MP: Music industry needs closer ties with politicians

The ‘renegade’ music industry must work harder to alert the government of the issues it faces, MP says.

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 9 Oct 2012
  • min read
Mike Weatherley MP told the Live UK Summit today that the ‘renegade’ music industry must work harder to alert the government of the issues it faces and seek the support it needs. 

While addressing delegates at The Music Chamber in London’s West End, the Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade said the music industry must widen its remit to lobby government through the local MP network.

He urged everyone in the room to meet with their MPs to explain the economic and legislative issues facing the music industry in order to raise awareness at a grassroots level. MPs were then able to take the issues directly to parliament.

‘It’s important the industry knows that, while you want to get on with what you’re doing because you’re a renegade industry, there are issues the government needs to be aware of.

‘I’m equally as critical of the government. For example, it has a small loans guarantee scheme and zero applications have been approved from the music industry since the scheme launched. That gives you the indication that government isn’t taking the music industry seriously.’

The session chair Doug D’Arcy, Director of music consultancy Songlines, agreed. He explained that the government can both be a help and a hindrance to the music industry, so it was important to get parliament on side.

‘Nearly all of us in the music industry like to think we’re strong, independent, entrepreneurial. We don’t need anybody to build our artists, put on our gigs, sell our records and have our success,’ he said.

‘But the fact is, we live in a complex world and government involvement in what we do is actually important. Government can do lots for us but also damage us in many ways, so it’s important we have the right relationship with them. The industry has been slow to come to terms with that fact. It’s a major blockage in terms of our ability to lobby the government successfully.'

Lord Tim Clement-Jones, who formulated the Live Music Act, said that while the relationship between the music industry and the government was improving, it could still be stronger.

‘The fact that UK Music has got the live music industry represented on it is a great step and Mike Weatherley’s Rock the House initiative has increased people’s perceptions, but I still think there’s a long way to go before people really understand what makes the music industry tick,’ he said.

‘There is also quite a lot of work to be done in terms of deregulation in the industry, particularly when we’re talking about smaller venues. It’s important to have a pipeline through from the smaller venues right the way through to the larger ones to help artists with their careers.’

After the session, Clement-Jones received an award to acknowledge his work on the Live Music Act, which became statute on 1 October.