Primal Scream back appeal to save Scottish music industry

The rockers join Biffy Clyro and Simple Minds in signing a letter calling on the Scottish Government's support.

Bands including Primal Scream and Biffy Clyro are among signatories to a letter calling on the Scottish Government to support music businesses “before it is too late”.

The newly established Scottish Commercial Music Industry Taskforce has written to culture secretary Fiona Hyslop calling for more money for the music industry, clarity on arts funding and a timeline for venues reopening without social distancing.

Other artists who have put their name to the letter include KT Tunstall, Mogwai, The Proclaimers, Texas and Simple Minds.

It is also backed by the organisers of festivals including TRNSMT and Belladrum, plus venues such as the Barrowlands, the SEC and Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

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The letter welcomes the Scottish Government’s announcement of £10m for performing arts venues and the UK Government’s £1.57bn investment for cultural, arts and heritage institutions, of which £97m is heading to Scotland.

It notes Scottish music businesses are “still falling through the gaps of these schemes” and calls on the Scottish Government to use the £97m for a Culture and Creative Industries Infrastructure Fund that commercial music businesses can access to “support survival and promote recovery”.

The task force said it is not clear if the £10m fund applies to commercial music venues.

Further demands include providing a “clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing” and for Scottish ministers to press the UK Government for a full VAT exemption on ticket sales and to review the need for further business and employment support in the future should live music have to remain suspended beyond six months.

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“We write with a specific request for support for commercial music businesses who are on their knees through no fault of their own,” the taskforce said in the letter.

“These businesses encompass the most experienced in our industry and are at imminent risk of closure, or at least will need to let experienced staff go.”

It concludes: “We recognise and welcome the additional targeted measures that the Scottish Government has taken to address gaps in UK schemes to protect Scotland’s arts and culture sector.

“However, the Scottish commercial music industry has unique needs and operates within different parameters from the not for profit/subsidised sector and we urge you to address these as a matter of priority and before it is too late.”