Music venues are increasing their tax payments, and this could be very bad news for musicians and live music lovers. A major overhaul in commercial property rates means that venues could face closure, with those operating at grassroots level being particularly vulnerable.
Every music fan can appreciate going to see their favourite artists live in concert, watching them at work. If a lot of music venues close down though, where are they going to play? In today’s digital age, playing live is a huge chunk of a musician’s paycheck and if that comes to a halt then they won’t be able to share their talent with the rest of us.
Matt Brennan of the University of Edinburgh, who leads the “Britain’s first live music census” has spoken up:
“Venues around the country have been telling us that they already operate on thin margins, so proposed increases in rateable values of up to 55 per cent in some cases will have a significant impact.
The UK Live Music Census will be very important in identifying challenges that the industry faces, such as rising rates and other issues. It will give us a detailed picture of what exactly it means to be a venue owner, a musician and a live music lover in 2017.
Our hope is that the census will be a vital tool in strengthening a much-loved part of the UK’s culture.”
Over 24 hours, volunteers will track performances in cities across the UK, from street buskers through to massed choirs and dance floors to packed stadium gigs. Censuses will be co-ordinated through Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton, with volunteers attending concerts performed by the likes of Olly Murs and Nicola Benedetti.
Jo Dipple, partner of the census goes to explain the following:
“The findings for each of the six cities will inform academics, entrepreneurs and music fans alike. It will help organisations like UK Music to understand better the pressures on music businesses and venues so we can lobby for the most effective policies in each area.
For example, we know that a disproportionate hike in business rates could pose a serious threat to qualifying music SMEs and grassroots venues. The more we are able to identify threats, the more effective our lobbying for policy change in that area will be.“
I’m not sure I could survive without live music. There are so many bands and musicians that put on such a great show, and it would be a massive loss and a disappointment if they had no choice to boycott the UK on their touring schedules.