Loss of small music venues is handing control of culture to robots, MPs told

Oct 25, 2018

The economic model for those performing in or running small music venues is unviable, the DCMS Committee was told.

The ongoing closure of grassroots music venues is handing influence over the UK’s cultural tastes to robots and streaming service algorithms, writes Christy Romer is Arts Professional.

Founding member of Mumford and Sons and London venue owner, Ben Lovett, weighed in on the issue:

“Music has become very open source. The channels in which you discover new artists have changed drastically. We can’t have our culture curated by robots; it has to be people who know what they’re talking about. We need cultural wayfinders who are willing to take risks”.

Amongst the many possible ways to begin resolving this problem, one surely must be increasing music provision in schools. Mark Davyd, Chief Executive of the Music Venue Trust, said that his children had developed a love for music and were in their own bands because they had constant access to music when they were younger.

“But not everyone has a house full of instruments. We need to make sure access to instruments and to culture is written through schools if we want to get people into this industry.”

Meanwhile, an article on TES talks of how Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, has called on chancellor Philip Hammond to order an “urgent review” into music education in state schools, saying that there could be “potentially catastrophic consequences” for the future of music in the UK if the government fails to act.

“The music industry contributes £4.4 billion to the economy… Ensuring children from all backgrounds have access to music in our state education system is critical to the continued success of the British music industry… An urgent government review into the funding of music in our state education system could help to identify where the problems currently are and what we need to do together to address them.”

Read the full Arts Professional article here. Read the full TES article here.

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