The Live Music Forum
Hamish Birchall Bulletin
Friday 19th February 2010 - More dodgy DCMS music stats
Questions have been raised in
Parliament about the latest DCMS live music statistics:
The questions came in response to a new DCMS report 'Changes in live
music between 2005 and 2009' published on 28 January (link to PDF file
The report's headline claim is that 'Overall live music is thriving'. Although it acknowledges a fall in attendance at smaller venues, entertainment licensing is ruled out as a contributory factor.
There are apparently three reasons for DCMS optimism: the number of live music licences has increased; more adults are going to gigs; and a large increase in the number of professional musicians.
But doubts are growing about these claims.
Live music licences:
Increase in adults attending live gigs:
Number of professional musicians:
But this is simply wrong. John King, co-founder of the Welwyn and Hatfield Live Music Forum, explained why in a comment posted yesterday beneath Music Week coverage about Lord Clement-Jones' questions:
'... DCMS 'statisticians' cherry-picked their live music sector employment statistics from a statistically unreliable survey - 'Music Impact and Footprint' published by the Creative Skills Council. The 50,780 'professional live music musicians' are nothing of the sort, and include 41% part-time musicians and a further 30% employed in ancillary activities (e.g. sound engineers, roadies). But - fatally for the DCMS's argument that this is evidence of a 'thriving' live music sector - this 20% increase in professional employment (even if true) actually relates to the period 2004 to 2006. It appears that DCMS civil servants have misled their own ministers. '
Link to Creative & Cultural Skills Council research page (Links to
their two reports under 'Sector', 'Music' 06-07 and 08-09):
The CCSC has confirmed that about 30% of the 'live performance' category within these reports represent people who are not musicians, but are in occupations associated with putting on live performance.