Rock Hall Museum's new President lifts photography ban

As of 2013, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum has a new president and CEO, Greg Harris. He replaces Terry Stewart who served for fourteen years before stepping down at the end of 2012. Stewart was recently honored with a party at the Rock Hall where it was unveiled that a gallery has been named after Stewart and his wife.

As for the new president, one of the first public changes to the Rock Hall on his watch is an elimination of the photography ban within the museum. Fans obviously hated the old policy, and the museum staff probably hated enforcing it. Photos from inside the museum are now starting to show up on various social media sites.

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How to Improve the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Process

The fact that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are on the 2012 ballot** for the Rock Hall the same year their manager, Cliff Burnstein, gets added to the Nominating Committee raises some interesting questions about integrity of the nomination process. Was Burnstein allowed to nominate and vote for them during the nomination meeting? Was Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, able to vote for Bruce back in 1999? Even if an artist is a Rock Hall no-brainer, it seems fair to ask members of the Nominating Committee to abstain from lobbying for artists they have a direct financial interest with, especially with more borderline candidates. This is most relevant for the record executives, publicists and managers on the Committee, rather than the critics and journalists. Repping an artist who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is undoubtedly more lucrative in the long run than one who is not.

**The Chili Peppers were also nominated two years ago (prior to Burnstein’s involvement with the Rock Hall) and are clearly strong Hall of Fame candidates, and it’s unknown if Burnstein was directly involved in getting the band on the ballot this year.

This is not a new problem for the Rock Hall Foundation, and they likely don’t see it as an issue. They have been facing accusations of bias since the Rock Hall’s birth and have never taken any steps to remove that perception.

If the Rock Hall wants to get serious about improving its perception with the public, we have some suggestions to improve the induction process:

  1. Term limits for Nominating Committee members (5-7 years). The prospect of new voices on the Committee would give hope for neglected artists.
  2. Allow the Nominating Committee members to speak about the process publicly.
  3. Publish rules for the nominating process and include something to address conflicts of interest.
  4. Make the list of Voting Committee members public.
  5. Hire an independent accounting firm to handle the vote counting like every other reputable awards show does.
  6. Publish complete voting statistics. We understand you don’t want to hurt artists’ feelings, but they will survive. It should be an honor just to be in the discussion for the Hall of Fame.
  7. Find a way to engage the fans. There are lots of ways to do this, but a simple way would be to create a fan vote for the last ballot position from four choices you provide. We don’t want the Rock Hall to turn into the Hard Rock Café anymore than you do.
  8. Stop being so secretive. You should have publicized the fact that Cliff Burnstein is now on the Nominating Committee. Be proud of who you are and what you are creating.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a fantastic museum and deserves an induction process worthy of it.
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The British Music Experience opens in March

What was previously reported to be the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now appears to have become the British Music Experience, and will open to the public in March of this year. The museum will be on the top floor of the O2 arena, aka the Millennium Dome.

Th BME's website states they will be "dedicated to the history of popular music in Britain," and it appears that non-British artists will be left out, so it's not exactly duplicating what the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame does.

Harvey Goldsmith, the chairman of the museum had this to say:

"When I first started this I saw the Rock and Roll hall of fame in America to reflect genres and we really needed something like this in the UK, a home for all of the history of UK talent and artists that make their name in the UK.

"We have such a wealth of talent from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to the Rolling Stones to The Who, its just endless how many great acts we've produced. It's important for us to reflect, look back and entertain something about music has developed."

Fortunately, the article also mentions there will be holographs prominently involved (such as our mockup of the Beatles above), so that's something to be excited about.
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Rock Hall Annex and Grammy Museum Open This Week

Two new music museums on opposite coasts open their doors to the public this week.

The Grammy Museum, opening in downtown L.A., "explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music; the creative process; the art and technology of the recording process; and the history of the GRAMMY® Awards, the premier recognition of recorded music accomplishment." Variety has much more on the grand opening.

The new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex, opening in New York, has received generally positive reviews from the press. Here's how the Washington Post sums it up:

[T]he annex isn't attempting to duplicate the Cleveland experience. In its 25,000 square feet, it highlights significant moments in music. It serves as the CliffsNotes to music history. (If you want the whole book, go to Cleveland.) And it does so with enthusiasm, good humor and little pretense.
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An American Music Hall of Fame in Daytona

Plans are underway in Daytona Beach to open an American Music Hall of Fame that would honor all genres of music under one roof. The museum would be housed at the unlikely location of the campus of Daytona State College (formerly Daytona Beach Community College).
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Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum ugly?

Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ugly?

Forbes Magazine thinks so. They recently named the Cleveland landmark the #2 ugliest building in the world. Oddly enough, the UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is theoretically slated to open in the #1 ugliest building in the world, the Millennium Dome in London.

Are rock and roll museums and good architecture mutually exclusive? No, we think Forbes is just looking for some easy publicity by putting together a controversial list. We're surprised they didn't go for the trifecta and add Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project to the list too.

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R.I.P. UK Music Hall of Fame

As we suspected back in January, the UK Music Hall of Fame has officially died.

What was it that killed this awards show? Was it the induction of Robbie Williams over Radiohead in 2004 that laid an unstable foundation? Or was the final nail in the coffin the induction of Bon Jovi in 2006, the last ceremony ever? We'll probably never know for sure.

There has been no news on the progress of the (unrelated) UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since it was announced in January. Anyone know if it died too?

Thanks, Tom.

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Movies

The new Rainn Wilson movie, The Rocker, opened today, and a portion of the movie's plot involves the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Two years ago, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny used the Rock Hall prominently. Last year 30 Rock also had the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in its "Cleveland" episode.

Is the Rock Hall now iconic enough to find it's way into more mainstream Hollywood fare? Are there any other movies where the Rock Hall makes an appearance? Let us know in the comments.

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Rock Hall Annex to open in New York

In the same year that Cleveland will finally wrestled the Induction Ceremony back from New York, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced it is opening a new $12 million museum annex in SoHo.

“Establishing outposts like these is becoming a strategy of other major institutions,” said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Terry Stewart, citing the Guggenheim Museum of New York, Britain’s Tate Modern and the Louvre in Paris as examples. “These projects allow museums to extend their reach, but also provide space to travel exhibits and allow curators to display some of our priceless artifacts for the first time outside of Cleveland.”
The Rock Hall also plans to open other satellite museums in Las Vegas and Memphis.

You can check out the website for the Annex and apply for a job at RockAnnex.com.

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The Rock Hall Museum Attendance Problem?

Portfolio.com has an article which takes a look at the declining attendance figures at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. As their chart shows, there was a steep drop in attendance after the first few years the Museum was open, but over the last ten years ticket sales have basically leveled out at around $4.2 million per year. Rock Hall Museum C.E.O. Terry Stewart has plans to bring more people to the museum, which include "a new exhibit featuring Janis Joplin’s Porsche (now on loan from her estate) to bringing the induction show to Cleveland in 2009 and every three years after that."

While bringing the Induction Ceremony back to Cleveland will undoubtedly help raise the profile of the Museum, it won't cure the image problem that the Rock Hall has in the eyes of many people. This website alone contains thousands of pleas to the Hall to induct long ignored fan favorites such as KISS, Rush, Alice Cooper, The Moody Blues, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Yes, Steve Miller Band, Jethro Tull, and many others. You can't help but wonder if Terry Stewart wishes the New York-based Rock Hall Foundation (who determines the nominees each year) would put some popular names on the ballot to help boost ticket sales at the museum. What's going to bring more people to Cleveland, Janis Joplin's car or a KISS induction with a full blown exhibit to honor them? A Leonard Cohen exhibit or a Monkees induction?

We're not advocating the induction of artists purely to sell Museum tickets, but you have to wonder if every year Terry Stewart shows up at the Nominating Committee meeting hoping that another stadium act like U2 or Aerosmith will get the votes to appear on the ballot (maybe Bon Jovi for 2009?).


In other Rock Hall financial news, Fox News' Roger Friedman breaks down the finances of the New York-based non-profit Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.
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UK to Open Its Own Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

It was reported this week that Britain may be getting a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of its own, housed at the O2 arena (aka the Millennium Dome) as a part of a larger pop music exhibit.
Dubbed “Popworld”, the new exhibition will combine state-of-the-art technology and rare memorabilia from the likes of David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys to trace the evolution of popular music from the end of the second world war to the present day.

Visitors will be able to download classic tracks such as John Lennon’s Imagine on to their iPods or mobile phones as they tour the site and even record their own songs in a mini-studio.

The attraction could also include the country’s first permanent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to which new artists will be inducted each year.

Instead of having their names or handprints etched into the wall or floor, as with the Hollywood Walk of Fame, legends such as the Who and Led Zeppelin may be brought to life at the touch of a button through the use of holograms.

Do you hear that Cleveland? They're going to have holograms!

It is unclear whether the UK Rock Hall intends to honor British artists exclusively or if it will be similar to the US version, which is multi-national. It also doesn't seem to be affiliated with the UK Music Hall of Fame (although that wouldn't be such a bad idea), which actually may already be defunct after a short three year run of inductions that ended in 2006.

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Rock Hall Museum to get $3 million makeover

Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will undergo a $3 million renovation, which should be completed early next year.

The project is being funded by the New York based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, who selected ESI Design to helm the project. ESI's founder and principal designer is Edwin Schlossberg, husband of Caroline Kennedy. Coincidentally, Caroline Kennedy has been friends with Rock Hall Founder and Chairman Jann Wenner since the 70's, when they used to party in the same New York social circles. Perhaps it was Caroline Kennedy who recommended the Hall of Fame's original architect, I.M. Pei (who also designed the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) because when Pei was hired, he confessed he "didn’t know a thing about rock and roll."

photo courtesy of The Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland
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The Rock Hall Museum to bury a time capsule

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum announced they will be opening a new exhibit in January dedicated to the Vans Warped Tour. The Museum is taking a look at contemporary punk and skate rock and the significance the Warped tour has had over the past twelve years.

The Museum exhibit "will feature memorabilia from No Doubt, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, NOFX, New Found Glory, My Chemical Romance, Joan Jett, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, Rancid, Helmet, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, All-American Rejects and others."

After the exhibit closes in September, the Museum will be put the items "into a 'time capsule' to be stored at the Museum for 25 years, opened at a special event in 2031 and again displayed for an additional six months."

While the Museum is waiting around for 2031, Future Rock Hall should be able to give you a good idea of whether or not the above bands will be relevant 25 years from now.

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What do James Brown, Bon Jovi, and Led Zeppelin have in common?

This unlikely trio will be inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame this year. Also honored will be Rod Stewart, Dusty Springfield, Brian Wilson, and Beatles producer George Martin.

The UK Music Hall of Fame was founded in 2004 and certainly seems to take itself much less seriously than its U.S. cousin. For example, Robbie Williams (!) was inducted in 2004, beating out Radiohead, Nirvana, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, because fan voting was a part of the process that inaugural year. The Hall of Fame was created to honor the artists who are considered integral parts of "UK music culture."

So does being honored by the UK Music Hall of Fame increase an artist's chances for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? As this article mentions, Jon Bon Jovi doesn't hold out much hope:
I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be nice, but you know, that's a boys club too. And the people that run it, they've got their own little agenda. So the truth of the matter is the greatest compliment that I've had is the idea that twenty years and a hundred million albums later -- that's much cooler than anything else.
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