MPs Ask For New Review Of Secondary Ticketing

A call for secondary ticketing to be re-examined by the Government was made at a UK Music SoundCity roundtable last week.

The Liverpool MPs Luciana Berger and Steve Rotherham, local musicians, promoters, managers and venue owners gathered on Friday to test the health of the local Liverpool music scene and put the benefits of the recent Live Music Act under the microscope.

The roundtable accepted the new Act, which came into force in October and allows small scale music events to take place without the need for complicated and expensive licensing, had gone some way to offset the damage inflicted on Liverpool's music scene by the widespread closure of pubs over the last few years.  

However, some of those taking part argued the benefits of the legislation were still not widely known and suggested the lack of money and resources available to young bands was still one of the biggest handicaps to them getting a foothold on the music career ladder.  It was mooted that large scale promoters should provide for some trickle down of cash to help the grass roots blossom.

Rotherham, the Labour MP for Liverpool Walton and a member of the influential Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said it was unlikely the Government would look to force the "big boys" of the music promoting world to pay into a pot for those live music operations in the lower leagues.  

However, he did slam secondary ticketing, calling the practice "pernicious" and a way of "ripping off poor people".  He also suggested that because the Government lost tax revenues to many of the illegal operators working in this market that it might re-look at this controversial issue.  

Rotherham argued if all ticketing money was earned by bone fide operators then tax paid on ticket revenues would be much larger. "Parliament might look at it in the future if they think that the Government might see that as an income stream lost," he said.

Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, vowed to do more to publicise the Act and also suggested that because new bands trying to break out on the pub circuit were not getting paid enough - or quickly enough - they probably fit the profile of precarious employees.  She added she would raise the issue of including music and musicians with the Resolution Foundation, which seeks to improve the living standards of low income earners.   

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said, "It was clear from our roundtable that the Act is widely acknowledged as being a force for good, helping young bands get gigs and helping to preserve the local grass roots music scene.  However, we discovered it's impact is being undermined by the rapid closure of pubs and and there is probably a case for marketing it better because not enough small promoters and pub landlords are fully aware of the benefits it can bring them."

UK Music plans to hold a further series of Live Music Act-themed roundtables, including one in Parliament, before presenting a report on its impact later this year.

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