Michael Dugher says SXSW is chance to discuss how UK music industry stays a world leader post-Brexit

UK Music boss Michael Dugher says SXSW is a perfect opportunity to talk about how the British music industry maintains its position as a global leader in music post-Brexit

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Every March, the city of Austin becomes not merely the capital of Texas but the capital of the music world, as the global industry descends to talk shop and to see showcases of the best up-and-coming artists.


UK Music CEO Michael Dugher leads our panel at the Britsh Music Embassy

The ‘South By South West’ (SXSW) music festival can be a shop window to the world for emerging acts and for the UK in particular to show-off our latest music talent. The ‘Music Industry & Culture’ conference, running as part of SXSW, also provides an opportunity to hear the latest innovations and music market trends.

This year UK Music are back and for the first time we are excited to be an official partner at the British Music Embassy.  In its twelfth year, the British Music Embassy is a pop-up venue at SXSW, taking over the Latitude 30 venue in Austin. The aim of the space is to showcase the best in British emerging talent and this year’s line-up is led by BRITs critics’ choice winner Sam Fender. The diverse line-ups have been curated by UK Music members AIM, BPI, PPL and PRS for Music, as well as the PRS Foundation, BBC Music and in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT).

SXSW is important to the UK industry as it provides a crucial global networking forum for various parts of the industry to discuss latest developments, share best practice and also discuss access to established or emerging music markets. Whilst the UK music industry will seek to promote its artists, there will also be exciting opportunities to discuss what new genres we could be seeing come to the UK over the next year.

With popular K-Pop group BTS set to become the first Korean band to headline a show at Wembley stadium this summer, it is of no surprise that K-Pop is on the conference agenda at SXSW.

Following last year’s successful UK Music event with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, on  Tuesday 12 March – the same day MPs in the House of Commons vote on Brexit – UK Music will be hosting a panel session at the British Music Embassy entitled UK Music Presents: How do we maintain the UK music industry’s global success after Brexit? Chaired by All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music Vice-Chair Lord Watts, I will also be speaking alongside a high-powered industry panel including Peter Leathem (CEO, PPL), Nigel Elderton (Chair, PRS for Music) and Vanessa Reed (CEO, PRS Foundation).

And as well as discussing Brexit’s impact on the music industry and the urgent requirement to resolve issues like freedom of movement, we’ll be discussing how we secure our talent pipeline by ensuring we have access for all to music in education, that we protect grassroots venues and promote rehearsal spaces, that we support aspirant young artists at key points in their early career development, that we promote the crucially important diversity agenda and that we showcase our talent to markets all over the world.

The conference also has a variety of new innovative ideas up for discussion with sessions such as: Public Libraries: Your New Source for Local Music, Right On! – Real Developments in Rights Technology, and Building a Better Music Industry on Blockchain. These new innovations could be heading to UK shores in the near future.

So as my old stomping ground Parliament debates the UK’s future relationship with the European Union, SXSW is a perfect opportunity for the British music industry to talk about how maintain our position as a global leader in music and how we continue to meet the demands of a fast-changing world in the post-Brexit environment. The British music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the U.K. economy and we bring enjoyment to billions around the globe – so there isn’t a moment to lose.

Music Week 

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