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The Associates: NAA, Plasa, Prodiss

Covid-19 has impacted every business sector around the world, but with live entertainment likely to be one of the last industries to return, given social distancing regulations, the associations that represent its millions of employees have never been more important.

As restrictions in many countries enter yet another month, for issue 91 IQ found out more about some of our association partners and discovered just what they are doing to help their members navigate and survive.

Following the last instalment with Liveurope, Music Managers Forum and Music Venue Trust, this time we check in with the National Arenas Association, Plasa and Prodiss.


The National Arenas Association (UK & Ireland)
The National Arenas Association (NAA) represents 23 UK- and Republic of Ireland-based arenas, all of which have a capacity of 5,000 or more.

The organisation focuses on best practice, networking, and achieving consistency across the arena network.

The NAA also offers comprehensive training courses with a variety of modules for those working in the industry.

Membership fees are £1,400 (€1,570) per year, plus a contribution to the NAA training programme.

Throughout the pandemic situation, the NAA has been engaging with its members as much as possible through email, video meetings and regular steering committee meetings.

The chair of the NAA also sits on the board of the UK Live Music Group, which has been instrumental during this period, allowing arena operators to provide input to UK Music as a whole, which is continuously lobbying government on pertinent issues regarding venues and the live entertainment sector.

Along with the Concert Promoters Association and the British Association of Concert Halls, the NAA has also formed a working group to focus on the reopening of venues.

The chair of the association is there to answer questions from any members of the NAA.

The NAA offers comprehensive training courses with a variety of modules for those working in the industry

Plasa (UK)
Plasa is the lead membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event and entertainment industries.

Its members represent global manufacturers and distributors; production specialists; iconic venues; regional rental houses; and freelancers.

Plasa members work across the complete spectrum of events and entertainment, with involvement in concerts and touring; festivals; performing arts; film and TV; and major sporting projects.

It’s all about pro-audio, all kinds of lighting, pyrotechnics, lasers, smoke machines, massive screens, special effects, set and staging, and most importantly, creative people who love what they do.

Plasa currently has 425 company and individual members from all sectors of the industry. Business membership costs £350-1,100 (€390-1240).

Organisations such as industry bodies and education institutes can join for £200 (€225), and individuals can join for only £95 (€106).

As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, Plasa stepped up, lobbying the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for International Trade, to secure the same valuable support available to other sectors.

Recently, Plasa collaborated with like-minded associations in the entertainment sector to launch the #EventsForTheFuture initiative with the collective aim of amplifying that voice.

The association has conducted two member surveys looking at the short-term and predicted long-term impacts of the pandemic, and experiences of accessing government support.

The results of both have since been published and shared with government.

Plasa members work across the complete spectrum of events and entertainment

Prodiss (France)
Prodiss is the principal organisation representing the live music industry (promoters, festivals and venues) in France.

Its 400 member companies account for 80% of the turnover of the French live sector.

Prodiss acts as an ambassador for its members, providing a united voice when dealing with public, national and European institutions, in order to defend their interests and lobby for a legislative and regulatory framework that is favourable to live industry development.

The organisation encompasses complementary activities that provide its members with practical and essential services (such as legal, economical, etc.) that accelerate and strengthen their competitiveness.

Prodiss is managed by Malika Séguineau, and its board of directors is chaired by Corida promoter Olivier Darbois.

Prodiss has estimated that the loss of revenue for its member companies throughout the coronavirus pandemic is around €1.8billion.

At the start of the crisis, they set up a strategic action unit, both for its members and to form the communication chain with the government.

Crisis management has included daily individual legal support for members; monitoring of legislative and economical developments related to Covid-19; situation analysis at economical level; and crisis exit scenarios.

The trade body has also organised numerous working groups related to the issues of ticketing, insurance, health protocols, and economic support.


View the full Associates list in the digital edition of IQ 91. To keep on top of the latest live music industry news, features and insights, subscribe to IQ now.

This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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UK industry calls for reversal of Ireland visa restrictions

UK industry associations including the Concert Promoters Association, Association of Independent Festivals and Entertainment Agents’ Association, along with Coda Agency, Music Venue Trust and umbrella group UK Music, have written to the Home Office to urge a rethink of new guidance that requires American artists to apply for British visas if arriving via the Irish republic.

The letter, delivered today by Alex Sobel MP to immigration minister Caroline Nokes, calls on Nokes to reverse changes to recent certificate of sponsorship (CoS) arrangements for visiting entertainers from the US, Canada and South America.

In August 2017, according to the signatories, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) altered guidance so that visiting entertainers from the US and Canada would require UK visas if arriving via the Republic of Ireland.

These changes, they allege, were not properly advertised, and no consultation was held with industry stakeholders, with the result that “it was virtually unknown across the industry very recently.”

“The entertainment industry is uniquely impacted by these changes,” reads the letter, “because there are thousands of entertainment personnel who, for instance, perform or work at a show in Dublin the day before coming to the UK. They work on very tight schedules and sometimes very tight budgets. It’s possible many hundreds of acts will be forced to cancel the Irish leg of their tour because it complicates their UK tour, or vice versa.”

Sobel (pictured), Labour MP for Leeds North West, urges the government to revert to the CoS system to “prevent further damage to the UK’s position as a leading cultural centre in Europe”.

“It’s possible many hundreds of acts will be forced to cancel the Irish leg of their tour because it complicates their UK tour, or vice versa”

He comments: “The Home Office needs to apply some common sense to this issue and reinstate the old system for visiting entertainers. This is bureaucratic box-ticking of the worst sort.

“The danger is performers arriving from the US and Canada are likely to organise shorter European tours – or not at all – due to the additional costs and bureaucracy.

“At a time when we’re told the UK ought to be more outward looking and business focussed, the Home Office has chosen to impose a silly short-sighted policy on one of Britain’s most productive industries.”

UK Music’s director of public affairs and deputy CEO, Tom Kiehl, adds: “The UK music industry is worth £4.4 billion to the economy and accounts for three of the four most popular arenas in the world, attracting global talent like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift and Eminem.

“UK Visas and Immigration are now jeopardising this success by issuing advice that contradicts long established practice in the entertainment sector. The government must look again to ensure the UK can maintain its position as a world leading destination for international tours.”

Writing for IQ, Coda Agency’s Clementine Bunel recently highlighted the difficulties faced by acts from another part of the world, Africa, entering the UK, as a result of changes that mean many cannot apply for visas in their own country.


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PRS live music tariff review continues

PRS for Music is aiming to present a revised tariff for UK live music events in spring 2016 following a consultation period in which it found itself the subject of criticism.

In December, the collection society published a summary of responses from its consultation on the terms of its Popular Music Concerts Tariff that is applied to ticketed live popular music events. That tariff has been set at 3% of gross concert receipts since 1988.

The consultation commenced in April 2015 for an initial eight-week response period. However, the deadline was subsequently extended, following a request from the Concert Promoters Association expressed interest in carrying out its own research as a response to the findings outlined in the consultation documentation.

The consultation received a total of 111 direct responses from across the industry, covering the majority of the live market. And people did not hold back in their criticism of the PRS strategy, with a number of responses voicing suspicions that PRS was aiming to extract more money from the live sector and one suggesting any tariff changes would ultimately be made in an attempt to offset PRS revenue declines in other areas, such as recorded music.

One group response noted that PRS holds a monopoly position that it is abusing, and is acting in an anti-competitive manner. Other responses noted rising costs from PRS’s financial summaries in areas such as personnel; legal and professional fees; employee bonuses and pensions; and the salary of PRS’s highest paid executive.

Responding to IQ’s question about whether there is a ‘them’ and ‘us’ disconnect between PRS and the live music business, the organisation replied, “PRS works closely with the entire live music business on a day-to-day basis. This consultation was designed in order for us to work even more closely with this part of the industry and better understand the sector to find a tariff that is fit for purpose and to simplify the process for licensees and members.”

Denying accusations that PRS will not consider tariff cuts for festivals who spend large parts of their budget on non-music elements, the society says, “The inference that the tariff only looks upwards is wildly speculative. This has been a thorough, robust and detailed consultation process where we gave every opportunity for the industry to comment and contribute, prior to commencing negotiations in the New Year.”