Jul 5, 2024 11 min read

Labour’s landslide: UK music industry sets ambitious agenda for new government

Labour's sweeping victory in the election prompts music industry calls for action on education, venues and AI. Unified on some issues, divided on others, trade bodies push for change. With new faces in Parliament, the sector faces challenges and opportunities in shaping post-election cultural policy

Labour’s landslide: UK music industry sets ambitious agenda for new government

The UK music industry has responded to the Labour Party’s decisive victory in the General Election, after Keir Starmer’s party secured 412 seats in the House Of Commons. The dramatic if predictable result is a landslide victory in Parliamentary terms, with the Conservative Party well and truly kicked out of power, losing a huge number of seats, leaving them with just 121, down 250 from the 2019 election. 

As the industry prepares to engage with the new government, a new set of ministers and the wider Parliamentary community, various trade organisations have outlined their priorities. Those include areas where they are looking for more support, more investment, greater awareness, and - inevitably in some cases - changes to the law. 

The issues on the agenda

Key issues uniting the industry include the need for increased investment in music education, tax breaks for independent music companies, greater support for grassroots venues and the night-time economy, and addressing post-Brexit touring barriers. 

Labour’s pledge to introduce a price cap on ticket resale has also been welcomed, particularly by anti-touting campaigners, including FanFair. With Starmer vowing that “change begins immediately” in his first speech as Prime Minister earlier today, adding that actions are more important than words, there is a chance that Labour might make good on its ticket resale pledge relatively quickly. 

One Labour MP who has been particularly vocal on the touting issue, Sharon Hodgson, held her seat in Washington and Gateshead South, slightly increasing her majority.

Pushing forward on those various issues will involve lobbying different departments of the new government, though in many cases the Department For Culture, Media & Sport is key. Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan has been appointed as Secretary of State for Culture today, after Labour’s highly regarded shadow culture secretary, Thangam Debbonaire, lost her seat in Bristol to the Greens. 

Who is Lisa Nandy, the UK's new Culture Secretary?

Manchester-born Nandy is a former Labour leadership contender, who came third in the 2020 leadership election that saw Prime Minister Keir Starmer become leader of the Labour Party. Nandy went on to serve as Shadow Foreign Secretary, Shadow Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and then Shadow Cabinet Minister for International Development, giving her broad experience in a wide range of issues.

In 2017, Nandy formed a think tank, The Centre for Towns, in conjunction with Southampton University's Professor Will Jennings, and political consultant Ian Warren.

In an article published in the University's research and enterprise magazine, the thinktank highlighted the “crucial role” that “the creative, cultural and heritage industries play in towns' economies”. As part of that, said Centre for Towns, its research would aim “to understand how the connections between culture and regeneration are understood in our towns and to inform future research priorities for UK Research and Innovation”.

Industry divisions on some issues

Despite broad agreement on many issues, the music industry remains divided on some key points. These divisions mean certain trade groups will lobby the new government in areas where there is no industry-wide consensus. 

While the entire industry is seeking clarity on the copyright obligations of AI companies, creator-focused groups are also advocating for additional protections, particularly for artists and songwriters whose work is controlled by record labels and music publishers. 

Those creator groups also hope that the new government will continue ongoing work around the economics of music streaming, which Parliament’s culture select committee instigated with an inquiry and major report in 2021. 

Although codes have been agreed within the industry on standards and practices around transparency and metadata, discussions about creator remuneration only began earlier this year. Artists and writer groups are now likely to ask for ministerial pressure on labels, publishers and streaming services to actively address the issues that have been raised regarding how music streaming income is shared. 

Live sector

In the live sector, everyone agrees there needs to be more support for grassroots venues and shows, though there isn’t yet clear consensus on how that should be achieved. 

The Music Venue Trust and artist groups have previously said that they hope the new government will adopt the recommendations made by the culture select committee’s recent report on grassroots live music, particularly the introduction of a ticket levy on large-scale shows to fund grassroots venues, promoters and performers. 

The challenges of a new parliament

Some of these ongoing campaigns will require support within Parliament as well as government. With a lot of new MPs elected, a lot of long-standing MPs losing their seats, and some key supporters of the music industry in Parliament standing down before the election, building new relationships and picking up campaigns that were supported by outgoing MPs represents a challenge of its own for the various trade groups.

The Liberal Democrats’ significantly increased presence in Parliament following this election, with 71 seats, and the Green Party’s growth from one to four seats, may offer useful new allies on some issues. Nigel Farage’s Reform, also currently with four seats, probably less so. 

Two artists very involved in the music industry trade organisations were standing in the election, both for Labour, but neither won. Blur’s Dave Rowntree, Artist In Residence at the Featured Artists Coalition, stood in Mid-Sussex, which was won by the Liberal Democrats. Ivors Academy Chair Tom Gray stood in Brighton Pavilion but lost to the Greens. 

UK Music

Tom Kiehl, CEO

  • Implement the plan for the creative sector in Labour’s industrial strategy
  • Increase investment in music education
  • Reverse the decline in music teachers (1000 lost since 2012)
  • Support Labour’s promise to recruit 6500 new teachers

UK Music sends its congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer and his team on their election victory, which gives his new government a resounding mandate for change.  

The incoming Labour government has been elected on a platform to implement a plan for the creative sector as part of its industrial strategy. The potential of the UK music industry to contribute to growth must be at the heart of this plan. The music industry is facing a number of challenges, but also opportunities. A strong relationship between UK Music and the new government will be essential to navigating what the rest of this decade brings. 

As a teenager who played the flute, piano, recorder and violin - as well as attending the Guildhall School Of Music - Sir Keir is without doubt a music-loving PM. He has an immense passion for music. It is in his DNA. He fully understands the joys music can bring and, just as importantly, the huge challenges our sector faces. 

We share his passion and the music industry is keen to continue working with him to ensure everyone can benefit from the important life skills that learning a music instrument with the help of brilliant teachers can bring - as Keir himself has acknowledged. 

We have lost 1000 music teachers from our secondary schools since 2012. That poses a huge risk to the talent pipeline on which our sector relies and deprives thousands of young people of an enjoyable and rewarding career.  

We will work with the members of the new government - which has promised to recruit 6500 new teachers - and strive to reverse that damaging decline. 

As the collective voice of the music industry, UK Music already has strong links with Sir Keir’s top team. Our plan is to continue to build on those relationships and work across the political spectrum, including the many newly elected MPs, to deliver real change and further growth for our world-leading sector.

Association Of Independent Festivals

John Rostron, CEO

  • Lower VAT on festival ticket sales to 5%
  • Implement recommendations from CMS inquiry into grassroots music venues

We offer sincere congratulations to Sir Keir and to the Labour Party on their landslide win and are pleased that there’s now a strong government in place that can develop a programme for the next five years.

Our call to Sir Keir and to the incoming Culture Secretary will be for urgent lowering of VAT on festival ticket sales to 5% to mitigate independent festival closures in the UK and sow seeds for growth in 2025. We hope, also, that this government will take forward the recommendations of the CMS inquiry into grassroots music venues.

We want to note that we’re sorry to see Thangham Debbonaire lose her seat - she has been excellent in the role of Shadow Secretary Of State For Culture.

It's also bittersweet to know that Tom Gray, who has been a brilliant advocate for progressive policies in music, lost out in his attempt to become an MP. We hope he returns to his excellent advocacy and representative work for the music sector.We hope all incoming MPs will now be able to relax for a short while and celebrate at this summer’s array of independent festivals.


Gee Davy, Interim CEO and Chief Policy Officer

  • Include music in creative tax reliefs, similar to film and gaming
  • Improve small business opportunities in apprenticeships
  • Encourage responsible AI development that protects UK music and musicians
  • Support regional growth of music businesses

Congratulations to the new Labour government on behalf of the UK’s globally celebrated independent music sector. We look forward to working alongside all newly elected MPs and the new cabinet, to achieve the goal of making the regions and nations of the UK the best places to grow and scale a music business and build sustainable careers in music. 

Key measures will include finally including music in the creative tax reliefs on par with those in film and gaming to encourage investment in our world-beating UK music scenes, opening up small business opportunities in apprenticeships, and encouraging responsible development in AI which protects and nurtures UK music and musicians. 

We encourage all MPs to consider the important place music has had in their lives and constituencies, and look to them to support independent music businesses and creative professionals who are essential to the future of brilliant and diverse great British music.

I am delighted to see Rachel Reeves confirmed as Britain's first female Chancellor, and Lisa Nandy as Culture Secretary. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to work with them both to include music in equivalent creative sector tax credit schemes, such as those in film and games, to drive investment. With Lisa Nandy's experience in levelling up and international development, we hope she will help drive success for diverse independent music communities in all regions and nations of the UK, and provide strong export support in maintaining British independent music's global standing.


Jo Twist, CEO

  • Enable human creativity to flourish
  • Maintain a strong intellectual property framework
  • Support creative education

Congratulations to the new Labour government - we look forward to working together to promote our world-leading music industry. 

In line with priorities set out during the campaign, we share ambitions to enable human creativity to flourish, underpinned by a strong intellectual property framework and commitments to support creative education. 

These statements align closely with the five priorities we set out earlier this year and it is only through constructive engagement with industry that the government will deliver on these pledges to the benefit of our collective creative industries.

FanFair Alliance

Adam Webb, Campaign Manager

  • Cap ticket resale prices
  • Protect fans from exploitation in the secondary ticket market

I'm personally delighted to see Sharon Hodgson get re-elected. Through her chairing of the APPG On Ticket Abuse, Sharon has been instrumental in keeping the issue of ticket touting so high on the political agenda. 

The Labour Party manifesto reiterated their commitment to capping ticket resale prices and protecting fans from exploitation, and everyone involved with FanFair Alliance will now look to support them in achieving that goal as quickly as possible.

David Martin, CEO

  • Deliver reforms to music streaming
  • Provide greater support for the live music ecosystem
  • Reset the business foundations on an artist-friendly footing

Congratulations to the new Labour government. Although we offer commiserations to our Artist In Residence David Rowntree, and to Tom Gray, who were both standing for election, the FAC will now look forward to working with a new influx of MPs.  

It’s especially important that we can pick up on unfinished business from the previous Parliament and quickly deliver the much-anticipated reforms to music streaming alongside greater support for the live music ecosystem. 

Music and culture should play a key role in the UK’s future success, so it’s vital that the foundations of our business are reset on a sound and artist-friendly footing.

The Ivors Academy

Roberto Neri, CEO

  • Prioritise songwriters and composers over big corporations and tech giants
  • Strengthen intellectual property protections
  • Effectively regulate AI
  • Support freelancer wellbeing
  • Challenge exploitative industry practices
  • Nurture future talent through music education and cultural investment

A music lover leading the new government, with a party focused on economic growth, the creative industries and culture, creates new opportunities for songwriters and composers.

We need the government to truly value songwriting and composing, which have been chronically undervalued. This means prioritising the creative forces behind the music - songwriters and composers - over big corporations and tech giants.

Our agenda is clear: strong intellectual property protections, effective regulation of AI, support for freelancer wellbeing, challenging exploitative industry practices, and nurturing future talent through music education and cultural investment. We're ready to collaborate with, and challenge, the new government to make this a reality.


Jon Collins, CEO

  • Review reintroduction of lower VAT rate on live music tickets.
  • Support grassroots music venues.
  • Facilitate easier international touring for UK artists.
  • Clamp down on ticket touts.

Having worked closely with the party in opposition, LIVE looks forward to working with the incoming Labour government to deliver on its ambitions of making the creative industries central to national renewal, economic growth and boosting the UK’s reputation on the world stage.

The live music sector generated over £6 billion in 2023, with one gig held every four minutes, but this growth has not been uniformly experienced across the sector.  

It is critical that the incoming Labour government delivers on the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee’s recommendations for an urgent review of reintroducing a lower rate of VAT on live music tickets and finding other ways to support grassroots music. 

We also look forward to working closely with the Labour government on our shared manifesto proposals to enable UK artists to tour internationally more easily and clamp down on ticket touts, putting fans back at the heart of live music. 

We hope Labour will work with our whole industry to boost opportunities, increase the talent pool and offer a wider range of live music experiences to music fans up and down the UK.

Music Managers Forum

Annabella Coldrick, CEO

  • Address international touring issues
  • Combat online ticket touting
  • Progress discussions on creator remuneration in streaming
  • Ensure creators’ voices are central in AI discussions

This should be a watershed moment for the music industry and we look forward to helping the new Labour government deliver their manifesto commitments on international touring and online ticket touting, both areas on which the MMF has led through the #LetTheMusicMove and FanFair Alliance campaigns. 

For the sake of artists and fans, we all want to see quick progress on both these issues. We also hope to see a renewed focus to progress the discussions on creator remuneration as part of the ongoing economics of streaming work at the Department For Culture, Media & Sport, and to ensure that creators’ voices are centrestage in all discussions around AI. 

Music Venue Trust

Mark Davyd, CEO

  • Protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues
  • Make music a key part of towns and cities in the UK

Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the appointment of Lisa Nandy as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Lisa arrives into the role at a critical time for live music in our communities, with the opportunity to deliver real, positive, long lasting change that can protect, secure and improve the nation’s grassroots music venues.

We look forward to meeting with her as soon as possible so we can begin the work of getting British music back to its rightful position as the beating heart of our towns and cities.

Night Time Industries Association

Michael Kill, CEO

  • Address challenges from the cost of living crisis and pandemic.
  • Change the narrative around the value of the night-time economy.
  • Secure stronger representation at all levels.
  • Create a more integrated regulatory system.
  • Address tax disparity and reform business rates.
  • Protect independent operators.
  • Align VAT with European standards.

As CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, I warmly welcome the new Labour government. Your commitment to our sector, vital to the UK’s economy and culture, is appreciated. However, the real work begins now. Our industry faces serious challenges and needs urgent attention to recover from years of neglect through the cost of living crisis and the pandemic.

The night time economy thrives on a dynamic young workforce and consumer base whose energy and creativity are indispensable. Their involvement is vital for our industry’s success and shaping future voters. We must foster their engagement as a priority, and address their needs to ensure a thriving and inclusive nightlife sector.

Our sector must rebuild trust with the new government after years of feeling misunderstood and undervalued, we must work towards changing the narrative around the value of the night time economy, secure stronger representation at all levels, and create a more integrated regulatory system. We must also address tax disparity, reform business rates, protect independent operators, and align VAT with European standards.

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