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The UK music 2017 manifesto

UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers, music licensing organisations and the live music industry. It has published manifesto, outlining the main necessities of industry. Here they are.

Copyright and its enforcement should be a key part of the trade negotiations. Specific challenges in Australia, China, Canada, Russia and Turkey need to be addressed. The US remains the largest national market for the recorded music industry. Under US copyright law, a variety of issues prevent the UK music industry from benefiting from the use of music. The imposition of compulsory licences, the “bars and grills” exception, no sound recording royalties on FM radio and Consent Decrees should all be tackled in future trade deals.

The ability of musicians to travel globally with instruments without hindrance is of importance. The recent changes to the CITES regulations on trade is welcome news and should be fully implemented in the UK. Government commitment to place Intellectual Property Office representatives in key UK cities should be developed further. The existing IP attaché network, whereby liaison officers are based within South East Asia, China, Brazil and India, should be extended to other key markets.

The burdensome performing visa system that operates in the USA is already a significant impediment to UK acts and artists. Tours for UK bands are important for building fan bases. Promoting new music overseas and deriving income to UK music companies and creators is needed without bureaucracy and costly administration. Systems to support the introduction of temporary short-term permissions and exemptions for musicians and crews are required.

International collecting societies administer rights and royalties on behalf of UK creators, performers and rightsholders. There is a need to ensure they operate transparently. Live music should not be stifled by unfair rules and bureaucracy.

Music venues play a vital role in supporting the industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry across the country. They also nurture the music industry’s talent pipeline. Venues are increasingly finding it difficult to operate. Measures such as the introduction of a statutory “agent of change” planning principle and further liberalisation of licensing laws, building on the Live Music Act, should be taken forward to abate venue closures.

Music businesses are facing substantial increases in their business rates. 10 of the top 11 arenas in England will see increases to their business rates. Over half of these increases will be in excess of 45%. Music fans will undoubtedly suffer, either through paying more or having fewer venues to attend due to closures. Music recording studios also face such challenges. The Government and next Parliament should prioritise business rate reform in order to avoid a detrimental impact on culture and creativity. The existing exemption for festival and event sites should be maintained to prevent further punitive measures from being imposed.

The Government has introduced a number of creative sector tax credits to incentivise new productions. At present music does not receive equivalent assistance from the Government. Initially, measures to incentivise the UK as a destination for music recording via tax credits should be introduced to support the development of new artists and ensure content creation within the UK is retained.

The Government should consider the case for a Culture and Heritage Investment Tax Relief. This would be based on the existing Social Investment Tax Relief model and operate along similar lines to that of EIS/SEIS schemes. It would allow investors to receive tax relief in relation to venues, creative spaces and performances.