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UK Music seeks new approach to creative industries

Industry umbrella organisation UK Music launched its new manifesto, Liberating Creativity, at the House of Commons, with the UK music business coming together “to unite behind a vision for the future”.

Industry umbrella organisation UK Music launched its new manifesto, Liberating Creativity, at the House of Commons last night (March 29), writes David Davies. The 46-page document is said to constitute the first occasion on which the UK commercial music business has come together “to unite behind a vision for the future”.Simply put, the key objective is for the UK music industry to “take on North America as the biggest music-producing country in the world” by 2020.In setting out its metaphorical stall, the report documents the current strength of the UK business – second only to the USA as a source of repertoire and responsible for an annual economic contribution of at least £5bn – and the changing context of the new decade, wherein there is more emphasis on links with the technology sector, commercial partnerships and “nurturing grassroots talent”.Described as a “call to action” for Government and industry, Liberating Creativity calls for the development of a “grown-up industrial policy”, the establishment of a unified Creative Industries Cabinet Committee to report directly to the Prime Minister, and new partnerships that “realise the value of music and deliver greater choice to fans”.The report also offers recommendations on music rehearsals rooms for young people, education, skills & training, public subsidies for the arts, and exemptions from licensing for small venues. This last area is likely to resonate with Lord Clement-Jones, whose liberalising Live Music Bill failed to secure a Second Reading in the House of Commons earlier month and is now highly unlikely to be heard again before the General Election – although PSN-e understands that the Lib Dem peer will seek to reintroduce the Bill in the next Parliament.“This country has a phenomenal musical heritage, and our artists are globally-renowned for their innovation and creativity,” commented UK Music chief executive Feargal Sharkey. “Our ambition is to take what is quite clearly a national asset and for music to be recognised as a great professional industry. In 2008, four of the biggest selling artists in the world came from the UK. With the right support, we can challenge North America and take their crown.”The continued challenges facing the UK recording industry are symbolised by EMI’s well-publicised difficulties, although strong bookings for this year’s run of summer festivals – tickets for Glastonbury 2010 sold out in 24 hours – attest to the robust health of the live music business.The Liberating Creativity launch event – which featured performances from up-and-coming acts including Sway and Camilla Kerslake – effectively sets the agenda for the UK music industry as it contemplates an imminent General Election and possible change of