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Parliament to put spotlight on live sector

By | Published on Monday 22 January 2018

Houses Of Parliament

As the UK government confirmed last week that it was going¬†to incorporate the agent of change principle into planning rules, Parliament’s culture select committee announced it was launching a new inquiry into other challenges affecting the British live music industry, especially at the grassroots.

Confirming its new live music inquiry, the select committee stated: “The British live music industry attracted over 30 million music fans in 2016, with music tourism contributing ¬£4 billion to the UK economy that year. However, despite the fact that festival and concert attendance continues to grow, the number of grassroots music venues have seen a drastic decline”.

Although getting agent of change into planning rules is a good step forward – reducing the potential negative impact of new residential developments being built next to existing music venues – plenty of other challenges remain for the grass roots music circuit. Yet pretty much everyone agrees that circuit is key for helping future music talent develop and find a fanbase.

The wide-ranging new review will cover things like the status of small music venues, the impact of music tourism, the potential impact of Brexit on live music, and the link between music education and the live sector. Oh yeah, and good old secondary ticketing. Again.

The culture select committee has looked at ticket touting before, of course, with the secondary ticketing sites not coming across particularly well at the committee’s public hearings on the issue. Viagogo, meanwhile, just didn’t show up, a highly unusual move for a company with significant operations in the UK.

Those investigations were cut short by the 2017 General Election, something the select committee notes. It states: “MPs will use this inquiry to continue investigating [the ticket touting] problem, since the 2017 General Election cut short the previous committee’s inquiry looking into ticket abuse. This inquiry launched today will aim to incorporate the findings and evidence that were submitted previously, and MPs will once again invite ticket reselling companies such as Viagogo to contribute evidence”.

Commenting on the wider inquiry, committee chair Damian Collins MP said: “The committee welcomes the government’s announcement today that the agent of change principle will form part of the National Planning Policy Framework for housing. As part of this new inquiry, we’ll be exploring other ways in which the government can support upcoming artists and grassroots venues that form such a crucial part of the music scene in the UK”.

More information about the inquiry and how to submit evidence is available here.