Drinking At Home: The Music-Industry Repercussions

noah | May 1, 2009 11:00 am
Have you been cutting back on your trips to the pub because of recessionary fears, or just because you like to mix your own drinks? Were you the sort of person who would go to bars where music was playing, if only to drown out the drunken conversations of the people next to you? Well, the company responsible for collecting music royalties in the UK would like to blame you for less money falling into their pockets.

But the amount that PRS collected from pubs and clubs dropped 2% to £39.7m as the recession forced many publicans out of business. The British Beer and Pub Association estimates that pubs are closing at a record rate of almost six a day as a result of high taxes and loss-leading offers from supermarkets and off-licences. Britain’s largest landlord, Punch, said yesterday that in the last 18 months beer volumes had fallen by about 20% in the UK. Oxford Economics, meanwhile, believes 60,000 jobs in the beer and pub sector could be lost over the next five years if the government presses ahead with plans to impose a “tax escalator” on beer. While the royalties collected from public performance of music in concert venues, shops and factories are still growing – up 10% to £146.6m last year – the closure of pubs and clubs has reduced the demand for live music licences.

Six bars closing every day? Now that’s really a sign of “a broken Britain.” Clearly, we in the United States have to remain vigilant about this fate not befalling our own nation. Who’s with me? (Also, I’m kind of annoyed that the Guardian used the “home drinking is killing music” headline before I did, but what are you gonna do.)

Royalties body says home boozing is killing music [Guardian; HT Digital Music News] George Thorogood – I Drink Alone [YouTube]