x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

LIVE rues budget’s ‘missed opportunity’ on VAT cut

UK live music trade body LIVE has described Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s latest budget as “another missed opportunity” after calls for a reduced VAT rate on ticket sales went unheeded once again.

Hunt did announce, however, that orchestra tax relief (OTR) would become permanent at a rate of 45%.

The current temporary 50% rate of OTR was due to taper down from April 2025 and drop eventually to its original rate of 25%. A theatre tax relief rate of 40% (and 45% for touring productions) will also remain.

“LIVE welcomes the Chancellor’s announcement that the tax reliefs for orchestras and theatres will be made permanent,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “However, today’s Budget represents yet another missed opportunity to accelerate the growth of the live music sector and the wider economy while also providing urgently needed support for grassroots music through the reintroduction of a lower VAT rate.

“20% VAT on tickets in the UK is vastly out of step with our competitors in Europe and North America and has become a material factor limiting the number of gigs, tours and festivals our world class industry can put on.

“Fewer shows mean reduced economic activity in towns and cities across the country – an estimated £1m is spent in local businesses for every 10,000 people who attend a gig – and heaps further pressure onto grassroots music venues that are closing down at an alarming rate. We need urgent action to ensure the whole sector can prosper in the long term.”

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) chief John Rostron also laments a lack of support for the sector, despite a spate of recent cancellations.

“We’re disappointed that our calls for support for the UK music festival sector have not been met”

“We’re disappointed that our calls for support for the UK music festival sector have not been met,” says Rostron. “Festivals need a temporary reduction in VAT on ticket sales from 20% to 5% in order to recover from the impact of Covid and Brexit, which has created a credit crunch that is seeing successful festivals having to postpone or cancel this year months before their events are due to take place.

“Yet another festival fell yesterday – the 15th event to fall already in 2024. Theatre has made the case for tax relief, which is being extended indefinitely. We urge the Chancellor and the Treasury to now turn to festivals and offer a fraction of that support to ensure more events do not make 2024 their last.”

UK Music interim CEO Tom Kiehl also welcomes the move to make OTR permanent.

“I welcome that the Chancellor has listened to industry calls to put in place extensions to the orchestras tax relief on a permanent basis,” he says.

“The government should use this opportunity to clarify our further calls as to whether touring choirs and other singing groups are also eligible for this important relief.

“We welcome the indirect benefit to music of the introduction other creative sector tax reliefs and seek further government consideration for the introduction of a tax credit to encourage new UK music production.”

Introduced in 2016, OTR is aimed at supporting live orchestral performances. The headline rate was rate uplifted to 50% in 2021 in the wake of Covid and was extended in 2023 for a further two years until April 2025.

The Musicians’ Union and the Association of British Orchestras were among the groups that had called to make the relief permanent.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK live music attendance hits all-time high

UK live music attendance reached an all-time high in 2022, with 37 million people generating ticket revenue, ancillary spending at venues and merchandise sales.

Stadium tours by acts such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga are credited alongside the return of Glastonbury and the expansion of BST Hyde Park from seven shows to nine.

The findings form part of the 2023 edition of British music industry umbrella organisation UK Music’s annual This is Music report, which puts UK music export revenue for last year at £4 billion – a figure boosted by the return of international touring.

“2022 was packed with live shows, including rescheduled dates from 2020 and 2021 in addition to newly announced shows for 2022,” states the report. “Demand for stadiums was so high, venue operators, promoters, and agents had to be flexible with routing – in some cases, sourcing alternatives.

“Wembley Stadium hosted a record 16 concerts in 2022, up from 14 concerts in 2019.”

“Costs for promoters and artists have soared over the past two years owing to inflation, extremely high energy prices, and supply chain costs”

Furthermore, the report reveals that the UK music industry contributed £6.7 billion to the UK economy in 2022 in gross value added (GVA), while total employment in the business was 210,000. But despite some positive headline figures, the organisation notes that the overall landscape is not entirely rosy, with the Music Managers Forum (MMF) reporting that its members saw cost increases of 35% last year.

“Costs for promoters and artists have soared over the past two years owing to inflation, extremely high energy prices, and supply chain costs, some of which were influenced by Brexit,” it says.

“Rising costs squeezed margins for promoters and artists, especially for those shows scheduled in 2020 and 2021 because ticket prices and fees were already set and could not be amended. Even where tickets were on sale for the first time in 2022, promoters and artists were limited in the extent to which they could increase prices.”

It continues: “In many instances, promoters and artists looked to cut costs, but this had a knock-on impact on others within the music ecosystem. For example, in some cases, artists and their managers have had to make tough decisions about the size of their road crews, the number of touring musicians performing with an artists’ live band, and so on.

“It is also the case that some artists have had fewer invitations to perform as promoters reduce the number of acts on the bill or look for cheaper alternatives.”

“The added burden of the cost of living crisis and soaring energy bills has further exacerbated the problem for small venues”

The report also underlines the threat facing grassroots music venues and independent music festivals, with the Music Venue Trust reporting that venue closures of 66 in the last 12 months are at an all-time high.

“Many venues have struggled to recover from the pandemic, but the added burden of the cost of living crisis and soaring energy bills has further exacerbated the problem for small venues,” it adds. “Rising costs are also a problem for festivals, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), with costs up 30%, but ticket prices have only risen by 12-15%. This increases the risk for festival promoters, and one in six independent
festivals did not survive the pandemic.

“A decline in the number of tours at that level and the number of dates per tour has significantly added to these challenges, especially for small venues. Artists are not touring in the way that they used to. Rather than going from town to town, the focus has swung increasingly towards bigger cities where demand is felt to be more reliable.”

UK Music interim CEO Tom Kiehl says the music business requires additional government assistance to continue to compete on a global level.

“The UK music industry and its exports have grown beyond doubt to hit new heights, which is fantastic news in terms of our sector’s contribution to jobs and the economy,” he says. “However, the competition for international markets is intensifying rapidly. The UK’s competitors are increasingly well funded and can often count on far more support from their governments.

“South Korea, Australia and Canada have invested heavily in music and cultural export offices to help grow their overseas markets. The UK has several successful export schemes, such as the Music Export Growth Scheme and the International Showcase Fund.

“However, we need far more support – otherwise we risk the UK being left behind in the global music race and that would be a bitter blow for music industry and a missed opportunity to grow our export market.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin departs

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has announced his departure from the organisation after three years to become the UK prime minister’s new director of strategy.

Njoku-Goodwin joined the trade body in September 2020 as chief executive and helped steer the sector through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to helping secure vital financial support for the sector during the pandemic, he championed the importance of music education, playing a key role in drawing up the new National Plan for Music Education.

Working alongside live music trade umbrella organisatuon LIVE, he helped lead efforts that secured the safe return of live music after its shutdown due to the pandemic, acted as a champion for the power of music to transform people’s health and wellbeing, and boosted UK Music’s work on diversity and inclusion.

More recently, Njoku-Goodwin has coordinated the sector’s response to the challenges posed by the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), stressing the need for effective copyright protection.

“Jamie joined UK Music when the sector was in the midst of a crisis due to impact of Covid,” says UK Music chairman Lord Watson. He swiftly played a key role in securing the vital support the industry needed to help get back on its feet.

“He is a passionate advocate for our sector and has worked tirelessly on behalf of UK Music and our members in our shared determination to grow our industry, create skilled jobs, boost music education and help make the music business an inclusive and welcoming place to work.

“Over his three years, Jamie has been a stellar success and I can fully understand why the prime minister would want him in a very senior Downing Street role. I’m sure he will deploy his considerable skills for the country in the same way he has for the music industry.

“The UK music industry is one of this country’s great national assets, and it’s been a privilege to represent it”

“We wish him the very best in his new role and look forward to seeing him ensure the government supports our world-leading UK music industry just as strongly as he has done.

“On a personal note, I’d like to thank Jamie for his friendship, advice and most importantly his very impressive piano playing. We will all miss him, but know he will make a difference in his new role.”

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “The UK music industry is one of this country’s great national assets, and it’s been a privilege to represent it for the past three years.

“Leading UK Music through what was the toughest of times for our sector during the pandemic, when the music industry faced an existential struggle, has been an immense honour. I’m delighted our sector is in much better shape now to take on the challenges and opportunities it faces in the future.

“I would like to thank Tom Watson, the UK Music Board and the fantastic team at UK Music for all their hard work and dedication. And also the countless people across the sector who have been so supportive of me over the past three years. I wish UK Music every success for the future, and hope policymakers continue to give it the support it needs and deserves.”

Before taking up his role at UK Music, Jamie was a government special adviser. He is a trustee of Britten Pears Arts, and sits on the board of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Arts Council England’s National Council. He is also member of council of the Royal College of Music.

UK Music deputy chief executive Tom Kiehl will be interim chief executive.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Plans for US visa hike for foreign acts paused

US authorities have paused plans for a huge hike in the cost of visas for foreign touring musicians and crew.

Under proposals announced in January, the cost of visas needed for musicians working in the United States would increase by more than 250%.

The current petition fee would rocket from $460 to $1,655 (a 260% increase) for a regularly processed ‘O’ work visa and soar to $1,615 (251%) for a regularly processed ‘P’ visa – putting 50% of all UK tours of the US under threat according to data from trade body LIVE.

However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the US Department of Homeland Security have now reportedly agreed to delay the implementation of the rise. Consequence of Sound reports the USCIS is now delaying the rate hike until at least March 2024 and is considering lowering the rate increase altogether.

The report has been welcomed by UK Music deputy chief executive Tom Kiehl.

“UK Music is pleased that damaging proposals to severely increase US visa petition fees have been paused,” says Kiehl. “The US is a key market for UK acts and breaking America is as important now to artists’ careers as it was in the days of The Beatles.

“While we appreciate the USCIS decision to delay final rulemaking on this issue until March 2024, NIVA will continue working to stop the proposed fee increases”

“We will continue to work with music industry bodies from both the UK and overseas to ensure touring in the US is affordable for all performers and their crew.”

Stephen Parker, executive director of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in the US, says the proposed hike “poses a severe economic and cultural threat to independent live entertainment” in the country.

“It undermines the vital role these performers play on our stages,” adds Parker. “While we appreciate the USCIS decision to delay final rulemaking on this issue until March 2024, NIVA will continue working to stop the proposed fee increases.”

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

#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 extended its focus following the announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

New report details UK’s £6.6bn music tourism boost

A new report by UK Music highlights the economic impact of the post-Covid return of touring, as 14.4 million music tourists helped generate £6.6 billion (€7.7bn) in spending.

The trade body’s Here, There and Everywhere study reveals that total attendance at UK music events in 2022 was 37.1m (30.6m concerts/6.5m festivals), with the number of music tourists totalling 13.3m domestic (defined as fans who have travelled more than three times an average commute) and 1.1m foreign.

Music tourism spend covers both direct and indirect spend, including ticket sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise, venue parking, camping fees, accommodation, travel, and additional spending outside of venues while visiting the UK for a live music event, as well as spending indirectly supported by such businesses’ supply chain.

“Music is one of our country’s great assets – not only is it absolutely critical to the economic success of our local areas, but it also generates huge amounts of soft power and helps put our towns and cities on the global map,” says UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.

“In 2022, music pulled more than 14 million tourists into local areas and supported £6.6 billion of spending in local economies across the UK. This is testament to just how important a thriving musical ecosystem is for our towns and cities.

“But while music generates huge benefits for our local areas, the infrastructure and talent pipeline that it relies on still faces huge challenges. With a venue closing every week, one in six festivals not returning since the pandemic, and many studios facing huge economic pressures, it’s vital that we protect the musical infrastructure that does so much for our towns and cities.”

“Post-pandemic, the role of music in transformative placemaking is more important than ever”

Total employment sustained by music tourism in 2022  –the first full year of post-pandemic festivals, gigs and concerts in the UK – was 56,000.

A key part of the report, meanwhile, focuses on the action that towns and cities across the UK can take to use music to help boost their local economies and support jobs.

A special toolkit contained in the study outlines how local authorities and others can utilise existing funding and spaces to help music thrive across the UK, and includes four recommendations for local councils on how to build their own music communities.

“Post-pandemic, the role of music in transformative placemaking is more important than ever – and this report provides a valuable toolkit for local authorities to help them seize the benefits of being a ‘music city’,” adds Njoku-Goodwin.

“By harnessing the power of music, nations and regions across the UK can generate thousands more jobs, boost economic growth and attract even more visitors to the local area. This report shows how to turn that potential into reality.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK Music calls on minister to block US visa hike

UK Music is calling on business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch to help block plans for a huge rise in US visa costs for UK musicians and crew.

The organisation has written to the cabinet minister urging her to persuade her American counterparts to drop the “deeply damaging” hike that it says would see fees rise by at least 251%.

In the letter, signed by organisations from across the British industry, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin highlights the potential impact of the proposed increase in fees by the US Department of Homeland Security for certain types of touring visa fees for non-US citizens.

Music industry leaders are also urging foreign secretary James Cleverly to join efforts to scrap the hike, which is also being fiercely opposed by the American music industry.

“America is one of the most important global markets for British musicians, and breaking into the States can be critical to a musician or band’s career – but this increase in visa fees risks making a US tour unaffordable for emerging acts,” says Njoku-Goodwin. “These deeply damaging proposals would be catastrophic, both for UK artists and for their American audiences who have a huge appetite for British music. These plans must be scrapped.

“We call on ministers to urgently raise this issue with their US counterparts and work with them to avoid an outcome that would be mutually detrimental”

“The UK and US have enjoyed decades of mutually beneficial musical exchange that have strengthened our special relationship and brought huge social, cultural and economic benefits. We should be making it easier for musicians to tour the States, not harder. We call on ministers to urgently raise this issue with their US counterparts and work with them to avoid an outcome that would be mutually detrimental to both our countries.”

In a survey by UK Music members, Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), 70% of their members said the increased visa charges would mean they were no longer be able to tour the USA. Little Simz cancelled her US tour last year, even before the proposed price hikes were announced, citing the financial unviability for an independent artist.

According to the Musicians Union, 96% of their members surveyed said that increased fees will impact the feasibility of future touring, and 26% noted that they will now make a loss on their tours because of this.

Data from trade body LIVE shows that these proposals will put 50% of all UK tours in the USA under threat. The proposals mean that petition fees for the P visa – used for acts to perform temporarily in the US – will increase by 251% from $460 (£385) to $1,615 (£1352) and the O visa – used for a longer-term working visit – would climb by 260% from $460 (£385) to $1,655 (£1,375).

Also, the time for fast processing of applications is being increased from 15 calendar days to 15 working days, without a decrease in costs, for a service that already costs $2,500 (£2,080).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK music biz now majority women, report finds

UK Music has published the results of its 2022 Workforce Diversity Survey, which reveal an increase in the number of women in the business and a decrease in ethnically diverse communities.

A total of 2,980 people from the music industry’s workforce (not creators) responded to the trade body’s survey, which was conducted in summer 2022.

It found that more than half (52.9%) of individuals working in the UK music industry in 2022 identified as a woman, up from 49.6% in 2020. However, the findings do show that women start to leave the industry in their mid-forties.

In addition, the survey reveals that parents and carers are underrepresented in the music industry (29.7% compared to 44% of UK working population). Of the 68% respondents with no care responsibilities, the majority are female, pointing to a loss of female talent when they become mothers or carers.

There has also been a loss of ethnically diverse communities compared to the 2020 survey results. Just over one-fifth (21.04%) of individuals working in music identify as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background. This is down from 22.3% two years ago.

Just over one-fifth (21.04%) of individuals working in music identify as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background

Meanwhile, just over 14% of the industry reported a disability, up from 12.2% in 2020. According to UK Music, this statistic could indicate that more individuals with a condition are working within the industry or that a greater number of individuals are comfortable disclosing their condition.

For the first time, UK Music has used the survey to collect data relating to women or menstruating persons experiencing the menopause and the impact this could be having on their career.

More than one in ten (11.2%) respondents said they have experienced menopause/perimenopause. Almost half (47.5%) have had their work affected by its symptoms, yet three-quarters of these individuals (76.6%) have not taken time off work to manage their symptoms.

In addition to publishing the 2022 survey results, the UK Music Diversity report also sets out a new music industry action plan, dubbed The Five Ps, to accelerate positive change by boosting diversity and inclusion in music businesses.

“We must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes”

The plan focuses on people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress and outlines suggested policies drawn both from UK Music’s survey findings and the lived experiences of those from diverse communities via a series of round-table events.

The 15 recommendations in the plan include: cultivating a transparent, safe and consciously inclusive culture for all staff; increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups; working towards a five-year EDI strategy and vision; incorporating EDI into every part of an organisation or businesses structures; publishing data on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps annually in larger employers; and ensuring there is a strong EDI mindset at the heart of all tendering and procurement processes.

“Our 2022 survey shows how those from Black, Asian and other diverse communities have been hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19,” says UK Music Diversity Taskforce chair Ammo Talwar MBE.

“The drop in the percentage of employees in several sectors of the industry is further evidence of why we must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes on diversity and inclusion as swiftly as we can.

“We need to create a consciously inclusive culture right across the music industry and right across the UK. Our hope is that the Five Ps – our Music Industry Action Plan – provides a robust and clear framework that anyone can use to help deliver that change.”

Read the full report here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK businesses face closure over energy crisis

Grassroots music venues are among the small and medium-sized businesses in the UK that are facing closure without immediate action to curb rocketing fuel bills.

With businesses excluded from the energy cap, some venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300% –in some cases as much as 740% – adding tens of thousands of pounds to their running costs.

Based on a survey of its 941 venue members, Music Venue Trust (MVT) revealed that venues face an average 316% rise in fuel bills, taking the average cost to £5,179 per month per venue, up from the current average of £1,245.

One venue has been quoted £42,000 a year for fuel – more than treble its previous bill of £13,200 – with the supplier saying they will only accept full payment in advance.

MVT is now warning that the surge in energy bills means that around 30% of the entire network of venues face the threat of permanent closure.

Around 30% of MVT’s entire network of venues face the threat of permanent closure

Pubs are also seeing energy costs soar by as much as 300%, with brewery bosses telling the BBC that the crisis would cause “real and serious irreversible” damage to the industry without support.

Both the hospitality and entertainment sectors are now urging the government to introduce a cap on the price of energy for businesses. The live music sector is also calling for VAT to be decreased from the current 20% to 12.5% and for business rates relief to be extended.

“Alongside the simply unaffordable increases to costs, the government must urgently address the fact that the market for energy supply has collapsed,” says Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd.

“We have multiple examples where venues do not have any option other than to accept whatever price increases and tariffs are proposed by the sole supplier prepared to offer them power at all. The situation has rapidly deteriorated into a monopoly.”

“The new prime minister must ensure that music businesses are included in the support measures”

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin adds: “Spiralling energy costs have created an existential threat for venues and music studios. It’s urgent that government takes action to support businesses with the costs they are facing.

“We all saw just how miserable life was without live music during the pandemic, when venues were closed for months – the high cost of energy bills could now close them forever.

“The new prime minister must ensure that music businesses are included in the support measures that are brought forward to deal with soaring energy costs.

“The government should look at cutting VAT and extending business rate support to help music businesses that are fighting for their survival.”

Last week, IQ heard from a number of European arenas who also say that skyrocketing energy costs are emerging as the sector’s biggest challenge since the Covid-19 pandemic.

ASM Global’s Marie Lindqvist said the prices for electricity and gas at the company’s venues have quadrupled since the beginning of the year, with the UK being hit the hardest. Read the full story here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK live sector gives mixed reaction to 2021 budget

The UK’s live music industry has given a mixed response to chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget, unveiled today (27 October) in the House of Commons.

The chancellor, who upgraded this year’s economic growth forecast from 4% to 6.5%, pledged an additional £850 million in culture sector funding, the majority of which is ring-fenced (including £2m earmarked for a new Beatles attraction on Liverpool Waterfront), alongside temporary business rates relief in England for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties for 2022-23, worth almost £1.7 billion.

The government is also freezing the business rates multiplier in 2022-23 – a tax cut worth £4.6bn over the next five years, and has increased the headline rate of orchestra tax relief.

However, calls to extend the VAT break on tickets sales beyond next March fell on deaf ears, and no improvements to the government’s £800m insurance scheme for live events were forthcoming. In addition, no cash was allocated to help the sector deal with Brexit’s impact on touring, while the absence of the word ‘music’ from the budget document left a sour taste.

“We’re glad to see that live music will receive some benefit from today’s spending review – including tax relief, business rates, and some extension in terms of funding,” says a spokesperson for trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment).

We need government to give us the tools to make progress, which were, unfortunately, missing from today’s news

“However, with the word ‘music’ completely absent from today’s announcement, we remain steadfast in our drive to see government pay attention to the key issues we are facing: the impacts of Brexit, the recovery from Covid and the long-term growth of the sector. We need government to give us the tools to make progress, which were, unfortunately, missing from today’s news.”

It remains to be seen whether music will be eligible for the £52m of government funding set aside for museums and “cultural and sporting bodies” next year to support recovery from Covid-19, with an additional £49m allocated for 2024-25.

“We look forward to hearing more detail about some of the measures announced by the chancellor today, in particular the allocation of further Covid-19 recovery funding for the cultural sector,” says Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed. “On the surface, however, it doesn’t go far enough in supporting our truly world-leading festival industry.

“It is clear that the most effective way for the government to support the industry’s recovery into 2022 and beyond would be to extend the VAT reduction on tickets, look closely at a permanent cultural VAT rate, and completely remove festivals based on agricultural land from the business rates system. Unfortunately, none of this was forthcoming today.”

Referencing UK Music’s latest This Is Music report, which revealed the impact of Covid-19 wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs – one in three of the total workforce – the organisation’s CEO, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, says further action is needed to support the music sector’s post-pandemic recovery.

“It is crucial that we get government support to help us continue to rebuilding and hiring people who went so long without work due to the pandemic,” he says.

“Covid halved music’s economic contribution to the UK economy from almost £6 billion a year to £3.1 billion in 2020. If the government strikes the right note by delivering the support we need, our music industry will come back stronger and bigger than ever.”

The government has missed an opportunity

Setting out a three-point plan to boost the business, Njoku-Goodwin adds: “We are pleased to see the extension of the orchestras tax relief yet the government has missed an opportunity to not take forward further music tax incentives to help boost jobs and economic growth. Similarly, business rate relief for venues is very welcome yet we remain concerned about next April’s VAT hike for live events.  

“Ministers must put turbo-chargers under the efforts to clear away the barriers that are still making it so hard and expensive for musicians and crew to tour easily in the EU. As the domestic music market recovers, the government should also build on recent trade deals by giving more funding and support for music exports.

“As well as music’s huge economic and cultural importance, we also need to see the government fully recognise its huge value to our wellbeing by properly funding music education to help nurture our talent pipeline and provide the stars of the future.”

AIM CEO Paul Pacifico welcomes new measures for venues and hospitality, but stresses the importance of a tax relief scheme for music.

“It’s encouraging to see the government recognise the serious blow Covid dealt to the UK’s music industry in today’s budget, discounting business rates for music and other hospitality venues and for premises improvements and green tech use as well as increasing tax reliefs for orchestras,” he says.

“However, more must be done to support the globally significant independent music sector to ensure a viable future for diverse music, creators and entrepreneurs. One key proposal is a tax relief scheme for music, like those successfully implemented in other creative industries such as film and games. This cost-effective measure could provide our sector with the boost it needs, attracting inward investment and creating a ripple effect across the wider music ecosystem. We urge government to include music in such schemes at the next opportunity.”

There were also contrasting emotions from Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) chief Michael Kill.

“The improved forecasts for growth announced by the chancellor today are good news, and the reopening of the night time economy has been a key part of this better-than-expected bounce back,” says Kill. “We were disappointed that the chancellor chose not to extend the 12.5% rate of VAT on hospitality – this is a missed opportunity, and it will prevent those forecasts from improving further still.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

69k industry jobs lost to Covid, report reveals

UK Music’s annual This Is Music report has revealed the impact of Covid-19 wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs – one in three of the total workforce.

Employment plummeted by 35% from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to the 2021 report, while the industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn year-on-year. Music exports also dropped 23% from £2.9bn to £2.3bn in the same period.

Launching the report, UK Music has called on the government to introduce tax incentives and other employment-boosting measures to help the sector rebuild. It also calling for urgent action to resolve the problems facing musicians and crew touring the EU.

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “The past 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector – but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery.

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.”

“In our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.”

With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery

UK Music, which carried out the flagship study with its members since 2013, is now urging the government to implement tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs, and to take action to remove the barriers to touring the EU.

In addition, it is calling for a permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets, more funding and support for music exports, and an increase in funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline.

“With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery,” adds Njoku-Goodwin. “This Is Music sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country’s future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that.

“Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it’s part of our future. And we can’t value it highly enough.”

UK Music has also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry. Among the findings were that 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage, 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas and 74% say music is important to their quality of life.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries adds: “I know how difficult the last year and a half has been – with venues closed, stages dark, and artists prevented from doing what they love. The whole industry has shown great strength, patience and resilience during these hard times, pulling together to help the whole country get through the Covid-19 crisis.

“Our £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline, helping music organisations across the UK to survive one of the worst peacetime crises on record. As doors reopened, our Events Research Programme has enabled music events to return safely.

“We have also listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments about a market failure regarding events insurance, and introduced the Government-backed £700 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to ensure future events can be planned with certainty.

“Until now, our focus has been rescue and reopening. Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I give my commitment that the Government will continue to back it every step of the way.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.