The UK’s first live music census has been published, revealing the growing pressures small venues face.
The census revealed that one in three small venues have experienced problems with nearby property development, which can cause noise complaints from people living nearby.
It also showed that one third of small venues surveyed have been negatively affected by increases in business rates.
“It’s the right time for the UK’s first Live Music Census to put the spotlight on grassroots venues, the struggles they continue to face, and the importance of live music to local communities,” commented Kelly Wood, MU Live Performance Official.
“We have been lobbying Government for Agent of Change and working with local campaigns to save venues over the last few years. We can be proud of the way in which musicians have come together to protect local venues.
“At the same time music consumers, audiences and fans have become more familiar with the workings and struggles of this part of the industry. It’s vital that consumers are involved in lobbying for and supporting their favourite venues, as they often feel as passionate and dependent on the music as the creators themselves.”
PSNEurpe reports that Lord Clement-Jones, spokesman for the Creative Industries in the House of Lords, also commented on the latest findings.
“The UK Live Music Census is a very welcome initiative for policymakers as it will provide rich data about local live music activity from those who make it and those who enjoy it,” said Clement-Jones.
“Live music is facing a number of challenges at the moment, from venues closing down to the threat of increased business rates. However, data about the sector has so far been relatively scarce and mostly anecdotal, and so the much needed data collected by the UK Live Music Census will help us protect live music going into the future.”
Amongst the key findings were the significant economic, social and cultural value live music has in the UK.
The total spend of people at live music events contributes significant sums to local economies, including £78.8 million annually in Glasgow, £43.3m in Newcastle-Gateshead, and £10.5m in Oxford.
The census also provided further evidence that people now appear to spend more money on live music than recorded music. Nearly half (47%) of respondents to the audience survey spend more than £20 on tickets for concerts/festivals each month while only a quarter (25%) spend the same on recorded music.
On average, nearly half (49%) of the annual income of those respondents to the musician survey who identify as professional musicians comes from performing live compared to only 3% from recording.
In terms of social and cultural value, the report shows that nearly one in five (18%) of all respondents moved to their current permanent place of residence specifically for more music opportunities. For professional musicians, this figure rises to nearly a third (31%).
Two-thirds (66%) of respondents to the venue survey and nearly half (48%) of respondents to the promoter survey do (unspecified) charity work, while well over half (57%) of the venues and half (50%) of the promoters have informal links with educational communities such as universities and colleges.
The census was led by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Turku in Finland and surveyed 200 venues in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxford, and Southampton.
You can read the UK Live Music Census in full here.