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#LetTheMusicMove: Groups oppose US visa changes

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) have stepped up their #LetTheMusicMove campaign in order to oppose changes to US visa applications.

The UK groups say the newly-proposed increases to filing fees attached to specific visa applications – including O and P artists visas – would result in potentially crippling costs for UK artists looking to tour North America.

#LetTheMusicMove was originally established in June 2021 to campaign for reductions in post-Brexit costs and red tape for UK artists and musicians when touring in Europe, but has extended its focus following the recent announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Under the proposals, the cost of artists visas increase by more than 250%, which would make performing in the US unaffordable for many emerging and mid-level artists.

“These proposed increases to visa costs would be catastrophic for British artists, and make it unaffordable for many to tour the US,” says MMF chief Annabella Coldrick. “By reactivating and expanding our #LetTheMusicMove campaign we hope to convince the Department of Homeland Security to rethink their culturally destructive proposals.”

“By working strategically, there is still a chance of stopping these damaging changes”

The DHS and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have opened a comment period until 6 March, allowing US citizens to send public feedback which will then be reviewed and further adjustments considered.

“#LetTheMusicMove provided artists with a unified campaign in which they could voice their concerns about the challenges of touring after Brexit,” says FAC CEO David Martin. “However, these new proposals around US touring visas are equally concerning and, should they be agreed, will only exacerbate the seismic challenges facing the UK’s artists today.

“For that reason, we are asking British artists to commit to three simple actions: to sign up to the campaign, to send us their views, and to submit feedback to the official consultation process. By working strategically, there is still a chance of stopping these damaging changes.”

More than 1,000 artists originally backed the #LetTheMusicMove campaign, including Little Mix, Orbital, Olly Murs, Sampha, Sleaford Mods, Alison Moyet, Nubian Twist, Bicep, AlunaGeorge, Niall Horan, Wolf Alice, Annie Lennox, Biffy Clyro, Idles, Poppy Ajudha, Radiohead, Anna Calvi, Skunk Anansie and Laura Marling.


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The Associates: Liveurope, MMF, MVT

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 Impala, Intix and Live DMA, this time we check in with Liveurope, Music Managers Forum and Music Venue Trust.


Liveurope is a one-of-a-kind initiative that supports concert venues in their efforts to promote emerging European music.

Created in 2014, the platform counts 16 iconic European music venues, including Ancienne Belgique (Belgium), Sala Apolo (Spain), A38 (Hungary) and Village Underground (UK), as its members.

The mission of Liveurope is to support music venues that are committed to European diversity in order to create lasting effects in terms of cross-border circulation of European repertoire.

Thanks to funding provided by Creative Europe, Liveurope has already supported over 200 acts from 40 countries. This represents a 63% increase in the number of emerging European artists booked on average per venue since the launch of the platform.

The Liveurope platform was designed to provide financial support in order to encourage music venues to take risks by programming new acts from uncharted territories.

Though these concerts are currently suspended, the financial support the organisation provides to its member venues also acts as a safety net during the crisis.

While artists can no longer cross borders physically, Liveurope has joined forces with its member venues through a digital tour project, which is allowing participating venues to continue presenting new European acts to their audiences via social media.

As it depends on European funding programmes for culture, Liveurope has also been engaging in joint efforts with organisations from across music and cultural sectors to call for ambitious budgetary measures to help get through the crisis.

While artists can no longer cross borders, Liveurope has joined forces with member venues through a digital tour project

Music Managers Forum
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is the world’s largest professional community of music managers.

Representing more than 850 members, it advocates for their interests; provides training and education; and operates a successful associate programme that fosters ties with a wide range of artist-focused music businesses and services.

Membership fees range from £60 (€67) per annum (plus VAT) for those under 30, to £120 (€135) per annum (plus VAT).

MMF’s campaigning initiatives include the long-running series of Dissecting The Digital Dollar publications that promote greater transparency around online streaming, and the FanFair Alliance, which has successfully reformed secondary ticketing in the UK.

The Forum’s groundbreaking Accelerator Programme for Music Managers, launched in partnership with YouTube Music, Arts Council England and the Scottish Music Industry Association, is helping a new generation of music entrepreneurs.

Since mid-March, the MMF has worked hard to assist members, providing dedicated information on financial support, and utilising evidence from an online questionnaire to lobby government for support packages – as well as working extensively through UK Music and the Creative Industries Federation.

MMF has strived to bring members together throughout the Covid-19 crisis – hosting daily Zoom calls to share information and experiences on everything from live-streaming to event rescheduling, and running weekly, themed management meet-ups (with up to 150 participants) with guests including Amazon Music, YouTube, Facebook and Songtrust.

Since mid-March MMF has been providing dedicated information on financial support, and utilising evidence to lobby government

Music Venue Trust
Music Venue Trust (MVT) is a registered charity created to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues (GMVs) across the UK.

Founded in 2014, the trust also established the Music Venues Alliance (MVA) – a membership body on whose behalf MVT acts to fundraise, lobby, share good practice and ensure that these vital venues are represented as cultural, social and economic assets.

Membership of the MVA is free and has seen a significant boost in numbers during the pandemic. Six months ago, there were 580 members, but at press time the number had increased to more than 780.

It is inevitable that MVT will need to introduce a paid membership model to make the support it offers sustainable, but this is very hard to do in such a challenging time for the venues it protects.

MVT has been offering sector support for GMVs to try and sustain them through the impacts of the pandemic. This takes five forms:

1. Surveys
MVT gathered data between 9 March and 26 March (six different national data sets) from MVA members about the financial impacts of venue closure, to best inform governments about the support needed to ensure they are sustained through this crisis and able to reopen.

This data enables them to speak authoritatively and factually about the financial needs of GMVs.

2. Information sharing
● MVT continues to bring together and disseminate to MVA members the most current information about what they must do and what they can do to try and sustain their venue.
● MVT feeds into the international music industry picture and keeps track of trends.

3. Representation
● MVT makes sure that the needs of GMVs are raised as part of all music industry and cultural sector approaches for support from the governments of the UK.
● MVT sits on a range of working groups tackling venue reopening, including the UK Government Taskforce for reopening music.
● As the largest GMV membership body in Europe (Live DMA), MVT feeds into European information collecting and sharing.

4. Fundraising
● To support the entire sector, MVT launched the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund, created to raise money from corporate giving and high-net-worth individuals.
● On 27 April, we launched the #saveourvenues campaign: both a central fundraising campaign and individual crowd-funding for member venues. In the first three weeks, £1.5million (€1.7m) was raised through donations. The campaign is ongoing.

5. Individual support for every MVA member
● Since the start of the crisis, MVT has grown its team, appointing regional and national co-ordinators to work with the core team and reach out to every venue across the UK. MVA co-ordinators work through all of the potential avenues of support for venues, offering advice on how best to secure every venue’s finances (and listening to their concerns).
● If these measures fail to secure the venue then they apply to the GMV Crisis Service for specialist expert advice and 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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MMF’s Accelerator programme to return in 2020

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and YouTube Music have announced that the Accelerator Programme for Music Managers will return in 2020, following a successful inaugural year.

The initiative, lauded as the first-ever independent funding and professional development programme designed solely for music managers, aims to increase the number of sustainable full-time management businesses, offering a combination of financial and educational support.

The programme currently benefits 24 managers across England and Scotland, who have received year-long grants of up to £15,000 and more than 80 hours of manager-specific education courses, through backing from Arts Council England and the Scottish Music Industry Association.

Applications for those wishing to participate in the 2020 programme open on Tuesday 15 October.

“MMF are absolutely thrilled that YouTube Music recognise the importance of Accelerator and that the programme will return next year,” says MMF’s strategy and operations director Fiona McGugan.

“Accelerator has already offered a career-changing experience for 24 upcoming music managers”

“It has already offered a career-changing experience for 24 upcoming music managers, and we look forward to sharing some of the impact data and successes in time for the opening of 2020 applications.”

Roz Mansfield, YouTube Music artist partnerships managers, comments: “As well as supporting the next wave of British talent, we also want to support the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the industry function, grow and succeed.

“We at YouTube Music are so proud to be a sponsor of MMF and their Accelerator Programme and look forward to seeing what these talented managers go on to do next.”

Accelerator business partners include Music Ally, CMU Insights, Harbottle & Lewis, Sheridans, Simkins, Simons Muirhead & Burton, Music Insurance Brokers and SRLV. MMF aims to confirm and expand partnerships for 2020 before the programme begins.

Full details on how to apply to the programme will become available here.

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