Hopes for 2024 (Part 1): Industry leaders on key issues including artist development, exports and AI

Hopes for 2024 (Part 1): Industry leaders on key issues including artist development, exports and AI

A new year brings new purpose, and with it Music Week’s round-up of what some of the leading lights in the music industry are wishing for over the next 12 months. Here, we delve into the hopes and dreams of a range of leading names from across the business...

Paul Hourican, TikTok

“Reading the news, it seems that 2024 is going to be a tough year for a lot of people. Music is always a great escape and has the power to lift spirits and bring everyone together, and that provides a great opportunity for our industry, despite the challenges. This year, let’s work together to share music, to support each other and to help artists and creators continue to make the music that the UK is famous for and which is enjoyed and appreciated all around the world.”

Colin Batsa, EGA Distro

“More space for R&B artists to come through and more recognition given, so the UK R&B scene can grow the way it deserves to.”

Sheryl Nwosu, The Black Music Coalition

“A continuation of the devolution of power.”

Ben Mortimer, Polydor

“It might sound a little contrived, but as I write this, there are awful things happening in the world. I hope we all continue to help create moments through music that pull people out of their worries for a couple of minutes.”

Amy Wheatley, Columbia

“Great artist development and breaking talent!”

Jody Gerson, Universal Music Publishing Group

“Music exists because of songwriters. My hope will always be for songwriters to receive deserving recognition and fair pay for use of their works, and I will never stop fighting for that.”

Shabs Jobanputra, Relentless

“My biggest hope for the music industry this year is for better exports of UK music. Building a platform for any act is so challenging now. I hope we find methods to get a higher share of voice. Platforms and media partners all need breaking acts, and we need to work more closely to be successful all year round.”

Suzanne Bull, Attitude Is Everything

“My hope is that the industry starts to regard access and environmental sustainability as part of the same conversation. We’ve all heard the phrase that there is ‘no music on a dead planet’ – well, there’s no access on a dead planet either! At the Green Events & Innovations Conference in February 2024, Attitude Is Everything, Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future will be launching our new environmental toolkit that brings access and sustainability solutions together. We’ve invested part of the grant that Arts Council England awarded us in April 2023 to work on a programme that examines how access to live events for disabled people can become sustainable. At the end of our research, we’ll provide practical solutions and case studies. We launched this programme because solutions that enable accessibility and support environmental sustainability can often oppose one another. Disabled people’s access can be affected or even degraded by environmental policies. But the vision that Attitude Is Everything shares with Julie’s Bicycle and A Greener Future is that the best sustainable festival is an accessible one.”

Dan Chalmers, YouTube Music

“Deep collaboration and partnership across all areas of the industry. Technology is heralding a new wave of creativity and we hope to forge a new path collaboratively, collectively and responsibly with our industry partners.”

Tiger Hagino Reid, ESEA Music

“I hope that independent labels, or music companies of a certain size that don’t legally have to publish their gender pay gap, will volunteer to publish this information anyway.”

Ahmed Hussain, BBC Asian Network

“From a British Asian music perspective, the scene has once again picked up and with wider industry support, we will hopefully see some of the very talented British Asian artists breaking into the Top 40! We’re seeing some exciting new labels setting up, which are dedicated to helping support British Asian talent, and this will be a real help going forward.”

Lauren Laverne, BBC Radio 6 Music

“Same as 2023: that it’s easier for artists to make a living, and for our crucially important independent music venues to keep their doors open.”

Alistair Norbury, BMG

“My hope for 2024 is for less navel-gazing on AI and more solutions.”

Nadia Khan, Women In CTRL

“I hope that we continue tackling uncomfortable topics and are able to look at ourselves and examine what we’re doing wrong and how we can fix it. And to not compete with each other so much, but rather work together with the same goal and learn from each other.”

Ben Cooper, Bauer Media Audio 

“My big hope is that Hits Radio, with star presenters like Fleur East, Gemma Atkinson and Sam Thompson, continues to attract new listeners who love our mix of new music and throwbacks. With the help of the music industry, we are getting the [right] balance of breaking new music and helping audiences to rediscover artists of the last 20 years – it feels a much more modern way of enjoying great songs on the radio.”

Dr Jo Twist, BPI

“I’m still a relative newbie, but I can’t help but be aware of the various, often passionate debates that have been taking place within the sector in recent years. It’s only right and healthy that matters which are important to many people are discussed, and that the way we operate as an industry is scrutinised. But we also have to balance this against the need for our industry to be united and to speak with one voice. We are an ecosystem and all the constituent parts are so vital to the continued health of our sector. The risks and challenges we all face are growing, whether it is around equity and representation, AI or the global market for music exports becoming ever-more competitive. But I know there is a lot more that unites us than divides us, and my hope for 2024 is that more of us can find ourselves on that common ground.”

Ginelle Appau, Apple Music UK/IE

“I’m excited to see women championing women, and more [industry] programmes around championing women. Our Platoon team ran an event in 2023 called She Runs The Boards, which was focused on celebrating engineers, producers and songwriters. I just hope there’s more that the business can do to celebrate women and make it feel like a safe space and industry for women.”

Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis Songs

“My hope every year is that the recorded music industry will recognise the work of songwriters and reward them properly. No one in our industry should get paid more than songwriters, without whom there would be nothing. I’m delighted that every year we are making progress and the narrative is changing due to our efforts and the efforts of a few others.”

Kim Frankiewicz, Concord Music Publishing

“I would love to see more companies, both record and publishing, investing in developing young artists and songwriters.”

Wez Saunders, Defected

“Our priorities at Defected will be to give clubland a little more attention, while upholding our core values and focusing on the importance of the culture and community. The market is oversaturated. There are a lot of events and European festivals that particularly struggled last year. The cost of living crisis is affecting us all, and the scene needs to pull together to ensure supply doesn’t outweigh demand and to maintain synergy between services and community.”

Ed Howard, Atlantic

“I believe we will continue to bring outstanding British artists to the world. And I believe we have a key role as an incubator for artists from places such as Africa and India as they look to grow.”

Chloë Roberts, Young

“More long-term investment in brave artistry.”

Moe Bah, 5K Records

“I’d love for more artists to collaborate with each other. More joint projects like we had last year, for example, Headie One and K-Trap, and Central Cee and Dave.”

Emma Banks, CAA

“We are coming off an incredibly strong year of live touring in 2023. I hope that 2024 can be just as good; stronger still would be even better! Also, that we work out ways to reinvest in live music and performance across venues of all sizes – from the smallest club to the biggest stadium.”

Kanya King, MOBO

“I’m trying not to sound like a broken record, but I hope that the industry will continue to push forward to increase diversity and inclusion both on stage and behind the scenes. Many of us are doing the groundwork and we will continue to [provide] support in this area. Hence, the launch of our new mentoring platform, MOBOLISE Mentors, which matches talented individuals with experienced professionals from leading organisations. With the new mentoring platform, we will help address systemic challenges faced by Black and diverse professional talent, which has seen a lack of mentors, role models and wellbeing support, resulting in them being more likely to leave their jobs and depart from organisations.”

Tiffany Calver, BBC Radio 1Xtra

“That everybody stops saying rap is on a decline. Like they say in crypto, ‘Buy the dip!’”

Tony Harlow, Warner Music UK

“Seeing more UK acts break onto the world stage. That’s always our big hope.”

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