Newsletter: Freelancers, speak up!


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The Hidden Side of Freelancing 2024: make your voice heard

LIVE has partnered with Handle Freelance Solutions, The Back Lounge and UK LIVE Event Freelancers Forum to launch a survey, The Hidden Side of Freelancing 2024, to understand and identify the changes required to improve the experience of freelancers who are crucial to the success of the live music industry.  The survey will explore pay transparency and the personal experiences of freelancers at live music events.  It aims to help freelancers understand their true value and benchmark their own experience whilst also celebrating what makes live music a great industry for freelancers.  The results will then be assessed, culminating in a publicly available report that will be published in April 2024.

LIVE recognises that freelancers are crucial to the success of the live music ecosystem and our industry relies on them to deliver unforgettable experiences for fans.  This survey will give freelancers in our industry the information needed to get the most out of the work they do and help to deliver impactful change for every freelancer and the organisations that rely on freelance talent.

The survey, which can be accessed here, will close on 23rd February 2024. All responses will be strictly anonymous.

Government to host Music Export Academy

Building on LIVE’s work with the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), the department is to host a one-hour Creative Industries Export Academy session dedicated to ‘Music Touring in the EU’.  The webinar will take place online at 2.00pm on February 7th with Government and industry leads offering insight and advice on key issues for UK musicians: visas, carnets and mobility issues; guidance and assistance available under the Export Support Service (ESS); cabotage and movement of equipment under the Trade & Cooperation Agreement, and export documentation, VAT and EORI numbers.
Find further information and how to register here.

Lords highlight the value of the creative industries: call for action on A1 forms

Lord Melvyn Bragg this week led a debate in the House of Lords on the power, economic value and social impact of arts and culture.  As you might expect, there was all round and resounding support from peers for the contribution our sector (and the wider arts and cultural community) makes to the UK. 

Friend of LIVE, Lord Clancarty announced that he has tabled an Oral Question on the matter of issuing A1 forms for Monday 12 February.  Talking on the matter, he said: “One specific thing the Government could do to help touring musicians would be to speed up and reduce the red tape on the issuing of A1 forms.” This is a positive move and builds on LIVE’s efforts to stress the urgency of the matter.

The issue of touring was also raised by Baroness Bonham-Carter, the Lords Liberal Democrat spokesperson for culture, media and sport who referenced the issues with “complicated paperwork”, “visas, and costs, costs, costs”.  While Lord Aberdare, Vice chair of Music Education APPG, referenced attending an event with MVT last week and in addressing the plight of grassroots music venues, he said: “I hope that the Minister might consider what steps the Government could take to ensure a more sustainable ownership and business model for grass-roots music venues.  Might he consider a ticket levy, with tickets for large-scale music events including a small contribution towards supporting grass-roots venues?  There are other actions government might look at, such as reducing the burden of VAT or business rates on small venues.”

MVT report launch spells out threat to grassroots music venues 

And you can read the latest MVT annual report, as referenced by Lord Aberdare, here.  It is a tough but necessary read, highlighting as it does the pressures on this part of our music ecosystem with grassroots music venues in the UK closing at a rate of two per week in 2023 and the sector at large achieving just a 0.5% profit margin on the £500 million in revenues it generated.  High energy costs and rent increases averaging at 37% are cited by MVT as being particularly problematic. 

This report will, no doubt, be of great interest to the Culture Media and Sport select committee that is currently gathering evidence on the challenges facing grassroots music venues.

LIVE Talks: listen back to our session with Attitude is Everything

Over 120 people from across live music attended the latest LIVE Talks session recently where we kickstarted our 2024 programme with an insightful, informative and expert presentation from Attitude is Everything’s Dominique Gibson.  Dominique explained how dismantling the barriers faced by disabled people begins with the language we use and the way we communicate with one another.  She also introduced us to the Social Model of Disability to help understand the barriers faced by disabled people in the music industry, discussed the impact of language as an inclusive or discriminatory tool and set out how we can reduce this gap.

Like all LIVE Talks, you can find Dominique’s session here.  LIVE Talks would not be possible without the ongoing support of our committed partners: AEG, Kilimanjaro Live; Live Nation; Serious; SJM and Utilita Arena Birmingham.  We thank them for commitment to promoting and sharing insight and good practice across our sector.

Diversity Survey: be sure to have your say

Once again, LIVE is supporting the UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey which tracks progress to boost diversity and inclusion in the UK’s music industry with a focus on those who work behind the scenes in the industry, rather than those who are on stage. Led by their Diversity Taskforce, the survey collates data from across the music business including studios, management agencies, music publishers, major and independent record labels, music licensing companies and, of course, the live music sector.

Launched in 2016, the findings of the survey give the music industry, Government and other stakeholders a critical insight into where improvements are needed regarding diversity and inclusion – and highlights where positive change is already under way. To get the most accurate picture of the diversity of the industry we need everyone working in our sector to complete this survey. By using this dedicated LIVE link we will have access to a bespoke cut of the data.  As a reminder the findings from the last survey can be seen here.  Closing date for this survey is Thursday 29 February and, for the first time, all participants will be in with a chance to win one of five £100 vouchers to spend at Prezzee!

Support LIVE

As LIVE builds out its programme of activities (from research and information exchange to events and political engagement) have you ever considered how you could get more involved?  2024 will see LIVE engage in further thought leadership work across sustainability, diversity and accessibility.  While our events will showcase all that is great about our sector.  If you would like to find out more about how you can support please contact Gaby or check out more information here.