The UK live music circuit has achieved a milestone victory with the government announcing that there will be a 50 per cent reduction in business rates for small and medium sized Grassroots Music Venues.
The announcement releases over £1.7million back into the grassroots live music sector, which has endured a prolonged crisis illustrated by the closure of 35 per cent of Grassroots Music Venues in the last decade. Music company Insure4Music even created an interactive map to show which music venues had closed and which were still open across the UK, which you can find here. We also spoke to London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé about the issue and what she was doing to fight it.
The extension of the relief will see 230 Grassroots Music Venues across England and Wales benefit, with the average saving per venue equating to a reduction in overheads of £7,500 per annum. It follows other wins for the sector including a new ring-fenced fund announced by Arts Council England in May 2019, which released £1.5million of subsidy into the sector, and changes to planning guidance and the legal framework across the UK which have brought additional protections for music venues from developers and noise complaints through Agent of Change.
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust – who have been working tirelessly to ensure that Grassroots Music Venues were saved – commented on the exciting news: “This is a much needed and long overdue boost for Grassroots Music Venues. Music Venue Trust has been working hard with government on this issue for the last four years and it is a huge breakthrough for us and the members of the Music Venues Alliance. We’d like to thank our partners at UK Music and Musicians’ Union for their support and help in getting this over the line.”
Mark Dayvd, CEO and founder of Music Venue Trust, added: “This latest announcement from government is another foundation stone in the support Music Venue Trust is building so that we can deliver a vibrant, sustainable, world class Grassroots Music Venue sector to artists and audiences. There’s still a lot to be done on this specific issue, and we look forward to working with the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland to make sure that GMVs across the UK have a level playing field when it comes to Business Rates and Public Subsidies.
“This issue can be tackled, and it needs a broad coalition of key stakeholders to do that. Government, the Cultural Sector and the live music industry have all acted in the last 12 months to address the crisis in this sector. It’s now time for recording, streaming and publishing interests to play their part. Billions of pounds in revenue are being generated in the music industry from the music that is tested, developed, finds its audience and emerges from these vital spaces. PRS for Music, PPL, Universal, Warners, Sony, Spotify, Apple and Google now need to come to the table and tell us what they are going to do to make sure that continues to happen.”
In further news, Westminster Council announced that London’s legendary 100 Club has been offered 100 % Business Rate Relief starting from April 1, 2020, which you can read about here.