Music Venue Trust criticise Spotify’s £235million FC Barcelona deal

"They could, instead, have secured a PERMANENT future for circa 700 UK Grassroots Music Venues"

The Music Venue Trust have hit out at Spotify‘s huge new sponsorship deal with FC Barcelona, saying the cash could have helped hundreds of struggling music venues instead.

After significant rumours, today (March 16) it was confirmed that the streaming service have confirmed a groundbreaking sponsorship deal with the world famous Spanish club, which will see Spotify’s logo appear on match and training kits, and the club’s stadium renamed the Spotify Nou Camp.

A statement described the deal as a “first-of-its-kind partnership for the club in bringing the worlds of music and football together” and is set to “see the pair working together to create opportunities for the iconic shirt to become a space that can celebrate artists from across the world”.

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In a series of tweets responding to the news, the MVT said: “For the amount of money Spotify have agreed to spend on TEMPORARILY branding FC Barcelona they could, instead, have secured a PERMANENT future for circa 700 UK Grassroots Music Venues.

“Such an investment could have unleashed £40 million per annum into grassroots artist talent development, from which Spotify, [Universal, Sony, Warner] and others are the ultimate financial beneficiaries.”

They added: “Not only that, but an investment of money in this way would generate a reasonable financial return, being invested into bricks and mortar and therefore remaining an asset. That’s how sensible investment works.

“Spotify could have taken this money, invested it in music infrastructure, kept the asset value, improved economics for every new/emerging artist, and be making a small return on a sensible and protected investment which completely aligns with the best interests of their company.”

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The tweets then ended with the organisation saying they would “like to talk with [Spotify CEO] Daniel Ek so we could tell him the incredible opportunity he is missing. But we can’t even get Spotify to take a meeting about the need to support and secure the grassroots music sector.”

Barcelona President Joan Laporta said of the deal: “We are very proud to announce a pioneering alliance like this with a world-renowned organisation like Spotify.

“This partnership will allow us to continue to bring the club closer to its fans and make them feel even more part of the Barca family through unique experiences, combining the two activities such as entertainment and football, making it possible for us to connect with new audiences around the world.”

UK music venues are already facing £90million of debt due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, and music fans and gig-goers are being encouraged to help their local venues survive by purchasing official merchandise.

Back in January, the Music Venue Trust launched their #GoLocal campaign, encouraging people to go to gigs at their local grassroots venue.

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