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Brown and Arts Council Host Statewide Music Festivals Funded by a Price-Fixing Settlement

Monday, May 17, 2010
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SACRAMENTO –Yodeling, operas, musicals, Japanese drumming and symphonies are among the summer events around the state sponsored by more than a half million dollars from a Department of Justice settlement with music companies in a case of fixing advertised prices.

Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and the California Arts Council today announced dozens of musical presentations during this summer’s festival season and throughout 2010. Visit the California Arts Council’s website for a full listing of concerts and events benefiting from the grants:
http://www.cac.ca.gov/programs/doj/.

“The Attorney General’s office is proud to be part of providing these cultural events that bring people together to experience all types of music. It’s affordable because of our ability to provide discounted tickets,” Brown said, “and these performances are a testament to the incredible richness and diversity of the state’s music.”

The grants support performances and events in 43 of the state’s 58 counties, reaching an estimated audience of 200,000.

In September 2002, California, along with 42 other states, settled an antitrust case against five of the country’s largest music CD companies and three national music retail chains on allegations of fixing advertised prices for music CDs. In the final settlement, the companies paid a total of $67.4 million in cash and provided $75.7 million in music CDs to schools, universities and libraries nationally, including distributing more than 660,000 CDs in California.

California’s share of the remaining cash, $549,000, was given to the Arts Council to establish a one-time music presenting grants initiative. As dictated by the terms of the settlement, the goal of the initiative is to support a broad range of musical performances across a wide geographical reach. In October 2009, the Department of Justice and the Arts Council announced awards to more than 40 local arts organizations to present free or inexpensive events throughout the state. Many of the artists are utilizing the grants for children’s programs and for performances in front of audiences that otherwise would not have access to live music.

For example, Fresno County public schools are hosting free public autoharp performances this month. In June, school groups will travel to see the musical “Aida” at the Performance Riverside festival, utilizing grant funds for field trip transportation costs that are hard to come by in tough budgetary times. In July, free and discounted performances of Mexican swing music will be presented in Susanville, and in August, there will be free Latin jazz performances in the city of Greenfield.

Live music brings communities together, but high ticket prices can exclude middle and lower income Californians, something the music grants sought to remedy.

“There are 19 musicians in the well-loved band Malo,” said Marie Acosta, the executive and artistic director of La Raza Galeria Posada, a Sacramento nonprofit cultural center that is sponsoring a concert this week featuring the influential Latin rock band headlined by Jorge Santana, Carlos Santana’s brother. “It’s expensive to present a group of that size, but with this funding the musicians are getting paid a living wage and the tickets are affordable, even for low-income Californians.”

A $15,000 grant has allowed the tickets to the Malo performance in Cesar Chavez Park on May 22 to be discounted to $10.

The California Arts Council is a state agency with the mission to advance Californians through the arts and creativity. It was established in January 1976 by the state Legislature and signed into law by then-governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

For more information about the cultural grants, please contact Mary Beth Barber at (916) 322-6588 or go to http://www.cac.ca.gov/programs/doj200910.php. For more information about the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Law Section, please see http://ag.ca.gov/antitrust/.

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