A Fair Deal for Musicians

The Full text of the motion passed by London Conference, Feb 2024.

Conference notes:

  1. The UK music industry is a global leader - producing world famous artists and bringing joy to millions, and the London music scene is a crucial part of this.
  2. In 2022 the industry contributed £6.7bn to the UK economy, employed 210,000 people, and generated £4bn in exports.
  3. Despite this, nearly half of UK musicians earn under £14,000 (Musicians Census 2023), and GMVs profit margins average 0.5% (Musicians Venue Trust (MVT) 2023).
  4. London has the highest concentration of venues from grassroots music venues (GMVs) up to full arenas – and so has the most to gain from a thriving music industry: and the most to lose if it fails.
    1. In London GMVs hosted 45,815 live music events in 2023 with a total value to the economy of £171m (MVT 2023).
  5. Premier league Football teams subsidise grassroots football, and France has imposed a 3% levy on ticket sales for larger music venues – ringfenced for GMVs.
  6. In 2017 Judge Roscoe ruled musicians have a right to practice at home for 5 hours a day (3 on Sunday), but local councils do not always follow this ruling (ref Fiona Fey & Lewisham Council).
  7. AI is transforming the music industry – lowering barriers to entry but raising questions over authorship and IP.

Conference believes:

  1. To ensure the continued success of our music industry, and a fairer deal for musicians:
    1. Music Education needs investment:
      1. Over a decade, GCSE participation has fallen by 25%, A-level participation by 50%.
      2. Arts hub funding been cut in real-terms by 17% since 2011
      3. Only 15% of state schools pupils received sustained music tuition.
    1. London GMVs need protection & support:
      1. GMVs subsidised London live music to the tune of £33m, and operated at a profit margin of 0.2%, less than half the national average.
      2. At end of 2023 there were 178 GMVs in London - 27 had ceased offering live music in 2023 with 12 closing entirely.
      3. Although London has formally adopted the “Agent of Change” (AOC) principle, it is not being effectively applied in practice.
      4. Business rates are assessed based total square feet – not taking into account the extra space taken up by stages, dressing rooms etc (sometimes up to half of a small venue), putting GMVs at a disadvantage.
    1. Musicians need support:  
      1. Musicians practicing at home, especially if unable to afford studios, are vulnerable to complaints from neighbours.
      2. Barriers erected by Brexit have impacted 30% of musicians, with lowest earners losing 49% of EU revenue on average.
      3. Creators’ rights needs protecting in an AI powered world. 

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitment to:

  1. Negotiating free, simple short-term travel for UK artists to perform in the EU, and visa versa, including transport of equipment and sale of merchandise.

Conference calls on Local Councils to:

  1. Protect local venues by applying the AOC principle in practice, in particular by:
    1. Withholding planning permission for developments next to venues in the absence of commitments to soundproofing.
    2. Ensuring developers are held accountable for implementing agreed soundproofing in developments next to venues. 
    3. Applying the AOC principle where someone has knowingly moved next to a venue, even when not a new development.
  2. Interpret nuisance laws so that musicians’ can exercise a right to practice in their own home within reasonable hours, in line with the 2017 ruling.

Conference calls on the next government to:

  1. Reinvest in Music Education including:
    1. Training and recruiting 1000 music teachers.
    2. Delivering an Arts pupil premium with funding of at least £90m p/a.
    3. Reverse real-terms cuts to Arts Hubs since 2011 with a 17% increase in funding followed by a commitment to annual increases in line with inflation.
  1. Protect Venues & Studios by:
    1. Enshrining AOC Principles in primary legislation.
    2. Making current 75% business rates discount permanent for GMVs & Studios
    3. Ensuring GMVs rates are assessed based on the actual available space.
    4. Implement a levy on ticket sales for large music venues (5500+ capacity), the level and any exemptions to be agreed with the industry, and the funds ringfenced for GMVs.
  2. To adopt the following principles regarding the responsible use of AI including:
    1. Ensuring AI generated music is identifiable through meta data.
    2. Ruling out new extensions to copyright which would allow the use of creative works by AI companies without permission
    3. Requiring records be kept of music used to train algorithms
    4. Introducing a new personality/image right into UK law.


Help the Lib Dems to Save the future of Music: Sign our petition.

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