Newsletter: Sunak’s snap election catches country off guard

24.05.2024.

Sign up here to receive LIVE’s bi-weekly newsletter direct to your inbox!

Sunak’s snap election catches country off guard  

PM Sunak’s decision to go to the polls on July 4th was a surprise to just about everybody outside of his closest advisers.  Expectations in Westminster had been that we were heading for a November election with the PM hoping falling inflation and interest rates would improve his party’s position in the polls.  

The immediate impact for LIVE is that a number of policy areas where we are making progress will now have to be revisited after the election, in a new political landscape and, if the polls are to be believed, a new party in power.  LIVE has worked closely with both Government and Opposition to ensure they understand the value and importance of live music – economically, culturally and to Britain’s place in the world.

Throughout the campaign, we will be reminding candidates of this and the priorities, as we see them, set out in our LIVE Manifesto.  That includes, work in motion on everything from VAT on tickets and EU touring to secondary ticketing and counter terrorism.  If you get the chance, please raise the manifesto with candidates in your area.  Live music is world class, a force for good, brings joy to millions (billions worldwide) and is one of our most high profile and valuable exports.  Supporting live music is good for the country’s economy, wellbeing and soul.

Powered by Freelancers – the Live Music Edition 2024

Produced in partnership with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge and UK Live event Freelancers Forum, Powered by Freelancers – The Live Music Edition 2024 was commissioned to help identify the changes required to improve the experience of freelancers in the music industry. LIVE was able to dig into the experiences of some 1,281 live music freelancers to understand why this group love working in the industry – as well as their key concerns and suggestions for a more freelancer-friendly industry going forward. 

Of those 1,281 live music freelancers who contributed, 87% of respondents stated that “freelance work provides my primary income.” One of the key findings was that 73% of respondents agreed that live music is a great industry for freelancers to work in, with over 60% feeling “optimistic” about the next 12 months. 

However, the report also highlights areas where changes are required to improve the experience of freelancers, which include financial security, better pay, flexibility and work-life balance. When asked about recruitment and securing work, 59% of respondents agreed that enough freelance jobs were available, but 56% said that they found it difficult to access or secure those roles. This also raised issues among younger people and non-male respondents with some expressing less optimism about job security and more difficulty finding work. The cancellation of work by event organisers at short notice also emerged as a key concern for many of those taking part in the survey. With less than half of respondents (49%) having signed contracts in the last 12 months before agreeing roles, a similar percentage have experienced cancellation of work in the same period with 48% having jobs cancelled with less than one week’s notice.

Darren Woolnough, managing director at Handle Freelance Solutions, said: “The research mirrors the conversations that we have daily. It highlights a significant concern where late payments and a lack of formal contracts can often be normalised within the freelance community. Instead of pointing fingers, our commitment is to provide the guidance and solutions to help companies understand how they can deliver an exceptional freelancer experience and this research is invaluable to helping us do exactly that.”

Suzi Green, Founder of The Back Lounge, said: “Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey, we now have an invaluable temperature check of where we as an industry, powered predominantly by freelancers, are at, right now. Hopefully it will spark conversations, provoke reactions, and ultimately help influence positive change in some of the areas where change is much needed.”

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, said: “Freelancers are crucial to the success of the live music ecosystem and our industry relies on them to deliver unforgettable experiences for fans. Much in the report is great to see, not least the resoundingly positive response from people when asked if ours is a great industry to be in. Of course, reports like this will always highlight opportunities for improvement and we will be taking all of these learnings and funnelling them into the work of our LIVE Workforce group, where industry experts alongside ED&I and workforce specialists work towards objectives that positively impact the current and future workforce of our industry.”

LIVE turbocharges its sustainability work with appointment of Ross Patel as LIVE Green Impact Consultant 

LIVE is delighted to welcome Ross Patel as LIVE Green Impact Consultant, a role in which they will galvanise the initiatives of LIVE Green by facilitating cooperation and knowledge-sharing across the organisation’s membership. 

Ross is an industry sustainability stalwart with a broad skillset built over 15 years of experience working across music, media, entertainment, climate action, and tech. As founder and CEO of whole entertainment, an artist and label management company, Ross is a first-class talent manager with a boutique roster. They have drawn on this expertise in their position on the Board of the Music Managers’ Forum, where they have helped the organisation to advocate for climate action and streamline sustainability initiatives. Ross also sits as Chief Strategy Officer at UMA Entertainment group, driving climate action through initiatives such as the UMA x COP26 special event in Glasgow, 2021. 

Ross said, “My role as an artist manager, MMF board member and representative within the LIVE Green group has very fortunately provided me with the opportunity to work closely with the brilliant LIVE team over the past couple of years. I’m excited to continue our work on Sustainable Touring and Green Clauses for live booking contracts amongst many other great initiatives.”

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE said, “We have worked with Ross for some time now in various capacities and have always been impressed with their energy, knowledge and commitment to sustainability issues. This new role will see Ross leading and further amplifying the work of ‘LIVE Green’ and helping us in our mission to green the live music sector as quickly, fairly and effectively as possible.”

ABO finds that classical music moves the nation  

A new survey conducted by The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) has shown that people believe that orchestras have an important role to play in the nation’s cultural life, with 74% saying that orchestras are a vital part of the UK’s cultural heritage. 71% of respondents believed that classical music amplifies the big moments in life such as weddings, funerals, sporting events, and national ceremonies. Many also felt that classical music is under-appreciated in today’s society, despite its acknowledged importance for our wellbeing and peace of mind. These points certainly ring true with the team at LIVE, and we will be supporting the ABO’s digital campaign with the hashtag #MusicThatMovesYou along with our favourite Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis.  

Steve Lamacq, Chair of LIVE, said: “The UK’s orchestras are some of the most admired in the world and are a key building block of the UK’s creative economy. LIVE is proud to support this campaign celebrating our incredible classical musicians, who have the ability to move audiences in so many ways through their joyful and powerful performances whether that’s at concert halls or at festivals all over the country. Their ability to bring audiences together across the spectrum – from traditional classical concerts to innovative collaborations with rock and pop artists – should never be undervalued.”

A1 forms: improvements continue

In response to a question from shadow Culture Minister, Barbara Keeley MP, a long time supporter and campaigner on this issue, Treasury Minister Nigel Huddleston MP, stated that, “HMRC has taken steps to address the backlog of A1 certificate applications, have achieved their recovery strategy ahead of time and they are now achieving service levels”.  That is positive news given the lengthy delays that had become the norm.  Thanks to all those who have helped on this issue by providing updates and case studies … notably the teams at ATC Live and Wasserman.  We will keep monitoring the situation and, while the current sense is that things are much better, please do let us know if there are any remaining challenges.

Sustainability champions Vision 2025 call for support to fund essential research

Vision 2025, the expert network enabling the outdoor events industry to tackle the climate crisis, has launched a crowdfunder to create the third edition of the Show Must Go On report. This essential piece of research promises an update on the climate progress of an industry with an important part to play in halting the disastrous effects of global heating and the destruction of the natural world. What’s more, the Show Must Go On promises to shape a streamlined climate strategy which will help the outdoor events industry towards its 2030 goals. 

In order to produce this essential guidance, experts at Vision 2025 call for funding via their crowdfunder, where donations will be matched by grant funding. The future of our industry depends on a healthy planet – do your part and donate here https://bit.ly/SMGO-3

LIVE Talks: Untangling ADHD with Rosie Turner on Monday 3 June.

Join ADHD coach, Rosie Turner, in a session to help raise awareness of ADHD and how it can present in the workplace. The session will cover: 

Rosie’s ADHD story from addition to achievement 
What is ADHD? 
The cost of untreated ADHD 
The struggle: how ADHD can present in the workplace 
The strength: ADHD strengths and how to create a culture where everybody belongs?

Sign up for free here, and don’t forget you can catch up on the rest of our LIVE Talks archive here