UK Live sector plans new trade body
The UK live events sector is in discussion over the formation of a new live music business trade body, referred to as LIVE, which could be funded by a ticket levy.

In a prospectus, which will form the basis for discussion amongst constituent members of the UK Live Music Group, it covers the current and expected members, the initial focus of the group, planned sub-committees, the proposed team, its chief principles and funding options.

The UK’s live music business, which is a £4.6bn industry that employs over 200,000 people, has never had a dedicated trade body to represent its broadest interests. However, the current crisis relating to COVID-19 has highlighted that the policy needs of the live industry require dedicated representation.

The initial members of LIVE are the same as the principal members of the UK Live Music Group, including The Entertainment Agents’ Association (TEAA), the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) and Music Venue Trust (MVT), among six others. It also has four expected members and three possible later members.

The group’s process is built on four pillars and will involve lobbying, economic analysis, PR and messaging and skills and diversity.

The work of sub-committees will feed policy to the LIVE Board for sign off and include festivals and outdoors events, medium and large venues, touring, a sustainability working group and a diversity working group.

They propose immediately convening these groups so that effort can be “focused, effective and targeted”.

“By uniting live music associations under one umbrella body, LIVE will ensure that our voice is heard by those who might influence and affect our ability and ease to conduct business,” the prospectus reads.

“LIVE will exist to ensure that the importance of the UK’s live music industry is understood and its interests represented with policy makers, regulators, the public and the wider music and entertainment industries. It will achieve this primarily through political engagement, media relations, and digital communication, while also promoting and developing standards throughout the business.”

LIVE will be led by a chief executive who will report to the Board and is accountable to Board members.

The estimated annual budget for LIVE is between £330,000 and £700,000, depending on the level of activity of the association. Funding of the body will need discussion amongst the members, but principal options are association membership fees of between £25,000 and £55,000 per year, and ticket levies.

It explains that it would add a small ticket levy to venues above a minimum capacity, or on tickets above an agreed amount. Initial conversations have focused around a 5p levy per ticket, which would be added into the booking fee and not suffered by the artist.

It compares the option to a similar move adopted in France, in which the live music business instituted a tax on all concert tickets with proceeds going back to support the industry. This tax, which has been in place since 1986, has been 3.5 per cent of the face value of all tickets, administered by the Centre National des Variétés, de la Chanson et du Jazz (CNV).

Part of the income gives promoters a line of tax credit and insures them against losses on shows, while 35 per cent of the money funds schemes from venue construction and renovation, to tour support for up-and-coming artists.