February 11, 2011

RSA pamphlet on arts funding in the era of austerity

To coincide with yesterday's conference in London, RSA have published a pamphlet called Arts Funding, Austerity and the Big Society.  It claims to develop the debate about how to best allocate public funds, and recommends strengthening the case for artistic and public-good instrumentalism.

"The pamphlet concludes that the sector urgently needs to develop a stronger evidence base demonstrating the impact of the arts in fields such as mental health, education and civic engagement."

January 17, 2011

Engagement with arts & culture online

Towards the end of 2010 Arts Council England published some research into how audiences use digital media to engage with the arts. The conclusions include:

  • digital engagement augments rather than replaces the live experience
  • most are accessing information and sharing it
  • relatively small numbers at this point are using the internet to create artistic content, but this is expected to grow
  • music is the genre with the highest level of engagement
  • brands are still important when discovering and filtering content

November 11, 2010

Arts funding after the CSR

The recent Comprehensive Spending Review has triggered a couple of strategic documents on the future of arts funding in the UK.  From the DCMS, a Business Plan for 2011-2015which talks in vague terms about a huge range of areas from Olympics through libraries to arts funding. Those who've been following the pronouncements of Jeremy Hunt won't be surprised to hear that the main plank in the arts & culture world is to encourage a "culture of giving". My favourite line is

"We want to see our cultural institutions adapt their business models, liberating them (my italics) to raise and spend money as they see fit"

According to the timeframe, we can expect to see proposals in December 2010 for how they will incentivise giving from individuals to cultural institutions.

Meanwhile, Arts Council England brought out "Achieving great art for everyone: a strategic framework for the arts", based on a consultation process earlier this year. Some key points:

  • A mixed economy of funding
  • Re-affirmation of the arm's length principle - "not short-term instrumentalism" driven by politicians
  • Support for "original, innovative & artistically ambitious ... work"
  • Encouragement to pool resources, build collaboration & partnerships
  • Importance of involvement in the arts from an early age

August 27, 2010

Arts funding in a cooler climate

Arts & Business have just published a study called "Arts funding in a cooler climate". It shows that in 2008/9 public funding of the arts in the UK rose by 5%, but funding from private sources fell by 7%. This of course does not bode well - with the new government slashing funding in all directions, it seems highly unlikely that the private sector will fill the gap.

June 23, 2010

Draft cultural strategy for London launched

The mayor of London (you know, posh bloke with blond hair...) has launched his cultural strategy, aiming to promote London as a world-class centre of culture, increase cultural skills, plan for culture-led regeneration, widen access to the arts and ... oh read it for yourself...

March 19, 2010

Online piracy threatens jobs in the UK creative indutries sector

The Guardian reports a projection that up to a quarter of a million jobs could be lost in the UK creative sector if online piracy continues at its current rate. The article draws on reports by the International Chamber of Commerceand Skillset

January 25, 2010

Warning of cultural desert as music sales fall

“New licensing deals help push digital music sales to 27% of global revenues - but piracy is damaging investment in artists”

  • Global digital music trade revenues reach US$4.2 billion, up 12% in 2009
  • 400 services licensed worldwide by music companies with ISPs, mobile and other partners
  • New figures show local music collapsing in major markets as piracy bites into releases, sales and investment in France, Spain and Brazil
  • IFPI Digital Music Report highlights urgent need for legislation to curb digital piracy on ISP networks

More than a quarter of all recorded music industry revenues worldwide are now coming from digital channels, as music companies license music in partnership with ISPs and mobile operators, subscription services, streaming sites and hundreds of download stores.

However, despite the continuing growth of the digital music business - with trade revenues up 12% to an estimated US$4.2 billion in 2009 - illegal file-sharing and other forms of online piracy are eroding investment and sales of local music in major markets.

In particular, three countries known for the historic vibrancy and influence of their music and musicians - Spain, France, Brazil - are suffering acutely, with local artist album sales or the number of releases plummeting.

Governments are gradually moving towards legislation requiring ISPs to curb digital piracy. But progress needs to be much quicker. In 2009, France, South Korea and Taiwan adopted new laws to address the crisis. Other governments, including the UK and New Zealand, have proposed new laws for adoption in 2010.

These are key highlights of the IFPI Digital Music Report, published today. The Report provides an overview of the music industry's changing business models, outlines the impact of digital piracy internationally, and reviews the efforts of governments to address it.

Further detail here:


and full report here:


January 14, 2010

Private investment in the arts falls

According to a press release by Arts & Business today, private sector investment in the arts fell by 7% during the financial year 2008/9. And according to the Guardian, arts organisations fear a 20% cut later this year from government.

November 10, 2009

How to make money in the music business today

Interesting piece in this week's Sunday Times about how it's perfectly possible to make money in the music business even when you only have a relatively small number of fans. The article features the (to me at least) unknown singer / songwriters Kate Walsh and Tina Dico. The key apparently is financial independence: if you're in a deal with a major record company, selling 100,000 copies will bring you less money in royalties than you could get on your own label with a tenth of the sales.

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