Electronic music has been at the forefront of creativity and innovation for decades, bringing in annual revenue of over £7.4 billion globally in the pre-Covid era. A deeply revered artistic movement that unites generations and communities across the globe, for those within the industry, its economic and cultural resonance is unquestioned — it’s been proven time and time again.
And yet, in 2020, the status and contribution of the night-time industries has been queried more than ever. Despite the Night Time economy employing 1.3 million people — that’s 8 percent of the UK’s entire employment force, and responsible for over 300 million annual visits to the UK, it’s been forced to define and defend its position within the arts to an uninformed government more keen to slap on restrictions and regulation than get to the heart of what it actually stands for.
That’s why the awarding of CIC status to SaveNightlife — the NTIA’s cultural arm — couldn’t have come at a better time. The pandemic has hit our industry hard, and although the community surrounding it has shown true verve and determination, a recent flash survey of 400 NTE businesses found that as many 75 percent may be forced to close by Christmas, with the majority of those having already made 40 percent of their workforce redundant. These are shocking statistics, not least because of the damage that’s already been done to countless businesses and livelihoods, but also for the crisis that could unfold for generations to come.
The good news is that by acting as a community interest company, Savenightlife is now able to amplify the voices of our industry even further, with dedicated city region commissions opening throughout the UK, Scotland, and Wales. Their roles will be varied, but with an elevated platform they can make noise about the economic and cultural importance of the night-time economy; raise awareness and provide education to ensure policy and regulation reflects the best interests of night-time communities and the public; commission research to demonstrate the impact of the night-time economy and tertiary industries; and ensure that diversity, inclusion and wellbeing rests at the heart of everything we do — electronic music has and always will be for everyone, regardless of age, race or gender.
Furthermore, Savenightlife aims to reinforce the cultural significance of electronic music as a genre, demonstrating what it is, why it matters and its value within society. Our night-time industries are world-leading and should be respected as such, and by offering stakeholder support and magnifying cultural achievements, we can build recognition for the night-time industries alongside the levels enjoyed by other classic and contemporary art forms.
In addition, there are myriad sectors that benefit from a healthy, thriving night-time scene. From hospitality and hotels to tourism and retail, these interdependent relationships drive the economy, and to overlook the fact is short-sighted. This problem is often exacerbated by operational misconceptions, particularly around nightclubs and other music venues, and needs to be addressed. Savenightlife counters those fallacies with proven research and figures, and in the process takes back control of the narrative surrounding our industry.
To conclude, SaveNightlife seeks clarification and assurance from the Department of Culture, Media and Sports that electronic music clubs, festivals and events are protected and preserved. The government must acknowledge the importance of the sector to youth culture, and to the wellbeing of the general population, which has been proven in research to be detrimentally impacted by a lack of social engagement and a restriction on listening to music in live scenarios. We must act now, for the sake of generations to come.