Hotel at the W Hotel Hollywood; the public pop-up includes an exhibit of gowns worn by the singer, who would have turned 60 this year.

BMG throws its Grammy party at Candela La Brea with Bebe Rexha and Logic among the performers.

Meta fetes the 50th anniversary of hip-hop at No Vacancy featuring a DJ set by The Originals.

FEB. 2

Jack Harlow performs at Warner Music Group’s bash at the Hollywood Athletic Club.

The Grit Before the Gram party at the West Hollywood Edition celebrates Black women in music.

The Downtown Grammy Brunch hits Harriet’s Rooftop at 1 Hotel.

Milk & Honey and BMI are among the hosts of the Award Season event at Ysabel.

Spotify holds its Best New Artist party in WeHo with performances from nominees and special guests.

Performing rights org SESAC holds a nominee party at the Dream Hotel.

The Recording Academy Honors Presented by the Black Music Collective recognizes Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Lil Wayne and Sylvia Rhone at the Hollywood Palladium.

FEB. 3

ASCAP holds its Grammy Brunch at the Four Seasons on Doheny.

The Recording Academy’s philanthropic arm, MusiCares, honors Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson at the first Persons of the Year Gala at the Convention Center.

FEB. 4

Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy party returns to The Beverly Hilton, with Atlantic execs Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman receiving the Grammy Salute to Industry Icons honor.

The 10th annual Gold Meets Golden party, with hosts including Ariana Grande and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, will be held at the Virginia Robinson Gardens.

FEB. 5

The Grammy Premiere Ceremony takes place at the Microsoft Theater, followed by the awards at Crypto.com, hosted by Trevor Noah.

The official Grammy Awards afterparty is at the L.A. Convention Center.

Universal Music Group and Lucian Grainge will throw their regular postparty (location not yet announced).

This story first appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.




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Jeremy Camp on Winter Jam 2023 in Ypsilanti, 5 things to know – The News Herald

A career in Christian music wasn’t a great leap of faith for Jeremy Camp.

The Indiana-born singer’s father was a pastor in Lafayette and also taught him how to play guitar. Camp himself went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, earning a theology degree and ordination as a minister. He became a recording artist no long after, in 2000, had hasn’t looked back.

Camp, 45, has released 11 studio albums, four of which have been certified gold, and has scored nearly two dozen Top 10 hits in the Christian airplay charts. He’s won five GMA Dove Awards and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors, and Camp was portrayed in the 2020 film biography “I Still Believe,” about his life with his late first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp.

This year Camp is back as one of the headliners of the annual Winter Jam tour, and he’s working on a follow-up to his 2021 album “When You Speak”…

* Camp is a veteran of several Winter Jam tours and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between the multiple acts. “Everybody realizes the community aspect of it is so huge. It’s easy to walk in and feel like you’re building a community right away. That’s a great gift. You come in and everybody goes, “How’re you doing? We’re on tour for 40 dates, let’s just hang out.’ We all get along. That’s what’s nice about this.”

* Camp also feels that in the midst of a pandemic and the political and cultural polarization of the society, faith-based messages are being received in a different way. “With everything that’s going on, hey, we need a little hope here. There’s a hunger for that hope and we’re going to point them to the reason why we do it — that’s Jesus. By doing it with music, that crosses a lot of different barriers and cultures and really opens the door. People who might never go to church might come out to a concert. My friend John Cooper from Skillet told me last year, he said, ‘I love that the ministry aspect of Winter Jam is getting more deep. People are really focusing on this purpose of this more than ever.’ That’s really encouraging.”


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20 stream-ripping sites web-blocked in India

Business News Digital Legal

By Chris Cooke | Published on Friday 20 January 2023

Internet

A court in India has issued a web-blocking injunction against 20 stream-ripping sites, ordering internet service providers in the country to block their customers from accessing the offending services. It follows legal action by local record industry trade group IMI and the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry.

Stream-ripping sites – services that allow people to download permanent copies of temporary streaming – have been the music industry’s top piracy gripe for some time, while web-blocking is the sector’s anti-piracy tactic of choice, where local courts will issue such injunctions.

IFPI notes that music piracy remains particularly high in India, with its research suggesting that 73% of internet users still access unlicensed and illegal sources of music online, more than double the global average. It adds that the 20 sites subject to the new web-blocking order issued by the Delhi High Court together “received nearly half a billion visits last year from users based in India”.

IFPI boss Frances Moore adds: “We welcome this decision and the strong message it sends to operators of stream-ripping sites, wherever they may be based, that we are prepared to take the appropriate action against them. These services make large amounts of money from music whilst paying nothing to those domestic and international artists that are creating it and the labels that are investing in the music of tomorrow”.

Meanwhile Blaise Fernandes, CEO of IMI, has also welcomed the extension of web-blocking to stream-ripping in India. “We welcome the Delhi High Court’s decision which will further strengthen the recorded music industry’s fight against digital music piracy”, he says. “Given that it’s the first time a website blocking order has been granted against stream ripping websites, this precedent is an important step in the right direction for the Indian recorded music industry”.



READ MORE ABOUT: IMI | International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI) | Stream Ripping



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Jeremy Camp on Winter Jam 2023 in Ypsilanti, 5 things to know – The News Herald

A career in Christian music wasn’t a great leap of faith for Jeremy Camp.

The Indiana-born singer’s father was a pastor in Lafayette and also taught him how to play guitar. Camp himself went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, earning a theology degree and ordination as a minister. He became a recording artist no long after, in 2000, had hasn’t looked back.

Camp, 45, has released 11 studio albums, four of which have been certified gold, and has scored nearly two dozen Top 10 hits in the Christian airplay charts. He’s won five GMA Dove Awards and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors, and Camp was portrayed in the 2020 film biography “I Still Believe,” about his life with his late first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp.

This year Camp is back as one of the headliners of the annual Winter Jam tour, and he’s working on a follow-up to his 2021 album “When You Speak”…

* Camp is a veteran of several Winter Jam tours and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between the multiple acts. “Everybody realizes the community aspect of it is so huge. It’s easy to walk in and feel like you’re building a community right away. That’s a great gift. You come in and everybody goes, “How’re you doing? We’re on tour for 40 dates, let’s just hang out.’ We all get along. That’s what’s nice about this.”

* Camp also feels that in the midst of a pandemic and the political and cultural polarization of the society, faith-based messages are being received in a different way. “With everything that’s going on, hey, we need a little hope here. There’s a hunger for that hope and we’re going to point them to the reason why we do it — that’s Jesus. By doing it with music, that crosses a lot of different barriers and cultures and really opens the door. People who might never go to church might come out to a concert. My friend John Cooper from Skillet told me last year, he said, ‘I love that the ministry aspect of Winter Jam is getting more deep. People are really focusing on this purpose of this more than ever.’ That’s really encouraging.”


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Producer Tips on Maximizing Earnings, Retirement – Billboard

Is there anything more delicious and envy-inducing than poring over a “highest-paid DJs” list? The thought of earning millions by providing people with music to dance to — off a USB stick, no less — comes with its own special degree of fascination. 

The truth is, the percentage of upper-echelon DJs annually earning seven-plus figures is tiny, about 1%. The next tier of DJs comes in at about 100 times less than that amount at minimum, according to an established promoter. Indeed, most DJs whose names grace the top half of festival flyers are earning a living wage — but only if they’re sensible.

Most DJs are generally stratified into earning $500/$2,000/$5,000/$10,000 per club gig and between $2,000/$5,000/$10,000/$25,000 per festival gig. Meanwhile, festival headliners can command over $100,000, with multiple factors contributing to this jump.

“At this level, performance fees aren’t always determined as a simple dollar value per show,” says Saleem Amode of Amode Agency regarding festival headliners. “Agents, promoters and artist teams evaluate metrics like touring history, ticket history [and] region exclusivity. Of course, the music and recent content comes into play to determine the estimated value and risk of a fee offer. The costs of putting on the event itself are the large[st] factor in determining the risk for the promoter.”

Such dollar amounts are also just gross earnings, before the DJ has paid their agent, manager, business manager, lawyer and flight and hotel costs — which are increasingly being covered by artists’ fees rather than the promoter. After taxes, a DJ’s net pay is often less than 40% of their fee.

“There is a public misunderstanding of how much money DJs are making,” says Orlando Higginbottom, professionally known as producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. “You can do the math on the back of a postcard. If you’re a DJ who is grossing $20,000 a month, what you’re ending up with is $10,000. No one’s going to turn up their nose at that, but a $120,000 annual salary is not the celebrity lifestyle people think DJs are having. It’s not rich money. It’s not house (in L.A.) money. It’s rent money.” 

These earnings also don’t come with health insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement plans, human resources support or even job security. “DJs are CEOs of their own company — even if no one views them that way,” says Higginbottom. As such, the unsexy parts of the business are often left to DJs to set up for themselves — or not.

This situation is not exclusive to DJs, but artists across the board. Steve Braines, who manages producer Maya Jane Coles, shares, “I took over a touring rock artist’s career and he filed for bankruptcy. During that time, he was still trying to buy jewelry and had never bought a house despite the huge amounts previously earned.  

“There is a sense sometimes that the money will last forever,” Braines continues, “but it’s such a tiny percentage of touring artists that’s true of. DJs also have that same time period of being hot, and then it decays for many. If you can afford to buy a house, buy one, and also get a pension, just as a teacher, doctor or anyone else would. Ultimately, objectively, it’s a job, and the bank doesn’t care how you make your money.”  

Though widespread touring has since resumed, the pandemic brought the instability of the profession into even sharper focus for a lot of DJs, particularly because many weren’t eligible for unemployment. Billboard spoke with several about how they’re working to establish a secure future for themselves — even if/when the money in their chosen field dries up. 

Put your money in higher-yield accounts  

As a headlining artist who says he’s very prudent with his money, 12th Planet (born John Dadzie) exercises the tried-and-true practice of putting aside 25% of his earnings. This percentage is put into certificates of deposit (CDs), which have a fixed term length that typically falls between three months and five years. Though most of these accounts assess penalties for withdrawing your money before the end of the term, they earn a higher interest rate than a conventional savings account. Other options are money market accounts that pay interest based on the market rate, or bonds, for which the issuer pays back the principal plus interest after a set time period.

“It took me a long time to learn that when your money just sits in the bank, you’re actually losing on it,” says Dadzie. “Once I learned that, I moved everything over to other types of accounts. I’m not doing anything aggressive. … I’d rather post a positive 1% or 2% than a negative risky 10%.”

After taking on a business manager early in his career and a wealth manager soon after, Dadzie began putting his money into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401Ks, which are personal pension accounts. The funds in these types of accounts cannot be touched until maturity, which is usually what would be considered “retirement age.” He also recommends starting a retirement plan early, saying “Not only does that money go to you, but it also goes against taxes paid to the government and can move you from being in the highest tax bracket.” 

Keep your overhead low 

Jennifer Lee, professionally known as TOKiMONSTA, experienced not just the slowdown of the pandemic, but the slowdown of her entire life after brain surgeries to treat Moyamoya disease in 2016. Lee says keeping her spending in proportion to her earnings was a key factor in weathering these unforeseen occurrences. 

“It’s being cognizant of how much money you’re making, and how much money you’re spending on a monthly basis,” she says. “A lot of very successful people spend a lot of money and have massive teams and multiple employees. People who have a high overhead are spending that money even when they’re not touring. My operation is fairly simple with two full-time employees. When I’m 60, I don’t know if I [will] want to, or will be able to, DJ every single weekend. I have to set up my whole lifestyle so I’m comfortable at that age.” (She adds that she’s also put her money in investment portfolios.) 

Diversify your financial interests 

Brothers Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, who have topped DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list multiple times — have diversified their finances into multiple arenas. Together, they have a company encompassing artist services, booking and management in a joint venture with their own manager, Nick Royaards, and Michiel Beers, the co-founder of Belgium mega-fest Tomorrowland. They also have their Smash the House record label and its various sub-labels, and each have their own clothing line and were early investors in esports and entertainment company FaZe Clan. Vegas’ particular funding focus is on content creation via his production company, which is focused on the development of films, television series, graphic novels and books. 

“Most of my investments go to something I have control over,” says Vegas. “When the pandemic started, I was trying so many different things, because I was a bit scared shows weren’t coming back. There are a lot of people with beautiful decks and crazy ideas and promises. You need to be able to filter out what is going to work, and even then, it’s always risky. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who know what they’re doing or making sure you yourself know what you’re doing.” 

Pioneering DJ Richie Hawtin famously invested in the electronic digital download store Beatport early on, a move he considers one of his best. Currently, his Plus8 Equity Partners venture capital firm, which he started with partners John Acquaviva and Rishi Patel, has an investment portfolio that includes Splice, Subpac, Landr, Lynq, Rap Tech Studios and other creative entertainment technology disruptors. As he puts it, the venture allows him to “re-invest back into our own culture.”  

Barry Ashworth of Dub Pistols has had his share of financial knockbacks over his more than three-decade career. He went from a $1.5 million record deal for the second Dub Pistols album, Six Million Ways To Live and making $25,000 per remix — which he was doing at a clip of three a day — to his accounts being overdrawn. 

After a five-year stretch of living gig-to-gig, Ashworth began making wiser moves, including starting up a healthy Dub Pistols merchandise business. This extends beyond conventional clothing and paraphernalia into a range of branded CBD oil, Minirig portable speakers and pale ale. The latter three items have a high sell-through rate and are manufactured, produced and distributed by companies Ashworth has partnered with. They provide him with wholly passive income.  

Ashworth also purchased the U.K.’s Mucky Weekender Festival, which is growing under his leadership and is looking to expand into additional events. When he was unable to source a tour bus amidst the pandemic shortages, he purchased a couple to rent out and launched a touring logistics company. Says Ashworth of his various ventures, “It’s taking every little opportunity you see and feeling confident enough to do it.” 

Invest in real estate (if you can afford it)

Property is one of the mainstay investments for DJs, as globally, real estate rarely drops in value. Most DJs purchase their own home(s) as soon as they can afford to. Rental property is the next step for those who can extend to that option. Producer Nicole Moudaber stepped into the rental arena back in 2003 when she bought an estate in Ibiza, upgrading it to a villa aimed at weekly rentals. 

“It was like a hotel operation,” says Moudaber. “I did that for 10 years in Ibiza and gained an understanding of architecture and property management. I bought a place in Miami, but I panicked and sold it during COVID. I lost my nerve. I’m mourning it. But lesson learned: Never panic when there’s a crash in the market, and that goes for people who invest in stocks as well.” 

Hawtin has also invested in a few real estate properties with significant financial rewards, a move he says is “definitely not as sexy or exciting as sitting with engineers dreaming up new creative tech, but definitely safe and secure.” 

If DJs have the disposable income, investing in building development projects can have a significant return, particularly if you invest a large sum. This is what Ashworth has done in the UK. “Property developers are building flats, renovating flats. They need money to do it,” he says. “The return has been quite ludicrous.” 

Consider self-releasing your music 

Like most DJs, Moudaber owns her own record label, In the Mood, as does Ashworth with Cyclone Records, Lee with Young Art Records and Higginbottom with Nice Age. While DJs owning their own record label is a default of the dance music community, the real value is in owning your music. 

While many artists find it tempting to sign a big figure recording or publishing deal at the start of their career, for the long game this choice is not always optimal. Higginbottom found this out the hard way when he signed to Universal Music in the early part of his career. His takeaway from his experience is, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to release through a label, unless you do a very, very good deal and you are getting your masters back in five years or something.” 

Higginbottom considers his music an investment, and the only way to retain that investment for the long-term is to self-release it. “That,” he says, “is your pension, your money flow and your passive income.” 

“There’s loads of money to be made through streaming, but you have to own the masters,” he continues, “Look how rich the record labels are. Look how much money there is out there. Artists just don’t know how to access it. From streaming, you could make a few hundred, a few thousand or $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 a month. If you sign with a major label, you’re never going to see it. If you sign with an indie on a 50/50 deal, you’ll see it eventually. Eighty-five percent of my income was through touring. When we lost touring for two years during COVID, that royalty income saved my business.” 

Set up different LLCs for each aspect of your business 

In a further safety move, Higginbottom recommends setting up different LLCs for each section of an artist’s professional activities. For example, one for touring, one for royalties from your own releases, one for income from songwriting for others. This way, if an artist ends up being liable for something that happens during one of their shows, they won’t get cleared out of their entire income — just the touring LLC. Additionally, when one of the LLCs is having a lull, it can be propped up by the others.

“It’s really hard to make enough as a musician to save or invest,” says Lee. I’m always grateful to be in [the music business] for as long as I have, but I’m very aware of the lack of stability that comes with entertainment, and I’ve steered my career in the direction of stability. You never know when the rug can get pulled out from under you.” 




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(THREE SIMPLE PLAYS ABOUT DESIRE, DECEIT & DELUSION) at Montclair Women’s Club

Interview: Francesco Paladino of THE 3: (THREE SIMPLE PLAYS ABOUT DESIRE, DECEIT & DELUSION) at Montclair Women's Club

Written and directed by Francesco Paladino, “The 3 (three simple plays about desire, deceit, and delusion)” is a tryptic of one acts. They include the following pieces.

• RECLAIM THE WOODS: Lori and Vincent seem to be a typical happy couple residing in the middle of the woods in rural upstate New York, but everything is not as it appears.

• MOTHER AND TERESA: The relationship between two women living in the church rectory of St. Teresa of Pensacola becomes strained when one has a desire to change her life.

•FATA MORGANA: Anna and Jason are celebrating a relationship milestone in Southern Italy, where caretaker Sonya complicates their stuggles to identify what is an illusion and what is their own delusion.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the show’s writer and director, Francesco Paladino about his production that is opening at the Montclair Women’s Club on February 3rd.

Please tell us about your involvement in theater.

I am a classically trained actor, director, and writer and a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Writers Guild of America (WGA), and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC). My first play, “Love Is Beautiful,” premiered at France’s The UBU Repertory Theatre in New York City. In addition to acting in Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” and writing, appearing, and directing for “The Wendy Williams Show,” I have had an extensive stand-up and comedy writing career, opening for such comedians as Gilbert Godfrey, Julia Scotti, and Judy Gold.

What inspired you to write and direct this piece?

Although each play focuses on very different characters in very different circumstances, each one is struggling with personal demons. I’m sure we can all identofy with the challenges of wondering whom to trust, and how to remain true to oneself while keeping those we love happy. The constant tension between trying to figure out what is real and what is merely a product of our imaginations and desires is universal.

What do you want your audiences to take away from this show?

All of my art is aimed at inspiring thought and conversation. I hope this show leaves the audience with a great deal to explore, and even argue about. The endings to each piece are intended to allow room for many interpretations.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you will be working on after this?

I am currently in preproduction for a short film that I wrote and will direct. I also plan to bring “The 3” to NYC for an extended run.

How can people buy tickets to this show?

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-3-three-simple-plays-about-desire-deceit-delusion-tickets-477874333997?fbclid=IwAR0rDS6Lx47Nzq0vColBl0J1d1uIzsMS8xMFevR4SrTHJR8L7XiQwgLzkmE&mibextid=Zxz2cZ

The performers include:

Wendy Baron

Doug Bollinger

Penny Paul.

The creative team includes:

Emmy Award winning costume designer, Penelope Laughman,

Prop and set designer, Jennifer Caswell

Audio and visual director, Charles “Charlie” Noseworthy,

International entertainment photographer, Laura Desantis-Olsson

Producers include national broadcaster Christine Nagy of “The Cubby and Christine Morning Show “on 106.7 Lite-FM,;Chauncey Dandridge, artistic director, talent curator, and DJ for The Stonewall Inn, and Colleen Issa, owner and director of the Ottawa, Canada-based Colleen Issa Photography.

Photo credit: Laura Desantis-Olsson


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Jeremy Camp on Winter Jam 2023 in Ypsilanti, 5 things to know – The News Herald

A career in Christian music wasn’t a great leap of faith for Jeremy Camp.

The Indiana-born singer’s father was a pastor in Lafayette and also taught him how to play guitar. Camp himself went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, earning a theology degree and ordination as a minister. He became a recording artist no long after, in 2000, had hasn’t looked back.

Camp, 45, has released 11 studio albums, four of which have been certified gold, and has scored nearly two dozen Top 10 hits in the Christian airplay charts. He’s won five GMA Dove Awards and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors, and Camp was portrayed in the 2020 film biography “I Still Believe,” about his life with his late first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp.

This year Camp is back as one of the headliners of the annual Winter Jam tour, and he’s working on a follow-up to his 2021 album “When You Speak”…

* Camp is a veteran of several Winter Jam tours and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between the multiple acts. “Everybody realizes the community aspect of it is so huge. It’s easy to walk in and feel like you’re building a community right away. That’s a great gift. You come in and everybody goes, “How’re you doing? We’re on tour for 40 dates, let’s just hang out.’ We all get along. That’s what’s nice about this.”

* Camp also feels that in the midst of a pandemic and the political and cultural polarization of the society, faith-based messages are being received in a different way. “With everything that’s going on, hey, we need a little hope here. There’s a hunger for that hope and we’re going to point them to the reason why we do it — that’s Jesus. By doing it with music, that crosses a lot of different barriers and cultures and really opens the door. People who might never go to church might come out to a concert. My friend John Cooper from Skillet told me last year, he said, ‘I love that the ministry aspect of Winter Jam is getting more deep. People are really focusing on this purpose of this more than ever.’ That’s really encouraging.”


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Jeremy Camp on Winter Jam 2023 in Ypsilanti, 5 things to know – The News Herald

A career in Christian music wasn’t a great leap of faith for Jeremy Camp.

The Indiana-born singer’s father was a pastor in Lafayette and also taught him how to play guitar. Camp himself went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, earning a theology degree and ordination as a minister. He became a recording artist no long after, in 2000, had hasn’t looked back.

Camp, 45, has released 11 studio albums, four of which have been certified gold, and has scored nearly two dozen Top 10 hits in the Christian airplay charts. He’s won five GMA Dove Awards and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors, and Camp was portrayed in the 2020 film biography “I Still Believe,” about his life with his late first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp.

This year Camp is back as one of the headliners of the annual Winter Jam tour, and he’s working on a follow-up to his 2021 album “When You Speak”…

* Camp is a veteran of several Winter Jam tours and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between the multiple acts. “Everybody realizes the community aspect of it is so huge. It’s easy to walk in and feel like you’re building a community right away. That’s a great gift. You come in and everybody goes, “How’re you doing? We’re on tour for 40 dates, let’s just hang out.’ We all get along. That’s what’s nice about this.”

* Camp also feels that in the midst of a pandemic and the political and cultural polarization of the society, faith-based messages are being received in a different way. “With everything that’s going on, hey, we need a little hope here. There’s a hunger for that hope and we’re going to point them to the reason why we do it — that’s Jesus. By doing it with music, that crosses a lot of different barriers and cultures and really opens the door. People who might never go to church might come out to a concert. My friend John Cooper from Skillet told me last year, he said, ‘I love that the ministry aspect of Winter Jam is getting more deep. People are really focusing on this purpose of this more than ever.’ That’s really encouraging.”


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Jeremy Camp on Winter Jam 2023 in Ypsilanti, 5 things to know – The News Herald

A career in Christian music wasn’t a great leap of faith for Jeremy Camp.

The Indiana-born singer’s father was a pastor in Lafayette and also taught him how to play guitar. Camp himself went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in California, earning a theology degree and ordination as a minister. He became a recording artist no long after, in 2000, had hasn’t looked back.

Camp, 45, has released 11 studio albums, four of which have been certified gold, and has scored nearly two dozen Top 10 hits in the Christian airplay charts. He’s won five GMA Dove Awards and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year honors, and Camp was portrayed in the 2020 film biography “I Still Believe,” about his life with his late first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp.

This year Camp is back as one of the headliners of the annual Winter Jam tour, and he’s working on a follow-up to his 2021 album “When You Speak”…

* Camp is a veteran of several Winter Jam tours and particularly enjoys the camaraderie between the multiple acts. “Everybody realizes the community aspect of it is so huge. It’s easy to walk in and feel like you’re building a community right away. That’s a great gift. You come in and everybody goes, “How’re you doing? We’re on tour for 40 dates, let’s just hang out.’ We all get along. That’s what’s nice about this.”

* Camp also feels that in the midst of a pandemic and the political and cultural polarization of the society, faith-based messages are being received in a different way. “With everything that’s going on, hey, we need a little hope here. There’s a hunger for that hope and we’re going to point them to the reason why we do it — that’s Jesus. By doing it with music, that crosses a lot of different barriers and cultures and really opens the door. People who might never go to church might come out to a concert. My friend John Cooper from Skillet told me last year, he said, ‘I love that the ministry aspect of Winter Jam is getting more deep. People are really focusing on this purpose of this more than ever.’ That’s really encouraging.”


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How cutting-edge AI tools are remaking history

Rarely does a month pass without fresh reports of a forward-looking and autonomous system poised to change our future. What we don’t often hear about is the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to examine our past.

Historians, archaeologists, musicians and data scientists are deploying AI to reimagine and recreate historical moments.  Like so many tales from the evolution of modern computing, success with AI is grounded in the values of collaboration, opportunity and experimentation. 

There are immense human challenges in getting the best results from AI and there’s no magic bullet computing at work The challenges experts face require distinct solutions, whilst sharing striking amounts of commonality. Bias and ethics of restorative AI are also of widespread concern, as is how we should interpret and categorise such works. 

Uncovering ancient Athenian secrets

The ancient Acropolis in Athens in daylight

Jonathan Prag, professor of ancient history at Oxford University, has always had a passion for computing. “I got into mapping and visual analysis, which led to trying to build a digital catalogue of all the inscriptions from ancient Sicily,” he says. 

Prag is an epigraphist, specialising in the restoration of ancient Greek texts carved into stone. Over the centuries, many carvings have been smashed into fragments, some of which have never been recovered, leaving vast gaps between words. In 2018, Prag’s PhD student Thea Sommerschield and Google DeepMind’s Yannis Assaelto suggested using AI to speed up the laborious process of filling the gaps in ancient texts. “I just sat there and went, that’s cool! Can you do it?” 

A successful AI project relies on high-quality source data to ‘learn’ and Prag’s team didn’t have any. “In the eighties, Hewlett Packard mobilised scholars to type up the published Greek inscriptions,” he says. “It’s horribly messy and because it went from beta code into Unicode at a certain point, it’s full of artifacts”. 

Sommerschield painstakingly cleaned the data to give the team more than 100,000 texts, from which the team trained Pythia, its first AI machine, to hypothesise the missing words from the Greek texts. However, Pythia’s successor was already in development. “Ithaca pays attention to patterns in the text, with reference about the region that each text came from, and the proposed date,” says Prag. 

Ithaca has already resolved a point of conjecture in Athenian texts regarding the Greek letter S, sigma. “The state abandoned the three-bar form of the sigma, which enabled you to put a bunch of texts on one side or the other of 445 BC,” Prag notes. This date marker had been considered gospel within historical scholarship, but the few dissenting voices must have cheered when Ithaca was let loose on the data. “We ran Ithaca over the original data and it came out with new dates, moving them down by about 30 years”. 

This shift alters the interpretation of a key period of Athenian imperialism, Prag adds, and makes a big difference to our reading of Greek history.

Using neural networks to seek lost tombs

Close-up of a Scythian tomb

Dr Gino Caspari, from the University of Sydney, is an archaeologist who’s studied the burial mounds of the Scythians, an ancient tribe of nomadic warriors who lived in parts of Asia more than 3,000 years ago. 

Collaborating with a colleague, they built a convolutional neural network (CNN) which used satellite imagery to identify circular structures, seeking lost Scythian tombs. “Arriving in the survey area a year later, I immediately saw how wrong I had been,” he says. “What I had assumed to be buried structures in fact stemmed from the locals corralling sheep overnight in circularly fenced areas”. 

Caspari’s long journey to see someone else’s lambs was because of poor data fuelling the AI. “The limitation is the availability of high-resolution satellite data, which is too expensive for archaeological projects to afford,” he adds. 

His recent work on tracking 3,000-year-old Native American settlements in southern America was completed with the commercial package, ArcGIS. “In archaeology, we are clearly not at the forefront of development in AI and the number of people actively working on AI is limited,” he says. “To find broader adoption, we will ultimately need a kind of intuitive GUI that allows you to train models without coding”. 

It’s important to remember that despite what dystopian headlines may suggest, AI is simply a customisable tool. Dr Caspari combined AI, LiDAR images and multispectral data to find more settlements, including many situated further north than had ever been documented. Could this have been achieved without AI? “Yes, but it would have taken a lot more time,” he argues. “Due to small training datasets, we often have a high number of false positive detections and those still need to be weeded out by hand. We are not really reaching superhuman performance in most cases due to a lack of training data.” 

Resurrecting lost films

Piles of old film reels gathering dust

In the garden of Oakwood Grange in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1888, Louis Le Prince, the ‘father of cinematography’, is using his invention, the motion-picture camera, to film the Whitely family. Today, only 20 grainy frames remain of what we acknowledge as the oldest surviving film in existence, but this didn’t stop Denis Shiryaev from using AI to create something rather marvellous. “I’ve always been the history junkie, and I decided to apply my knowledge of AI,” he says. 

Using the images posted on the Science Museum website, Shiryaev reanimated the stills, applying a CNN to add detail to the faces and upscale the resolution. In total, the tool generated 250 colourised and stable frames. “I am a creator for my own audience,” says Shiryaev. “AI colourisation is not real, and it’s not historically accurate. I generate faces based on old source photos or paintings, it’s also an approximation. I think it’s important to have this small disclaimer that this video is AI.”

His use of AI is not to establish historical accuracy, then, but to inject verisimilitude into old footage, refreshing it for a modern audience. Almost 65 million YouTube hits underline the interest. “I saw this popularity as an opportunity,” he says. “Some companies from Hollywood, huge brand names, contacted me”. 

In 2020, Shiryaev launched neural.love, an automatic cloud-based AI service that makes media enhancement accessible to anyone. “We have this beautiful feature called Generate Portfolio,” he says. “You can upload really low-resolution old photos and generate high-quality portraits and people love it”. 

Cleaning up old hits

David Bowie performing in LA as Ziggy Stardust

A popular use of AI within the music industry is to enhance old recordings by removing noise and artefacts, often present since the day they were captured. In May 1972, singer Mary Hopkin performed at London’s Royal Festival Hall and a venue engineer captured her sublime performance. By 2005, the technical quality of the recording needed some assistance, as Mary’s son Morgan Visconti explains. “I think it was probably done hastily; I think it was quarter-inch tape,” he says. “The noise flow is heavy, and it gets worse as you got towards the end of the gig, there’s more noise than signal.” 

Visconti is a musician and producer with a passion for technology. “I was chatting with my mum about noise removal and suggested she let me have a whack at it, and it was stunning. Just to hear it without the noise, it felt like a refresh, like you cleaned your ears out to hear the nuances. She was very pleased with it”. 

Once again, experimentation and passion have honed Visconti’s skills after having a lightbulb moment with iZotope’s mastering suite. “This feature – music rebalance – was just an eye opener – or an ear opener,” says Visconti. “The ability to go into a mixed track and make stems for bass, vocals, drums, guitars and keyboards. It’s something I dreamt about as a kid. I went nuts, I took everything apart like old Beatles recordings, and I was like, ‘What can I do with this thing’.”

Visconti sees AI as just another tool available to a music producer and having grown up in music studios, he’s seen them all. His father is the legendary music producer, Tony Visconti, who asked Morgan to sprinkle the technical stardust for the soundtrack of Moonage Daydream, a new film about the life and career of David Bowie. 

“The director used a ton of found footage and one clip is of Bowie playing Rock And Roll With Me and the mix isn’t great. Like Festival Hall, this was recorded straight to mono. I was able to provide separate tracks of vocals, drums, keyboards and bass and Tony was able to remix the song for the film.”

Restoring decaying works of art

The Austrian artist Gustav Klimt

AI remains an experimental technology, even for the largest tech companies. Emil Wallner is part of Google’s Arts & Culture lab. “We experiment with the cutting edge of technology and try to find interesting areas to apply it to,” he says. “Sometimes it doesn’t work and we don’t publish things, sometimes we have interesting results and we share them”. 

Recently the lab has experimented on the works of the world-renowned artist, Gustav Klimt. “We go to a lot of museums, to digitise collections so anyone can access them online. At the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, the topic to start working with these Faculty paintings came up.”

Klimt’s controversial Faculty Paintings, Jurisprudenze, Philosophie & Medizin, were destroyed by fire in 1945 and could only be viewed via a handful of old monochromatic photos. To give Google’s AI some colour training data, Dr Franz Smola, curator at the Belvedere Museum and Klimt expert, stepped in. “Franz looked at what all the critics said about these paintings,” says Wallner.

Smola scoured written records and gathered paintings by similar period artists to reference their palettes and paint types. His months of painstaking research took Wallner’s team another six months to convert into usable machine data. “We would just enable it to add a few pixels and a few motifs that we knew the colours of. We add pixels in the machine learning model, and from there, it could colourise the entire painting.”

Wallner is clear that this extraordinary project is not a restoration, but a re-colourisation due to the lack of detail in the monochrome photos. “One area would be to recreate the pointillism,” he says. “He used a lot of gold which you can’t really see, so you need to somehow augment that in a 3D environment to capture the impression of the metallic elements in those paintings”.

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