Minister Pledges Government Will Ensure Music Industry Concerns Over AI Are “Fully Understood” As UK Music’s Manifesto Is Unveiled At Conservative Conference

03.10.2023: Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe pledged before a UK Music panel audience that the Government would ensure music industry concerns over the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) were “fully understood”.

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03.10.2023: Cabinet Office Minister Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe pledged before a UK Music panel audience that the Government would ensure music industry concerns over the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) were “fully understood”.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe was among the panellists lined up to discuss UK Music’s new Manifesto for Music at a packed fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

The Conservative peer was joined by former Levelling Up Minister and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music member Dehenna Davison MP, Royal Albert Hall CEO James Ainscough and CEO of Nordoff & Robbins Sandra Schrembi.

The event, titled Manifesto for Music: How Can a Conservative Government Boost Our Music Industry, was chaired by Interim Chief Executive of UK Music Tom Kiehl.

Talking about the challenges posed by AI, Baroness Neville-Rolfe said:

“You have got to have a balance between the needs of tech innovation and the needs of our great creators. It is one of our biggest challenges.

“I am a strong supporter of copyright and what it has done for the music industry.

“The Intellectual Property Office, as everyone knows, is looking at proposals on text and data mining so that creators of excellent and unique products are protected and that artists get paid for their work.”

These remarks followed comments from AI and IP minister Viscount Camrose, on the back of a question from Tom Kiehl, made at a separate event at Conservative Conference where he stated:

“My view coming in to this has always been if you create a piece of content you deserve to be rewarded.

“Going after principles should give us flexibilities. We have to come up with a system that doesn’t stifle innovation but also doesn’t stifle creators or put them off creating.

“A Code of Conduct by summer in retrospect was a bit ambitious and we are looking at statement of principles. It’s difficult but we’re going to get there.”

Building on her remarks, Baroness Neville-Rolfe highlighted Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s upcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit in early November and the ongoing work to make AI safe for everyone.
The Conservative peer pledged: “The key thing is to ensure – which we will ensure – that the needs of our creative industries are really, fully understood.”

She added: “I think you’ve got to watch this space, but I think you (the music industry) have done a good job in ensuring the problems are understood.”

Adding her views on AI, former Minister Dehenna Davison said it was important to ensure fair payment for creators, adding: “Clearly there needs to be some international cooperation on this as well.”

Earlier, UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl started the wide-ranging discussion talking about the Manifesto, which he said would look at what levers the Government could introduce to boost jobs and growth in the UK Music industry.

Royal Albert Hall CEO James Ainscough outlined the critical importance of music, saying caring about music was a “vote winner” for all political parties. He urged the Government to look at actions it could take “at very little cost” that would benefit the industry, such as removing barriers to touring the EU – with the need for a “more pragmatic and practical approach”.

James said the Government should continue with business tax relief of 75% which is due to end in April 2024, saying: “Don’t let the business rate reduction pop back up in April like it is currently meant to.” He also said copyright law to deal with theft of intellectual property was “crucial”, along with integrating music into all areas of social policy and investing more in music hubs and improving funding for the Arts Council.

“At the heart of the music industry is a bunch of talented, passionate people who have dedicated their lives to what they are doing which is economically productive and socially valuable,” said James.

Spelling out the power of music, CEO of music therapy charity Nordoff and Robbins Sandra Schrembi said: “The power of music sounds soft and nice, but it is an absolute necessity.

Stressing the importance of music education, Sandra said: “If there aren’t musicians, I can’t ask them to become music therapists. We are hollowing out music education.”

Taylor Swift fan Dehenna Davison spoke about the importance of the Manifesto recommendation to crack down on rip-off ticket prices charged by touts, outlining how Taylor Swift tickets at ten times face value been resold only 30 minutes after they first went on sale.

She added: “Clearly that is something that needs tackling – not just for Taylor Swift fans but for music fans everywhere.”

On the barriers to EU touring, Dehenna said: “I was a Brexiteer and I supported it. Clearly we haven’t got it right, but there is time to fix it. There is scope to fix it and I think there is now a real appetite from Government to fix it. So, I am really hopeful with enough pressure from great people like you guys, we can get Government to take that forward.”

Rounding off her remarks, Dehenna said: “Music is everything and it is very important to my life and who I am. I am very happy to support the Manifesto.”

Among those attending the event at Manchester Conference Centre, were UK Music members Sophie Jones (BPI), Ali Condon (PRS for Music) and Beth Sidwell (BPI).

Audience member Jack Gamble, Director and CEO of Campaign for the Arts, praised the manifesto and said: “This fantastic Manifesto for Music would not just benefit the music industry, it would benefit all the arts industries.”

Also attending the event was Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Director of Strategy and former UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin.

Concluding the discussion, Tom thanked the panellists and audience and urged everyone to support the recommendations in UK Music’s Manifesto for Music which can be read here.

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