New property development, combined with increased business rates, are forcing many of Britain’s small gig venues to close.
The first ever UK live music census found difficulties from planning and new property developments affected 33% of small venues.
A further 29% reported a negative impact from noise complaints.
Meanwhile, increased business rates had an “extreme, strong or moderate” effect in the last year on 33% of the 200 venues surveyed, and 40% of small venues.
Despite their financial difficulties, live music venues bring significant economic value to a regional area.
Gig goers in Glasgow, home of the famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, spend an estimated £78.8 million on live music annually, bringing in an estimated 2,450 full-time equivalent jobs.
Music fans are now much more likely to spend money on live music than records, with nearly half (47%) of respondents saying they spend more than £20 a month on gigs and festivals, while only a quarter spend the equivalent on recorded music.
According to NME, recent weeks have seen the close of the iconic Bristol venue Bierkeller – reportedly a direct result of a building redevelopment – and Proud Camden in London, which announced a series of farewell events ahead of the venue’s closure after operating for 17 years.
Last month, Billy Bragg, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Labour MP Tom Watson campaigned outside Westminster to keep the UK’s small live music venues open.