The film, TV and video game industries are set to benefit from tax reliefs, which have been unveiled by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in today’s Spring Budget.
From January 2024, film, high-end TV productions and video games will be eligible for a bolstered 34% credit rate, while animation and children’s TV will be eligible for an enhanced 39% rate.
While this doesn’t directly support the music industry, any positive impact on film, TV and video game production could open up more partnership opportunities for labels, publishers and music creators.
The tax reliefs have previously supported productions across the UK, including Game of Thrones, His Dark Materials, Outlander and Peaky Blinders.
The government said the reforms will mean more films, TV and video games can be created in the UK.
Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said: “I am delighted that we have been able to increase our support for the film, TV and video games industries, which have been one of the major success stories of the UK economy in recent years.
“These tax reliefs help to create jobs right across the country, drive economic growth and allow the UK to showcase its culture to the world. I look forward to seeing the ongoing benefits they bring.”
Meanwhile, the Budget also included reforms to tax reliefs for the creative sectors to protect theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries from economic pressures.
The Musicians’ Union has welcomed the announcement that the rates of theatre and orchestra tax relief will be maintained at their current levels for a further two years from April.
We hope that the money provided by this extension of tax relief does filter down to the musicians, performers and other creatives
The MU had lobbied strongly for the higher rates of 45% and 50% respectively to be extended to help the sector to recover from the dual impacts of Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis.
MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl said: “We are grateful that the government has listened to the MU and others in the creative sectors and extended the higher rate of tax relief for theatres and orchestras for another two years.
“The cuts announced to the BBC Orchestras and Singers last week, along with those brought in by Arts Council England (ACE) in the autumn, are a stark reminder of the difficulties currently being faced by arts organisations, so this extra injection of cash is a vital lifeline for an incredibly successful sector.
“As noted by the Chancellor today, the creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the economy and the uplifted rate has been driving a much higher rate of activity and employment in the sector than would otherwise have been possible. That said, at the MU we hope that the money provided by this extension of tax relief does filter down to the musicians, performers and other creatives who drive this exceptionally successful sector.”
UK Music deputy chief executive Tom Kiehl said: “We are glad the government has listened to the calls from UK Music and our members for the orchestra tax relief to be extended. However, there is still a serious threat from the planned BBC cuts to orchestras which we want to see reversed.”
UK Music also highlighted the ongoing concerns over AI and copyright.
“We remain firmly opposed to the need for a broad exception to copyright for text and data mining and are unconvinced of the need for new legislation in this area,” said Kiehl. “We will continue to engage constructively with the government’s plans to provide clarity on the application of intellectual property law to the AI sector.”
We need government help to deliver thousands of new jobs, to boost UK exports and support music education
There are concerns about the absence of further support for small businesses and venues.
“With the continued pressure on venues and studios, it’s disappointing that the government did not offer any further direct support on business rates, VAT and energy bills,” said Kiehl.
“The music industry can play a vital role in helping spearhead growth, but we need government help to deliver thousands of new jobs, to boost UK exports and support music education.”
AIM CEO Silvia Montello said the “lack of support for the UK music industry in today’s Budget is worrying”.
“The business currently faces an array of challenges - from increased costs of touring, to the negative effects of leaving the EU and continued economic pressures on our SMEs,” she added.
"Our competitive position within the global music market is in decline and requires urgent investment across our industry. This means introducing greater support for diverse and developing talent, much of which is nurtured within the independent sector that represents nearly 30% of the UK recordings business and 80% of new music releases.”
Montello called for the music industry to receive similar tax breaks to film, TV and video games.
"Key measures must include fiscal incentives for music - on par with those already implemented across film, TV, animation and video games industries - to stimulate content creation and sector growth, and increased support for the live sector, such as reducing VAT on gig tickets in line with other European countries,” she said.
“AIM would welcome the introduction of an Arts Pupil Premium to help lower the socio-economic barrier to music education in schools, and the creation of a national music export office to reflect the UK music industry’s position as a net exporter and help British talent continue to build global audiences.”
“As part of the UK’s commitment to growing AI and emerging technologies, it’s vital that music IP and copyright protections remain robust, to protect the income and livelihoods of our recorded music creators and performers,” she added.
Music Venue Trust said grassroots music venues had been overlooked.
“Regrettably, the failure to act on energy bills must inevitably mean that 2023 will be the worst year for closures since the creation of MVT in 2014,” said the trade body for grassroots venues. “In the absence of any action to this challenge by the government, we will once again be reaching out to the energy supply companies to try to avert closures.
“It is plainly in no one's interest to allow buildings that house GMVs to become abandoned as the cost of energy needed to open those spaces to the public and performers cannot be met by any venue operator.”