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CTS Eventim bolstered by €102m government aid

CTS Eventim will receive “extraordinary” Covid-19 financial aid from the German federal government for the months of November and December 2020.

The Munich-based, pan-European live entertainment confirmed that it would be receiving €102 million in government funding “to strengthen the result for the current financial year and the company’s liquidity”.

The federal government set up financial aid in order to compensate companies, institutions and self-employed people for lost sales during the months in which Germany went into lockdown.

Grants of up to 75% of sales from November and December 2019 were granted proportionally for the number of days of closure during the same months in 2020.

The funding for CTS comes after the company reported that group revenue in 2020 fell by 82.2% year-on-year to €256.8m (2019: €1,443bn). Ticketing and live entertainment were the hardest hit.

“CTS is superbly positioned when live shows return to concert halls and our business revives”

Revenue in the company’s ticketing division for the whole of 2020 was 73.7% lower year-on-year, at €126.6m (2019: €481.6m).

In the live entertainment division, revenue in the whole of 2020 was 86.1% lower year-on-year, at €136.8m (2019: €985.8m).

Despite the sharp drop in sales during 2020, Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim said the company is “superbly positioned when live shows return to concert halls and our business revives”.

“In view of the increasing availability of vaccines and rapid tests, and the progress of vaccination campaigns, there are good prospects that our industry can start getting back to normal over the next few months,” he added.

Throughout 2020, the company continued the international expansion of its Eventim Live promoter network, establishing the Gadget abc Entertainment Group in Switzerland, partnering with legendary US promoter Michael Cohl, and acquiring a majority stake in the Barracuda Group in Austria.

In 2021, CTS acquired Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus, led by Matt Schwarz, taking the network up to 36 promoters in 15 countries.

 


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European markets adopt stringent Covid measures

Across Europe, governments are introducing tough new restrictions in an attempt to battle a second wave of coronavirus.

France has declared a public health emergency after confirming 22,951 cases of Covid-19 yesterday (14 October).

President Emmanuel Macron has reacted by imposing a night-time curfew in the capital Paris and its suburbs, as well as Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier, affecting 20 million people out of a total population of some 67 million.

The 9 pm–6 am curfew will come into effect from Saturday and last for at least four weeks, with a view to extending to six.

“We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus,” said president Macron during a television address yesterday.

“We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus”

Elsewhere, Germany has announced a “hotspot strategy” to tackle its cases, which are today at the highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic, with 6,638 recorded cases.

If an area records more than 35 new infections per 100,000 people over seven days, masks will become mandatory in all places where people have close contact for an extended period. The number of people allowed to gather will also be limited to 25 in public and 15 in private spaces.

Once a threshold of 50 new infections per 100,000 is exceeded, even tougher restrictions will apply. These include limiting private gatherings to 10 people or two households, and the closure of restaurants after 11 pm.

“I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic,” said chancellor Angela Merkel.

Earlier today, Spain‘s north-eastern region of Catalonia forced bars and restaurants to close for 15 days. Once again, venues will have to operate at 50% in accordance with the new measures adopted by the Generalitat, after less than a month of operating at 70% in many Catalan municipalities.

All cultural activities must end – and venues must close – before 11 pm. Spectators must always be seated and in a pre-assigned seat.

“I am convinced that what we do now will be decisive for how we come through this pandemic”

Northern Ireland has imposed a four-week circuit breaker lockdown, forcing the closure of non-essential retail outlets, gyms, pools, leisure centres, as well as the hospitality sector – excluding takeaways and deliveries.

Infection rates “must be turned down now or we will be in a very difficult place very soon indeed,” first minister Arlene Foster told lawmakers in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Yesterday, a partial lockdown came into force in the Netherlands, limiting music venues and theatres to a maximum of 30 visitors, in conjunction with the pre-existing metre-and-a-half rule and the rule that no more than four people may attend a performance or concert together.

The new restrictions also include a widespread ban on outdoor events and a ban on alcohol consumption in public areas between 8 pm and 7 am. Discotheques and night clubs must now remain closed until a coronavirus vaccine is on the market.

The measures came into effect yesterday (14 October) and will remain in place for at least two weeks, after which the cabinet will assess the infection rate and decide on next steps.

Czech Republic, which has the highest rate of infection in Europe over the past two weeks at 581.3 cases per 100,000 people, has imposed a three-week partial lockdown, shutting schools, bars and clubs until 3 November.

 


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Sweden to set aside 80m kr for Covid-secure events

The Swedish government has published a decision on how the extra 1.5bn kr in crisis support for culture will be dispersed.

The live music sector will be granted a total of 881m kr, to be distributed by The State Council for Culture and the Swedish Arts Council.

A portion of that, 80m kr, will be set aside for arranging cultural events under Covid-secure restrictions this year, now that organisers “have the knowledge and commitment to be able to carry out events in a safe manner”.

Up to 400 million kr, will be distributed to organisers as compensation for lost revenue from cancelled or postponed events, following the same protocol as the initial package released in spring.

The new compensation covers the period from June to September and is dependant upon the European Commission’s approval.

“Organisers now have the knowledge and commitment to be able to carry out events in a safe manner”

The package will also enable the Swedish Arts Council to distribute support to professionals whose income depends on live events such as sound, light and stage technicians.

The remaining money from the support fund will be distributed across the cultural sector to organisations including The Film Institute, The Artists’ Committee and The Authors’ Fund.

The news of the distribution comes after the Swedish government proposed an exception to its current coronavirus restrictions which would permit events with a seated audience of up to 500 participants, one metre apart.

The proposition is due to be confirmed today and implemented on 15 October, provided the country’s infection rate doesn’t worsen.

The government previously confirmed that today, restaurants, restaurants and cafés will no longer be restricted by the 50-person limit. Concerts held in restaurants were previously affected not only by the requirements of restaurants but also by the ban on public gatherings and public events, causing confusion.

 


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Swedish gov proposes relief for live events

The Swedish government has proposed an exception to its current coronavirus restrictions which would permit events with a seated audience of up to 500 participants, one metre apart.

During a press conference on Tuesday (29 September), minister of culture Amanda Lind revealed the new plans, which are due to be confirmed on 8 October and implemented on 15 October, provided the country’s infection rate doesn’t worsen.

Lind also announced that from 8 October, restaurants, restaurants and cafés will no longer be restricted by the 50-person limit.

Concerts held in restaurants were previously affected not only by the requirements of restaurants but also by the ban on public gatherings and public events, causing confusion.

“I appreciate the sense of responsibility, constructiveness and forward-thinking spirit that cultural industries has shown”

“I am grateful for the dialogue the government and I have had with the industries that have been hit hard and I appreciate the sense of responsibility, constructiveness and forward-thinking spirit that cultural industries, sports, religious communities and many others have shown,” says Lind.

“The work has been characterized by a willingness to think creatively and to use every single tool available to create safe events.”

The proposal of the 500-capacity limit and one-metre social distancing has been backed by the Swedish Public Health Agency.

The government will seek further advice from the public health body about ways to ease or tighten restrictions depending on the virus and also look at the possibility of making further exceptions for sitting arrangements.

Last month, Sweden’s government announced an extra 1.5 billion kr (€144m) for culture this year to compensate for the economic consequences caused by the pandemic and ensure the sector’s full recovery.

 


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Norway gov to allow 600-capacity outdoor shows

The Norweigan government will increase the capacity of outdoor events from 200 to 600 people from 12 October when the national corona restrictions are relaxed.

Prime minister Erna Solberg announced at a press conference yesterday (30 September) that it will be permitted for up to 600 people to attend an outdoor event at the same time, provided they are divided into groups of up to 200 people.

For seated events, one seat between each person is required, however, people in the same household are allowed to sit together.

The capacity for indoor events remains at 200 people maximum but the government has committed to reviewing the possibility of increasing it to 600 when the infection rate allows.

“Now, we can better target the measures so that the burden on the individual and on society is as small as possible”

“We are now in a different situation than when we closed down in March. The municipalities have upgraded their preparedness, and we have more knowledge about the corona pandemic,” says prime minister Solberg.

“This means that we can better target the measures so that the burden on the individual and on society is as small as possible. We can therefore open up for some relief nationally.”

Minister of culture and gender equality Abid Q. Raja says: “I am glad that we can go from two to one available seat between us in places with fixed seats – it is important for many. We will also, as soon as the infection situation dictates, make a new assessment of the possibility of opening indoor events with up to 600 people present.”

In areas that have been affected by local outbreaks, such as the capital city Oslo, Arendal and Øygarden, the local rules will take precedence over national ones.

The ban on serving alcohol after midnight, which has been in place since 8 August, will be lifted when the restrictions ease.

 


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Danish gov offers subsidies for autumn events

Danish cultural institutions, such as music venues, can apply for substantial subsidies to fund socially-distanced events taking place during September and October.

The Danish government is offering compensation of up to 65% of an event’s cost for organisers of audience-oriented cultural activities such as concerts.

The event(s) must take into account Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines, such as capacity restrictions, and must be completed in the period from and including 1 September to and including 31 October this year.

Applications are open until 31 October and organisations can apply for compensation retroactively.

Organisations can apply for grants for several activities – such as a concert series – in the same application

Organisations can apply for grants for several activities – such as a concert series – in the same application and can request funding for both direct and indirect costs. Grants are capped at DKK 1.5 million per activity.

Applicants must be CVR registered before 1 June 2020 and have an annual turnover of at least DKK 1m.

Institutions that have received grants to present live music in 2020 from at least one of the two Danish Arts Foundation (Statens Kunstfonds) pools, can apply for these grants regardless of their annual turnover.

The Palaces and Culture Agency will be responsible for awarding grants. See full terms and conditions here.

 


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Spanish gov commits to supporting events sector

Following last week’s #WeMakeEvents/Red Alert protests in Spain, the campaign group (Alerta Roja) has met with the minister for culture and sports to ask for a package of measures to support the country’s struggling production sector.

The meeting, which took place on Monday (28 September), saw minister José Luis Rodríguez Uribes commit to working in coordination with the relevant ministries, public institutions and the sector to find solutions to the crisis.

The minister pledged to review why professionals in the sector have not yet received benefits and subsidies and to establish financial support for the sector based on what it contributes to the economy, for the approval of general state budgets.

“Almost 3 hours of work with Alerta Roja. We have shared diagnoses and we have agreed on solutions and, above all, we have expressed a common will for dialogue and collaboration. Musicians, public performance artists and technicians need our support and solidarity,” says minister of culture and sports, José Luis Rodríguez Uribes.

The minister has also committed to making progressive steps towards the return to live – in accordance with Covid guidelines and recommendations – and designing a specific plan to support the return of popular culture and festivals.

“We have agreed on ways of solving and, above all, we have expressed a common will for dialogue and collaboration”

Today, he will deliver the conclusions from the meeting to the ministry of labour and the ministry of industry and tourism and organise a meeting with both ministries in the coming days.

The Alerta Roja campaign had previously declined a meeting with the minister of culture and sports, noting that: “We need a meeting with all the ministries involved: culture and sports, labour, industry, tourism, economic affairs and the treasury.”

Monday’s meeting was a result of last Thursday’s protest which saw the Spanish production sector take to the streets to demand “firm, solid and durable foundations” for the future of live events in Spain.

According to the Alerta Roja campaign group, around 20,000 people turned out in 26 Spanish cities. Prominent buildings and venues were illuminated red to raise awareness of the state’s perceived lack of support for the sector during the coronavirus crisis.

Today, around 20 countries will light buildings red and, where possible, hold socially-distanced demonstrations under the #WeMakeEvents banner for a global day of action.

 


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Harvey Goldsmith: ‘Crew are the engine of our business’

Legendary promoter Harvey Goldsmith CBE was among the UK’s leading live industry figures who attended the #WeMakeEvents campaign in London last night (11 August).

The UK-wide initiative, organised by the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (Plasa), was launched in a bid to draw attention to the struggling freelancers who work across the live events and entertainment sector.

Shows of support took place in towns and cities such as Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Bristol and Manchester, where hundreds of out-of-work crew workers took part in a silent march past the city’s closed venues.

London’s display saw thousands of professionals from the sector dress in red and line the banks of the River Thames and the surrounding bridges near Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the Tate. The venues were lit in red to signal a “red alert”.

The finale saw a red-hued boat, carrying some of each industry’s most renowned figures including Goldsmith as well as singer-songwriter Frank Turner and Level 42 bassist Mark King, speed past the venues while the professionals and volunteers symbolised the “throw us a line” theme.

These people here are the engine of our business. Without them, we don’t have a business,” Goldsmith told IQ

“Making events is their livelihood so I’m all for events like this and I’m 100% behind what they’re doing. What they’ve done tonight with #WeMakeEvents is fantastic,” he concluded.

“None of us is worried about the future, we just all want to make sure we can get there”

Audiotonix CEO James Gordon delivered a keynote speech on the boat, relaying the top three objectives of the #WeMakeEvents campaign. The demands include a sector-specific furlough scheme, an extension to the self-employed and income support scheme for freelancers, and grants instead of loans for businesses in the supply chain that have been out of work.

“None of us is worried about the future, we just all want to make sure we can get there and return to being one of the fastest-growing sectors consistently in the UK,” Gordon said.

The UK’s live music sector, in particular, is currently pushing the government for a provisional date to reopen, a multi-year extension of the cultural VAT rate reduction beyond January in line with DCMS’s recent recommendations, and a government-backed reinsurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead.

UK venues were preparing to reopen from 1 August but the government pushed back the next step of lockdown easing by at least two weeks. Goldsmith says he hopes live shows will return without social distancing in the winter but the industry needs the green light first.

“We want a target date. We need four months to get ourselves together, in order to get back,” he tells IQ.

We need to test out different systems for before people arrive at gigs. Social distancing doesn’t work. We want to do a test gig where we can use all of the available safety opportunities to prove that we could do it, like testing and tracking. And then once people are inside they’re inside. I’m working with some venues and we have everything lined up and ready to do a test show in November. We just need a target date.”

#WeMakeEvents follows on from the UK’s initial campaign, Let the Music Play, which highlighted the urgent need for government support to sustain the live industry’s broader ecosystem.

The initiative put forth a social media campaign and a letter laying out the necessary support measures, signed by artists and industry professionals, which was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

Mere days after the campaign, the British government unveiled a £1.57bn package of grants and loans for music and arts organisations, the details of which were later revealed.

 


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Support acts: Which countries are still backing live

With the continent’s coronavirus peak having now passed, concert businesses and fans alike are increasingly asking when and how live music will return to Europe’s clubs, arenas and festivals.

For promoters, agents, venues and all those involved in putting on shows, when that moment comes will depend on when they are able restart their businesses safely and profitably. This, in turn depends on a whole range of factors – such as whether they will need operate at a reduced capacity, if events will need to be held outside and, crucially, whether social distancing will be enforced.

Some three months into the global concert shutdown, then, and things are – in many ways – more uncertain than ever.

There are glimmers of hope, but the level of support from governments is remarkably different between markets. From Germany’s recent mammoth €150m package for live, to some countries – including the UK – still awaiting any sector-specific support, here’s how Europe’s biggest concert markets (defined for the purposes of this article as those which feature in PWC’s top 20 live music markets 2019) compare…

Germany
Europe’s biggest live music market, which unveiled a mammoth €550 billion aid package at the start of the crisis, has in recent weeks announced more support for Germany’s SMEs, including those in the music industry.

In addition to the €1 billion Neustart Kultur (Restart Culture) scheme, which is worth €150m to the live music sector, the German federal government is also offering “bridging aid” (Überbrückungshilfe) for small and medium-sized businesses, which can apply for extra financial help if their turnover declined by at least 60% in April or May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, or by 50% in June and August 2020.

“Although the music industry is not specifically mentioned, [concert] organisers, booking agencies, recording studios, music publishers, record companies, venues and affiliated companies in the event industry are likely to be among those who can apply for help,” notes Backstage Pro.

The Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) welcomed the stimulus packages but has warned it will, in practice, be impossible to reopen with social distancing measures in place, as suggest by the government. “Protecting guests from infection must be the top priority for events,” says BDKV president Jens Michow. “However, if reopening is only be allowed with a minimum distance [between eventgoers], this would effectively mean that the current ban on events would continue.”

Britain
Increasingly frustrated figures from across the live business in the UK are still waiting for any sector-specific support from government. Many associations are calling for clarity as to when events will be allowed to return; a support package that includes VAT reduction on tickets sales and access to longterm finance; and the removal of social distancing restrictions for shows. None have been granted so far.

The UK Live Music Group – part of umbrella body UK Music – warns that the music business will lose a collective £900m (€1bn) if it fails to address these points, as well as an extension of existing furlough and self-employed schemes to stave of thousands of redundancies.

Read UK Music’s recent submission to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the impact of coronavirus here.

Germany’s €1bn Neustart Kultur scheme is worth €150m to the live music sector

France
Building on previous support measures, including a ‘solidarity fund’ for small businesses, a short-term unemployment scheme for freelancers and a €50m music and festival fund, the French government is extending further aid to sectors of the economy which have suffered a “very sharp drop in activity” as a result of the coronavirus, including the live music industry.

The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced on 10 June that “companies in the hotel, restaurant, café, tourism, events, sport, culture and related” sectors will continue to receive aid under the “partial activity” (ie furlough) scheme until at least September, while also benefitting from a lower bar to entry for the solidarity fund – which will be opened to companies with up to 20 employees, and with a turnover up of to €2m, until the end of 2020.

For non-leisure and tourism companies, pay-outs under the solidarity fund ended up 31 May.

Small and medium-sized businesses in these sectors will also benefit from an employer social security contributions holiday from February to June, while artists/composers will be entitled to a reduction in their contributions based on their 2019 income.

Italy
As the country enters phase three of ending lockdown, the Italian concert industry – which achieved a major (if controversial) win in April by convincing authorities to write into law a ticket voucher scheme for cancelled events – is pinning its post-Covid-19 hopes on article 186 of the Relaunch Decree (Decreto Rilancio), which sets out stimulus spending ahead of Italy’s return to normality.

Among its provisions are an extension of the voucher scheme (which allows promoters to issue credit instead of cash refunds) for another six months, taking its duration to 18 months from March 2020, and an increase in financial support for the entertainment and media sectors, from €130m to €245 in 2020.

The ministry of culture has also been given control of a €210m emergency fund which will be distributed to those who have lost money as a result of the cancellation of “major events, fairs, congresses and exhibitions due to the Covid-19 emergency”.

Not everyone is happy with the content of the decree: Many in the Italian recorded music industry are concerned that it focuses too much on live music companies, with Dario Giovanni, of Carosello Records, saying record labels should also be included in the emergency fund.

French events businesses will continue to benefit from the partial-activity scheme until September

Netherlands
Industry associations in the Netherlands are in negotiations with the government about further financial aid for the sector, following the initial €300m support package for cultural businesses announced in April.

According to the new Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers) – an umbrella organisation comprising promoters’ association VVEM, festival/venues body VNPF and more – the live industry is “positive about” a recent conversation with ministers, who invited the association’s representatives to “talk further about financial compensation” and discussed an initiative “to jointly investigate what is possible in the events sector”.

While gatherings of 100 people are set to be allowed from 1 July, industry representatives are also pushing for that cap to be raised, or abolished altogether, says the alliance, which notes that “museums, amusement parks, public transport and shopping centres” have no such limitation (beyond 1.5m social distancing).

“The Alliance of Event Builders is of the opinion that, with the proper precautions and a good event protocol, more is possible, and that customisation should be considered,” it adds. “For example, a football stadium, trade fair or concert venue has more square metres and facilities than a small theatre.”

Russia
Support for the industry has been slow coming in Europe’s sixth-largest concert market, with Chess & Jazz festival’s Nick Babin telling IQ last month that “we have [had] no support from the Russian authorities and no dialogue with the government”.

However, the Russian ministry of culture said last Thursday (11 June) that it will add to the 380bn ₽ (€49m) already allocated to state-owned theatre and concert companies with a fund to support “small private cultural institutions” when restrictions on events are lifted. This could – depending on how the government defines “culture” – offer a potential lifeline to the country’s hard-hit live music businesses.

Industry associations in the Netherlands are in negotiations with the government about further financial aid for the sector

Sweden
While it says it values the government’s previously announced support for the events industry, Swedish live music association Svensk Live continues to push for an extension to a 500m kr. (€46m) scheme to compensate those forced to cancel their events.

The original cut-off date of 31 May, says the association, excludes festivals and open-air shows planned for the traditional “high season” for live music, which represents a large proportion of most companies’ turnover.

“The Covid-19 epidemic and the ban on public events have fundamentally changed this,” reads a letter sent to Sweden’s minister of culture, Amanda Lind, by Svensk Live’s Joppe Pihlgren.

“Particularly hard hit are the festival organisers around the country, preparing for their event on a yearly basis, and who finance one year of operating costs for their company with revenue from the festival, but have been forced to cancel the event,” writes Pihlgren.

As the “summer festivals that are organised after 31 May have not somehow got better conditions in order to cope with the financial situation they are in,” he concludes, the support scheme must be extended to cover the entire summer.

Switzerland
Although restrictions have been lifted on events of up to 300 people in Switzerland, the country’s live music sector says its needs significantly higher capacity limits – and continued support from the government – to make possible a return to normal.

Switzerland’s income support scheme for the self-employed ended at the end of May, leaving thousands of production staff, crew and other live industry freelancers without any means of support, according to Jörg Gantenbein, president of the Swiss Association of Technical Stage and Events Professionals (SVTB).

Associations like the SVTB and Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA) have called – unsuccessfully – for compensation for the scheme to be extended for those working in the events industry until the end of August, while the SMPA is additionally asking for emergency aid for creative-industry business and professionals to be extended until the resumption of “normal” business (ie the end of the coronavirus crisis), among other measures.

Sweden’s Svensk Live is pushing for an extension to €46m compensation scheme for those forced to cancel their events

Denmark
Good news in Denmark, as Sunday 14 June saw the government confirm that the phasing out of existing relief packages would be accompanied by the introduction of a targeted scheme to help companies affected by a ban on events that lasts until 31 August.

The initiative – which kicks in on 9 July and lasts until 31 August – allows for compensation of up to 100% of expenses for companies which have no revenue and which are prohibited from opening by the restrictions, up to a maximum of 60m kr. (€8m). The scheme will be reviewed in September.

The government is also extending the existing support scheme for freelancers and the self-employed; launching a new aid scheme for artists; and providing 700m kr. towards organising a series of summer events, towards which promoters’ association Dansk Live will contribute.

Norway
Norway’s compensation scheme for concert organisers, as well as support for freelancers, must be extended “as long as there is a prohibition on gatherings with large audiences”, says Ole Henrik Antonsen, chair of the Norwegian Music Industry Council. (Concerts are currently capped at 200 people.)

While no new sector-specific initiatives have been announced in recent weeks, the Norwegian Live Music Association (NKA) recommended its members apply for funding to Arts Council Norway, which has a specific grant or concert promoters. “It is more important now than ever that the organisers seek support from this scheme,” says NKA GM Tone Østerdal.

In Denmark, a new scheme will benefit companies affected by the ban on major events, which lasts until 31 August

Austria
According to umbrella organisation Music Austria, the help available to music professionals in Austria finally reached the “minimum level” needed to support the business at the tail end of last month, in the form of various initiatives including fixed-cost subsidies. a hardship fund and a “bridging fund” for artists.

Not everyone agrees, however: a rally on Heldenplatz in Vienna on Sunday (15 June) called for a “special support package for our entire industry”, in the words of Stiletto Stohl, founder of production business IG Event Technicians. The rally – dubbed ‘Ohne uns’ (‘Without us’) – saw protestors demand from the government what they say is long-overdue assistance for the live business, especially compared to the help that has been given to other industry.

Stohl said the industry is a net contributor to the economy, and does not need special treatment –  merely targeted help and relief in dealing with the crisis. “We do not need 600 millions euros donated for 1,000 jobs, like at AUA,” he said, in reference to the recent €600m bail-out of Austrian Airlines.

Belgium
In Belgium, live events companies have similarly been largely forgotten, with companies who organise concerts and other live events eligible only for a one-off compensation payment of €3,000, according to the newly formed Alliance of Belgian Event Federations (Alliantie van Belgische Eventfederaties).

“There are good tax measures in the pipeline. But, for now, the event sector is completely outside the support measures,” says federation spokesperson Bruno Schaubroeck, who is calling for a concrete date when major live events may restart in Belgium.

“With the continuing uncertainty, the risk of bankruptcies increases every hour,” he says. “We are ready for a safe restart.”

Spain’s Es Música is asking authorities to set up a ‘state compensation fund’ to cover Covid-19-related losses

Spain
Beyond a wider campaign that seeks to extend Spain’s furlough scheme until 31 December, the Spanish live music sector, through umbrella organisation Es Música, is asking authorities to set up a ‘state compensation fund’ that would cover losses incurred by companies as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This fund, the organisation suggests, should be accompanied by other “financial incentives”, such as a temporary reduction in VAT and corporation tax, which would put the industry on a solid footing as it moves towards reopening.

Es Música – of which the Association of Music Promoters (APM) is a founding member – has put its proposals in a ‘recovery and reactivation’ roadmap it has sent to the Spanish ministry of culture and sports.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times. Is anything in this article incorrect or out of date? Email jon@iq-mag.net with any updates.

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UK govt unveils plan for self-employed workers

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak today (26 March) announced a support package aimed at helping the country’s five million self-employed workers, in news that will likely be met with relief from the 72% of the UK music industry workforce who are self-employed.

The announcement comes after extensive lobbying from industry bodies representing touring crew, production staff and other live events freelancers facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellor said he knew self-employed people were “deeply concerned” by the risk of losing their livelihoods, making specific mention to musicians and sound engineers.

Sunak announced that self-employed people will have access to a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profit over the past three years, up to £2,500 a month for at least three months. The chancellor says the measures will cover 95% of the country’s self-employed workers.

“This is the same as the measures made available to furloughed employees,” said Sunak, making the scheme “one of the most generous in the world”.

“This provides an unprecedented level of support for self-employed people”

In order to ensure targeted support, the scheme is open to those with trading profits of up to £50,000 and only to those who make the majority of their earnings through self-employment. Access to the scheme will be available no later than the beginning of June.

As of today, self-employed people can also begin to access universal credit in full and the business interruption loan scheme, which was opened up for businesses last week.

A further measure allows those who missed the tax return deadline at the end of January four weeks from today to submit their returns.

“This provides an unprecedented level of support for self-employed people,” said Sunak.

The support package follows previous measures that have seen the government back £330 billion in guaranteed loans for businesses – although many companies that do not meet the lending criteria currently remain without access to these loans –, business rates exemption, cash grants and wage subsidies.

“The chancellor should outline interim financial help for the self-employed to help them survive until the support scheme kicks in”

UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl says the help will be “a vital lifeline to thousands in the music industry”.

“It is important the chancellor recognised in his remarks that musicians and sound engineers are among the many in our sector who have seen their work dry up and need support fast.

“We need immediate and urgent help for the self-employed. People need financial support now and cannot wait until June for the scheme to kick in or wait weeks for payments under universal credit.

“The chancellor should outline interim financial help for the self-employed to help them survive until the support scheme kicks in. He should make clear whether the support will be backdated.

“There remains a need for support for those in the music industry that have not been self-employed for very long, including recent graduates, who will not qualify for this grant.”

 


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