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UK Music - open letter to Arts Council; making the case for popular music

09 Apr 2018

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An open letter to Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council that was submitted as evidence, as part of Arts’ Council’s ‘conversation’ about it’s 10-year funding strategy 2020 – 2030, in which it fairly challenges the organisation for its disproportionate funding of classical and opera, to the detriment of other, more popular genres (and which draw a larger audience and export revenue share of the UK music industry).

In fact, for the current period 2018 – 2022,  Opera is to receive 62% of the total Arts Council funding available for music (£228,719,452), whereas Jazz will receive just 2% (£6,955,760).  In total, only 8 per cent of music funding is awarded to bids related to popular music. In short, for every £1 awarded to popular music, opera gets £8.

This letter makes the case for increased funding for popular music, and suggests how those currently well-supported organisations ought to be encouraged to creatively engage with corporations and high net worth individuals in pursuit of patronage, and rely/ depend upon Arts Council funding less.

It also proposes the organisation support initiatives to improve music education, social mobility, and the industry’s ecosystem.