DCMS launches consultation on how to spend dormant assets

21 Jul 2022

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a public consultation on what social and environmental causes should benefit from more than £700m of dormant assets funding in England.

Currently, dormant assets funding in England is required to be spent on three causes - youth, financial inclusion or social investment, but the government is reviewing whether these remain the right causes for where funding from dormant assets can be allocated.

One option under consideration for views is a community wealth fund proposal that would see pots of money distributed over long periods of time in local communities in England, with decisions made by residents to make a difference where it is most needed.

DCMS is welcoming response from members of the public, community groups, and industry stakeholders.

The consultation will close on Sunday 9 October.

Concern over exodus of arts marketing professionals

14 Jul 2022

The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) has launched a series of job templates to help tackle the “growing gulf” between expectations of arts marketing roles and offered pay rates.

It warned that during the pandemic “a huge amount” of marketing talent left the arts, culture and heritage sector, due to a crisis caused by consistently poor pay being offered to skilled workers.

The association reported that recruiters are struggling to fill roles, warning that marketing “ultimately can be the difference between success and failure in reaching audiences and ensuring a sustainable future for organisations”. 

A recent Centre for Cultural Value study revealed that the performing arts workforce is 15% smaller in 2022 than it was in 2021, meaning that staff are working longer hours to accomplish the same level of output. Many advertised vacancies are for two roles that have been merged into one without reducing expectations accordingly, AMA said.

“We’re seeing demoralised and burnt-out arts marketers who have left and will continue to leave our sector,” said CEO of AMA, Cath Hume.

“Long-term this will negatively impact the success of the sector and its organisations. Our members are being asked to take on more and more within their roles, but with no corresponding increase in resource or budgets.”

Many advertised roles have become “catch-all” positions with “wildly unrealistic” expectations, the association said, in part due a widespread misunderstanding of what marketing roles involve, particularly at senior levels.

The new templates aim to combat this by including appropriate job descriptions for various roles that can be used for recruitment. 

As well as creating fairer conditions for existing arts marketers by ensuring that skills and expectations are aligned with the pay and working hours available, they aim to make the sector more accessible and inclusive to those currently under-represented in the workforce.

Visitor attractions face 'significant cost-of-living barrier'

Martin Creed 'Work No 850' at Tate Britain
12 Jul 2022

Predicition of higher admissions levels for visitor attractions this summer compared with last year, but cost of living emerges as a concern for potential audiences.

Four Tet wins legal battle over streaming royalties

21 Jun 2022

Electronic artist Four Tet, whose real name is Kieran Hebden, has reached a settlement with his former label Domino Records after signing over the royalties paid when his music is downloaded or streamed.

Hedben was offered a 13.5% royalty rate for streams and downloads, the same rate applied to sales of music, rather than the 50% rate applied to licensing music. 

His deal with the record company was signed before the advent of digital downloads and music streaming services.

The musician argued that digital downloads and streaming of his music should be paid at the higher rate applied to licensing deals for movies and television, in which the record company doesn’t incur the costs associated with producing physical cassettes, vinyl or CDs.

Hebden’s legal challenge was decided out of court but could set a legal precedent for contract disputes in the music business.

In a statement on Twitter, he said that Domino Records “have recognised my original claim, that I should be paid a 50% royalty on streaming and downloads, and that they should be treated as a license rather than the same as a CD or vinyl sale”.

“Hopefully I’ve opened up a constructive dialogue and maybe prompted others to push for a fairer deal on historical contracts, written at a time when the music industry operated entirely differently,” he added.

He shared images of the settlement showing that he is due to receive £56,921.08 in respect of historical income backdated to July 2017, in addition to 5% annual interest.

Private arts funding 'increasingly reliant on social impact evidence'

People sitting on grass at a Coventry City of Culture event
16 Jun 2022

Arts and culture organisations report more competition for private sector funding, and requirement to show the work they do has a positive effect.

'Lack of awareness' of museums tax relief hampers uptake

Westminster Abbey in London. Illuminated as part of the Lumiere London Light Show 2018
14 Jun 2022

Museums and galleries are missing out on money due to complexity and lack of awareness of government tax relief scheme.

Mayor of London teams up with Creative UK to support freelancers

26 May 2022

The Mayor of London’s Culture Team and Creative UK are joining forces in an effort to tackle "systemic inequalities" facing freelancers in creative industries. 

The partnership will hold an event in July where freelancers and organisations working across London’s creative economy will be given the opportunity to test, prioritise and develop ideas for a more sustainable freelance model for creatives.

The guidance and ideas that emerge from the online event will be taken forward and shaped into a robust business case, as part of City Hall's Redesigning Freelancing programme.

Creative UK said the fragility of the freelance model, which the creative industries rely on heavily, was revealed during the pandemic when many parts of the creative industries experienced a sudden, large drop in their volume of work, with freelancers left unsupported.

Evy Cauldwell French, Development & Partnerships Manager for Impact & Change at Creative UK, said: “Creative freelancers working throughout London continue to face an unequal playing field, with many sadly choosing to leave creative occupations due to unsustainable practices. 

"We are pleased to announce our partnership with the Mayor of London’s Culture Team, with whom we are empowering organisations and freelancers working across London’s creative economy to create a more sustainable future for our growing workforce.”

Arts workers get lowest pay rise of any sector

25 May 2022

Low pay and real-terms depreciation of salaries could ‘severely damage’ arts sector amid record number of job vacancies, advocates say.

Government seeks 5% savings from major arts and culture institutions

06 May 2022

A government review of public bodies will consider whether they should be retained or abolished as well as seeking efficiency savings of at least 5%.

Music venues take cut of merch sales

19 Apr 2022

Academy Music Group (AMG) venues are taking a 25% cut from merchandise sales at live events, according to an investigation by The Guardian.

An undisclosed amount then goes to Universal Music Group (UMG), owners of the world’s three largest record labels, even if the artist in question is not signed to UMG.

In March, post-punk band Dry Cleaning hosted a pop-up merch store away from their gig at London’s O2 Forum, owned by AMG, to retain their profits.

“We probably sold the same number of units, but as we were able to retain 25% it worked out better for us financially,” Band Manager Helena Watmuff said.

Over 380 venues nationwide are included in the Featured Artists Coalition's (FAC) 100% Venues directory, a public database of venues that charge zero commission on artists' merchandise sales.

FAC CEO David Martin said these venues are making selling merchandise at gigs worthwile for artists: “[This creates] a fairer and more sustainable touring circuit, particularly for grassroots and emerging talent.”

NPO board rules 'potentially damaging' for arts charities

24 Mar 2022

Governance requirements for the next National Portfolio are "taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut" and could lead to board flight. 

UK recorded music worth £1.3bn

23 Mar 2022

The UK's recorded music industry was worth £1.3bn last year, keeping its title as the world's third-largest music market, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) reports.

Trailing the US and Japan, it experienced 13.2% growth in revenues in 2021 - slower than the global average of 18.5%.

Recorded music revenues grew in every region, with the Middle East and North Africa and Latin America outpacing the rest of the world (35% and 31% growth respectively).

Streaming was unsurprisingly behind most of the increase, contributing 65% of recorded music revenues.

Lottery favourite promises more money for the arts

16 Mar 2022

A new National Lottery operator could mean an extra £439m but details of the deal are shrouded in secrecy.

Culture in Northern Ireland benefits from unclaimed accounts

16 Mar 2022

Cultural organisations in Northern Ireland will receive a share of £1.3m of unclaimed money through the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Among the recipients are volunteer-led Hearth Historic Buildings Trust and Terra Nova Productions, the country's only professional intercultural theatre production company.

Belfast Tool Library received £99,843 to recruit volunteers and generate more income through workshops and memberships.

“This will allow us to become more financially sustainable and secure our future,” Chair Neal Campbell said.

Since its inception, the fund has delivered £8m to 89 organisations across the arts, sports, charities and community-based organisations.

“Dormant Accounts money continues to make a significant difference in building resilience in non-for-profit organisations addressing social and economic need in our local communities.” said Paul Sweeney, National Lottery Community Fund NI Chair.

Missing audiences present major challenge to arts income

09 Mar 2022

New research suggests venues may not be able to convince up to 14% of regular attendees to return as restrictions lapse. How can organisations adapt?

Nightlife business costs grow by a quarter

08 Feb 2022

Nightlife businesses have experienced a 26% rise in their operating costs in the past year.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) survey reveals the ongoing effects of the pandemic, with businesses on average operating at 68.9% of their pre-pandemic trading levels.

Further cost increases are expected in April, with national living wage, national insurance, VAT and business rates all scheduled to rise.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said many businesses will be forced to pass cost increases on to customers or risk going bust.

“These statistics show just how bleak things remain for our sector.

“I would now, even at this late stage, urge the Chancellor to postpone all the tax increases to give some perfectly viable night time economy businesses a fighting chance of survival.”

Yes, CRF grants are taxable

27 Jan 2022

Income tax on Culture Recovery Fund and other emergency grants is due next week - a shock to some following mixed messages from the Government.

Ministers intially said the grants would not be taxable, and HMRC appeared to confirm this after arts professionals questioned an email from Arts Council England suggesting otherwise.

The revenue department later backtracked, adding to the confusion.

The final line from HMRC below:

"Payments made from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund fall into the taxable category if made for the purpose of replacing lost revenue of the claimants.  

"This is similar to the treatment of Self Employment Income Support Scheme payments and other Covid grants which have been made with the purpose of supporting businesses and jobs.”

Summer events face 'pronounced' skills shortage

24 Jan 2022

Two thirds say they need to delay or cancel work as skilled workers are slow to return to the industry.

Audiences lack confidence as cancellations abound

12 Jan 2022

Support for cutting the isolation period down to five days could alleviate pressure on productions but may not be enough to bring audiences back.

Vaccine passports 'not sustainable' in Wales

17 Dec 2021

A month after implementation, venues say Covid passes have had the opposite effect on audience confidence than the policy intended.


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