With the General Election just a matter of days away, Music Week has spoken to each of the key political parties to find out why they believe they are the best equipped to guide the UK music industry through Brexit and beyond.
Today, we hear from the Liberal Democrats’ digital economy spokesperson, Lord Clement-Jones, on a range of key issues facing the biz and why the party deserves your vote when the public hits the polls on Thursday (June 8)…
How important to the Lib Dems is the music industry and the creative sector in general? And what will you be doing to ensure that they receive sufficient support should you win the General Election?
Liberal Democrats are the party of the creative industries and have released a dedicated policy document at each of the last three elections on the sector. The most recent edition of the Power of Creativity focused on the priorities for the Brexit negotiations. Where we would ensure that the creative industries were protected in terms of the free movement of people, granting the right to stay for EU citizens, maintain the current standards of IP and ensure the continuation of territorial licensing of rights, be at the top table when determining the international trade agenda as priorities. The UK has to have an influential role in the development of the EU digital single market, including for data protection and collection purposes, alongside making other markets outside of the EU.
Will you be investing in music and arts education? If so, how much will you commit to spending?
We will be investing £7 billion in our children’s education over the course of the next parliament with the inclusion of creative subjects in the school curriculum. Liberal Democrats believe that access to culture is a fundamental principle of society and that this should form part of children’s education. That is why we are committed to investing in developing creative and science skills (STEAM), and would adopt the Edge Foundation’s new baccalaureate to give more choice to children over the subjects they have the opportunity to pursue. We are also calling for the Government’s careers, apprenticeships and technical education reforms to support creative industries, diverse talent and skills.
How valuable is the music industry to the overall economy?
The creative industries contribute £9.6m to the economy every year and of course music is a huge aspect of this. The music industry gives us many examples of how big a role the sector plays in the success of the UK economy. Ed Sheeran and Adele are just two artists that have had a global impact and really exhibited how much talent the UK has to export to the rest of the world. But don't forget they started in small live music venues. We made sure music was deregulated by the Live Music Act and are working with people like UK Music and Music Venues Trust to safeguard and develop their future.
What will you do to support music tourism in the UK?
We would ensure that the movement of national and international talent across borders is protected and remove any barriers to entering the UK to attend a cultural event.
There has been much discussion about secondary ticketing and the impact of bots on the live music industry of late. How do you plan to tackle this problem?
Secondary ticketing is a useful tool for when there are legitimate and unforeseen reasons why someone can no longer attend an event and wants to resell the ticket. Unfortunately, there are many companies and individuals that allow the systems in place to be abused and charge huge amounts for tickets. We [instigated and supported] amendments to the Digital Economy Bill to clamp down on the ability of bots to purchase large numbers of tickets when they are released and we would like to see all websites operating in the UK market, regardless of where they are based, convening to our laws on the regulations for re-selling tickets to events and the protections available to buyers.we await the report of the Competition and Markets Authority in their sport into whether hear sites are complying with existing and new legislation Enforcement is now the key to making sure that artists get proper reward and the public are not ripped off.
What measures will you be taking measures to protect small live music venues?
Lib Dems will examine the available funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector, protecting venues from further closures. We will also create creative enterprise zones to grow and regenerate the cultural output of areas across the UK.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has spoken lots about pushing the agent of change policy to help protect small venues. Is this something you would be keen to work with him on?
We would gladly work with the Mayor to provide the securities that small venues need in London and we been a long time supporter of the Agent of Change principles. We want to consider further changes to licensing law too.