Record label revenue up for eighth successive year 

man browses record store
09 Mar 2023

Combined revenue of music labels hits its highest nominal value since 2006, buoyed by increases in streaming, vinyl sales and sync licensing. 

Musicians’ Union backs artist merchandise campaign

16 Feb 2023

A campaign to ensure artists get 100% of merchandise income at gigs has received the backing of the Musicians’ Union.

Featured Artists Coalition’s 100% Venues initiative is encouraging venues not to take any commission fees from the sale of band t-shirts and other merchandise.

This revenue has become increasingly important for artists, as the costs of touring continue to rise.

The 100% Venues initiative is developing a directory of venues that pledge not to take any commission on sales.

Musicians’ Union National Organiser Kelly Wood said the growing number of venues that have signed up to the initiative “sends a very strong and positive message to artists”.

She added: “We hope that this leads to more pressure for other venues to improve their terms and get behind the campaign.”   

FAC CEO David Martin said that many performers “are facing an almost impossible task to keep the show on the road”.

“That is why the issue of merchandise commission has become so pronounced and why we will continue to fight for a fairer settlement for artists.” 

Short-term lets curb 'risks shrinking Edinburgh Fringe by third'

07 Feb 2023

Proposed new restrictions on the short-term letting of accommodation in Scotland could have a drastic impact on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, festival organisers have claimed.

In a submission to the Scottish Government’s Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee, Festivals Edinburgh – which represents 11 of the city’s annual festivals – said the restrictions would make Edinburgh “increasingly unaffordable and unfeasible” for both festival participants and visitors, shrinking the Fringe by as much as a third.

The new restrictions, which are now expected to be introduced in October having originally being scheduled for March, will require hosts of short-term lets to have a licence or risk being fined.

The restrictions follow City of Edinburgh Council’s own new rules, introduced in September, which require anyone renting out an entire dwelling that is not their principal home to apply for planning permission.

Festivals Edinburgh claim that the impact of the restrictions could result in the loss of 700 jobs and a £30m hit to Edinburgh’s economy.

The body has called for exemptions to be made in Edinburgh during August, to take into account the huge increase in demand for short-term accommodation during the busy festivals period.

In it own submission to Holyrood, the campaign group PLACE Edinburgh took a counter view.

It said that the proposed restrictions were already having a positive impact on the housing stock in Scotland’s capital, “increasing the availability, affordability and liveability of housing, as investors sold off their stock in advance of the impending implementation date”.

The price is wrong

People giving a standing ovation to a performance in a theatre auditorium. Visible are the stalls, dress circle, upper circle and balcony.
06 Feb 2023

With ticket price differentiation reaching new extremes, David Reece considers the longer-term consequences and asks if we should be entering a new era of pricing.

2023: A year for squeezing your digital assets

People in an office on computers and laptops. The office is surrounded by artworks placed on the walls. There is a large window in the background.
31 Jan 2023

In the fast-changing world of digital, people love to forecast. But rather than focus on the future, Katie Moffat thinks you should look at what you already have to squeeze the best from your most important digital asset: your website. 

Crafts Council reports first financial loss in four years

The exterior of the Crafts Council building in London
27 Jan 2023

Effects of pandemic and inability to attract tenants for spare office space see Crafts Council record financial loss.

An underutilised source of community arts funding

Community mural being painted in Peckham Square: an example of the kind of work that can be funded through CIL
26 Jan 2023

Local authorities are central to the UK’s planning system. Lucy Atkinson explains how Community Infrastructure Levy funding can provide opportunities for arts organisations to work creatively with communities.

Art to help out?

Geometric shapes on a wooden background
11 Jan 2023

Since 2020 the sector has faced a series of crises, first Covid and now an even more uncertain future related to the cost of living. Michelle Wright considers how the arts can help.

Relocation or dislocation? A guide to navigating ACE’s transfer programme

Birdseye view of people passing cardboard boxes
11 Jan 2023

Arts Council England's Transfer Programme is intended to initiate geographical redistribution – not just of money but of creative talent too. Kevin Poulter outlines the implications for people being asked to move out of London.

Deadline extended for museums' VAT refund scheme

08 Dec 2022

The closing date for a government scheme allowing museums and galleries to claim a VAT refund has been extended by two months.

The scheme, which has been running since 2001, is open to any museum or gallery that provides free access to the public for at least 30 hours a week. It last accepted new applicants in 2018/19.

Institutions eligible for the scheme are entitled to a refund on VAT incurred on goods and services purchased in order to facilitate free admission. The scheme reopened for applications in October, with an original deadline of 3 January 2023.

The closing date has now been extended by two months to 5pm Wednesday 1 March 2023.

Independent theatres 'face closure without strong Christmas'

A Christmas performance at a theatre
07 Dec 2022

With ticket sales still below pre-Covid levels and cultural spending taking a hit due to the cost-of-living crisis, this Christmas could be anything but merry for many of the UK's small, independent theatres.

Competition watchdog rules out music streaming investigation 

28 Nov 2022

Despite concerns from music industry stakeholders, the UK's competition watchdog  has decided that a formal investigation would be unlikely to improve outcomes for listeners or creators.  

Museums 'scaling down activity' to survive

A steam engine at Leeds Industrial Museum
13 Oct 2022

Survey of museums highlights concerns about fixed-term energy contracts ending and the inability of organisations to absorb high energy costs if they persist for the long term.

Institute of Contemporary Arts plans raves to boost coffers

12 Oct 2022

London's Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) is hoping to plug its annual funding shortfall with a renewed focus on live performances and club nights that finish at 6am.

Speaking to The Guardian, Turner Prize-winning artist and ICA chair Wolfgang Tillmans said new ICA director Bengi Ünsal's programme for the West End venue will “make people aware that there is this spot in the most established place in London that is underground, progressive and also has a really late license.”

Tillmans added that the intention is “to put the ICA back on a sustainable footing with a new mix of programming that brings back evening audiences and activates the bar and uses the late license that we have.”

"Ultimately", said Tillmans, "the goal of initiatives such as a partnership with the ticket app Dice is to make ICA self funding."

The venue currently receives 21% of its funding from Arts Council England, which amounted to £862,441 last year, but Tillmans says that “there’s a shortfall every year”.

Ünsal joined the West End venue from the Southbank Centre, where she was head of contemporary music and in charge of the annual Meltdown festival.  She replaced Stefan Kalmár, whose five years in charge saw programming centred on the visual arts.

Royal Opera House unveils subscription streaming service

04 Oct 2022

The Royal Opera House has announced a new online subscription service offering works from its archives, behind the scenes features, and talks for a monthly or annual fee.

The move to offer a permanent streaming service follows a programme of nine live-streamed concerts and 38 productions from its archives which ran during the pandemic. 

The organisation said subscribers, who will be asked to pay £9.99 a month or £99 a year, will have access to an extensive catalogue of full-length performances spanning two decades.

There will also be more than 85 behind-the-scenes features, trailers, talks and insights. Brand-new titles will be made available monthly, along with behind-the-scenes content. 

During the pandemic, content in the Royal Opera House's #OurHouseToYourHouse programme was viewed more than 15 million times in 183 countries, broadcast in partnership with the BBC, Sky Arts, Marquee TV and Netflix. 

Energy prices could force closures, venues warn

01 Sep 2022

Art sector leaders warn venues face permanent closure without government support, with others expecting to become 'warm banks' for those struggling to heat their own homes.

Economic value of museums and galleries on the rise

The interior of the National Gallery
23 Aug 2022

Latest government figures show the value to the economy of museums and galleries has rebounded to near pre-pandemic levels.

Record label support for artists rises to £495m

15 Aug 2022

UK record labels invested £495m supporting artists’ careers and development in 2021 through A&R, marketing and promotion – more than double their investment in 2016.

Figures published by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the representative voice for independent and major record labels across the UK shows labels’ investment last year included a record £358m spend on A&R and another £137m. The investment represents 39.2% of total UK label revenue.

The A&R spend, which includes artist advances, creating new recordings, video costs and tour support, was 107% more in 2021 than the amount invested in 2016 of £173.3m. 

Over the same five-year period to 2021, UK labels’ total revenue income increased by 42.9%, driven largely by a 51.3% surge in streaming revenue. 

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, said: “The UK has been one of the world’s music superpowers since the advent of pop culture, thanks to the combination of our many incredible artists drawn from all regions and nations, and the passion, financial backing and expertise of our record labels. 

"During a time when music has returned to growth after years of decline, labels have continued to prioritise investment in artists. 

"It is fuelling success for a new generation of UK artists who are embracing the opportunities of this truly connected world, underpinning our leading position on the global music stage.”

Legal ruling raises prospect of huge savings for museums 

The interior of the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle
15 Aug 2022

Calls for government body that sets business rates for museums and galleries to review its methodology following latest legal defeat on the issue.

British music exports hit record high

an audience watches a gig
26 Jul 2022

Data from the British Phonographic Industry reveals consumption of British music increased in every region globally in 2021.


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