The UK live music scene is under threat
Live music is at the heart of the UK’s thriving music scene. It builds and sustains musicians’ careers, contributes almost £1 billion to the economy and, most importantly, entertains music lovers around the country.
However, there are concerns that the live music success story is under threat.
There are problems with the resale of tickets, music venues around the country closing down, and a lack of training or funding for the next generation of musical talent. These all risk stifling this internationally-renowned industry.
We launched an inquiry into live music
In early 2018, the 11 MPs of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee launched an inquiry into live music.
We wanted to understand more about the challenges facing the industry and what needs to be done to support it. To do so, we heard from artists, promoters, venue operators and industry bodies.
Tell us why #livemusicmatters by tweeting us your best gig stories and help inform our new inquiry into Live Music.— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) February 22, 2018
Follow our inquiry: https://t.co/4r2BRUFIR7
Terms of reference: https://t.co/lXALvYhHUI pic.twitter.com/GwZgWGtKCL
Three ways to safeguard live music
Our report makes the case for Government and local authorities to take specific steps to help fans, artists and venues, but recognises that large companies also have a responsibility to support the grassroots that they will ultimately profit from.
Here are three of our key recommendations we are making to the Government.
1. Tackle longstanding problems with ticket resale through effective monitoring and enforcement of consumer protection laws
Music fans shared their frustration at buying tickets on resale sites and then feeling misled or ripped-off. Recent changes in the ticketing market and action by regulators have led to improvements; however, problems remain.
ICYMI: @DamianCollins yesterday responded to viagogo’s claims that the @CMAgovuk’s action against them prevented them from giving evidence on secondary ticketing. Mr Collins described their actions as disrespectful to the @HouseofCommons and viagogo customers.#LiveMusicMatters pic.twitter.com/YBxtF6mvuS— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) September 6, 2018
The Government needs to ensure existing legislation is robustly enforced — especially against viagogo. Our report recommends that the Competition and Markets Authority “acts promptly and decisively to bring viagogo into line with consumer law and, until it does so, we advise the public not to buy or sell tickets via viagogo.”
2. Stop music venues closing down by reviewing business rates, increasing funding for grassroots venues and protecting their interests in planning decisions
Grassroots music venues — often smaller, unsubsidised spaces that host up-and-coming bands — face many challenges. In recent years, many iconic venues around the country have closed, and those that remain struggle to stay afloat.
ICYMI: Owner of @100clubLondon Jeff Horton warns us that music venue closures will have knock-on effects for festivals and tourism, following a question from Chair @DamianCollins. #LiveMusicMatters— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) October 12, 2018
Find out more: https://t.co/3qVHGJS8gk pic.twitter.com/GM42zu4dJQ
We recommend that the Government reviews business rates for live music venues. We also make the case for local and funding bodies to develop strategies aimed at supporting music venues by listening to their concerns.
ICYMI: Ben Lovett, founder of @OmearaLondon, tells us about the importance of grassroots venues to @MumfordAndSons, and suggests London lags behind other cities in places to hear live music. Question from @DamianCollins. #LiveMusicMatters— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) October 12, 2018
Find out more: https://t.co/3qVHGJS8gk pic.twitter.com/cX1KZUKKOL
3. Invest in the next generation of talent by reforming music education and artists' funding
A career in music is an exciting proposition and there is a vast range of jobs available to those with a passion for it. We recommend that the music curriculum reflects the range of jobs in the industry so that the next generation of musicians and technicians have the skills it needs. The Government and industry also need to think collaboratively about how to support musicians in making a living from touring, especially after Britain leaves the European Union.
As part of our inquiry into live music, we spoke to @ShaoDowMusic when he came to @UKParliament to talk about his experiences as an artist in the music industry.— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsCMS) March 19, 2019
Read the summary of our recommendations: https://t.co/jaezGk5Isq#LiveMusicMatters @houseofcommons @damiancollins pic.twitter.com/bOQ72UUUVF
The Government must now respond to our report
We are giving these recommendations to the Government as the DCMS Committee, 11 MPs from different political parties.
If you're interested in the work of our committee, find out more about our other inquiries.