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UK Music announces Music Venues Alliance to better protect small venues

By | Published on Wednesday 21 January 2015

UK Music

A coalition of music industry groups led by UK Music has this morning announced the launch of the Music Venues Alliance. The new body will represent over 100 music venues nationwide, with a view to better protecting them following a spate of recent closures.

The existing Music Venue Trust, launched by the smaller venue community a year ago, will do the actual donkey work of lobbying and campaigning, but it will now also sit on and have access to the UK Music UK Live Music Group. Which, you might remember, is the trade group of live music trade groups sitting within the trade group of music industry trade groups. Yeah, keep up.

The announcement comes after a meeting called by London Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall yesterday to discuss how public authorities can better support music venues in the capital. The Mayor’s Office is apparently also planning to set up a task force to look into the issues affecting music venues specifically in London.

In a statement, UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: “AC/DC, The Who, Talking Heads, Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Keane, Mumford & Sons, The Vaccines, The Libertines, Anna Calvi all relied on London venues to find their fame and fortune. As a result, they became part of a phenomenon that creates £3.8 billion for the UK economy and defines us all around the world. The UK has an incredibly strong music heritage. It must have an equally strong music future. Our venues are a vital part of this”.

She continued: “UK Music welcomes the Mayor of London’s commitment today to look in more detail at the pressures facing the music industry. I want to thank City Hall, the Music Venue Trust and Independent Venues Week for their hard work and support. The Music Venues Alliance is a big step forward. I look forward to working with them and hearing how the wider music industry can protect and serve their needs and interests”.

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Education, Munira Mirza, who co-hosted yesterday’s meeting, added: “Music plays a huge role in the vibrancy and cultural reputation of our city, as well being a big contributor to our economy, so any threat to the live music scene is of concern. We are committed to working more closely with venues and will be setting up a taskforce to look at the issues affecting them, including planning. We warmly welcome the formation of the Music Venues Alliance, which will provide a single voice for an important sector for the capital”.

And Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, commented: “We are delighted to start 2015 with such a positive opportunity for London music venues to discuss their needs. The small venue circuit has come under a number of different pressures in the last few years, and cultural and city planning are key elements of a comprehensive action plan that is needed to ensure that the UK continues to enjoy the best live music circuit in the world, producing some of the best artists in the world”.

He continued: “It is important to emphasise the role that these small venues play in the ecosystem of British music, providing the first performance platform for writers and musicians. This is the grassroots and bedrock of the UK music industry which creates thousands of jobs and is one of our biggest export earners. These venues are the research and development department of that success, and we are delighted that the Mayor’s office has arranged this meeting so we can work together to ensure it continues”.

With several venues already lost to the building of the Crossrail system in London, along with spaces pushed out by other property developments, some might argue that these moves come a little too late. Though a more coordinated effort will come as something of a relief to the various groups that have been campaigning to save venues in London and beyond.