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Live Nation Launches Grassroots Music Venues Ticketing Website In UK

Britain's "at risk" grassroots music scene has received a shot in the arm from Live Nation with the launch of a bespoke ticketing service aimed at protecting the future of the sector.

TicketWeb, a division of Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster, has partnered with the U.K. Music Venue Trust to run the GrassrootsVenues.Tickets website, which describes itself as "a resource for ethical ticketing."

As part of that remit, each ticket purchased through the service contains a fixed donation of £0.50 ($0.64), which is paid directly to the venue. A small proportion of the site's 5 percent service charge goes to the Music Venue Trust to help fund national and local campaigning. The remainder of the service fee goes to Ticketweb, which receives £0.45 from every £10.00 ($13.00) ticket sale.

16 venues have so far signed up to the U.K.-wide initiative, including the Forum in Tunbridge Well, Kent, Le Belle Angele in Edinburgh, The Joiners in Southampton and The Sound Lounge in London.

In addition to the financial incentives, operators and venue owners who sign up to the service can also choose to have Music Venue Trust look after their reporting and payments to U.K. collection society PRS for Music, in return for a minimal surcharge (£0.30 out of every £10.00 spent).

Participating venues will additionally receive access to sales figures and reports via a specially designed mobile app, as well as automatic listing on the main TicketWeb platform and Ticketmaster's U.K. site.  

The news is likely to be welcomed by grass roots operators who increasingly find themselves under threat from a combination of rising rents and licensing restrictions, putting businesses at risk. According to Music Venue Trust figures, London has lost 35 percent of its grassroots music venues between 2007 and 2015, when the number of concert halls hosting new, unsigned and upcoming acts fell from 136 to 88. 

Some of the historic venues that have shuttered in the past decade include The Marquee, Astoria, 12 Bar Club and Madame Jojos, with dozens more shuttered throughout London's outskirts and wider U.K.   

Last year did, however, bring some respite with fewer small-capacity venues closing in London than in any year since 2007. There are currently 94 grassroots venues in the British capital, drawing 13,800 people to smaller capacity gigs every night and contributing £92 million ($118 million) to the country's economy, according to Music Venue Trust, which cites GrassrootsVenues.Tickets as part of its measures to help safeguard the sector's future.

"We wanted to work with a partner to develop a grassroots ticket that genuinely enables fans to know that what they are buying is directly supporting the venues they love that really need help," said Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd in a statement. "We're delighted to be working with TicketWeb to deliver just that product, and to be able to do it at no extra cost to the customer."

"Together we continue to work in the interests of grassroots music venues around the U.K.," added TicketWeb managing director Sam Isles, who called the launch "a culmination of lots of work behind the scenes to ensure it empowers both independent venues, and music fans alike."

GrassrootsVenues.Tickets follows on from October's launch of TicketWeb Backline – a client portal designed in conjunction with Music Venue Trust to that enables small venues and promoters to sell tickets through their own bespoke platforms directly to fans.