Research from the UK’s first live music census has found that small venues are under threat from business rates and property development.
One third of nearly 200 venues surveyed claimed that business rate rises were having a negative impact.
The census also found that one in three small live music venues are experiencing problems with property development and noise complaints.
The research, by the Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Turku in Finland, was carried out in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxford and Southampton.
The lead researcher, Dr Matt Brennan from the University of Edinburgh’s Reid School of Music, said he hoped the census would help “protect the heritage, reputation and also economic significance of music in the UK and its history.”
He continued: “If you think about grassroot music venues in cities, it’s more lucrative often to have a high street fashion clothing shop occupying that space in that street than maybe a music venue.
“But music venues have other kinds of value, social and cultural, and they should be thought of as community assets, as cultural assets, although they are often not.
He added: “It’s perfectly acceptable for us to think of a museum or an art gallery as a cultural asset of this country and we think small music venues should be afforded the same status if they can be shown to have that value.”
The census also showed that live music venues were worth millions of pounds to local economies.
The total spend of people at events contributes £78.8m annually in Glasgow, £43.3m in Newcastle-Gateshead, and £10.5m in Oxford.
The study claims to provide “further evidence that people spend more money on live events than on recorded music.”
Tim Perry, music manager at The Windmill in Brixton, said his venue is not struggling but he knows plenty that are.
He told Sky News: “We are lucky enough not to have a big business rates rise but it’s such a big problem in the sector.
“We need as many venues to survive as possible and some of our colleagues have been hit really had on that and have seen 300% increases.”
He continued: “The rapid development of London is always an issue…we have seen other venues close because people think that £14.50 burgers are more profitable than live music, or there are just luxury flats that come in to the equation as well.”
The research also showed that 44% of the 2,700 people surveyed said they had resold a ticket for a live music event within the past 12 months.
However, only 0.4% of those said they bought the ticket for the purpose of selling on for profit.
(c) Sky News 2018: Third of music venues under financial threat, national survey shows