'We're going to keep standing up for music creators': Read UK Music boss Michael Dugher's rallying cry for the industry

'We're going to keep standing up for music creators': Read UK Music boss Michael Dugher's rallying cry for the industry

UK Music held its annual summer party last night at London's Southbank Centre, and the great and the good from the worlds of politics and music were treated to a barnstorming speech by the trade body’s CEO Michael Dugher.

Despite the on-going Conservative Party leadership battle and Brexit chaos, there was a strong turnout of both MPs and peers, including the Secretary Of State For Culture, Media & Sport, Jeremy Wright, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Liberal Democrat culture spokesperson Jane Bonham-Carter.

There was an insight into the varying musical tastes of the politicians, with Wright quoting Coldplay and Watson talking about his love for The Specials, whose artwork featured in art for the party supplied by SuperSizeArt.

All three culture spokespeople pledged support for the music industry with Bonham-Carter pledging support for music education and Wright saying: “It’s right to defend the rights to creative material of those who create it, and that’s exactly what we’ve done over the past 12 months and what we intend to continue to do in conjunction with you.”

Watson, meanwhile, weighed in on the Copyright Directive. “The tech giants fought hard in Westminster and Brussels, they threw everything they had at it, they flew over from Washington, they threw more champagne receptions than I’ve been to at the Labour Party Conference. But they lost. They proved an important rule that I’ve learned many, many times over and that is: Never cross Mike Dugher.”

Musical entertainment came from hotly-tipped singer-songwriter Tamzene, while music industry attendees included Andy Heath, Alison Wenham, Jo Dipple and Crispin Hunt.

But the main talking point was Dugher’s speech, taking in Brexit, music education and diversity. You can read his full address below:

“Good evening and can I welcome all of you to the UK Music Summer Party. 

It has been another fantastic year for UK Music and for the British music industry. As our flagship Measuring Music report showed, music makes a £4.5 billon contribution to the UK economy - with music exports growing by 7%.

As a country, we are phenomenally good at this. Last year, Ed Sheeran was the biggest selling touring artist in the world, building on 2017 when five of the top 10 biggest world tours were by UK acts.

Three of the top four most popular live arenas anywhere on the planet are here in the UK. In seven of the last 11 years, the biggest-selling album in the world has been from a UK artist.

Year after year, decade after decade, this country produces incredibly creative musical talent that consistently takes the world by storm. People around the world still look in awe at British artists, performers, musicians, songwriters and composers, producer and engineers. And those creators are backed by a music business that has some of the most able and innovative entrepreneurs, investors, managers, agents, promoters, publishers, record labels and collecting societies anywhere in the world. 

And it’s that success that we are celebrating this evening. But at last year’s summer party I said: “The question we should all be asking is not, ‘How good are we at what we do today?’, but ‘What do we need to do today to protect, nurture and build that success for the future?’”

That’s why in the past year we have done extensive work focused on securing our industry’s talent pipeline. That means protecting our grassroots music venues, rehearsal spaces and recording studios. It means ensuring that access to finance to support artists and musicians isn’t just something for those that have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad. 

It means working hard to ensure that we have proper diversity. That women, BAME, people from outside of London, have the opportunity not just to access a career in music, but that we do everything we can to enable these people to get to the very top. 

It means ensuring that every child from every background in every corner of the country has access to music in education - not just those who go to private school or those who have parents who can afford to pay for tuition or buy instruments. If we don’t sort out music in our state education, as an industry and as a country, we will just be drawing water from a well that’s getting smaller and smaller. So we’re going to keep banging on about this in the weeks and months ahead. 

And I’ll tell you what else we’re going to continue to do at UK Music: we’re going to keep standing up for music creators when faced with the likes of Google, who continue to make billions by exploiting content made by others without paying fair rewards to music creators. We have been fearless and we will be relentless in taking on big tech - just like we did over the Copyright Directive. 

Now for the ‘B’ word. No, not Boris. But Brexit. At UK Music we will continue to highlight the need for touring artists and musicians to be able to move freely without the kind of cost and bureaucracy that, frankly, could make playing across Europe simply not viable for many UK musicians. Our studios and festivals and venues need to be able to bring in talent from the EU.

Also, without a transitional phase or withdrawal agreement, implementation of the Copyright Directive in the UK cannot be taken for granted, which is why we urgently need a roadmap to get on and implement that Directive. 

So my message to anyone out there who is relaxed or even enthusiastic about a ‘no deal’ Brexit is this: you may be happy to leap off the edge of a cliff, but please don’t throw the British music industry over there with you. 

Right. Enough politics. Some important thank yous. Firstly, on our Board over the past year we have said goodbye to some brilliant people including Tim Dellow, Vick Bain, Diane Wagg, Jane Dyball and Paul Latham. We thank each and every one of them for everything they have done to support UK Music.

We will also shortly say goodbye to Robert Ashcroft and I would like to thank him in particular for all of his many achievements after 10 years leading PRS for Music.

We have welcomed to our Board some fantastic new members in Peter Quicke, Graham Davies, Paul Craig, Paul Clements and Greg Parmley. And we look forward to welcoming Andrea Martin in due course. 

UK Music is nothing without our members, so a big thank you to all of our members: PRS For Music, PPL, the BPI, the Association of Independent Music, the Ivors Academy, the Music Producers Guild, the Featured Artist Coalition, the Music Managers Forum, the Live Music Group, the Musicians Union and the Music Publishers Association - and a huge congratulations to their chair Jackie Alway for her much-deserved OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours

A huge personal thanks to all of the UK Music staff. We are a small team but they are a brilliant team so thank you. All I ask is that we are the very best at what we do and that we get better every year. And the team responds magnificently. 

To our great chairman, the founding chairman of UK Music, Andy Heath, a big thank you. His CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was thoroughly well-deserved. We were so proud of him and it is recognition of the decades of service Andy has given to this great British industry.

The final thank you I’d like to make is to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Wright. We have had some great discussions and have made some real progress in so many policy areas. He leads a superb team at DCMS - including the wonderful Margot James - but also his officials and advisers who are incredibly professional and helpful. I know that Jeremy is someone who understands the importance of our industry. He has always been willing to engage with UK Music. He gets it. He listens. And he has supported us in any way he can. So we are honoured to have you with us and so it gives me great pleasure to introduce the Secretary of State for DCMS, Jeremy Wright…”

* To read Michael Dugher’s 2018 Music Week cover story, click here. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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