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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.

September 08, 2009

Individual giving to the arts in England

Arts & Business have just published a report into individuals who donate to arts organisations. Among the findings are:

donors are core audience members

the majority of donors (nearly 90%) are in the low and mid-range giving ranges

donors who give little and often are more valuable than those who make a one-off higher amount

for most donors, spending money on tickets does not affect their ability or willingness to give

most donors are happy to let the organisation choose how to spend the donation

"friends" schemes enhance giving

September 07, 2009

The independence of government arts funding

Following on from the recent paper on the arm's length principle by Marc Sidwell,  IFACCA (the International Federation of Arts Councils & Cultural Agencies) have just published a wider report on the independence of government arts funding. Their website says:

"The degree of independence that governments afford arts support is a universal concern. Debate has often centred on the choice between arts council or ministry, but such a dichotomy enormously oversimplifies the issues, particularly as so many countries have a mixture of the two institutional forms. This report, written by Christopher Madden, reviews the cultural policy literature and data gathered over by IFACCA over several years to address two main issues relating to political involvement in arts support: how much influence do governments have over arts funding?; and how much influence should governments have over arts funding? The report provides background to the issue of independence of arts support but does not argue for any particular institutional model. It takes a neutral stance, looking at cultural policy models and frameworks, surveying the incidence of different approaches around the world, and summarising views about the strengths and weaknesses of the two main approaches."

July 28, 2009

Use of digital technologies in the arts

Two reports commissioned by the Arts Council are now available.  The first is “Digital Content Snapshot”, a mapping document of the online presence of the ACE’s regularly-funded organizations:

The second is “Consuming digital arts”, produced by Synovate:

“The aim of this study was to assess understanding of, engagement with and aspirations for art in the digital space amongst the general public.”

July 17, 2009

The Arts Council: managed to death?

A provocative new report by Marc Sidwell from the right wing think tank New Culture Forum recommends that the Arts Council be abolished, and that arts organizations should be funded directly from the DCMS. This has already been disowned by the Conservative Party Shadow Arts Minister Ed Vaizey…

The report draws on Genista McIntosh’s 2008 review of the Arts Council.

Some comment has recently appeared on the NCF website.

Global financial crisis : impact on the arts

The International Federation of Arts Councils & Culture Agencies (IFACCA) has just published a report with the unsurprising conclusion that the international financial downturn will have a strongly negative effect on sponsorship, philanthropic giving and endowment income. Here's the brief description.

April 27, 2009

Arts Council England announces new £40m hardship fund for arts groups

The Arts Council has announced an emergency package of £40 million to help arts organisations hit by the recession.

Arts & Business are also reporting a substantial drop in both public sector and private funding. For more information, see this piece in Saturday's Guardian.

March 05, 2009

More confirmation from America

Follow-up to Business likely to cut arts sponsorship from Cultural Policy Studies Blog

According to a report on Bloomberg news, corporations and wealthy individuals are donating less to non-profit organizations, with the arts and culture most likely to suffer.

February 25, 2009

Business likely to cut arts sponsorship

Unsurprisingly, Arts & Business are reporting that companies are likely to cut arts sponsorship because they are worried that they will be seen to be wasting money on frivolities.

This follows a recent report which shows that private investment in the arts is more likely to come from individuals than business.

January 28, 2009

95% of music downloads are illegal

According to a new report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), 95% of all music downloads are illegal. See this report in the Guardian

For further information and the full report, go to the IFPI website.

December 22, 2008

Mayor of London's cultural strategy

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has unveiled his cultural strategy for 2009-2012.  This was flagged up in the press as a return to giving youngsters what is "good" for them, rather than trying to entice them by offering hip hop etc (see the report in the Guardian).

The full report can be found on the Mayor of London website.