Energy drink giant Red Bull has decided to shut down its much-admired Red Bull Music Academy programme later this year. The announcement came yesterday, 3 April, and will also see the closure of Red Bull Radio.
The news was broken by Cologne-based brand consultancy Yadastar, the team responsible for overseeing the curatorial and creative elements of the initiatives for the past two decades.
Arguably best known for the voluminous archive of fascinating talks and lectures by some of contemporary music’s biggest names — with everyone from DJ Harvey to Hype Williams having plonked themselves down on a sofa for an hour or two to shoot the breeze about re-edits and Puff Daddy — RBMA also operated as an editorial platform dedicated to unearthing a seemingly endless array of weird and wonderful stories from the outer reaches of the music world.
In addition to that, the RBMA events, held in a different city across the globe each year and consisting of workshops, recording sessions and much more, have been instrumental in the rise of many a now-notable career.
Yadastar took to Twitter to announce that they and Red Bull had “mutually agreed to part ways” at the end of October this year. The bewinged drink manufacturer, in a statement issued to dance music website ResidentAdvisor, says:
“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.”
What this means in real terms for the aspiring musicians, writers, and creatives who’ve benefitted from Red Bull’s Baikal-deep pockets (financial expert Forbes ranks them as the 61st most valuable company on Earth) remains to be seen.
While you mourn the genuinely sad loss of a rare example of corporate backing being used to champion to odd and unusual, why not set aside the best part of an afternoon to watch a trio of our favourite lectures from over the years…