UK Music calls for Arts Council music funding review

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UK Music has called for a review of how Arts Council England (ACE) distributes taxpayers’ money, following new figures which show that 62 percent of funding is awarded to opera, while just eight percent is given to pop music.

Between 2018 and 2022, ACE will invest £1.45bn of public funds and an estimated £860m from the National Lottery to support arts and culture across England.

According to an analysis by campaigning group UK Music, of the £368m funding available to music, opera receives the largest share with 62 percent, followed by classical (23 percent), pop (eight percent), multi-genre (three percent) and jazz (two percent).

UK Music chief executive officer Michael Dugher (pictured) said: ‘Opera is a key part of our vibrant and diverse cultural scene in the UK and many of our members are classical musicians. But the current way taxpayers’ money is allocated is manifestly unjust and should be urgently reviewed to ensure all types of music are treated fairly.

‘It is indefensible that pop music gets just £1 for every £8 of taxpayers’ cash that is awarded by the Arts Council to opera under its National Portfolio. The Arts Council risks giving the impression that it is elitist and too posh for pop.’

He added: ‘The UK music industry contributes £4.4bn a year to the UK economy – with live music alone contributing more than £1bn. But it is vital that we nurture our talent pipeline to bring on the next generation to follow in the footsteps of our world-famous stars like Adele, Ed Sheeran and Stormzy.’

‘The Arts Council has an important role to play in talent development so the UK maintains its position as a global leader in popular music, but the way it currently allocates its funding is deeply flawed and unfair.’

In 2016, ACE confirmed a further £1m for PRS Foundation to continue running its Momentum Music Fund, which has supported artists including Years and Years, Kate Tempest and Dream Wife.

It also a partner of PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund, which supports acts who have been invited to play an international showcasing festival or conference. Recent recipients include Superorganism, Girl Ray and Ezra Collective, who received funding to perform at SXSW 2018.

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