The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee of the House of Parliament has today issued its report into the future of Live music in the UK. The Save London Music Campaign was a key contributor and we are pleased to announce that the committee has agreed with many of our recommendations and conclusions, directly quoting our submission on several occasions. The full report is available below.
The Key recommendations and our commentary
Recommendation 2 – “We recommend the establishment of regional ‘Music Boards’, comprising representatives from the music industry, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders, to advocate for the live music sector and promote its interests in planning and policy decisions. We ask the Government to support the formation of such bodies through its devolution deals, or the Local Enterprise Partnerships in areas where no combined authorities have been established. (Paragraph 19) “ The Save London Music Campaign welcomes this with the proviso that there is strong represenation from the grassroots music sector. If the people running small venues are not at the table this will be a missed opportunity.
Recommendation 12 – “The Government should immediately review the impact of recent business rates changes on the live music sector and introduce new, or extend existing, relief schemes, such as those for pubs or small retail properties, to lessen the burden of business rates on music venues. (Paragraph 71) “ The Save London Music Campaign welcomes this as an important step towards reducing financial pressures on music related businesses.
Recommendation 13 – ” We recommend that in the next legislative session the Government appoints a statutory consultative body to promote the protection of music venues, provide advice to local authorities on relevant planning applications and monitor how ‘agent of change’ is applied in practice around the country. (Paragraph 76) ” We have been campaigning for this since the start of the campaign and welcome this recommendation, asking for this to be given top legaslative priority.
Recommendation 14 – ” We request that the Government supplies us with a full post-legislative memorandum for the Live Music Act 2012 before the end of this parliamentary session. We believe that the Government should amend the Act to extend its provisions to venues with a capacity over 500 and beyond 11pm and ask for the memorandum to consider these proposals and set out the Government’s intentions for them. We also ask the Government to extend the creative industries tax relief to support other forms of music production, in addition to that already given for orchestral performances. (Paragraph 85)” We welcome this and it was a key suggestion of many stakeholders including the Save London Music campaign.
Recommendation 15 – “We ask that in its next ten-year strategy, the Arts Council makes explicit how it plans to redress the balance in funding for grassroots venues and contemporary music, with a view to securing the infrastructure and leadership that will enable them to maximise business opportunities. (Paragraph 91) ” This is a key element of the Save London Music Stretegy for protecting live music venues.
Recommendation 17 – ” The Government’s independent expert panel should engage musicians from different genres, stakeholders from across the music industry, and young people to ensure the new model music curriculum reflects how people make and consume music in the modern age, as well as the industry’s skills-needs now and into the future. (Paragraph 98) ” We are keen to see diverse music genres given the same recognition and status as more established and main stream genres. Arts council support for grassroots venues is something which should have been established many years ago.
Recommendation 20 – “We recommend that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and UK Music convene a taskforce this year comprised of musicians’ representatives and corporate stakeholders to explore how the industry may be supported and incentivised to invest more effectively in supporting grassroots talent. (Paragraph 113) “ We welcome this recommendation. Investment in Grassroots talent is key to the health of the UK Music Scene.
Recommendation 22 – ” We repeat our call for the Government to develop an immigration policy that recognises the broader contribution individuals make, beyond their salary level. We also ask the Government to detail in its response to this report how it will engage with the music industry and consider the industry’s views in the formulation of its immigration policy. (Paragraph 121) ” London is a melting pot of talent and our diversity of musical talent is our USP. We welcome the recognition of this by the Committee.
Save London Music Campaign commentary
Whilst we welcome the report, especially the key recommendations listed above, there are several key points we would like to make. Whilst we believe the committee has done a sterling job, we question why there is not a single London MP on the committee. As London is the cultural hub of the UK this seems to us to be a major structural issue. This is important as there is no MP on the committee which our campaign can liaise with directly as a stakeholder to work towards the aim of preserving and strengthening the grassroots music scene in the Capital. We need a champion for London on the committee. We are disappointed that so much of the report was taken up with discussion of secondary ticketing, which is not an issue confined to Live Music, with major sports events, etc being affected. We would like to see the two streams separated. We do not see secondary ticketing as being an issue for grassroots venues, which are the key for maintaining our live music scene.
This report is a good starting point. We will be continuing to work with the Committee to build on the good work they have done. Click here to read our key objectives.