Musicians including Mogwai, Primal Scream, Simple Minds, The Proclaimers, Deacon Blue and KT Tunstall have joined forces to appeal to the Scottish Government for vital music business support.
Also calling for help to save the industry following the COVID-19 pandemic are promoters Belladrum, SWG3, TRNSMT, Skye Live and Riverside Festival, as are Texas, Del Amitri, Eddi Reader, Kathryn Joseph, Teenage Fanclub and The Twilight Sad, who have signed a letter to the cabinet secretary for economy, fair work and culture, Fiona Hyslop.
Tying in with the appeal is the forming of the Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce – a new body including DF Concerts, Regular Music, Active Events, Craft Management, A Modern Way Management, Ironworks Venue and Sneaky Petes. The Taskforce also includes the Scottish Music Industry Association and has its full support.
And the first action taken by the new organisation is a call for “support for commercial music businesses, who have been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through no fault of their own”.
The announcement of £1.57bn from the UK government was welcomed by the taskforce – which should see a £97 million investment for cultural, arts and heritage institutions in Scotland, and which comes on top of the Scottish Government’s £10 million package for performing arts venues, announced last week following more than 1,500 UK acts signing a #letthemusicplay letter appealing for assistance.
The SCMIT has now called on the Scottish Government to ensure that the music industry is given the essential support it needs to survive, noting that the music industry has “unique needs and operates within different parameters from the not-for-profit and subsidised sector”.
The letter related how the first task force meeting found that Scottish music businesses are “falling through the gaps” of existing Scottish and UK Government schemes.
It calls on the Scottish Government to use the £97m from the UK Government to set up a culture and creative industries infrastructure fund, and asked that ministers work alongside the taskforce, to ensure support for arts and culture “takes into account the needs of the commercial music sector including how funding being made available is administered”.
It also calls for “a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing”.
The letter concludes: “We recognise and welcome the additional targeted measures that the Scottish Government has taken to address gaps in UK schemes to protect Scotland’s arts and culture sector.
“However, the Scottish commercial music industry has unique needs and operates within different parameters from the not for profit / subsidised sector and we urge you to address these as a matter of priority and before it is too late.”
“We’re therefore continuing to work closely with both the Scottish Government and other partners to explore every possible avenue for further support.”