Funding In The Music Industry

The CEO of K music Tom Kiehl has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak in regards to putting more money into the music industry. An industry that already contributes around 5.2 billion pounds to the UK economy per year. The plan contained key points to boost the growth of the music industry. Some of the main points in the UK music proposal included: Reducing business rates, Copyright protection, Shared parental leave and Economic circumstances. 

One of the points made in the report made by Mr Kiehl “Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. Socio-economic circumstances should not create barriers for participation in music.” The difference begins in school, according to the Music report 50% of children at independent schools receive sustained music tuition compared to only 15% for state schools. This might be a reason for the reduction in people studying A level music at college with 17% drop rates compared with just 4% of overall drop rates of A levels as a whole. Music should be accessible to all regardless of socio-economic background, however 17% of all music creators were educated at state independent schools, compared to 7% across the population as a whole. Government funding is low for the arts sector, so opportunities to develop skill and knowledge needed for the industry is scarcer for those in disadvantaged and marginalised areas. If there is more funding particularly within state schools, we can expand music opportunities in the UK for young people who want to work in the sector. 

This also goes for businesses within the music industry such as recording studios. Due to the crash of the high street and rocketing rent prices, it becomes harder for recording studios to keep up with rental payments. This also goes for music retail stores, Rough Trade for example believes ‘the Government should be doing far more to support High Street retail, especially in London, or risk a key part of the capital’s cultural fabric disappearing.’ Reducing business rates will help prevent the closure of recording studios and music retail stores from increased rent prices as well as keeping them as a fundamental part of our ‘culutral fabric’.

Rishi Sunak has pledged that any venue whose rental value is less than 51,000 annually will get a reduction in taxes like businesses such as hospitality, cinemas and other venues. This is particularly important after around 20% of music spaces have shut down in the past 15 years. It is vital to see a government taking a stand in accepting the importance of the music industry and the prevention of small music venues closing down. These venues are key for upcoming artists who are just starting out in the music industry, to shut these down will prove a massive disadvantage to those trying to make it in an already competitive industry. 

Now more relevant than ever in our current Corona pandemic is the financial stability for those that are self employed. In a 2018 report by Create London report in regards to musical careers, more people need financially stable support from the government as many who work in the music industry are self employed. They do not get access to secure pension schemes, as well as this there is multiple pressure on mental health due to the extra pressure which they put on themselves. Therefore, if the government offered more support to artist freelance work this might help people just starting out particularly those as mentioned do not have support networks. Looking at this in the current Coronavirus crisis we can see it means more than ever to give stable financial support to those that work in the music industry, particularly with festival closures for large scale events like ‘Glastonbury’ adding to the loss of seasonal work that countless people in the music industry rely on. Music tourism is a massive contributor to the music industry with more people than ever attending festivals, of course at this present time the future is uncertain of how badly hit the music industry will be. This is why it is detrimental for the government to fund a fundamental economy and industry with more job security for those who work within it. 

Rosabella Allen