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MU lobbies for agent of change principle

By | Published on Tuesday 23 June 2015

Musicians' Union

Fresh from its success in the High Court over the private copy right, the Musicians’ Union has been pursuing another of the issues high up its agenda, lobbying Parliament and government over the so called ‘agent of change’ principle.

One of the top issues raised during the #VoteForMusic campaign in the run up to the recent General Election – as revealed at The Great Escape last month – the agent of change principle is the idea that if property developers plonk new residential buildings next to existing live music venues, they should have a legal and financial responsibility to provide whatever sound proofing is necessary to ensure the venue and future residents can co-exist.

It’s an attempt to overcome the increasing occurrence whereby people move in next to a music venue, possibly because the music venue has helped make a previously undesirable part of town attractive again, and then complain about the noise, often forcing said venues to cut back their music programmes or shut down entirely. Not least because grassroots music venues rarely have the budgets required to pay for costly sound proofing to be put in. A flurry of venues have faced this challenge in recent years, and several more are set to in the near future.

Commenting on the MU’s bid to introduce the agent of change principle, which already exists in Australia, over here, the Union’s General Secretary John Smith said yesterday: “Music venues across the country are vitally important – both for musicians and bands who rely on them for their livelihoods and for music fans and local communities”.

He went on: “Venues must, of course, stick to the terms of their licence and residents must be able to complain if they do not comply or are causing a genuine nuisance. But a growing number of well-established venues have been forced to close or to undertake expensive noise reduction work as a result of noise complaints and abatement notices served by new developments. We would like the government to consider introducing the agent of change principle in order to help protect these important cultural spaces”.