This has been one of the most difficult years ever for the live music industry, with a reduction of more than 80% in revenue across the industry. As one of the first industries to close and likely the last to reopen, the Cultural Recovery Fund was a lifeline for some businesses in our industry.
Alongside the CRF was a promised reduction in the rate of VAT on tickets sales down to 5%. This reduction would have kept over £300 million in our industry as we start to see a road out of this pandemic.
Recently, reports appeared in the press that just at the moment we could be about to start selling tickets again, the Government is planning to raise VAT. Reversing this policy before we have been able to sell tickets in any meaningful volume would take millions from our industry when we need it the most.
We need your help to make sure the Government hears how vital this reduction in VAT is for the industry in the run up to the Budget at the beginning of March.
We are asking for you to do three very simple things:
1. Email your MP
We need to show MPs just how much support there is for this policy and recruit them as advocates for the industry.
Download this template letter and personalise it (or write your own) and email it to your MP. The template letter also includes instructions about how to find your local MP and submit your letter.
2. Spread the Message
Encourage your friends, colleagues, networks, mailing lists and audiences to do the same. If we are to be heard, it’s critical that everyone helps to spread the word.
3. Post your support on Thursday 4 Feb from 9am #KeepVATat5
We need you to show the amount of support for this policy across the live music industry on social media.
- Post a graphic for the campaign – which you can download here
- Use the #KeepVATat5
- Use the key messages in your posts to show how much money the industry will lose if they reverse this policy
Key campaign messages:
- To support our industry during this crisis the Government reduced the rate of VAT on ticket sales to 5% but now want to increase this back to 20%.
- This increase in VAT will impact the entire ecosystem – the crews, the artists, venues and all employees – just when we need help to survive and recover the most.
- Increasing VAT by 300% at a time when the live music industry needs crucial support would be catastrophic for our recovery.
Right now financial support is vital to the survival of our iconic industry and helping through these two simple steps will keep pressure on the Government.
Thank you for your support.
#LetTheMusicPlay is an ongoing cross-industry campaign calling for the UK Government to support our world class music scene. The first campaign on 1 July 2020 saw the UK’s live music industry, alongside all members of UK Music and broader recording and publishing sectors, unite: the UK’s music industry came together like never before.
Some incredible facts from the day include:
- The letter to Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, was signed by over 5,000 artists, production crew, and venue owners and ran to 57 pages of A4.
- Coverage in every UK paper, every broadcast outlet, and in 83 countries worldwide.
- #LetTheMusicPlay achieved hundreds of millions of social media hits, trending at #1 globally on Twitter for 3 hours, and trending at #1 in the UK all day.
- An image of the hashtag was projected on venues across the UK – big and small – including the Royal Albert Hall, O2, Roundhouse, and London Palladium
The success of this campaign led to the announcement of the £1.57 billion fund that was announced by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport a week later. This announcement was brought forward and the fund was substantially increased to include live music following the campaign.
Subsequent #LetTheMusicPlay campaigns have focussed on the crew, touring personnel and production specialists that power every live show, and the hashtag is now synonymous with supporting live music and events across the country.
Updates on forthcoming campaigns will be posted here. Or for downloadable #LetTheMusicPlay social media icons and assets, please go here.