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UK associations respond to election results

The major UK music industry associations have given their verdict on yesterday (13 December)’s general election, which saw the Conservative party under Boris Johnson win the largest majority since Margaret Thatcher in 1987.

Johnson’s victory also ends the deadlock in parliament over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union, with ‘Brexit’ now almost certain to go ahead as planned on 31 January 2020.

Michael Dugher, the outgoing CEO of umbrella organisation UK Music, congratulates the new government on its victory and outlines his key music-industry concerns ahead of Johnson outlining his legislative agenda.

“Congratulations to the newly elected government. Hopefully this will now deliver the stability we need to get things done, including a new and comprehensive strategy to support music,” says Dugher.

“It is vital that the Prime Minister makes securing a trade deal with the EU a top priority. That deal needs to ensure that artists, creators and everyone involved with the UK music industry can move around the EU to do their jobs. It must also make sure that we have a legal framework to make the UK the world’s best place to make content. Copyright should be protected and enhanced in any new trade deals. […]

“Ministers also need to make good on their pledge to help protect small music venues by delivering on their pre-election promises to cut the soaring business rates bills faced by so many venues.

“Ministers need to make good on their pledge to help protect small music venues”

“We look forward to the speedy appointment of a new secretary of state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We desperately need some continuity in that post and UK Music stand ready to work with them to ensure our world-leading music industry goes from strength to strength”.

The Creative Industries Federation, which represents the UK’s creative-industry businesses, says it will also “continue to work tirelessly” alongside the incoming government “to ensure that they act on the areas that matter most to the UK’s creative industries and our country’s emerging talent.”

On the Conservative party specifically, Alan Bishop, the federation’s chief executive, similarly notes that its manifesto includes promises to introduce “business rates relief for music venues and cinemas”, as well as to continue to support for existing creative-sector tax reliefs. “We look forward to working with government on these commitments, ensuring that industry is able to shape these initiatives so that they develop in the right way for the creative industries,” he says.

In the recorded music sector, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) emphasises that the UK must maintain its commitment to protecting music copyrights when it leaves the EU on 31 January.

“The UK has a strong copyright regime. It is essential that this remains stable and the framework is not reopened in the event of the UK leaving the European Union,” reads a statement from the organisation. “The UK should bring forward measures to resolve the value gap in the UK and should ensure that the UK regime is an environment that will encourage investment in new recordings. […]

“It is essential that trade deals maintain a strong copyright regime”

“If any trade agreements follow as a result of the future arrangements between the UK and the EU, it is essential that trade deals maintain a strong copyright regime. It is critical to resist ‘fair use’ rules such as those found in the USA.”

The BPI also calls on the new government to commit to “reciprocal arrangements [with the EU countries] on visa-free travel, including for work purposes, [which] would ensure musicians will be able to work, tour and collaborate across the EU.”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, which represents the UK’s record label community, and the Brit Awards, welcomes the new Johnson ministry, says he looks forward to working with ministers on music industry related issues.

“This clear result should help move the country beyond the Brexit impasse and provide the UK with a much-needed period of political stability,” he comments. “We hope the government will use this platform to deliver a trade deal with the EU that minimises barriers to trade, including simple travel arrangements for UK performers, and new trade deals with third countries to boost our music exports.

“The UK music industry is a fantastic success story both here at home and around the world. If the relentless creativity and commercial ingenuity of our artists and labels can be backed by the incoming government with some simple but effective support, we can take this success to the next level, growing our international trade, supporting access to music in schools, and boosting the industry’s contribution to employment and the economy by better protecting the valuable IP we create.

“We congratulate the new administration and we will be actively engaging with them on this agenda.”

“We urge the incoming government to listen to the music sector”

Paul Pacifico, of indie label body the Association of Independent Music (AIM), says the Conservatives’ “strong majority” presents the opportunity for a “fresh start” as Britain prepares for its EU exit. “We know from this result that the process towards Brexit will now accelerate,” he explains. “It is AIM’s priority to ensure our members are as prepared as possible. The unfortunate truth is that the grassroots SMEs and entrepreneurs of our economy face the greatest impact [from Brexit] on their businesses, so we call on this new government to give our members the support they need to ensure we avoid a Brexit that just suits big business.

“With a strong majority and the opportunity for a fresh start, we look forward to engaging with the new government across our key issues for creative entrepreneurs in music, including copyright and support mechanisms for small business in our sector, which is so important to the UK both in terms of commerce and culture.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), draws attention to the associations pre-election ‘Manifesto for Musicians’, which said the UK must strike a deal with Europe “which will protect every aspect of the musician’s working life post-Brexit”.

“This,” she says, “includes everything from a two-year, multi-entry visa, to ensuring that musicians can take their instruments easily across the channel to work in the EU.”

As only reported this month, the music industry is continuing to grow and is now worth £5.2bn,” Annetts adds. “We urge the incoming government to listen to the music sector and ensure the future of this prosperous industry is protected.”


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‘May has “no clear mandate” for “hard Brexit”’

The shock result of yesterday’s general election means British prime minister Theresa May has “no clear mandate” for taking the UK out of the European single market, according to a leading creative-industry trade association.

The Creative Industries Federation, a membership organisation for the music, performing arts, and other creative industries, said in a statement this morning that the result of the election – which saw May’s Conservatives emerge as the largest party but fail to secure a majority of seats – could lead to rethink of Brexit.

“Today’s result raises concerns about the political stability of the UK in the short term,” says Federation chief executive John Kampfner. “One thing is beyond doubt, however: Theresa May has seen that there is no clear mandate for the government to negotiate a hard Brexit.

“Federation members were 96% in favour of remaining in the EU when surveyed before the referendum. They saw Brexit is a threat to the continued success of the creative industries, damaging growth and the UK’s global outlook. This general election vote now offers the opportunity to look at the issue again.

“The Federation will push for the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union and against undue restrictions on free movement, which we know will damage the capacity of the creative industries to deliver.”

“Theresa May has seen that there is no clear mandate for the government to negotiate a hard Brexit”

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of recorded-industry body BPI, says the result will force any future Conservative government to adopt a “more nuanced position” in the upcoming negotiations over Britain’s exit from the EU.

“The general election result creates a political landscape that is considerably more complex,” he comments. “Assuming that the Conservatives form an administration, they will be under some parliamentary pressure to adopt a more nuanced position in the Brexit negotiations, which many in business will welcome.

“However, greater uncertainty over an extended period, with the possibility of a further election before the full parliamentary term, is unlikely to be helpful.”

Taylor says whatever the make-up of the next parliament, lawmakers should make the “creative businesses a priority and ensure a Brexit deal that benefits creative businesses like music by making sure that UK artists can tour freely in EU markets and that UK businesses can access the best talent”.

UK Music, the music-industry umbrella organisation that incorporates the UK Live Music Group, issued a more Brexit-neutral statement restating the importance of putting the music industry at the forefront of negotiations.

“Brexit is clearly the biggest issue facing the country … and we will ensure the interests of our members across the music industry are protected”

“UK Music congratulates all those elected at the general election,” says new CEO – and former Labour MP – Michael Dugher. “Clearly, the dust is settling and the situation will continue to unfold in the coming days, so we await developments.

“But over the coming weeks there will be many discussions about the future direction the country will take. It is paramount that the interests of the music industry are fully considered in those conversations and we look forward to engaging positively and working closely with the new parliament and the next government.

“The political parties each made welcome commitments to build on the successes of creative industries, and music in particular, throughout the election campaign. We will be holding their feet to the fire to ensure that they deliver on those pledges. Brexit is clearly the biggest issue facing the country – and our industry – and we will ensure that the interests of our members across the music industry are protected.”

IQ examined the parties’ manifestoes – and any specific policies affecting the live music business – earlier this week.

“One thing we can take comfort from is that the Conservatives and Labour were very specific in their manifesto commitments to ensure content creators are appropriately rewarded”

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum (MMF), says the industry can “take comfort” from the fact that both the Conservatives and the opposition Labour party were “very specific in their manifesto commitments to ensure that content creators are appropriately rewarded for the content they make available online”.

In addition to lobbying the new government to “tackle the lack of transparency in the digital marketplace”, such as the perceived ‘value gap’ and lack of fair remuneration for artists from streaming, Coldrick says the organisation will continue its fight against secondary ticketing through the FanFair Alliance.

“Following the successful FanFair campaign, both parties have publicly committed to ensure the revised law on ticket touting is now properly enforced, and we look forward to working with the new government and the Consumer and Markets Authority [which is investigating four ticket resale sites] to make sure this happens. With the help of politicians it is imperative that we fix these fundamentals for both the live and recorded business, restoring the connection from audience to artist, to properly reward the creative talent on whose shoulders our entire business sits.”

At the time of writing, May (pictured) had reportedly struck a deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – which opposes a ‘hard’ Brexit that see Britain exit the single market – to form a coalition government.


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UK associations launch election manifestoes

UK Music, the umbrella body for Britain’s live, recorded and published music industries, and the Creative Industries Federation, a membership organisation for the UK’s creative sectors, have each presented their manifestoes for next month’s general election, recommending policy positions they say will enable the UK industry to thrive over the course of the next parliament.

The UK Music Manifesto 2017, published today, sets out a five-point plan for the music industry to “build the right framework […] in the coming years as the next government leads Brexit negotiations and plans for a future beyond the EU”.

From the manifesto, those five points are:

International action
We need the freedom to trade at an international level. It enables us to break and develop new markets. This freedom is crucial during Brexit negotiations and as the country develops a new trading relationship with the world. UK Music is concerned that the UK creative industries must not be used as a bargaining chip in any trade talks. Nor should UK music content be subject to restrictive quotas or costly tariffs.

Regional development
UK Music’s Wish You Were Here report into music tourism underlines the appetite for attending music events the length and breadth of the country, generating £3.7 billion in spend in the process. There is a possibility of doing much more with devolved and local government playing a role in bringing this together. Taking steps to introduce regional creative clusters and develop creative enterprise zones has the potential to support this further.

Intellectual property
Maintaining and strengthening the copyright framework is of great importance to the music industry during the Brexit negotiations and beyond. The European Union’s competency over copyright means UK domestic legislation is based on directives emanating from the EU as part of the copyright acquis. The EU provides a high level of protection for copyright works.

Skills and education
Talented creators are essential for the music industry’s continued success. This must not be taken for granted. Creative skills need be nurtured at the earliest opportunity. The music industry’s workforce needs to be equipped with the right skills to realise this talent.

Finance and investment
The right incentives are needed to sustain the development of new creators and music businesses. Breaking new acts and music contributes to our growth and productivity as a sector. Measures should be put in place to further drive this. Our ability to be entrepreneurial, bold and ambitious is enabled by having the right funding mechanisms and financial environment in place.

There are many small and medium enterprises operating in the music industry whose financial needs may be quite different to that of larger companies. Fiscal stimulus is needed whether a business or creator is at start-up or scale-up phase, or whether the needs are more general.

Andy Heath, UK Music’s chairman, comments: “To maintain growth and withstand the challenges that may be presented over the next five years, our government needs to put creative industries at the heart of Brexit negotiations and devise an industrial strategy to safeguard sectors like music and allow them to develop further. Securing the best deal for music must be achieved for our industry, our economy and for the world’s music fans.

“There will be many difficult issues which will occupy policy-makers and politicians, but it is vital to protect and develop the music sector, which is one of the UK’s greatest success stories, generating huge sums on a world stage. Policies overcoming the value gap and securing the true value of music from digital platforms, broadening protections for live venues and building our international trading relationships would go a long way to securing the future.”

The Creative Industries Federation, meanwhile, is in agreement as to the importance of ensuring the arts are “a priority sector” in the ongoing Brexit negotiations”.

“Securing the best deal for music must be achieved for our industry, our economy and for the world’s music fans”

“The UK’s creative industries are key to driving growth in a post-Brexit Britain, reads its manifesto, published late last month. “The sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK’s economy, contributing £87bn in GVA. It returns four times the GVA of the automotive industry, six times as much as life sciences and nearly 10 times that of aerospace. Between 2011 and 2015, it created three times more jobs than the economy as a whole. The UK is the third-largest exporter of cultural goods and services in the world – just behind China and the US. However, as other countries are now prioritising the sector, we cannot take our global pre-eminence for granted.

“With much of this growth, innovation and job creation emerging beyond London and the south-east, the creative industries are also critical to delivering social and economic regeneration in places that need it the most. Few other sectors can deliver so much and at this scale.

“With the right vision, leadership and policies in place, the creative industries can help secure an economy and society that works for all. But if government fails to deliver, this vision is at risk.”

Its manifesto contains a ten-point plan that, in addition to echoing UK Music’s calls for a healthy level of funding, the introduction of creative enterprise zones and support for “creative careers”, calls for an overhaul of the visa system as Britain prepares for a life outside the EU.

“Our visa system was built for an industrial landscape that no longer exists,” it reads. “We need a 21st-century model that recognises the needs of fast-growing, world-leading and highly innovative sectors, including science, tech and the creative industries.”

Britain goes the polls on 8 June following prime minister Theresa May’s (pictured) calling of a snap election. Current polls predict a landslide victory for her Conservative party, which is committed to a clean, or ‘hard’, break from the EU and the European single market.


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UK govt affirms post-Brexit commitment to music

In a move welcomed by industry groups, the British government has appointed TV executive Sir Peter Bazalgette to lead an independent review into the UK’s creative industries as part of its wider post-Brexit industrial policy.

Sir Peter’s review, announced yesterday in the Building Our Industrial Strategy green paper, will be joined by similar reviews into four other ‘key sectors’ – life sciences, ultra low-emission vehicles, industrial digitalisation and nuclear power – and focus on “how the UK’s creative industries, like our world-leading music and video-games industries, can help underpin our future prosperity by utilising and developing new technology, capitalising on intellectual property rights and growing talent pipelines” following Britain’s exit from the EU.

Outgoing UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple says the government’s commitment to “the development of skills, starting and growing businesses, encouraging trade and inward investment, cultivating world-leading sectors and driving growth are all to be welcomed and supported”.

“The announcement that Sir Peter Bazalgette is to take a lead in fashioning a deal for the creative industries is encouraging and sends a powerful message about the importance of this valuable sector,” she comments.

Dipple also draws attention to the umbrella body’s own Industrial Strategy for the Creative Industries report, published last September, “based on three pillars of trade: a framework to trade, incentives to trade and regionalisation of trade”.

“The announcement that Sir Peter Bazalgette is to take a lead in fashioning a deal for the creative industries is encouraging, and sends a powerful message about the importance of this valuable sector”

The Creative Industries Federation, whose Brexit Report in November called for “the creative industries to be put at the heart of government thinking as the country develops its new industrial strategy”, says it “look[s] forward to working with [Sir Peter] on how the UK’s creative industries can help underpin future prosperity”.

Federation president John Kampfner says: “When we first began talking about the creative industries being a crucial part of any future industrial strategy, no such strategy was on the table and many people believed such a move unlikely. But the strength of argument has won the day. We have come a long way in a short time.”

The federation’s founder and chairman, graphic designer Sir John Sorrell, adds: ” I founded the Creative Industries Federation because for decades the sector had been under-represented in government. Recognition of the economic contribution and the potential for growth across the whole of the country is exactly what we wanted to achieve.

“But this is just the start, and the federation will continue to lead the way, not just in the UK, but in the regions and internationally.”


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Hammond warned against neglecting creative sector

The UK’s Creative Industries Federation has reacted with cautious optimism to what it calls yesterday’s “sober autumn statement … in the face of great uncertainty and worrying economic figures” by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond.

The federation’s chief executive, John Kampfner, has praised measures “which might benefit” the creative sector, including a £1 billion investment in high-speed broadband, £1.6 million for the new Studio 44 arts complex in Southampton, additional support for UK Export Finance and £1.8bn for local enterprise partnerships in England, but says the statement “appear[ed] to focus support for innovation and R&D [too] narrowly on science and tech”.

“The creative industries are the fastest-growing sector of the UK economy. […] We can deliver so much more if we are made a priority sector in the government’s thinking,” comments Kampfner.

“We can deliver so much more if we are made a priority sector in the government’s thinking”

While acknowledging the positives, Kampfner notes “there are several areas which have not been discussed today, such as education, skills and training, including apprenticeships, which we would hope will have a bigger place in the industrial strategy”.

The Creative Industries Federation last month published its Brexit Report, which called for “the creative industries to be put at the heart of government thinking as the country develops its new industrial strategy, forges new international trade deals and tackles the fractures in society exposed by June’s EU referendum vote”.

Hammond’s (pictured) speech can be viewed or read in full at the British government website.


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