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REPORT: U.K. LIVE MUSIC BIZ UNDER THREAT

A group of MPs are calling for the public to stop using secondary site Viagogo, criticising discrimination against urban music and urging the music business and Government to invest more in up-and-coming talent and grassroots venues.  

A report on the state of the U.K. live music industry from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee finds “structural problems within the music industry limit artists’ ability to earn a sustainable income” and, in turn, “risks excluding sections of society from a career in music.”

The report features comments from artists, promoters, venue operators and industry bodies.

The business has been urged to invest a greater proportion of revenues into talent development, and DCMS and trade org UK Music have been recommended to start a task-force and create a plan of action.

The report found a lack of support from councils for urban music and evidence of cancelled gigs by rap and hip-hop acts due to “unfounded” concerns over licensing and safety. The DCMS committee has asked the Government to create guidance for licensing authorities, police forces and music venues on risk management to ensure that urban acts aren’t unfairly targeted.

On the subject of secondary ticketing, the report suggests the Government “tackle longstanding problems with ticket resale through effective monitoring and enforcement of consumer protection laws.” Viagogo is currently facing legal action over its lack of compliance with a court order designed to protect customers from being turned away at gigs due to restrictions on ticket resale.

In the meantime, DCMS has urged customers not to use the website, while criticising Google for continuing to host Viagogo ads. The report suggests that the Government should rule that Google is responsible to ensure those who appear at the top of search rankings are complying with consumer law.

Finally, 35% of independent venues across the U.K. have closed down over the last 10 years, which is a trend that can be stopped by “reviewing business rates, increasing funding for grassroots venues and protecting their interests in planning decisions.” 

The British music industry has welcomed the report, with U.K. Music CEO Michael Dugher calling it a "landmark" and a "wake-up call" toward protecting the live music industry, which is about to enter uncharted territory thanks to Brexit. 

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