SXSW hears that supporting the Talent Pipeline is key to maintaining UK music’s global strength

The calls to protect music in education and grassroots music venues were made by senior figures from the UK music industry at a panel organised by UK Music in Austin, Texas.

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UK Music CEO Michael Dugher leads our panel discussion at the British Music Embassy at SXSW


UK Music CEO Michael Dugher highlighted the decline in music in education in state schools, where 15 per cent of pupils receive sustained music tuition as opposed to 50 per cent in the independent sector, and a decade of venue closures which have seen 35 per cent close, as signs of a worrying trend that if not addressed risks harming the UK’s ability to develop future talent.

Michael set out that whilst the UK music industry is doing well, with Ed Sheeran being the biggest selling touring artists in the world last year and for three of the last six years the UK producing the biggest selling recording artist, both Governmentand industry should not be complacent about the challenges ahead.

Further issues may arise out of Brexit Mr Dugher said where losing of freedom of movement could have a profound impact on artists ability to tour the EU and grow fan bases and losing the protections in EU for copyright at a time when services like Google’s YouTube fail to deliver a fair financial return for creators and those that invest in them.

Chaired by APPG on Music Vice-Chair and member of the Liverpool City Region Music Board Lord Dave Watts, the panel shone a particular light on the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and took place a couple of hours after the second Parliamentary defeat on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Other panellists included Peter Leathem, CEO of PPL, the performers and record company’s collecting society, who predicted there would not be a massive change to PPL’s business as a result of Brexit but it would nonetheless result in a number of issues that would need to be addressed.

Peter reminded the packed audience at the British Music Embassy, the UK’s official residency for SXSW, that the industry in the UK had to fight against new exceptions to copyright in the UK as a result of the Hargreaves review in the early part of the decade and it was the protections from EU that enabled the industry to win legal cases, such as on a private copying exception without fair compensation.

Nigel Elderton, Chair of PRS for Music, the songwriters and publishers collecting society in the UK, also participated in the panel. Nigel Elderton, who is also managing director at peermusic, warned that Brexit may result in issues like withholding tax recovery becoming more complicated and that the EU is a after all a huge trading block for music publishers.

Vanessa Reed, CEO of the PRS Foundation which provides funding schemes such as Momentum that enables acts and artists to perform at SXSW, highlighted the work she has been doing to forge collaboration with EU counterparts, including the Keychange initiative. She called for cultural funding to be protected post-Brexit and also said developing a new trading relationship between the UK and US should address the problems with securing visas for events like SXSW.

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