An array of the UK’s most influential music industry executives have hailed the arrival of Labour politician Michael Dugher as the new chief executive of UK Music.
Dugher replaces outgoing UK Music chief executive Jo Dipple, who stands down next year after five years in the role and almost nine years in total with the organisation.
Taking up his new post in mid-May, Dugher brings a lifelong passion for music and the arts to the role. A gigging multi-instrumentalist, he is also the patron of several musical organisations in his East Barnsley constituency. Among them, the Live in Barnsley music festival, the Wombwell Operatic Society and the Worsbrough Brass Band. Plus, he’s a member of the Barnsley Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and a proud member of the Royal British Legion (Hoyland and District Branch).
Furthermore, during his short tenure as Shadow Culture Secretary, he campaigned for the rights of small venues, and backed the 'agent of change' principle, which requires developers who build near already established music venues to pay for soundproofing and other measures.
Speaking to Music Week, many have expressed their excitement at working with Dugher going forward, highlighting his musical background as a key asset.
“We welcome the appointment of Michael Dugher as UK Music’s new CEO,” said Geoff Taylor, chief executive, BPI and the BRIT Awards. “Michael has long shown himself to be a friend to the British music industry – valuing the dynamic contribution it makes to our culture and economy and understanding the vital importance of protecting and promoting strong IP as a cornerstone of its success. We look forward to working closely with Michael and wish him all the very best in this new role. We also express our thanks once again to Jo as she steps down to embark on a new chapter in her career.”
Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS For Music, commented: “We warmly welcome Michael Dugher’s appointment as UK Music chief executive and look forward to working with him to promote the value of music and safeguarding our members’ work in the face of the changing political landscape. In UK Music, departing CEO Jo Dipple has built a credible and trusted body indeed, truly representing the industry and uniting the various members under common goals. We wish her well for the future.”
Meanwhile, Jane Dyball, CEO of the Music Publishers Association (MPA), said of Dugher’s appointment: “It's so important that the music industry is represented at Westminster by someone who has been immersed in that world; to guide us in ensuring that our messages are clear and correctly targeted. The MPA Group looks forward to working with Michael and is delighted to welcome him on board.
Paul Reed, general manager of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), added: "AIF welcomes the appointment of Michael Dugher to UK Music. It's a tall order to provide a unified voice from the industry to Government - the role requires a political heavyweight to build upon the good work Jo Dipple has done and it looks like it has got one. Michael was a great champion of the sector as an MP and we look forward to working with him and keeping independent festivals on the agenda through the UK live group."
BASCA CEO Vick Bain also spoke to Music Week about Dugher’s arrival and his commitment to the arts: “I am delighted about the appointment of Michael Dugher as the CEO of UK Music,” she said. “The fact he has been the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and is a keen music fan means he will bring with him a wealth of passion, experience and knowledge about the political process giving UK Music a huge advantage. We have much to do in parliament over the next few years; implementing the Digital Economy Bill and getting the best deal for the music industry out of Brexit and the new industrial strategies. And his working class background will hopefully make him a champion for all the diversity work UK Music have been so fantastic at leading in! I, and all at BASCA, are very much looking forward to working with him.“
Peter Leathem, chief executive, PPL, said: “Congratulations to Michael on his appointment as the new Chief Executive of UK Music. His wealth of experience in political campaigning combined with his lifelong passion for music will serve him well in his new role. We look forward to a long and productive working relationship with him.”Musicians' Union (MU) general secretary elect, Horace Trubridge, said: "The MU is delighted with the appointment of Michael Dugher. The Union has worked with him on issues affecting musicians over the years, particularly whilst he was Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and we look forward to continuing our joint fight when he takes over at UK Music"
"The MMF is looking forward to working closely with Michael," said MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick. "UK Music has given the industry a strong voice within Parliament, and it's vital that the organisation can represent the full spectrum of our interests - especially on critical issues such as Brexit, transparency and ticket touting, putting artists and their fans at the centre of it all."
Cameron Craig, executive board director of the MPG, also said: "The Music Producers Guild welcomes Michael Dugher as the new CEO of UK Music and looks forward to a successful relationship. Our aim is to represent the interests of recording professionals in the UK and we hope that the valuable creative contribution our members make to the music industry - both here and around the world – will continue to be recognised."
Elsewhere, Labour MP Chris Bryant took to Twitter to congratulate Dugher, tweeting: “You’ll be excellent. Really pleased.”
Fellow MP Nigel Adams also tweeted his congratulations: “Congrats to Michael Dugher on his new job as CEO of UK Music. A good hire.”
Commenting on his new role, Dugher said: "I'm thrilled to have been appointed chief executive of UK Music. I have engaged with the organisation for several years and have seen it go from strength to strength thanks to its board, chairman Andy Heath and previous CEOs Feargal Sharkey and Jo Dipple. There is a great team at UK Music who do brilliant work and I'm really looking forward to working with them.
"British music is a world-beating industry which brings huge economic benefits for our country. I am determined to work with all the individual members of UK Music – on the business and creator side – to ensure our industry is protected during the Brexit process and that we continue to thrive.
"Safeguarding intellectual property, protecting venues, promoting new opportunities and broadening diversity in the sector are all central to our work at UK Music.
"Music has been a lifelong passion for me and I'm looking forward to helping make a real difference as UK Music's new chief executive."
You can find out more about Dugher here.