Red Bull Music Academy & Red Bull Radio To Shut Down

After 20 years of operation, Red Bull has announced that the Red Bull Music Academy will be closing its doors later this year. The decision was reportedly made to “phase out the existing structure” and introduce a new tactic for Red Bull’s position within music. Additionally, Red Bull Radio, the 24/7 Internet-radio website that offers multiple channels of genre-hopping music, will also be closing. Both RBMA and Red Bull Radio will close on October 31, 2019.

Consulting firm Yadastar, responsible for managing the creative side of both RBMA and Red Bull Radio, has stated that the decision was mutual. Red Bull has also stated that Red Bull Music will continue its operations, but focus more on localizing territories globally. Red Bull Music has no affiliation with Yadastar. This spring, Red Bull Music will be hosting two Red Bull Music Festival events in New York and Tokyo, respectively.

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Electronic news publication Resident Advisor reached out to Red Bull for comment. The company replied:

“After 20 years of supporting artists worldwide with its music program in a rapidly changing world, Red Bull will maintain its purpose of providing a global platform to promote creativity—but it is changing the means of delivery. Red Bull will be moving away from a strongly centralized approach, will gradually phase out the existing structure and will implement a new setup which empowers existing Red Bull country teams and utilizes local expertise. Red Bull will continue to explore new ways to support promising and cutting-edge artists wherever they may be.”

Yadastar took to Twitter to release a statement regarding the shutdown.

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Red Bull Music Academy has been responsible for touring workshops, lectures, festivals, art installations and concerts around the world since 1998. Annually held in a different city, Red Bull Music Academy houses events to celebrate and teach music to aspiring artists. An actual “academy” is held for four weeks within the program’s destination city, in which 60 up-and-coming musicians from across the globe apply to get invited to attend schooling. Each musician learns from some of the music industry’s biggest names, while also being granted the opportunity to work with each other, as well as already established artists. RBMA’s latest city host was Berlin, Germany both in celebration of 20 years of the school’s existence, and as a nod to Berlin being the school’s first city host.

Those lucky enough to attend the RBMA were able to hear lectures from artists such as A-Trak, Questlove, James Murphy, MF DOOM, Bun B, Don Cannon, Jay Electronica, Tim Westwood, Nottz, Madlib, Brownsville Ka, Sleepy Brown, Just Blaze, and Q-Tip. The academy also granted students access to high-end studio equipment and technology, as well as publicity access and minor funding, without the stresses of compromising creative output. Some students were able to perform at festivals across the globe, via Red Bull sponsored stages at major events, while others were given opportunities to open for major acts like Run the Jewels or Earl Sweatshirt, to fit the bill. A full list of Red Bull Music Academy alumni can be found here.

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In addition to Red Bull Music Academy’s programming, schooling and artist support, the website also provided daily editorial. From critical deep-dives into albums like The Roots’ Things Fall Apart, to the history of sex soundtracks and porno grooves, to analyzing the fashion stylings of André 3000, to interviews with DJ QBert and Fab Five Freddy. Red Bull Music Academy’s presence in music was an integral part of both music criticism and culture.

According to their site, Red Bull Radio “broadcasts handpicked music and in-depth interviews with influential artists from around the world. Deeply involved with their local scenes in 102 countries, our network of choice broadcasters, influential artists, journalists, and alumni obsessively dig up interesting sounds for truly adventurous audiences.” For years, the Internet-radio source has broadcasted music from around the globe to the masses, delivering the sounds of Hip-Hop, Reggae, Electronic, Ambient, Noise, Rock and more to the world.

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Notable programs available on Red Bull Radio include Earl Sweatshirt’s Stay Inside, Andrew Noz’ All The Raps, Peak Time with Vivian Host and True Laurels with Lawrence Burney. Counter Intelligence is a show hosted by record store owners across the world, while Fireside Chat plays conversations with famous musicians and artists speaking candidly on their craft. Red Bull Radio also features shows with people behind the scenes, like producers, engineers, and A&Rs, who present some of their favorite music for broadcast. Their archives include thousands of hours of DJ sets, presentations, interviews, and audio collages.

Meanwhile, Red Bull Music Academy’s YouTube channel has 800+ archived videos of lectures held within their spaces. These notable lectures include Madlib discussing sampling techniques, J Dilla and Freddie Gibbs, Pusha-T on Daytona, Drake and Kanye West, Questlove on his childhood and drumming for D’Angelo, MF DOOM on his personas, masks, and Madlib, and Q-Tip on Zulu Nation, Nas and A Tribe Called Quest records.