Newsletter #82 September 2011
RED TAPE, WRONG PLACE
The UK live business has seen an array of deals, consultations and closures this summer, as each element of the sector has aimed to innovate against a struggling economy. Those in the corridors of power are often accused of not providing enough assistance to the fledgling or enough control over the aggressive. In this piece we will investigate venue licensing, government planning, ticketing fraud and secondary ticketing to ask whether the red tape is, in fact, in the right place.
On 9th September 2011 DCMS published Regulated Entertainment: A Consultation proposal to examine the deregulation of Schedule One of the Licensing Act 2003 . Championed by John Penrose, the Tourism and Heritage Minister, the consultation aims to untangle much of the red tape currently tying up live venue owners and operators, by removing the requirement for them to obtain entertainment licenses.
A radical and, on the face of it, welcome proposal, its stated aims are being questioned in some corners of the live sector, as the changes would appear to only affect those venues that haven’t yet obtained their licenses. Already-licensed venues would continue to have to comply with all the terms of their licence, or face fines of up to £20,000 or six months in jail for breaches.
Stated John King of the Welwyn Live Music Forum “For the largest licensed sector: premises already licensed to serve alcohol and provide live music, there is no proposal to cut any red tape whatsoever. there will be no reduction in licensing costs for affected businesses, and there are no measures to encourage live music.”
The proposal may also create more red tape around the issuing of Temporary Event Notices, by extending powers to local government to object to these temporary licenses. Further, there appear to be no plans to reform the wholly controversial Form 696. The consultation closes on 3rdDecember 2011, responses can be emailed or sent via snail mail.
Some of the deals and partnerships that have recently taken place may remind us just how big the live business can be: Universal Music owner Vivendi’s recent purchase of See Tickets, and a strategic partnership between Universal and the world’s largest management and promotion company Live Nation were both concluded in the last fortnight alone. Against this backdrop of huge business dealings perhaps some of the red tape circling the UK’s smaller venues ought to be placed elsewhere.
As we turn our eye to the burgeoning secondary ticket market, we last week saw Ebay’s secondary ticket site StubHub announce its intentions to launch in the UK, joining the immensely successful Viagogo, Seatwave and Ticketmaster’s own GetMeIn!
A long government consultation into the secondary ticket market some years ago drew no clear action in this area although the 2010 Sale of Tickets Bill, which aims to regulate the selling of tickets for certain sporting and cultural events, is currently going through Parliament. Supported by Shadow Education Minister Sharon Hodgson, the private members bill is expected to receive its second reading in the Commons on the 21st October.
Many in the industry understandably consider the secondary market to be nothing more than white collar touting, so it’s interesting to note the likes of Seatwave surfacing in the media, such as Radio 1 and The Guardian, as a just and authoritative source.
Despite the sad demise of the Scarlet Mist ethical ticket exchange (detailed on our blog) there are other initiatives out there attempting to provide alternatives to the for profit secondary ticketing market. One such scheme is Association of Independent Festivals’ Ticket Trust ethical ticket exchange designed as a firm stand against the secondary ticketing business for AIF member festivals.
While it’s probably fair to say that some parts of the live business are undeniably helping to grow the secondary market by listing many of their best tickets directly with secondary ticketing sellers, it’s important to also accept that, for all their sins, the secondary ticket agents do at least provide a secure, fraud-free trading environment.
For the public that’s an important improvement on a drastically unregulated market where any old crook can set up as “Hyde Park Tickets” and operate a completely fraudulent site. As a guide to the scale of this kind of fraud (the problems associated with which hastened Scarlet Mist’s demise), a report from the Office of Fair trading found that ticket fraud cost an estimated £12million in 2010, with one in 12 ticket buyers being caught out by scam ticket websites.
Elsewhere in the live space, plans from Southwark council to approve the construction of two new residential buildings within close proximity to the Ministry of Sound, have been met with a much publicised campaign to thwart the local planning committee. With the committee decision pushed back to October 11, the club professes that the verdict will “effectively decide on the fate of the Ministry of Sound club’s future” as the buildings will increase the likelihood of complaints and eventual closure.
While the idea of local government waiving through residential developments close to long established live music establishments (often the very reason a particular area has been regenerated) seems ridiculous, this is certainly not be the first time it has happened, nor is it likely to be the last. Our Live Music: Licensed To Thrill think tank, which looked at the problems experienced by the live venues around Digbeth in Birmingham, revealed the apparent lack of internal communication between many councils’ own planning and environmental health departments which leads to these short-sighted and unfair situations arising.
In several other countries, new residential developments are obliged to consider neighbouring cultural institutions that have existed long before the development was put together, and it’s arguably about time this sort of joined up thinking became a part and parcel of local government planning.
So, despite the best of intentions of the handshakers and lawmakers, how does the bureaucracy and sticky red stuff end up often binding those who are least equipped to deal with it? Well the voices are there, live spokesmen are nothing if not vocal, perhaps the government representatives need to spend a little more time investigating what makes our whole industry tick…
Editorial by Sam Shemtob & Hugo Mintz
MUSICTANK LOUNGE: New Facebook Profile; Blog; Live Industry Course; Reports
Facebook – We’ve Moved!
Due to the recent changes facebook has made to their platform we’ve moved our facebook group to a new and improved page. Pack your bags and come with us! MusicTank Facebook Page
Fresh up this week is Scarlet Mist co-founder, Richard Marks giving a detailed explanation as to why his popular ticket exchange platform has folded. Sadly, the act of a few pernicious fraudsters has destroyed a platform that saw some 2000 tickets exchanged daily, in an open, fair and transparent way, and without money leaving the industry.
“The plain fact is that ticket fraud is just too easy to perpetrate, and the risks of getting caught are too slim. Victims are dissuaded from reporting the crime, and the police are hamstrung by logistical difficulties in proving the intent to defraud. Persistent offenders can reoffend again and again, sometimes not even bothering to change their pseudonym.” Read the post here…
And in case you missed it over the summer, Keith Harris’ post about the UK Riots Aftermath provides typically insightful comment about the culture of ‘free’ and the parallels in both the online and ‘real’ world, giving us all cause for thought. Read the post here…
Get Plugged In: Live Music, Promotion & Venue Management
Building on the success of this sell-out course (watch out for our imminent 20-page summary report), MusicTank will shortly unveil plans to take this course out and about to some regional UK centres, with tutor Andy Inglis. Meanwhile, if you’d like us to come to a venue near you, please contact us…
This new tier of reduced-price MusicTank membership and event rates for bona fide UK students will be launching shortly. Keep an eye out here…
MusicTank Report: Remake, Remodel – The Evolution Of The Record Label
‘This report comes at a dynamic and exciting time for the music industry, with labels having gone through an unprecedented period of change in the last decade. Tony Wadsworth is perfectly placed to undertake a project like this, having been at the forefront of many of these changes throughout this period, both at label and industry level.’ – David Joseph, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music UK.
‘The document is definitely worth reading for anyone in this business…’ – Emmanuel Legrand
This report is FREE to all MusicTank members. Annual Membership is £45. Individuals can sign up then log into this website with their username and password to then download the report. Corporations and Institutions (education and charites) can find out about membership here, meanwhile, the report is on sale to businesses, corporations and institutions at rates starting from £199. Further details are available here.
‘Remake, Remodel…’ is supported by Robertson Taylor.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Better Batteries; West End Musicians
Julie’s Bicycle has launched its new UK-wide Better Batteries campaign – encouraging the music and theatre industries to recharge and recycle batteries for environmental benefits and cash savings.
Musicians And Patrons – Priced Out Of The West End
“Politics is about getting something done, about effecting change, about making the world a different place,” said Westminster council leader ColinBarrow CBE.
Well, there’s no doubting the decision on street parking he steered through last month will make a difference, albeit to the detriment of hundreds of musicians earning a crust in one of the greatest musical capitals of the world, pricing them and audiences out of the West End.
INDUSTRY DIARY: Events
SEP 22-24: REEPERBAHN CAMPUS
Reeperbahn Campus is an innovative conference and B2B networking platform for the music and live entertainment industries in Northern Europe, with 1.500 delegates from 25 countries, 300 national and international journalists, 70 conference and B2B events and 150 speakers and is timed to coincide with the Reeperbahn Festival. Booking…
SEP 28: MUSIC 4.5 – BRAND DISCOVERY…
As brands and artists share the same need to communicate and engage with their fans/consumers, the tools developed for the music industry are proving to be an innovative way for brands to drive engagement and reach new demographics, partnering up in new ways with artists. Confirmed Speakers incl: Clare Crean (AudioFuel); Cliff Fluet (Lewis Silkin); Daniel Cross (RecordPlay); Jessie Scoullar (Topspin) and others. Booking…
SEP 29 – OCT 01: NORWICH SOUND & VISION 2011
The event combines an eclectic music and film festival with a world class conference exploring the issues and opportunities faced by artists and businesses within the music and wider creative industries. Last year’s event drew 2,500 attendees ranging from music and film industry professionals to artists and music students. Confirmed spkrs incl. Blur’s Dave Rowntree. Booking…
OCT 03: PCAM – The Meaning & Art Of Sound DesignWith an emphasis on commercial soundtrack production, this seminar will feature a panel of eminent and accomplished sound designers from disparate backgrounds and sensibilities who will present their own unique viewpoints and engage in what promises to be a lively debate about the potency and scope of this dark and all-too-often misunderstood art. Booking…
OCT 05 & 06: LIVE UK SUMMIT
returning for a fifth year, topics for discussion will range from the staple issues of ticketing, concert and festival promoting, venue sustainability and Masters of the Universe – the adventures of booking agents, to in-depth DIY covering artiste management, ticketing and touring. Early-bird rate registration is now available, as are tickets for the Thames riverboat networking and sightseeing excursion on the evening of Wed 5 October and the second annual Live Music Business Awards on the evening of Thu 6 October. Booking…
OCT 06: LIVE MUSIC AWARDS
Now in its second year, this is event is dedicated to presenting awards to the business people who drive the country’s contemporary live music industry. The awards recognise excellence and talent among promoters, venue operators, festival organisers and agents, through to artiste managers, brand impact and record label partnerships. Booking…
OCT 14: PRS/TIGA – GAMING MEETS MUSIC
This seminar targets music-using gaming start-ups and will address business-modelling, licensing and rights questions. Booking…
NOV 10: AIM – INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS
Shining a light on the talent, creativity and innovation in the independent music sector, the first of what promises to be an annual event will take place at Floridita, a stunning and eclectic venue in London’s West End. With independents having a stellar year, there has never been a better time to celebrate the hard work, dedication and passion that have become synonymous with indie labels and artists. Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, renowned for their passion of music and support for the indie sector, will host the event, which will also feature performances from some of the indie sector’s most prominent artists. Voting is now open for the following three publicly-voted categories: Best Live Act | Best Independent Festival | Indie Champion | Booking…
NOV 15: UK FESTIVALS CONFERENCE
Returning for its 4th year, the UK Festival Conference brings the festival industry together for a day of debates, discussion, networking and information sharing. Panel discussions at the UK Festival Conference will present and debate the latest thinking and business insight in addition to reviewing the year’s key achievements and challenges. Following the success of last year’s sold-out event, there will be further focus on the most important issues in the industry, plus extended and expanded networking opportunities. Festival Republic’s head honcho, Melvin Benn, is this year’s confirmed keynote. Booking
NOV 17: MUSIC FUTURES, NEWCASTLE
Hot on the success of last year’s Leeds event, this Genertaor conference returns to Newcastle and will consider a range of key industry issues in a day of packed debate and insight. | Full info: email@example.com
FEATURED PARTNER: Music Business School
THE MUSIC BUSINESS SCHOOL
This fast-track music business course aims to instil in 12 intensive day-long lessons over 3-months, the complete guide to working in the music biz and is specifically suited to entrepreneurs and self-starters – DIY artists, producers, label owners & managers.
With regular guest experts across the industry providing unique insight to rapidly changing business issues, enrolment has now opened for its Jan ’12 course. Early bird 20% discount applies until 30 Nov.
**SPECIAL OFFER** – additional 5% discount for bona fide MusicTank subscribers.
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
If you have any queries regarding any of our events or activities, please call us on +44 (0) 20 8357 7317, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily condoned or shared by MusicTank. MusicTank is a non-profit organisation owned and operated by University of Westminster. University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Reg Number: 977818, England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London, W1. MusicTank is based at University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3TP
Sections Below:MUSICTANK LOUNGE: New Facebook Profile; Blog; Live Industry Course; Reports
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Better Batteries; West End Musicians
INDUSTRY DIARY: Events
FEATURED PARTNER: Music Business School
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
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