About Us - History

Formed in 1986, the Concert Promoters Association has worked to represent and promote the interests of its members and to provide a forum for discussion of issues of concern. 

A dispute over the Performing Rights Society’s proposed trebling of their fees for live popular music concerts prompted promoters to band together and take action.  The matter went before the Copyright Tribunal and resulted in a resounding success for the CPA in 1988.  The CPA has since lent support to the Association of British Concert Promoters, which represents promoters of classical music, in their dispute with PRS concerning the rate for live classical music.  The matter was referred to the Copyright Tribunal but was settled out of court in December 2003.  The ‘LC’ tariff is now 4.8% (or 4.3% if paid within 28 days) while ‘LP’ remains at 3%. We will now wait to see what implications this will have for the live popular tariff.

Since the inception of the Association, various individual members of the Association have worked tirelessly to achieve benefits for all promoters.  Lengthy consultation with the Health and Safety Executive resulted in the 1993 publication of a workable successor to the GLC Pop Code in the form of the Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Pop Concerts and Other Outdoor Events.  Further consultation took place on the revised document published in October 1999.  The HSE will look at revising the Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Concerts and Outdoor Events again in the near future.  They will ask promoters for input on what needs changing.   The CPA was also involved in a consultation process on the Institute of Structural Engineers’ guidance document on temporary demountable structures.

Ensuring that concertgoers have the opportunity of seeing their favourite artists at reasonable ticket prices has always been a primary concern of the CPA and members have fought to maintain booking fees charged by ticket agents at acceptable levels.  Following years of lobbying by a working group, including representatives from the CPA, who wished to see the Government introduce legislation to protect consumers from ticket touts, the DTI’s Price Indications (Resale of Tickets) Regulations were introduced in February 1995.  While these regulations did not go as far as concert promoters would have liked, it was felt that they are a step in the right direction.  Close monitoring of the situation continues.  An issue arose from the Committee of Advertising Practice’s requirements that where ticket prices are advertised, all additional charges such as booking fees and transaction fees must also be advertised.  As booking charges are not standardised, the trend is now for ticket prices not to be included in advertising, leading to concerns that it is becoming open season for ticket touts and unscrupulous operators.  Meetings held with the CAP have resulted in them agreeing that ticket prices can be included in advertisements as long as it is specified how a ticket can be bought at face value.  Their consumer guidance note will be re-written in due course.

Various individual CPA members were interviewed as part of the investigation into ticket agents by the Office of Fair Trading.  The report published in January 2005 gave the primary market a clean bill of health.  The secondary market, however, was highlighted as a major problem and strategies are currently being devised to tackle what we have dubbed E-touting.  When in place, a major public awareness campaign will be mounted.  This remains ongoing. 

The CPA lent wholehearted support to the National Union of Students, an avenue along which many of our members have entered the profession, when the Government proposed to introduce legislation which would alter the funding of the NUS, thereby threatening to severely affect this valuable breeding ground of both musical and entrepreneurial talents.  It was felt that our active lobbying had influenced the decision not to proceed with the legislation.

The Association lobbied the Radio Authority for an ‘indie’ FM station in order to create opportunities for new acts to be heard on air.  As a result, Xfm was initially awarded a temporary licence and now has a full licence.  Xfm has since been absorbed into mainstream radio.  The Music Industry Forum was made aware of promoters’ concerns that the Radio Authority grants too many licences to stations with very similar format.

The CPA was involved in preparing information published in 1996 by British Invisibles on overseas earnings of the music industry.  The Association also worked with the National Music Council and contributed to the follow-up report ‘A Sound Performance’ published in 1999.  A further report, ‘Counting the Notes’ was published on-line in November 2002.

Regular meetings with the National Arenas Association are held to discuss relevant issues such as ticketing procedures, insurance and health and safety.  A joint campaign resulted in crowd surfing being stamped out at indoor venues.  Plans are now being devised to eliminate the increasing practice of beer throwing at concerts in a similar way.  The implications of the Disability Discrimination Act, the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and the Licensing Act 2003 have featured on the joint agenda.

Meetings of the Music Users’ Council and Music Users’ Council of Europe are attended in order to keep abreast of developments here and across the rest of Europe regarding collection societies and copyright issues.  MUCE have been instrumental in affecting important changes to the Copyright Directive.  An initial meeting with the Managers’ Forum to discuss matters of mutual concern proved enlightening and will be followed up.  The CPA holds membership of the National Music Council who are considering moves to merge with the Music Business Forum in order to provide one music industry voice to the Government.

Discussions were held with Work Permits UK (formerly the Overseas Labour Service of the Department for Education and Employment) concerning the application procedure for work permits for visiting artistes.  Welcome signs of improvement resulted.  Work Permits UK is now linked with the Home Office Immigration Department and has extended powers.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Work Permits UK have been enabled to charge for the consideration of work permit applications.  From April 1st, 2003 a charge of £95.00 per application was levied, however a miscalculation was discovered and the cost has been increased to £153 per application.    At present a consultation process is under way to look at a points-based application procedure whereby individual touring personnel would be required to apply in person at their local British Consulate to complete entry clearance in order to obtain a visa to work in the UK.  A submission was made by the CPA pointing out the impracticality and expense of such a system for touring musical artistes and crew.  Several meetings with the Home Office have been attended and a CPA member has been invited to join the Department of Culture Media and Sport Task Force to assist in fine tuning the details of the application process.  Promoters, agents and other employers of visiting artists will become sponsors who will be given a rating by the Home Office and will take on responsibility for making sure the artists do not contravene the terms under which visas are issued and leave the country at the end of touring engagements.

New HSE legislation which came into effect in April 2001 made health and safety issues a major priority.  The introduction of the corporate manslaughter legislation will mean that all promoters must constantly reassess possible safety risks at their events.  Crowd management has also been a priority issue in the wake of Roskilde.  Incidents in the U.S.A. in 2002 have again highlighted the importance of this issue. 

The escalating charges for Police at outdoor events was the subject of an initial meeting at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport with a member of staff from the Home Office Police Resources Unit.  The Home Office subsequently put the CPA in touch with the Association of Chief Police Officers and a proposal was submitted for a CPA delegation to work with an Officer from ACPO’s Public Order Sub-Committee to draft a version of ACPO’s Public Safety Policy which will have relevance to licensed entertainment events.  In the light of the implications on outdoor events of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, ACPO have encouraged the Home Office to reinstate their Event Safety Working Group.  The CPA were been invited to participate in this initiative.  The first meeting was held in June 2005.

The implications for promoters of the recently passed Licensing Act 2003 are continuing to be ascertained.  From November 2005 the Premises Licence will be introduced for venues and charges for temporary Public Entertainment Licences will be increased substantially.  The Live Music Forum was set up by the Government to monitor the impact of the new Licensing Act on the music industry.  The CPA has met with LMF Chairman Feargal Sharkey to discuss this and other areas of concern affecting promoters.

The Private Security Act 2001 will have far reaching implications for promoters.  The concert/event industry was not taken into account when this was first looked at.  There will be cost implications as security staff require training and must become licensed.  With higher rates being offered to licensed doormen than to event stewards, it remains to be seen how this will impact on festivals from 2005 when the legislation is implemented.  The CPA has met with the UK Crowd Management Association.  Deep concern was expressed that the training for licensed door supervisors was not relevant to event crowd management and that accreditation was so slow in being processed that insufficient licensed staff would be available for the 2005 outdoor event season.  The CPA’s approach to the Home Office received a mixed  response.  While a more relevant Event Steward accreditation is being implemented, it was hinted that sports grounds may be made exempt from the legislation, which will have an adverse affect on music events. 

A very current issue is ticket touting.  Lobbying efforts have been stepped up in the wake of the Minister for Culture’s announcement that legislation will be sought to make it illegal to tout tickets for the 2012 Olympics.  The CPA has joined forces with sporting bodies and other music industry Associations to highlight the growing problems being caused by on-line touts.  An initial summit was held at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on 10th November 2005 followed by a second meeting in April 2006.  A further meeting will take place in July 2006.

Membership of the Concert Promoters Association is available to established active promoters of concerts, concert tours and events/festivals by contemporary musical artists.  At present we have 43 members and 14 associate members.

The membership procedure is as follows:

  1. A prospective member must be proposed and seconded by existing members of the Association.
  2. The prospective member must provide contact details and a brief history of their company’s promoting activities, which will then be circulated to all Association members, asking them to raise any objections they may have within 30 days.
  3. Providing there are no objections, membership will be confirmed at the next Executive Committee meeting.
  4. Annual subscription fees of £500 plus VAT for full members and £350 plus VAT for associate members are payable.
  5. Any member whose company goes into receivership or who brings the Association into disrepute faces automatic removal from the membership list.

Please direct enquiries to Carole Smith, CPA Secretary.