Boiler Room UK just got awarded £791,652 from the Culture Recovery Fund set forth by Arts Council England. The broadcasting platform, while very well known, is being criticized for the allotment due to its fiscal history and fairness of funding. Let’s dive deeper into this.
A History Behind Boiler Room UK
The platform started with a webcam taped to a wall. It showcased London’s underground talent and since 2010, has expanded to more than 5000 artists across 200 cities. Today, it remains a platform that supports emerging artists and connects local dance floors to those worldwide. Since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the music industry, relief efforts had deployed. One of those being the £76 million that Arts Council England has to distribute to 589 organizations.
This grant is one of the biggest ones awarded in Round 2. The Boiler Room’s previous financial statement (on August 4th) came into question. It stated the company posted a net operating loss of £6,633,752 in 2018, managed to shore up operations for 2019 fiscal year but still suffered another loss of £1,299,656.
“While we appreciate that the COVID-19 crisis will have impacted further on your financial situation, we [cannot] accept applications from organizations to cover significant costs or debts incurred before the COVID-19 pandemic.” – Culture Recovery Fund criteria
To this, BR clapped back. They said their return to profitability comes from a strong calendar of events and developing new partnerships and ideas for 2021.
“Since the balance sheet date, the COVID-19 virus crisis has arisen and has disrupted the schedule of events, alongside some uncertainty over when events will be possible again. Although events are on hold this year, alongside the continued engagement of artists and communities… the directors conclude the company is well placed to weather the current social, political and economic headwinds.” – Boiler Room
Hang Me Up To Dry
BR’s controversial relationship with Arts Council England does not quell the red flags brought up with this grant either. A history of “negative media perception” is enough to revoke just cause. We know that organizations have taken a hit and any bit of relief effort helps. However, according to the council, organizations in need of funding needed their operations to be sustainable prior to the pandemic.
As of right now, it looks like the funding will go towards artist fees, program delivery, content creation, and platform artists. The organization will run a digital nightclub with tickets and subscriptions to live stream events. Perhaps this can continue supporting emerging and established electronic music artists when things return.
Who is to say what is fair? What are your thoughts? For more official statements, you can reference them here.