Grass Roots Music Venues – the data


Here are the headlines from an in-depth study of 88 grassroots music venues in 2017/18. There are some hugely concerning stats in what follows and the MIA will continue to offer all possible support to the Music Venue Trust in order to secure a future for our music venues.

  1. An estimated 9.5 million people attended a live music show at a grassroots music venue in the last 12 months, consisting of;
    -8.5 million paid visits
    -1 million visits to a free event
  2. Circa 140,000 shows took place, featuring over 480,000 performances;
    – 293,000 performances at paid events
    – 191,000 performances at free events
  3. The average ticket price has risen slightly above inflation – to an average £8.55 in 2018 from £7.80 in 2016 (equivalent to £8.27 in 2018 allowing for inflation)
  4. Approximately 16,000 FTE posts have been described in this sector, consisting of 12,000 FTE paid work and 4000 FTE volunteer posts
  5. Based upon the expenditure allocated to those posts, the average salary being earned is significantly below minimum wage, equating to approximately £2 per hour.
  6. In reality, to accommodate this and meet their legal obligations, venue owners anecdotally report that:
    – they are not paying themselves or their partners who own the business.
    – FTE roles are a combination of paid and volunteer work
    – staff work significant unpaid hours in almost every aspect of the business to reduce salary expenses
  7. The sector generated circa £190 million in economic activity;
    – £72 million in ticket sales
    – £118 million in bar/catering
  8. At least 130% of the ticket income is being spent on delivering the show – this estimate is extraordinarily generous to the show expenses, assuming that;
    – only 50% of the staff employed have a function required for the delivery of the show
    – the show bears no responsibility for rent, rates, electric, water, gas etc.
  9. 1 in 4 venues have converted their legal status in relation to events to a not-for-profit entity, up to 24% from 2% in 2015. This is a very significant outcome for Music Venue Trust, which has actively promoted and encouraged this change in legal status since 2015.
  10. This change in legal status has had no impact at all on the ability of venues to obtain public subsidy;
    – subsidy in this sector equates to 0.046% of total income;
    – 460 out of 471 venues exist on no subsidy or external support at all.

Additional information from the venues responding:

  • 38% report they have some form of Online Access statement as recommended by Attitude is Everything
  • 33% are signed up to the Musicians Union Fair Play Venue scheme
  • 70% report they have a process in place for the reporting of sexual harassment during events as recommended by Safe Gigs for Women (and others)
  • 69% report they have banned the use of Plastic Straws as recommended by Julie’s Bicycle (and others)
  • 92% report they have made their space available for free (at their own expense) on multiple occasions for charity events

One line summary:
It can’t go on like this, something has to change.

The MIA became the first supporter to sign up to the new Venue Pipeline Investment Fund:…/music-venue-trust-launches-pi…/

Take away:
Music Venue 0.046% subsidy in the UK, average 35% across Europe.