Access All Areas October 2019 - Page 11

OCTOBER | TRENDING What is the Government doing for the live music sector? The UK Government recently posted its official response to a crucial document, which highlighted the many problems facing the country’s music industry. Access breaks it down, to find out what is really being done to find a solution. E arlier this year, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee published a wide-reaching and very detailed report about the state of live music in the UK. The ‘ninth report of session’, over 50 pages long, collected evidence from key figures in the UK music industry, and tackled issues such as ticket touting, grassroots venue closures, regulation, prejudice towards grime artists, festival monopolisation and more. The House of Commons published its official response to the report earlier in the year. So – what exactly is the Government doing to address the many issues still faced by the UK music industry? Secondary ticketing The DCMS report highlights that misleading sales practices are causing consumers to pay hugely inflated prices for tickets which are often not even valid, and that this is money they could otherwise have spent on attending more live shows. Secondary ticketing has become one of the hottest topics in the music industry over the last couple of years, following high-profile controversies and court cases against companies such as Viagogo and Stubhub. In response to the secondary ticketing controversy, the Government said: “The Government is committed to cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the ticketing market and improving fans’ chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price. Recent announcements of action by enforcement agencies demonstrate that we are prepared to go after those who flout the law or abuse the ticketing market.” The Government response, however, did not make any new commitments to cracking down on ticket touting. Instead, it acknowledged the work of another independent organisation – the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers – and encouraged resale organisations to join STAR’s (voluntary) Code of Practice, offering greater transparency. As it stands, however, there seems to be little incentive for them to do so. Government also pointed to a review of online advertising regulations, which the DCMS is in the process of carrying out. This will help to identify areas in which rules surrounding advertising ticket resale are either not clear enough, or not being enforced. Venue closures The many challenges facing music venues were another key topic covered in the DCMS report. It said: “The Government has not acted promptly enough to stem the tide of venue closures, which has been happening at a rate unprecedented in other cultural sectors for more than 10 years.” Increasing prices in London, as well as limiting regulations, have led to closures of small and medium- Words: Stuart Wood 11