AIM CEO Paul Pacifico highlighted Brexit, capital and climate change as three key issues for the independent music community at yesterday’s AIM Connected conference.
AJ Tracey and his manager, Supernature founder Andy Musgrave, discussed the rapper’s independent success as the event’s keynote session, and Pacifico saluted their achievements – along with those of the sector at large.
“2019 was a very big year for AIM,” Pacifico said. “Whenever I stand in front of the community at events like this, I and see the strength and breadth of our independent music community and I am left with a strong sense that when we come together, nothing is impossible.”
But the CEO, who Music Week profiled after he took charge, warned that there are several issues facing the indie world. Here, in extracts from his AIM Connected address, are his thoughts on how it can tackle them.
“Brexit happened last weekend and you can be forgiven for feeling it was a bit of an anti-climax, but the end of this year presents yet another potential no-deal cliff-edge and we must be ready.
“We are working alongside the Musicians Union and UK Music to promote the idea of a ‘touring passport’ to try to avoid a slide back to the bad old days of carnets and other bureaucratic hurdles that will make career development for emerging artists especially, all the more difficult, expensive and fraught with risk. We are scrutinising aspects of cross-border data sharing, transshipment of goods and all of the other areas of our businesses that could be disrupted if not considered properly, whatever the outcome of the various trade negotiations now underway.
“We are also working hard to ensure the UK doesn’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the legal certainty we were hoping to gain from the implementation of the European Copyright Directive. Whilst the Government has stated clearly that it will not implement the Directive, we will not let up in our campaign to ensure the value gap does not persist and that we are able to better balance the relationships and value-flows with some of the platforms, who remain crucial partners to our businesses, even though clearly some still need to reflect a better and more even balance of value in the protection of rights and flow of royalties.”
The end of this year presents yet another potential no-deal cliff-edge and we must be ready
“Another crucial area of focus for AIM is in the ability of our members to access capital. Government has stated its intention to develop a proper music strategy over the course of this year, and we are determined to ensure that support for a range of funding and financing options is at the very heart of the government’s approach.
“During the recent debate in parliament on the value of music to society, I was very reassured to hear our Minister for Culture, Nigel Adams, respond positively to a question about whether he would support the suggestion of a new tax break for music. We are following up, and I am working as the chair of the UK Music Fiscal Incentives Committee, to secure a united approach by the industry so as to speak with one voice and maximise our chances in this area.”
“I am very proud that AIM board members are at the heart of the Music Declares Emergency movement and thank you in particular to one of them, our Chair, Peter Quicke from Ninja Tune [who spoke on the subject at AIM Connected].
“Our partnership with Client Earth since they became our charity partner at last year’s AIM Awards has gone from strength to strength and shown once again that we are comfortable working simultaneously through grassroots approaches and direct action whilst also attacking problems via a global strategic approach including through existing laws and the potential for new legislation.
“AIM’s Climate Action Group has already become an industry leader in developing practical tools and action while helping coordinate and amplify the good work being done elsewhere across our industry and beyond.
“As well as working alongside a number of commercial partners within the music industry AIM has been speaking with the UN Environmental Agency about how as an industry and a community we can collaborate to best align our work and help make a difference to the World. We will not stand for astro-turfing on this, or any other issue.”