The Live Music Forum
Hamish Birchall Bulletin
Thursday 25th February 2010 - Distortion is thriving at DCMS
As a result of questions by Lord Clement-Jones (see full Q&A below), DCMS has made a small change to the wording of its latest report on live music 'Changes in live music 2005-2009'.
In the report DCMS suggested that 'overall live music is thriving', partly on the basis of their claim that there had been a large rise in the number of professional musicians:
'In professional live music, the Creative and Cultural Skills Council counted 42,800 live music musicians in 2006, and 50,780 in 2008, a near 20% increase in employment over 2 years.'
This has now been changed to:
'In professional live music, the Creative and Cultural Skills Council
counted 42,800 employed in live music performance in 2006, and 50,780
in 2008, a near 20% increase in employment over 2 years.'
Notice the difference? 'live music musicians' has been changed to 'employed in live music performance'. The statement remains as misleading as ever.
Since DCMS first published the report on 28 January, it has emerged that
the Creative & Cultural Skills Council figures were: a) from 2004
and 2006, not 2006 and 2008; b) 30% were not musicians; and c) about 40%
were part-time, not professional. The CCSC music research included no
definition of 'professional musician':
DCMS has also now conceded that they did not verify these figures with either the Musicians Union or the Incorporated Society of Musicians. They merely trawled the MU and ISM websites for publicly available data - and didn't find any.
This is what DCMS is pleased to call 'high quality' and 'robust' research.
Something very odd is going on here. DCMS is currently running a public consultation on a new entertainment licensing exemption for small gigs. But at the same time it publishes a report which, on the basis of misrepresented statistics, asserts that live music is thriving, and suggests that if there are some problems for small venues this is nothing to do with entertainment licensing. It is effectively arguing against any new exemption. And their dodgy claims are being used by the Local Government Association to lobby against this exemption.
List of Parliamentary Q&A on the DCMS report 'Changes in live music 2005-2009' (questions put by Lord Clement-Jones and answered on 23 February 2010 by Lord Davies of Oldham):
Q:... how the terms "professional musician" and "professional live music" were defined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for its report Changes in live music 2005-2009, published on 28 January.[HL2061]
A: The terms "professional musician" and "professional live music" were intended to be synonymous with the definition of "employment in live music performance" used by the Creative and Cultural Skills Council. A minor clarification has been made to the article to reflect this.
Q: ... whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport consulted the Musicians' Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians on the numbers of professional musicians between 2005 and 2009 for its report Changes in live music 2005-2009, published on 28 January.[HL2062]
A: The department did not consult the Musicians' Union and the Incorporated Society of Musicians on the numbers of professional musicians between 2005 and 2009 for this report. However, the Musicians' Union website was searched for robust, publicly available employment statistics but none were found. The only data found meeting these criteria were hosted at the Creative and Cultural Skills website.
Q:... whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport estimated the proportion of the total annual adult attendance at ticketed live music events accounted for by the O2 Arena and Wembley Stadium between 2007 and 2009 for its report Changes in live music 2005-2009.[HL2063]
A: The Changes in live music 2005-2009 report neither estimated nor reported published data on total adult attendance at ticketed live music events. The attendance data published in the report were taken from the Department for Culture, Media and Sports' Taking Part survey. This showed a significant increase between 2005-06 (when the survey started) and 2008-09 in both the proportion and number of adults in England who attended at least one live music event in the previous year. This included both ticketed and non-ticketed events.
Q:... what proportion of interviewees in the 2007 British Market Research Board survey of live music were responsible for their venue's licence conversion in 2005 and had a good knowledge of the Licensing Act 2003.[HL2064]
A: The 2007 Survey of Live Music did not ask whether respondents were directly responsible for licence conversion as the survey was about staging live music and not the process of converting the licence. Regarding knowledge of the Licensing Act, 43 per cent of respondents said that they knew a lot; 31 per cent said that they knew a little.
[HB comment: DCMS does not mention that 12% said that they did not know very much, and 13% said they knew hardly anything. Moreover, the BMRB authors themselves included several caveats (see para 1.4) including this one:
'The third caveat relates to the fact that a significant proportion of respondents had been in post for a short period of time and in some cases had limited knowledge of the policy and practice of the venue in relation to live music prior to them taking up their position. The lack of knowledge among some respondents about their venue history was evidenced in a relatively high proportion of 'Don't know' responses to certain questions, for example in relation to when venues had started or stopped putting on live music. While this means that the survey cannot always provide a robust and complete picture of live music provision in venues, it should be noted that the 2004 survey was subject to the same limitations and so this particular shortcoming should not impact on comparisons between the two surveys.' ]
Q:... what is the source of the Creative and Cultural Skills Council research that specifies the number of "live music musicians" in "professional live music" as reported on page 6 of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport report Changes in live music 2005-2009.[HL2065]
A: The source of the information on page 6 of the original Department for Culture, Media and Sport reportChanges in live music 2005-2009is taken from the Creative and Cultural Skills (CCS) studies of the industry carried out in 2006 and 2008. The research is available on the CCS website: http://ccskills.org.uk/Industrystrategies/Industryresearch/tabid/600/Default.aspx. A new version of the report has now been released that includes the source of the data.
Link to Q&A on Parliament website: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/text/100223w0004.htm#10022368000777