Hospitality owners and musicians campaign to #bringbackourmusic to Scotland

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Hospitality operators and musicians are calling for the music ban in Scotland to be overturned via a new campaign called #bringbackourmusic because of the devastating impact it is having on venues and musicians coupled with no scientific evidence for the ban reducing the spread of COVID-19.


Operators to have thrown their weight behind it include Tony Conetta, CEO of Di Maggios Group and Buzzworks Holdings owner Kenny Blair.


The campaign was fuelled by a DRAM online survey where 47% of respondents said revenues had dropped between 30-40% and it now proposes a two-phased approach to ensure that the impact on public health is minimised. Firstly to allow background music to return at a level of 70dB(A) – the advised level by leading acousticians  – and secondly a full reintroduction of music as ‘entertainment’ (DJ, live, karaoke etc) as soon as it is safe to do so.


Bands and musicians who were already struggling due to the loss of gig income are now having to deal with the loss of public performance royalties.


Current Scottish Album Of The Year winner Brian d’Souza (aka Auntie Flo) said, “Musicians no longer rely on record sales for income, our two main sources are gigs and royalties. As soon as lockdown happened our gigs evaporated overnight and now this ban on music will significantly impact on our royalty payments too”.


With the economic impact already affecting operators and musicians, we took a closer look at the science behind the ban. Lindsay McIntyre, leading Scottish Acoustician and part of NEXSTART Noise Group said, “In short, there’s no scientific reason to ‘ban’ background music but we acknowledge that it needs to be approached with care.”


As well as running Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, Nick Stewart works for Music Venue Trust as Scottish Coordinator for the Music Venues Alliance which contains 80 Scottish music venues.


He said, “Background music is safer than a music ban, and with experts on our side, we can prove it. We don’t want loud music in pubs just yet, not until it’s safe, but zero music is not a safer approach either – because it’s proven that it’s the sound of other people’s voices that makes people talk more loudly, not controlled background music.


“Metering is easy and can be done with a cheap device or a phone app. Licensing Standards Officers and Environmental Health Officers could do it just as easily as operators and staff.”


Category: News