Business News Labels & Publishers Legal Live Business

Culture Minister outlines plans for new government music strategy

By | Published on Wednesday 22 January 2020

Houses Of Parliament

Culture Minister Nigel Adams outlined the UK government’s plan to produce a new music strategy during a debate in Parliament yesterday. Among other remarks intended to reassure the UK music industry that the government takes its contribution to the British economy seriously, he also observed that it is “absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected” after the UK leaves the EU. Almost like leaving the EU is a stupid idea.

Anyway, Adams used the parliamentary debate on all things music to insist the government is committed to supporting “this fantastic UK music industry at home and abroad”. He went on: “I also recognise the need to consider introducing a comprehensive music strategy. We want our music industry to continue to be the envy of the world”.

Of course, a significant part of that is ensuring that British musicians can continue to tour easily, regardless of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. “Touring is absolutely the lifeblood of the industry”, Adams agreed. “We recognise the importance of the continued ease of movement of musicians, equipment, merchandise once we have left the EU”.

“Visa rules for artists performing in the EU will not change until the [transition] period ends in December 2020”, he then noted. And “it’s absolutely essential that free movement for artists is protected post-2020”.

Obviously, it’s not entirely up to the UK government as to whether or not that freedom of movement across Europe stays in place. And if the UK fails to secure a trade deal with the EU by the stupid arbitrary deadline set by PM ‘Boris’ Johnson – ie the end of this year – and if he then actually makes good on his “no deal” threat this time, well, then there’d definitely be no free movement for anyone.

Despite all that, it’s nice that the government recognises that it’ll be dead annoying if touring musicians and their teams are faced with a whole load of new restrictions and bureaucracy come 2021.

Another slightly less urgent but still pressing Brexit concern for the music industry is the European Copyright Directive. Specifically whether – after the music industry campaigned so hard to get copyright reform across Europe – any of that reform will actually happen here.

Adams also gave a few stress-busting nods in that direction, saying: “We support the overall aims of the Copyright Directive. But our imminent departure from the EU means we are not required to implement [it] in full. It’s absolutely imperative we do everything possible to protect our brilliant creators, as well as the consumers and the rights of users who consume music. I look forward to working with the music industry to ensure we achieve this”.

Beyond all the Brexit bollocks, another ongoing concern in the British music industry remains the sidelining of music education that has occurred over the last decade. Adams acknowledged this too, agreeing that including music in the curriculum is “absolutely imperative”, before adding: “We are committed to ensuring all children have a broad and balanced curriculum. The arts are very important, key part of this”.

That stops quite a long way short of saying that anything is actually going to change, of course. Though, even if he’d made firmer commitments, until the end of this year – when we find out if the world is going to collapse or if we’ll start eating rainbows for breakfast (or, possibly, somewhere in between) – everything’s still up in the air.

Also, if and when we get the first of the formal delays to the UK/EU deal talks – you know, the inevitable delays Johnson still insists he won’t ask for or tolerate – then the uncertainty will just continue into 2021. But given uncertainty and stagnation are now the status quo, at least we get the certainty of continued uncertainty and stagnation. And hurray for that!

UK Music’s Deputy CEO Tom Kiehl thought Adam’s remarks – and the whole Parliamentary debate – was just the tippetty-toppest, beaming: “I would like to thank all the MPs from across the political spectrum who made such brilliant and heartfelt contributions about the importance of the UK music industry to our economy and society. This debate has highlighted a huge opportunity for industry to work with Parliament to ensure crucial support for music is turned into much needed action”.

“I would particularly like to thank Nigel Adams who is a passionate supporter of the music industry and welcome his proposals for a new music strategy and comments on freedom of movement which is so vital for our industry”, he added. “We look forward to working with him on the new music strategy and a host of other areas to continue to grow our industry”.

TL;DR – A man said some things that made a load of uncertain things at least appear more certain and everyone was happy. Moaning will recommence tomorrow at 11.15am.