Business News Live Business

LIVE goes live

By | Published on Friday 19 February 2021


The new trade group for the wider live music industry in the UK, called LIVE, formally launched yesterday. Bringing together thirteen other organisations that represent different aspects of the live sector, LIVE says that together its membership represents 3150 business, 4000 artists and 2000 backstage workers.

The new organisation has basically morphed out of UK Music’s Live Music Group as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the live side of the music industry under unprecedented pressure, motivating more collaboration between competitors in the market place.

UK Music, of course, is a trade body of trade bodies, bringing together organisations that represent labels, publishers, artists, musicians, songwriters, record producers and artist managers. It launched in 2008 with the aim of providing a united voice for the wider music industry – especially in political circles – on those issues where there was consensus between the different stakeholders within the industry.

Although it did speak about challenges facing the live industry early on – given those challenges directly affect artists, musicians and their managers – initially its membership did not include organisations representing venues, promoters, festivals, agents and other live music companies.

Then in 2011, the UK Live Music Group was established, which was basically a trade body of trade bodies that mainly existed to join the trade body of trade bodies. It was a committee that brought venues, promoters, festivals and agents more formally into the UK Music family, although not quite on the same level as the organisations representing rights-holders and music-makers.

Although some of the groups representing grassroots and independent operators in the live sector have been very proactive over the last decade, businesses at the more corporate end of the live industry have not tended to be as active in their trade organisations as, say, record labels and music publishers. Possibly because the latter, as copyright businesses, tend to need to lobby government more.

But, of course, in the last twelve months the entire live industry has needed to better organise, collaborate and lobby. Hence the more informal UK Live Music Group morphing and expanding into the much more formalised LIVE.

Also a trade body of trade bodies, at launch LIVE brings together the Association Of Independent Festivals, Association For Electronic Music, Association Of Festival Organisers, Association of Independent Promoters, British Association Of Concert Halls, Concert Promoters Association, The Entertainment Agents’ Association, Music Venue Trust, Music Managers Forum, National Arenas Association, Production Services Association and ticket agent group STAR.

LIVE has been working behind the scenes lobbying and campaigning for more government support for several months now, including publishing a report back in October providing some stats on the devastating impact of the pandemic on the live industry.

When formally launching yesterday, the group confirmed that its current lobbying priorities are getting a three year extension on the current short-term VAT cut on tickets; securing a government-backed insurance scheme so that events can be properly insured while COVID cancellations are still a possibility; and fighting for additional targeted financial support for the sector to protect jobs and infrastructure. It added that it will collaborate closely with UK Music on achieving its objectives.

Two live industry execs who played a key role in the establishment of LIVE are Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live and Phil Bowdery at Live Nation. The former said yesterday: “LIVE is focused on securing the long-term support for our industry that we vitally need, and protecting the jobs and livelihoods from the double whammy of COVID-19 and Brexit. We are a £4.5 billion world-leading industry, and by bringing together all of the unique voices within it and working collaboratively, we are in a far better position to protect and support our ecosystem as a result”.

LIVE’s CEO is Greg Parmley, who added: “It’s long overdue that the UK’s live music industry has a properly representative body, and LIVE will be that unified voice as the industry comes out of lockdown and beyond. The unprecedented challenges we face might paint a bleak picture, and this is a critical time, but together we can help protect jobs and the future of live music, as we move toward restoring the UK industry to its world leading best. LIVE is an opportunity to represent the whole of the live industry, from the smallest show to the biggest festival”.

“We are delighted”, he went on, “that the founding associations include organisations at the very top of our industry and those with deep connections into the foundations on which that industry is built”.