Funding of the arts and heritage - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Jazz Services Ltd (arts 91)


    — This submission is from Jazz Services Ltd, the leading development agency for jazz in England. Further information on Jazz Services Ltd and the UK jazz environment is contained in Section 1, specific responses in section 2.

    — Jazz has been historically under-funded compared to other art forms and significant cuts will consequently have a disproportionate effect. The sector is already feeling the effects of funding cuts from, for example, local authorities.

    — The jazz sector is heavily dependent on voluntary activity

    — The jazz sector has a good record in terms of funded organisations working together. Jazz Services Ltd is also working with UK Trade and Industry and the British Council to promote cultural exports.

    — Small arts organisations such as Jazz Services Ltd do not, for the most part, have sufficient resources to make multiple funding applications to a large number of different businesses and/or philanthropists.


1.1  Jazz Services Ltd

  Jazz Services provides a voice and support for UK jazz, promoting its growth, accessibility and development in the UK and abroad. Services include advice, advocacy, communications, education, information, marketing, publishing, research and touring. Jazz Services is funded by Arts Council England and with support from the Performing Right Society for Music Foundation. Jazz Services works closely with the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group and with the voluntary jazz sector throughout the United Kingdom.

1.2  Jazz in the UK—A Vibrant National Jazz Scene

  There is vibrancy about the British jazz scene that has not been felt since the popularity of Courtney Pine and the Jazz Warriors. The media has taken notice of bands such as Mercury-nominated bands such as Polar Bear, Soweto Kinch and Kit Downes as well as the phenomenally successful Jamie Cullum. Older generations of British jazz musicians such as Chris Barber, Norma Winstone and Peter King are continuing to attract interest.

  The upsurge of interest in UK jazz is not limited to London—scenes have developed around students, graduates and teachers in music colleges in Leeds, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Newcastle. The success of jazz education programmes ranging from youth bands to further and higher education jazz courses has contributed to a revitalised jazz scene. Successful British jazz showcases in USA, Canada, France and Germany have won over audiences, promoters and journalists. UK artists are increasingly being featured in international festivals and UK jazz has been profiled in international magazines, newspapers, and on radio and television.

1.3  The Landscape

  The audience for people who attend jazz concerts in England is 2.5 million as compared to 3.3 million for classical music and 1.7 million for opera. (Arts Council Taking Part survey 2008-09).

  The turnover of the jazz sector in 2008 was £85 million—a slight decrease on 2005 of £86 million due to the ongoing decline of CD sales. (The Value of Jazz in Great Britain, Volume 2).

  In 2009-10, the 12 Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) for jazz received a total of £1.7 million from Arts Council England which was 2.3% of the total funding of RFOs in 2009/10. Opera received £73.9 million; classical, contemporary classical, early music and chamber music received £140.2 million.

  Jazz Services works closely with other jazz development agencies around the UK and together they received £721,247 in 2009-10 from Arts Council England.

  The Arts Council of England rightly says the arts give value and that for every pound spent an additional £2 is generated. Jazz and its voluntary sector provide incredible value for money. When help in kind from volunteer "trustees", staff, "helpers" and promoters is taken into account the multiplier is substantial. The National Youth Jazz Orchestra produces £7 for every £1 of public money invested. Wakefield Jazz Club generates £6.69 for every £1 invested and Scarborough Jazz Club £4.99.

  The 12 RFOs encompass a number of business models: Jazz Action operates as a sole trader; Birmingham Jazz, EM Jazz, Jazz Services, Jazz Yorkshire, NW Jazzworks and National Youth Jazz Orchestra are not-for-profit organisations; Band on the Wall is a major venue in Manchester; J Night is a promoter in Yorkshire; National Youth Jazz Collective a not-for-profit organisation funded by Arts Council England via Youth Music; and Serious and Tomorrow's Warriors are private companies whose work embraces both commercial and not-for-profit activities.

  The breadth of work undertaken by jazz RFOs and its voluntary sector is impressive: information, websites, news, advice, direct touring, touring grants, direct promoting, schemes for promoters, jazz festivals, recording, recording schemes, music publishing, artist management, education workshops, projects, professional development and training, work in schools and colleges, jazz education awards, youth orchestras, publishing, listings, marketing and PR, advocacy, showcasing and promoting UK jazz abroad. All organisations work or have strong links with a large number of youth jazz orchestras that provide access routes and pathways into jazz throughout England.


2.1  What impact will recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local Government have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level?

  Jazz runs on a shoestring. Cuts will impact on a sector of music that is heavily reliant on volunteers in boardrooms and jazz clubs across the United Kingdom, not to mention the musicians who effectively subsidise jazz with low wage expectations.

  The Value of Jazz reports commissioned by Jazz Services in 2005 and 2008 show there has been a decrease in funding of jazz promoters. Local Authority and Arts Council support decreased between 2005 and 2008 by 10% and 33% respectively and, at a time when greater emphasis is being placed on commercial sponsorship, there has been a 50% decrease in sponsorship.

  With the volunteers fighting a stiff rearguard action against the continuing exacerbatory effects of the recession; any cuts would have a deleterious exponential effect—"the multiplier effect in reverse". It must be remembered that the energy and time given by volunteers is discretionary.

  In terms of jazz clubs run by volunteer promoters the margins are very tight. Set out in table one is an example of a jazz club in Yorkshire that operates on the margin. Any deficit is defrayed by ancillary activities such as raffles or by promoters digging into their own pockets.

Table 1

  Jazz clubs operating on the margin
Expenditure2008-09 2009-10
Number of bands booked41 36
Number of musicians273 220
Audience numbers3,513 2,576
Band fees£37,446 £31,817
Venue costs/publicity£10,010 £10,138
Total Cost£47,456 £41,995
Ticket sales£38,921 £29,995
Arts Council England£5,000 £5,000
Total Income£43,921 £34,995
Surplus/(Deficit)£(3,535) £(6,960)

2.2  What arts organisations can do to work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make economies of scale.

  There is an implicit assumption in the question that the main reason for arts organisations to work together is for reasons of cost-cutting. In our experience, a far more important reason for working together is to achieve outcomes collaboratively which individual organisations would be unable to achieve with their own resources.

  Having said that, there may be areas, particularly in "back-office" functions such as finance and ICT, where savings could be made through economies of scale. For example, in the ICT world, there is a trend towards "remote hosting" of computer resources. If such a facility was available to arts organisations, and possibly other charities, at cost price rather than normal commercial rates, this could be an attractive proposition for smaller arts organisations.

  It is also possible that organisations could work more collaboratively on their marketing and public-facing side, for example on websites, which could also have the effect of making the arts easier to access. Where there are a number of arts organisations working in close geographical proximity it is possible they could share office space, which as well as reducing overheads could encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas.

  In some cases mergers may be appropriate, but this should not be seen as a panacea. Experience from the business world suggests that a large majority of mergers fail to meet their stated objectives for various reasons.

  Although cost savings may well be possible from all the above, it is unlikely they will amount to the scale of savings which we have been led to understand are being sought in the Government's spending review.

  The main problem is likely to be that, in general, arts organisations are far from homogeneous in the artistic genres they work in and the type of work they do. There is likely to be little cross-over between, for example, a national music development agency, an art gallery in Manchester and a community theatre organisation in Devon.

  In the specific context of jazz, the organisations which are currently funded by Arts Council England fall broadly into the two categories of concert promoters and development agencies. There are areas of overlap between the two categories, and we can and do work together on a number of projects, but the objectives and operations of concert promoters and development agencies are different in many ways. The various jazz development agencies also work closely together, but given their wide geographical spread, it is difficult to see economies of scale other than those mentioned above. There is also potential in working together with development agencies for other forms of music (eg world music, folk, classical music) and we are currently exploring these.

2.3  What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable?

  There are two main arguments for public subsidy for the arts and heritage.

  The first is economic, that public subsidy for the arts enables far more artistic activity to take place than would otherwise be possible, which in turn provides additional revenue for the government, for example in the form of VAT receipts. In addition to the direct taxes paid to government, there are indirect financial benefits through the multiplier effect and the impact of the arts on the broader economy, eg through tourism. It should be borne in mind that for many arts organisations, public subsidy is only a small part of their income, however if it were not provided the organisation as a whole would not be viable.

  The second is social, where the benefits cannot be fully quantified in financial terms, but it is generally understood that the benefits to the community are such that the activities should be subsidised. It is difficult to express a minimum sustainable level of subsidy in absolute terms, but our opinion is that it would be counter-productive to reduce subsidy to the point where either a) the reduction in arts activity has adverse economic effects greater than the reduction in subsidy or b) parts of the country, especially outside London, are unable to access the arts as local activity is no longer financially viable.

2.4  Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one.

  We strongly support the "arms-length" principle of having Arts Council England determine how arts funding should be distributed to various organisations rather than DCMS. It is undoubtedly a government responsibility to make judgements about what public funding should be given to the arts, and the broad structure of the arts industry in the UK, but we would not see it as a government function to make decisions about the artistic quality and objectives of individual organisations.

  It is however important that ACE should make decisions about the funding of individual organisations in an open and transparent manner. This has not always been the case in the past but improvements have been made in recent years and we would like to see these continued.

2.5  What impact will recent changes to the distribution of National Lottery funds have on arts and heritage organisations?

  Jazz Services supports the restoration of lottery funds to the arts heritage and sport that had been reduced from 20% each to 16.66% in 1998. Jazz Services notes that the Government believes that funding to the voluntary and community sector will be protected. Jazz Services notes further that local authorities currently receive some £100 million a year from the Big Lottery Fund. This funding will be phased out which could impact on the funding of jazz as organisations compete for scarce funds.

2.6  Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed.

  The policy guidelines need to be reviewed so that they are explicit in that lottery funding is additional and not a top up for Grant in Aid funding. The guidelines should reflect the growing pressure on arts organisations to find alternative revenue streams to replace shortfalls in public subsidy. Consideration should be given to arts organisations who wish to develop income generating schemes. Furthermore the guidelines should reflect the capacity of organisations to submit applications. No matter how excellent the schemes, small organisations rarely have human and financial resources to undertake the major exercise which successful applications entail. Large arts organisations are geared to make large scale applications.

2.7  The Impact of recent changes to DCMS arm's-length bodies—in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

  As a music organisation, we do not feel qualified to comment specifically on the abolition of these two councils. However what is important is that the "arms-length" principle is not itself abolished, for the reasons stated above.

2.8  Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long term role in funding arts at a national and local level.

  There is undoubtedly a role for businesses and philanthropists in funding the arts. It is also possible that business tax reliefs could be adjusted to encourage participation in the arts. However many arts organisations, even those which have been successful in attracting private sponsorship, would argue that private funding can only be a supplement to, not a replacement for, public funding. It could also be helpful for businesses to provide support in kind, for example by seconding employees to work part-time in arts organisations, or by providing positive encouragement and sufficient time flexibility for their senior staff to become Trustees of arts organisations, or indeed other charities.

  There are however a number of drawbacks to relying on businesses and philanthropists as a source of funding for the arts which need to be addressed:

    (a) There is a risk that businesses will be "fair-weather friends" for the arts, liable to turn off the tap at short notice in a recession. This has been the recent experience in the USA.

    (b) Businesses are, understandably, much more likely to fund prestigious and high profile projects, such as festivals. It is far less easy to attract funding to lower-profile day to day activities, which are however just as important in generating employment and exposure for artists.

    (c) The process of applying for funding and developing relationships can be extremely time consuming. Many smaller arts organisations are successful in managing their relationship with the Arts Council, and possibly one or two other funders, but simply do not have the time or resources to make multiple applications to businesses and philanthropists.

  In our own case, as an arts development agency, we have found it difficult historically to attract funding to what is essentially a "back-office" organisation—we don't have anything very tangible to offer potential sponsors. However this does not prevent us from seeking outside funding where possibilities exist. For example, we obtain advertising revenue from our publication "Jazz UK" and will in the near future also offer this on our website, which is the largest jazz website in the UK. Some of our international showcases have benefitted from media. Also the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, for which we are now responsible, has been successful in obtaining direct sponsorship.

2.9  Whether there need to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations.

  Government incentives to encourage private donations could certainly be helpful. However much would depend on how such a scheme would operate. If private, and indeed business, donations were made to a fund administered by (for example) the Arts Council, and individual arts organisations could apply to this fund, it would almost certainly be workable. However if private donations were made directly to arts organisations, the scheme would suffer from all the risks and drawbacks set out above.

September 2010

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