Orchestras in healthcare

Musicians playing to patients in a care settting
20 Feb 2024

A recent report reinforces the UK-wide picture of the great work orchestras do in delivering societal good. As Sarah Derbyshire writes, there are encouraging signs of progress over the past three years. 

Music licensing body reports record income for 2023

11 Apr 2024

Income generated from the use of recorded music in public places topped £283.5m last year, up 4% from 2022 - the highest level ever recorded by music licensing body PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited).

PPL said the increase was driven by an uplift in income from using recorded music in public places such as shops, bars, nightclubs, offices, and factories, which was up 11% to over £111m in 2023.

Meanwhile, international revenue collected by PPL for the use of members’ music worldwide reached £75.4m.

After operating costs and other deductions, the amount passed on to PPL members and other Collective Management Organisations grew by 5% year on year, with the cost as a percentage of revenue reducing from 13.3% to 13% in the previous year. 

Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, said: "In these somewhat precarious times for performers, we are proud to deliver a consistent stream of income for them and recording rights holders - over £1bn distributed in the past five years alone. As the world leader in international collections, we will continue to advocate for neighbouring rights in new markets to maximise revenue opportunities for all our members.”  

Orchestra leader says classical music cuts “not acceptable”

10 Apr 2024

Funding cuts are destroying Britain’s “top-notch” classical music organisations, according to the new chief conductor at the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Antonio Pappano.

Speaking at the launch of LSO’s new season, Pappano said: “Do you want to see them die little by little? Look at the struggles, look at the ENO, the WNO. These places are in trouble, and it is not acceptable.”

He said that concerns around whether classical music was “specialist, elitist”, distracted organisations “when they should be concentrating on making good work and quality performances”.

Pappano also criticised Arts Council England, saying the funding body “did not seem to be supporting" classical music organisations and only held “discussions focused on community, diversity, and all those social aspects."

“It is not the LSO or Royal Philharmonic or London Philharmonic’s ­responsibility to educate children. It is the government’s job to start educating children and creating not only talent for the future but also audiences," said Pappano.

“The amount of responsibility given to organisations to correct something that should be done by the government is unfair, frankly.”

LSO, an ACE National Portfolio Organisation, has seen its annual investment from the funding body drop from £2,246,641 to £1,977,044. Pappano joins the orchestra from the Royal Opera House, which has seen its own annual investment from ACE - the largest grant awarded to any single organisation - fall from £25,211,186 to £22,268,584.

ACE delays public announcement of new music education hubs

Orchestra instruments
10 Apr 2024

Independent Society of Musicians warns that Arts Council England's last-minute decision leaves staff and freelancers "in the dark" about their future employment.

MPs back proposed £300m Smart Fund for creator remuneration

10 Apr 2024

Select Committee says government must ‘plug the gaps' in outdated copyright and intellectual property regulations’ to help future-proof creators rights.

Grassroots music fund launches

09 Apr 2024

A music initiative designed to "empower and celebrate" grassroots music communities has launched.

Studio Monkey Shoulder, established by Monkey Shoulder Whisky, aims to recognise and support a community organisation to turn a passion project into reality, via a £10,000 investment. 

The UK-based community, collective or music organisation which receives the investment will have the opportunity to create their own event and feature in a series of films and radio broadcasts, produced in collaboration with Worldwide FM.

The  Studio Monkey Shoulder initiative is open to community trailblazers from independent record stores, live venues and online radio stations, to DJs, artists and promoters.

The winner will be selected by DJ and broadcaster Gilles Peterson, Founder of Worldwide FM.

Ministerial commitment to music education questioned

Pupils Playing Musical Instruments In School Orchestra
09 Apr 2024

Department for Education confirms that a minister has been present at only one meeting of the board in charge of challenging the government on music education plans.

Belfast music festivals provide £31m economic boost

08 Apr 2024

Two of Belfast’s biggest outdoor music events generated £30.8m for Northern Ireland's economy, a study has found.

According to an independent report, the 2023 editions of Belsonic Festival at Ormeau Park and Emerge Music Festival in Boucher Fields, also created nearly 6,000 paid employment opportunities.

Northern Ireland's Economy Minister Conor Murphy said: "Events such as Belsonic and Emerge are considerable economic drivers providing a much needed boost for our local tourism and hospitality industry.

"Employing thousands of people each year, they also engender a feel good factor and a sense of pride that shouldn’t be underestimated."

Sunderland gets investment for 'Music City' project

02 Apr 2024

Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust has received more than £300,000 for a music initiative designed to provide people from diverse backgrounds with full access to educational and cultural events.

A total of £300,000 has been provided for the Sunderland Music City project from a social investment fund for the North East of England established by Northstar Ventures and £37,500 from the County Durham Community Foundation.

MAC Trust currently organises several major events in Sunderland, including Summer Streets, in partnership with Sunderland Council and Arts Council England.

Through Music City, the trust hopes to establish and brand Sunderland as a 'music city', using music, audiences and venues to help change people's cultural experiences in the city and the region, make it a more vibrant place and somewhere musical talent want to study and live.

Paul Callaghan, Chair of MAC Trust, said: "By developing and supporting music we can help the city and the region in several important ways through job creation, economic and artistic growth, tourism development, reputation and brand building. 

"It will involve not just the music community but also the education and public sectors, voluntary bodies, and the community at large covering all musical genres, all ages and everyone who wants to play, sing, or listen."

Welsh National Opera musicians face reduced contracts

An exterior shot of Wales Millennium Centre, home to Welsh National Opera
02 Apr 2024

Proposed cuts would see performers paid less as a result of reduced working hours, with Musicians’ Union saying the  situation is a 'direct result of underfunding and defunding of opera'. 

Wigmore Hall opens fund aimed at self-sufficiency

02 Apr 2024

The classical music venue’s new fund has been set up to allow it to run without funds from the public purse if ever necessary, amid “an uncertain public funding environment for classical music”.

Raft of universities propose cuts to arts subjects

University of Kent
27 Mar 2024

Seven UK universities have announced job cuts affecting arts courses in recent weeks with performing arts courses particularly at risk.

Calls for fan-led review of grassroots music industry

A man performing on stage at a small music venue
27 Mar 2024

Music industry representatives tell MPs they would back the idea of a fan-led inquiry into grassroots music venues, similar to that seen in football.

Arts leaders criticised for membership of male-only club

26 Mar 2024

Several arts leaders representing Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisations have faced criticism after The Guardian revealed they hold membership to the exclusive, all-male Garrick Club.

Alex Beard, the Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, which receives ACE’s largest individual investment of over £22m per year, has been named a member, as has the Chair at English National Opera, Harry Brünjes, the Artistic Director of the Wigmore Hall, John Gilhooly, and the Chief Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Antonio Pappano.

A spokesperson for Her Ensemble, an organisation that campaigns for equality in classical music, said the presence of many leading figures on the membership list “ultimately undermines a lot of the progress that the industry is making and encourages inequality.”

In a statement to The Guardian, ACE said, “Personal memberships of this kind are a matter for the individuals concerned”. 

ACE added that as a distributor of public money, “we make clear that we expect our investment to support cultural experiences and job opportunities to be available for everyone in England, irrespective of where they live, their background or how much money they have in their pocket”.

Jude Kelly, former Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and founder of the Women of the World Foundation, said senior figures in the arts should resign their membership.

“It behoves people who are leaders in the arts to not frequent it any longer. I don’t understand why anybody would think that it’s still OK to join a men-only members’ club,” she said.

The club, founded in 1831 as a meeting place for actors, previously held a formal vote on admitting women in 2015, with 50.5% supporting a rule change, failing to meet the required two-thirds majority. 

Garrick club members, including leading lawyers, the head of the civil service and King Charles, are expected to vote on the matter again in June. 

New partnership will support music sector in the North

20 Mar 2024

The Association of Independent Music (AIM) is partnering with Tileyard North, a Wakefield-based creative space, to support the North of England’s independent music sector.

The partnership will see AIM hold a permanent space at Tileyard North. The association is planning a series of activities in collaboration with the venue, while AIM members will have access to discounted rates at Tileyard’s creative spaces.

The initiative will begin with a roundtable event, strategically designed to anchor AIM in the North of England and bolster its efforts in talent development.

AIM’s Director of Business Development & Partnerships, Ben Wynter, said the collaboration is the first step to strengthen engagement with regions and nations outside London and the South East of England.

“Our collective aspiration is to eliminate the necessity for talented creatives and industry professionals to relocate to London in pursuit of success,” Wynter said.

“Instead, we want to support them to thrive locally, with AIM , contributing to the development of sustainable economies and ecosystems throughout the UK.”

Having opened in 2023, Tileyard has set ambitions of becoming the UK’s largest creative space outside of London.

“Wynter’s vision is completely aligned with ours and his pledge to build a home for AIM at our Tileyard North campus in Wakefield is testament to our shared aspiration to increase the opportunities for creative talent to incubate, develop and thrive in the North of England,” commented Nick Keynes, Co-Founder of Tileyard North.

Get Paid Guide for music creators published

20 Mar 2024

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published a Get Paid Guide which it says aims to help demystify metadata for music creators. 

The resource, developed in partnership with PPL and PRS for Music, guides creators on how to register and manage their metadata, so they can protect their recorded music rights and ensure they are paid fairly and timely for their work.

It follows the launch of a guide on intellectual property rights for songwriters and composers released last year.

IPO Head of Research, David Humphries, says that following the publication of the Metadata Agreement in May 2023, IPO and representatives across the music industry have worked together to determine how best to improve the quality and accuracy of data. 

He added: “Industry led working groups on technical solutions and education have been meeting regularly to consider how best to improve the current data systems and how best to engage with the creator community.”

Michelle Escoffery, President of the PRS Members’ Council, said the guide has all the tools to make it easier for creators to master the art of good music data. 

“My hope is that by simplifying what can be quite complex, we empower our songwriter, composer, and performer community to understand that inputting accurate music data is a key contributor to financial success,” Escofferey added.

“By closing the knowledge gap, we will improve the quality of metadata across the music industry and ensure we're paid timely and correctly for our creativity.”

New charity to fund sector solutions to climate change

19 Mar 2024

A new charity is planning to bring visual arts and music organisations together by funding projects delivering impactful environmental solutions.

Murmur is launching with over £1m in pledges from partner organisations in the visual arts and music industries including leading galleries and music labels.

It has already delivered several pilot grants, including one to the British Phonographic Industry and the Association of Independent Music to establish the Music Climate Pact.

The charity will deliver grants in three categories. Grants to 'Change the Industry' projects will look to make positive change within the visual arts and music sector, 'Change the Conversation' grants will be available to projects inspiring new ways of storytelling and positive action around climate change and 'Change the World' grants will go to projects that have tangible global impacts on climate change.

Murmur says it will welcome new partners as it “aims to galvanise the whole arts and music sector”. To become a partner, businesses must commit to a carbon audit and reduction of their carbon emissions in line with a 1.5C future and make annual financial contributions to the charty’s shared fund based on their environmental impact.

“Our mission is to transform these industries from the inside out, making environmental responsibility integral to their operation,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees and one of Murmur’s creators, Caius Pawson.

“Joining us is not about gaining a privilege, it’s about making a profound commitment to change - not only in the way you conduct your business but also in how we collectively shape our industry.”

How prepared are young musicians for professional life?

Rakhi Singh with students on Future Artists scheme working with Southbank's artist in residence, violinist Rakhi Singh, co-founder of Manchester Collective
19 Mar 2024

A ground-breaking initiative from the Royal Academy of Music in partnership with Southbank Centre – Future Artists - seeks to equip students to use their multiple skills, writes Jessica Walker.

Home Office overturns visa refusal for Afghan Youth Orchestra

05 Mar 2024

The Afghan Youth Orchestra’s four-date tour in England will go ahead after the Home Office u-turned on a decision to reject the ensemble’s visa application following public outcry.

Orchestras urge Chancellor to extend tax relief

04 Mar 2024

The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) has urged Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to extend the higher rate of Orchestra Tax relief (OTR) in his upcoming budget.

The national body said the move would "help UK orchestras continue to remain ambitious, delivering new productions, creating jobs, building new audiences and delivering for local communities, in the face of continued economic pressures."

Introduced in 2016, OTR offers companies producing live orchestral performances or commissioning new musical work tax relief against creative and production costs. Previously 25%, it was temporarily raised to 50% in October 2021 and will drop to 35% next year and 25% in 2026.

ABO made the comments in response to  Birmingham City Council's plans to remove all financial support for its regularly funded arts organisations as part of a strict budget designed to save £300m over the next two years.

Under the proposals City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) will see its £630,000 yearly grant reduced by 50% this year before being completely removed in 2025/26.

ABO said it had "deep concern" over the planned cuts and asked the Chancellor to commit to ensuring that "all local councils have sufficient funding to set balanced budgets for 2024/25 and develop sustainable medium-term financial strategies".

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