SEARCH DATE RANGE

SEARCH TERM OR WORD

The role of the Arts Council is once again in the headlines. This week, leading figures representing the music industry locked horns with senior opera figures over Arts Council funding. 

UK Music CEO Michael Dugher branded Arts Council England (ACE) “too posh for pop”, pointing out that 62% of ACE’s National Portfolio goes to opera and a further 23% goes to classical music. In contrast, only 8% goes to popular music and 7% to other genres (including jazz, folk, etc).

Hitting back in The Daily Telegraph, Michael Volpe General Director of Holland Park Opera, responded “I’ve been hearing the word ‘posh’ in relation to opera for 30 years. Very few people in opera are posh - certainly not the performers”, although Volpe conceded in the same piece “Opera companies get a lot of money, perhaps more than they ought to, and that’s an ongoing argument.” 

ACE has £1.45 billion of public funds and £860 million National Lottery funds to distribute over the next four years. Of the £368 million allocated to music, opera will receive £229 million, classical £85 million and pop £27 million.

The debate is especially timely because ACE has initiated a public conversation to help inform its strategy for the next 10 years. Given the music industry is only just returning to growth having suffered 15 years of decline, a lot is at stake. A barrier to that discussion is a fundamental misunderstanding between both sides. 

Some might argue the opera world, and the arts establishment as a whole, seem to look down on the music industry or, perhaps, hold the view that it is less deserving. Many in the music industry consider opera an irrelevance and an extravagance. 

The reality is the music industry is vastly more complex, diverse and challenging than is often understood. It is also a reality that opera is accessible through multi-tiered ticket pricing and many opera companies are addressing their own diversity issues.

What are the key issues? How can both sides better understand one another and what does a satisfactory outcome look like?

THE FUNDING IMBALANCE

Not only is there a huge imbalance towards opera, but there is also a disproportionate amount awarded to the Royal Opera House in London specifically. During 2016 alone, the ROH received £28 million in Arts Council funding, which represents 20% of the ROH’s total income for that year. The remainder is made up of box office receipts, commercial income and other fundraising. This includes various charitable trusts and corporate backers such as Goldman Sachs. 

By way of comparison, UK Sport fulfils a similar function to the Arts Council and also relies on a combination of public money and lottery funding. It is worth noting the spread of investment across the Olympic disciplines is much more even. Of the £265 million earmarked for the Tokyo Olympic cycle, rowing receives the most with £32 million, followed by athletics (£27m), sailing (£26m), cycling (£26) and swimming (£22m). Although medals success and underlying costs are a factor, the distribution of funds is far more even when compared to arts funding for music. Equestrian was further down the list with £15m, but imagine the uproar if Equestrian took 60% of available funding at the expense of other medal winning sports.

It is hard to see how the imbalance between opera, classical and other forms of music can be justified. Moreover, if funding were to be taken away from opera and distributed more broadly, how detrimental would that be? Supposing ACE funding for the Royal Opera House is cut in half, that would represent a 10% cut in its overall income. Can the ROH be challenged to go without or make up that funding elsewhere? 

MOMENTUM MUSIC FUND – A CASE FOR GRANT FUNDING 

In 2013, Arts Council England supported the launch of the Momentum Music Fund, administered by the PRS Foundation. Momentum was aimed at artists existing outside the major label system, unsigned or signed to an independent, and who could demonstrable a case for £5-15,000 worth of funding to give their careers tangible momentum at a crucial point.

The scheme has been a great success. Over 270 artists have been supported by Momentum and for every £1 invested £7.46 has been generated. Recipients are truly diverse covering a broad spread of genres with a strong BAME representation, making up 49% of grantees. 

Over 3,800 artists have applied for Momentum funding since its inception. Five years after its launch demand and impact has never been greater. The recently published outline of Government's creative industries sector deal, which encourages partnerships between government and industry, mentions the Momentum Fund as an example of good practice.

The frustration is that despite this clear proof of concept, including the quality and diversity of the artists supported and the match funding & income it has leveraged there appears to be little appetite from the Arts Council to continue its involvement in such schemes. 

ATTITUDES TO INVESTMENT NEED TO CHANGE 

A key challenge is how the music industry is perceived and how it perceives itself.

Culturally, a disproportionate level of attention is afforded to a tiny minority of major artists earning vast sums at the expense of the majority who do not. This contributes to long held assumptions within the arts establishment, government and the wider public that all paths through the music industry are paved with gold. They are not. 

Within the industry itself, there has been a tradition of self-reliance. Labels and publishers, especially, pride themselves on their investment in new music. This is very true, but that investment only comes at a certain stage. Leading up to that point, artists and their managers typically funded themselves. Prior to the launch of Momentum, grant type funding for artists was very rarely considered as an option. 

Attitudes are very different when it comes to sport. Even world-class athletes such as Mo Farah continue to receive grant funding from Sport UK. In Farah’s case, this is despite considerable endorsement income and a personal net worth rumoured to be £4 million. Grant type funding in sport began in the late 90s. Twenty years later, Great Britain can look back on Olympic glory over the past three Olympic cycles in Beijing, London and Rio across a range of sports. This was no coincidence.

THE ROAD AHEAD

Leading up to the publication of the government’s Industrial Strategy (Creative Industries Sector Deal) earlier this year, there was much debate about funding. Early funding gaps were evident across the creative sector and especially so in music.

For a new artist, releasing music has never been easier: the major streaming platforms are readily accessible to any artist. The principle sources of investment remain labels and publishers although other self-release options such as Seed EIS are available. What has changed is the time it takes to reach that level. A new artist may take several years funding their own releases and live shows during that time. Few new artists have the means to do this, especially those from less affluent backgrounds. This has created very real roadblocks in the talent pipeline as the industry has shifted from CD to download to streaming. 

There is a clear deficiency in investment at the seed/ angel level. Unlike the tech world, there are very few mechanisms providing a return to the early stage investor while safeguarding the artist. An artist’s business structure, especially at an early stage, can be fluid and may not have all IP and activities sitting in one entity. Very few new artists could be considered “investment ready” in a traditional sense. 

This is why grant funding is so important. It does not require equity stakes or convertible loans. It is simple and when targeted correctly, as Momentum has proven, can be highly effective. Grant funding can play a central role in growing a sustainable talent pipeline that fits the streaming age that is now upon us and ensure the industry picks more winners. 

The disproportionate level of Arts Council funds devoted to opera does not seem fair or sustainable and it would seem this is recognized even within the world of opera. Meanwhile, the music industry has proven that grant funding can provide a significant boost to more popular genres and sustain a diverse pipeline of creative talent that works in tandem with existing commercial models. Making the numbers work is a bigger question, but there would seem to be a clear imperative to develop a fairer and more balanced approach to Arts Council funding for music.

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

MusicTech relaunches and rebrands

BandLab Technologies today announces the relaunch and comprehensive rebrand of MusicTech, the world’s leading media brand at the intersection of music and technology. For close to two decades, MusicTech has focused on techniques and technology for creators and music industry professionals....more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Artist & Manager Awards 2021, in association with Soundcloud

  MOGWAI TO RECEIVE PIONEER AWARD KARMA ARTISTS TO RECEIVE WRITER/PRODUCER MANAGER AWARD ONLY 3 WEEKS UNTIL THE CEREMONY AT LONDON’S BLOOMSBURY BIG TOP ON THURSDAY NOVEMBER 18TH. TICKETS CLOSE TO SELLING OUT  OTHER PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED WINNERS INCLUDE ELTON JOHN & DAVID FURNISH, LITTLE...more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Rajar press release from Global

GLOBAL SURGES FORWARD AS THE UK’S NUMBER ONE COMMERCIAL RADIO COMPANY WITH ITS BEST-EVER AUDIENCE RESULTS GLOBAL CONTINUES TO LEAD THE UK COMMERCIAL RADIO MARKET GROWING ITS AUDIENCE TO A RECORD-BREAKING 25.7m WEEKLY LISTENERS AND ITS SHARE TO 23.5% GLOBAL HAS THE...more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Commercial radio audience bigger than ever

Commercial radio is reaching 36.8 million people across the UK, the biggest audience it has ever recorded, according to official audience data provided by RAJAR the body responsible for measuring radio audiences. The new data for Q3 2021 is the first...more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Industry statements on the Budget

A statement from AIF CEO Paul Reed on the UK Government's 2021 Budget and Spending Review "We look forward to hearing more detail about some of the measures announced by the Chancellor today, in particular the allocation of further Covid-19 recovery...more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Apple Music Launches on PS5

Subscribers can access Apple Music's catalog of 90 million songs, playlists from their own library, and curated gaming playlists to create the perfect soundtrack while playing alongside their games For those of you who love to listen to music in addition...more

28 Oct 2021 | Press release

Winners of the 2021 Drake Yolanda Award For Emerging Young Musicians announced

The Drake YolanDa Award has announced the winners of its 2021 prize, to be celebrated at an award ceremony taking place at North London’s Roundhouse Studio Theatre on 6th November, where all recipients of the prize will perform. Welcoming artists from...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Independent Venue Week 2022

INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK IS BACK IN PERSON, AND ANNOUNCES 2022 AMBASSADOR - WET LEG   MONDAY 31 JANUARY - SUNDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2022 OVER 120 INDEPENDENT UK VENUES ARE ALREADY SIGNED UP FOR THE 2022 EDITION  IN PARTNERSHIP WITH - ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND, CREATIVE SCOTLAND,...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Lucie Sort and Nathalie Monnet join the top team at Warner Chappell Music France

MD Matthieu Tessier Appoints Execs As Finance & Admin Director and Legal Director Lucie Sort Succeeds The Highly Respected Dalila Revenu Who Is Retiring After 40 Years The management team at Warner Chappell Music France has been strengthened by the appointment of...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

DSA: A missed opportunity and a step backwards

We are writing on behalf of a broad coalition of organizations, representing the creative sector in Europe. We represent musical, audio-visual, literary, visual authors; performers; book, musical, scientific, technical and medical publishers; recorded music, film and TV producers; football leagues;...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Spotify Reports Q3 2021 Earnings Results

SPOTIFY REPORTS STRONG Q3 2021 RESULTS, OUTPERFORMING ON NEARLY ALL MAJOR METRICS Spotify CEO and founder, Daniel Ek, says: “We had a very strong quarter. The business is doing really well and I’m pleased that we continue to deliver across the...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Spotify Technology S.A. Announces Financial Results for Third Quarter 2021

Dear Shareholders, The business performed very well in the quarter. Nearly all of our major metrics finished better than expected, including MAUs, Revenue, Gross Margin, and Operating Income. Subscriber growth was inline and importantly, ARPU growth increased Y/Y. Additionally, we saw...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Build your Deezer library without losing any favorites

New feature lets music fans transfer music to Deezer Joining a new music service doesn’t mean you have to start your library from scratch. Now, anyone switching to Deezer doesn't have to worry about losing their entire music collection. Introducing  ‘Transfer...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Raising the Bar: LANDR Grants Creators an All Access Pass

With the aim of providing a straightforward system for creating and releasing music, LANDR introduces the All Access Pass, its all-encompassing subscription offering that will unlock the entire platform. This simple, comprehensive subscription package provides tools for music production, mastering, distribution, and seamless remote collaboration. “All...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

Martin Moor joins Mirriad as VP and Head of Music & Brand Partnerships and James Goodhall joins as Head of Music Sales EMEA, following last year’s launch of Mirriad’s Music Alliance Program

Mirriad, the leading in-content advertising company that uses AI-powered technology for brands including Conde Nast, Universal and Johnson & Johnson, today announced two new strategic hires: Martin Moor as Vice President and Head of Music & Brand Partnerships and James Goodhall as Head of...more

27 Oct 2021 | Press release

UK Music responds to Budget by urging Government to back three point plan to boost music industry

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Government to “strike the right note” by helping drive jobs and growth in the UK’s world-leading music industry.   In response to the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review, UK Music’s...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

White Hill Music Signs Global Agreement with Sony Music Publishing

Today, Sony Music Publishing announced its partnership with one of the leading music and film production studios in India, White Hill Music Pvt Ltd., to provide global publishing services for White Hill Music, including administration, synchronization, and catalogue promotion. Sony...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

BMG strikes alliance with leading German festival to broaden live offering

TAUBERTAL-FESTIVAL, UNDERCOVER AND BMG JOIN FORCESBMG, its live partner company Undercover, and Volker Hirsch, founder of the iconic German Taubertal-Festival, today announced they will form a strategic alliance.BMG has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in KARO Konzert-Agentur...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

Led Zeppelin arrives on TikTok

TikTok announced today that the music of Led Zeppelin is now available to its community. The band has also launched their own official TikTok account (@ledzeppelin) that will feature Led Zeppelin artwork and graphics, classic live performances, and other video...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

Sync Sweet Spot: Harvest Media Acquires RoyaltyCloud, Creates Single Stream from Placement to Payment

Leading software for production music catalog management will integrate the innovative cloud-based royalty admin platform, solving a key problem for catalogs everywhere. Harvest Media is announcing its acquisition of RoyaltyCloud. Together, the companies will create a single, seamless, efficient workflow for...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

Interpol and David Lynch drop new collaborative NFT series in partnership with HIFI Labs and SuperRare

  At the 2011 Coachella Festival, Interpol debuted their dynamic collaboration with filmmaker David Lynch: an overlay of Lynch’s frantic short film “I Touch a Red Button Man” with the group’s ferocious 2010 single “Lights.” The result, a captivating balance of unnerving and sublime,...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

LIVE comment - Vaccine passports research

Greg Parmley, CEO, LIVE said: “Today’s news confirms that a move to mandatory vaccine passports would be a mistake. These passports would cost the live music industry billions of pounds while aspects of the roll out would be impractical and potentially dangerous. “Our...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

Sony Music Publishing and KP Entertainment Sign Lee Starr to Global Deal

  Sony Music Publishing Nashville and KP Entertainment today announced their partnership to sign rising songwriter and producer Lee Starr to a worldwide publishing agreement.Based in Nashville, Lee Starr is a songwriter and producer specializing in country and pop music, known...more

26 Oct 2021 | Press release

Singer/songwriter Melanie Fontana signs with Universal Music Publishing Group & Tommy Brown’s Champagne Therapy

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), a leading, global music publisher, and Tommy Brown’s Champagne Therapy today announced the joint signing of Melanie Fontana, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter/artist. A multi-Platinum-selling songwriter, Melanie’s hits include “Boy With Luv” by BTS & Halsey, “Good...more

25 Oct 2021 | Press release

First emerging artists join new creative development programme, Inside Track, with Ivor winner Cassell The Beatmaker

Four music creators currently without financial backing, Alfie Neale, Cara Crosby-Irons, LOZ, Aaliyah Jasz are the first group to join Inside Track, a year-long, fully funded mentoring and development programme. They will have a year-long unique experience working alongside Ivor Novello...more

25 Oct 2021 | Press release

DEAG further strengthens its market position in the UK by acquiring Fane Productions

DEAG Deutsche Entertainment Aktiengesellschaft ("DEAG") is further accelerating its international expansion by acquiring literary events production company Fane Productions in the UK via its subsidiary Kilimanjaro Holdings Ltd. Through this investment in Fane Productions, DEAG is successfully expanding its business activities...more

25 Oct 2021 | Press release

MPs call for Government Action Plan to secure radio's future on smart speakers

  Government should agree an urgent Action Plan for Radio to ensure it remains freely available online and on smart speakers in future, according to a new report from a cross-party group of MPs. The Future of Radio report, on behalf of the...more

25 Oct 2021 | Press release

Karen Kwak named EVP/Head of A&R for Warner Records

Highly Respected Exec Joins Label’s Expanding A&R Leadership Team   Warner Records announced today that Karen Kwak has been named Executive Vice President/Head of A&R. The highly respected and accomplished A&R exec will join the company on November 1, reporting to Co-Chairman...more

22 Oct 2021 | Press release

Artist & Manager Awards 2021, in association with Soundcloud

LITTLE SIMZ TO BE CROWNED ARTIST OF THE YEAR GRACE LADOJA MBE (METALLIC INC) TO RECEIVE THE ENTREPRENEUR AWARD SPECIAL RED CARPET RECEPTION, IN ASSOCIATION WITH A JEWELLERS  FAC & MMF ALSO REVEAL SHORTLISTS FOR THE BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST & BREAKTHROUGH MANAGER CATEGORIES. WINNERS...more

21 Oct 2021 | Press release

Koko to relaunch in Spring 2022

THE REBIRTH OF AN ICONIC MUSIC VENUE INTO A NEW GLOBAL MUSIC PLATFORM HISTORIC, ICONIC THEATRE AND LIVE MUSIC VENUE KOKO WILL RELAUNCH SPRING 2022 AFTER A STATE-OF-THE-ART TRANSFORMATION AND RESTORATION, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SISTER THE NEW VENTURE AIMS TO DELIVER AN...more

28 Oct 2021

27 Oct 2021

  • Private equity sees longterm value in catalogues (see Analysis)

  • CISAC report highlights drop in worldwide royalty collections in 2020 (see Analysis)

  • European creative industry organisations express concern over Digital Services Act (see Opinion)

26 Oct 2021

  • The fandom dilemma: What defines 'popularity'? (see Opinion)

  • It’s not politics that make the UK rubbish at Eurovision (see Opinion)

25 Oct 2021

  • Adele breaks records with 'Easy On Me' (see News)

  • Streaming services ‘should start paying musicians properly’, say MPs (see News)

  • Black music artists should call out racism within our industry (see Comment)

  • Big money is pouring into music - where do we go from here? (see Comment)

22 Oct 2021

  • Spotify promotes Sulinna Ong; launches Song Start, plus video podcasts (see Digital)

  • UK music industry faces ‘slow, steady decline’ because of Brexit barriers (see Comment)

21 Oct 2021

  • Concord said to be exploring a sale (see Business)

  • Spotify to enable artists to sell merchandise directly (see Digital)

20 Oct 2021

  • Industry welcomes CMA's plans to launch a market study into music streaming (see News)

  • Kobalt sells Fund II to KKR venture for $1.1bn (see Business)

  • How much are artists really making on Twitch? (see Analysis)

19 Oct 2021

  • UK Music report highlights economic impact of pandemic (see News)

18 Oct 2021

  • Adele's 'Easy On Me' breaks streaming records (see News)

15 Oct 2021

  • Publishers ask US Royalty Board for 32% rate increase from streaming services (see News)