Live Music

UK Music manifesto calls for ticket resale regulation

UK music industry figures have called for a cut in VAT on admission prices and government action to curb exploitative secondary ticketing practices.

In its new Manifesto For Music, UK Music has set out how it believes government support can help the music industry grow.

Ahead of an expected 2024 General Election and the looming party conference season, the blueprint sets out a five-point plan for political parties and calls for swift action to implement these policies.

Tom Kiehl, UK Music’s interim chief executive, said: “This manifesto urges the government and all political parties, to fully support a music strategy to supercharge growth and seize the opportunities of the future.”

Included in the five-point plan is a recommendation to “secure a fair deal for music lovers by ending rip-off secondary ticketing practices”. In calling for a commitment to “regulate against exploitative secondary ticketing practices”, the manifesto outlines the recent example of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool. Just hours after Eurovision 2023 tickets sold out, UK Music claims the tickets appeared on resale platforms for up to £9,000 – more than 20 times their original price.

“Extortionate resale prices, alongside practices like bulk-buying and speculative selling only serve to enrich resellers and exploit fans,” UK Music said. “The government should protect music lovers by introducing measures to curb these practices.”

The other recommendations in the five-point plan are:

  • Invest millions more in music education and recruit and train an army of new music teachers
  • Ensure artificial intelligence (AI) supports human artistry through strong copyright standards, clear labelling and record keeping requirements, and contains protections for the personality rights of music makers
  • Fix the European touring crisis by securing a Cultural Touring Agreement with the EU to help cut red tape and soaring costs
  • Introduce a tax credit to encourage new UK music production

Align VAT with other nations

The manifesto also makes a number of other recommendations, including proposals to boost exports, protect venues and studios and promote diversity.

Among these is a call to reduce VAT on tickets to 10%, which would be more in line with other comparable nations.

“UK gig-goers are charged 20% VAT on tickets, which is almost double the EU average (10.3%) and around triple countries like Belgium (6%) and Germany (7%),” UK Music said. “Reducing VAT on tickets will incentivise investment in the grassroots of the sector, stimulate live music activity and boost local economies.”

UK Music added: “We should aspire to make the UK the best place in the world to create, produce and consume music. This manifesto outlines a clear plan for the next government to achieve this. Policymakers from all political parties should use it to help take the action needed to keep the UK at the forefront of the global music industry.”