TASKFORCE SUBMITS LETTER TO SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT, CALLING FOR VITAL SUPPORT FOR THE SECTOR
LETTER SIGNED BY ARTISTS, FESTIVALS, VENUES AND MORE INCLUDING BELLADRUM FESTIVAL, BIFFY CLYRO, DEACON BLUE, EDDI READER, KT TUNSTALL, MOGWAI, PRIMAL SCREAM, RIVERSIDE FESTIVAL, SCOTTISH EVENT CAMPUS, SIMPLE MINDS, SKYE LIVE, SWG3, TEXAS, THE PROCLAIMERS, TRNSMT FESTIVAL AND MORE
*Please see letter and signatories below*
Establishing a collective voice for a vital sector of Scotland’s culture, today operators within the Scottish commercial music industry announce the creation of the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce. Formed out of concern that there is a lack of support or understanding of this sector’s need, businesses from across the country have come together to present a united request to the Scottish Government to act urgently and provide vital support for the music industry.
Identifying urgent issues for the sector within the current environment, the taskforce encompasses all sub-sectors of the Scottish music industry. From artists, agents and managers, promoters and festivals, music venues and production companies, the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce recognises a vast amount of businesses are in immediate jeopardy, and without these essential operators, the country’s music industry risks devastation.
Welcoming the recent announcements of a £97 million investment for cultural, arts and heritage institutions as well as the Scottish Government’s £10 million package for performing arts venues, the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce now calls on the Scottish Government to ensure the industry is given the essential support it desperately needs to survive.
Founding members of the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce include DF Concerts, Regular Music, Active Events, Craft Management, A Modern Way Management, Ironworks Venue, Asgard, ATC Live, Sneaky Petes and Fly Events. The Taskforce also includes the Scottish Music Industry Association and has its full support.
Artists including Biffy Clyro, Deacon Blue, Del Amitri, Eddi Reader, Kathryn Joseph, KT Tunstall, Mogwai, Primal Scream, Simple Minds, SLAM, Teenage Fanclub, Texas, The Proclaimers, The Twilight Sad and more have signed their name to the letter. Festivals, labels, booking agencies, management companies as well as studios and venues have also signed including; Adlib Audio, Belladrum Festival, Edinburgh and Glasgow Summer Sessions, Edinburgh Corn Exchange, G4S, Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom, HebCelt Festival, Kingdom Management, Music Venues Alliance, PCL Presents, Riverside Festival, Scottish Event Campus, Showtec, Skye Live Festival, SOMA Recordings Ltd, Sub Club, SWG3, Traditional Music Forum, Ticketmaster Scotland, TRNSMT Festival and more.
Specifically writing to Fiona Hyslop, as the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture the Taskforce is asking for support for commercial music businesses, who have been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through no fault of their own.
The Taskforce identifies various issues including Scottish music businesses falling through the gaps of existing Scottish and UK Government schemes. These businesses face imminent risk of closure or will be required to let experienced staff go, subsequently losing critical infrastructure, knowledge and skills and significantly limiting their ability to recover or continue to provide career development for Scottish artists.
The Scottish Commercial Industry Taskforce have also identified a lack of consultation with the commercial music sector on its needs and despite the £10 million Scottish Government package, it is unclear if this will directly benefit commercial music venues. Thirdly, funding schemes administered by Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and Highland and Islands Enterprise do not prioritise the activities of the commercial music sector which form a critical part of the country’s infrastructure, contributing to local economies and cultural tourism and therefore hugely benefitting the wider Scottish economy.
In light of these issues, the Taskforce are asking the Scottish Government to commit their support by establishing a Culture & Creative Industries Infrastructure Fund with the £97 million package from the UK Government, and ensure Scottish commercial music businesses can access this to support survival and recovery. They ask the Scottish Government to provide a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing and press the UK Government to deliver a full VAT exemption on ticket sales, as well as reviewing the need for further business support should live music have to remain suspended beyond six months.
The Scottish Commercial Industry Taskforce welcome and recognises the additional targeted measures the Scottish Government have taken to address gaps in the UK’s schemes to protect Scotland’s arts and culture sector. However, the commercial music industry has unique needs and operates within different parameters from the not-for-profit and subsidised sector and urge the Scottish Government to address these as a matter of priority before it is too late.