UK Music welcomes “landmark” DCMS Committee report

CEO Michael Dugher says report is a “wake-up call” towards safeguarding the live music industry

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19/03/2019: UK Music CEO Michael Dugher today welcomed the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s Live Music report as a “landmark” and a “wake-up call” towards protecting the live music industry.

The key findings of the DCMS Select Committee report include:

* Full backing for UK Music’s call for a review of business rates to help grassroots music venues

* A taskforce and new investment to nurture the music industry’s talent pipeline

* A warning to the public not to buy or sell tickets through Viagogo

* Concerns about discrimination hindering the success of urban music

* Support for the setting up of a network of Music Boards

Welcoming the findings, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:

“This is a landmark report into live music by Damian Collins and members of the DCMS Select Committee. They have really listened to the live music industry, which contributes around £1bn a year to the UK economy, and their report is a real wake-up call for everyone who wants to safeguard live music.

“Grassroots music venues across the country face massive challenges with 35 per cent of them closing in the past decade, according to the Music Venue Trust. 

“It’s great that cross-party MPs have recognised the warnings that we at UK Music have issued over the impact of soaring business rates’ bills on venues.   This Committee has now joined MPs from all parties who have called on the Chancellor to end the present system which discriminates against music venues, including by not allowing them to get the the same rates rebate as pubs and clubs.  It is time the Government listened and threw a lifeline to venues who are struggling to survive.

“Viagogo has been ripping off music fans for far too long and we are delighted this report recognises that.  It’s high time Viagogo became Via-NoNo when it comes to ticket sales.  But Google is complicit in this because it effectively facilitates rip-off merchants like Viagogo by ranking them at the top when people search for tickets online. Google must also take responsibility to make sure fans get a fair deal.

“We particularly welcome the recommendation that a new taskforce is needed to help and support emerging talent. We urgently need help to nurture the music industry’s talent pipeline if we are to continue producing world-leading superstars like Adele and Ed Sheeran.  With the decline of music in education in particular, there is a real danger that having the chance of a successful career in music means that you have to have access to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’.  We are, in effect drawing water from a well that’s getting smaller and smaller.

“One of our first campaigns after UK Music was set up in 2008 was to call for Form 696 to be axed. We welcomed the move by Mayor Sadiq Khan to end a practice that effectively discriminates unfairly against genres like grime. We must root our discrimination wherever we find it and we support the Committee’s call for cross-departmental action by Government to develop guidance for all the relevant authorities to ensure that urban music acts do not face discrimination.

“We are pleased that the report recommends and supports the establishment of regional Music Boards.  This has been a key part of UK Music’s work over the past 18 months to help support music, boost the nighttime economy and spread opportunities more widely. We have already set up successful Music Boards in London, Liverpool and Sheffield, and hopefully soon in Greater Manchester too, which bring people together and get things done”.

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