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Labour wins landslide UK election: The biz reacts

The UK live music business has warmly welcomed Labour Party’s historic landslide general election triumph.

Labour will form a government under the leadership of new prime minister Keir Starmer, ending 14 years of Conservative rule.

Requiring 326 seats for a majority, Starmer’s party has claimed 412 seats to the Rishi Sunak-led Conservatives’ 121 – the worst defeat in the latter’s parliamentary history.

“The change begins right here,” said Starmer. “Because this is your democracy, your community and your future. You have voted. It is now time for us to deliver.”

Labour included multiple references to the live music business in its manifesto ahead of yesterday’s (4 July) vote, pledging to cap ticket resale and improve EU touring for UK artists by “tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade”.

“Having worked closely with the party in opposition, LIVE looks forward to working with the incoming Labour government to deliver on its ambitions of making the creative industries central to national renewal, economic growth and boosting the UK’s reputation on the world stage,” says Jon Collins, CEO of trade body LIVE. “The live music sector generated over £6 billion in 2023, with one gig held every four minutes, but this growth has not been uniformly experienced across the sector.

“It is critical that the incoming Labour government delivers on the Culture, Media, and Sport Select Committee’s recommendations for an urgent review of reintroducing a lower rate of VAT on live music tickets and finding other ways to support grassroots music.”

“We hope Labour will work with our whole industry to boost opportunities, increase the talent pool and offer a wider range of live music experiences”

Collins continues: “We also look forward to working closely with the Labour government on our shared manifesto proposals to enable UK artists to tour internationally more easily and clamp down on ticket touts.

“We hope Labour will work with our whole industry to boost opportunities, increase the talent pool and offer a wider range of live music experiences to music fans up and down the UK.”

David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), also offers his congratulations to the incoming government.

“It’s especially important that we can pick up on unfinished business from the previous parliament and quickly deliver the much-anticipated reforms to music streaming alongside greater support for the live music ecosystem,” he adds. “Music and culture should play a key role in the UK’s future success, so it’s vital that the foundations of our business are reset on a sound and artist-friendly footing.”

Music Managers Forum (MMF) chief executive Annabella Coldrick says the result should serve as a “watershed moment” for the music business.

“We look forward to helping the new Labour government deliver their manifesto commitments on international touring and online ticket touting, both areas on which the MMF has led through the #LetTheMusicMove and FanFair Alliance campaigns,” she says. “For the sake of artists and fans, we all want to see quick progress on both these issues.”

“Our call to Sir Keir and to the incoming culture secretary will be for urgent lowering of VAT on festival ticket sales to 5%”

Labour has vowed to introduce new consumer protections on ticket resale “to put fans back at the heart of events”. The move would include restricting the resale of tickets at more than a small, set percentage above face value, and limit the number of tickets individual resellers can list.

In addition, it would make platforms accountable for the accuracy of information about tickets they list for sale and ensure the Competition and Markets Authority has the powers that it needs to take action against platforms and touts, to protect consumers.

“The Labour Party manifesto reiterated their commitment to capping ticket resale prices and protecting fans from exploitation, and everyone involved with FanFair Alliance will now look to support the new government in achieving that goal as quickly as possible,” says Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting group FanFair Alliance.

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO John Rostron took the opportunity to resume the organisation’s calls for a VAT reduction on tickets. AIF states that a reduced VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years will give festival promoters the space they need to rebuild.

“Our call to Sir Keir and to the incoming culture secretary will be for urgent lowering of VAT on festival ticket sales to 5% to mitigate independent festival closures in the UK and sow seeds for growth in 2025,” says Rostron. “We hope, also, that this government will take forward the recommendations of the CMS inquiry into grassroots music venues.”

Lisa Nandy, formerly shadow cabinet minister for international development, has been promoted to culture secretary

There is some disappointment, however, that shadow culture secretary Thangham Debbonaire lost her Bristol Central seat to the Green Party, while musicians Tom Gray of Gomez and Dave Rowntree of Blur, who both stood for Labour, failed in their bids to become MPs.

“We’re sorry to see Thangham Debbonaire lose her seat – she has been excellent in the role of shadow secretary of state for culture,” adds Rostron. “We hope all incoming MPs will now be able to relax for a short while and celebrate at this summer’s array of independent festivals.”

Lisa Nandy, formerly shadow cabinet minister for international development, has been promoted to culture secretary by Starmer. She succeeds former Conservative MP Lucy Frazer in the role. Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd says the group “warmly welcomes Nandy’s appointment”.

“Lisa arrives into the role at a critical time for live music in our communities, with the opportunity to deliver real, positive, long lasting change that can protect, secure and improve the nation’s grassroots music venues,” he says. “We look forward to meeting with her as soon as possible so we can begin the work of getting British music back to its rightful position as the beating heart of our towns and cities.”


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