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UK Music Leads Cross-Party Panel On Manifesto For Music At Night-Time Economy Summit

UK Music’s Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl moderated a panel at the Night-Time Industry Association (NTIA) Night-Time Economy Summit in Manchester.  

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14.02.2024: UK Music’s Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl moderated a panel at the Night-Time Industry Association (NTIA) Night-Time Economy Summit at Freight Island in Manchester.  

The summit brought together industry leaders, politicians, and advocates from the sector to discuss crucial issues facing the night-time economy. The event provided a platform for insightful discussions and calls to action, addressing challenges and opportunities within the sector. 

On the second day of the summit, UK Music’s Tom Kiehl moderated a panel on our Manifesto for Music, asking cross-party panellists how could the forthcoming General Election make a difference to the night-time economy.

Opening the panel, Kate Lowes, Director at Brighter Sound, emphasised the significance of nurturing talent within the music industry. Kate stressed the need for support and investment in music education, highlighting its pivotal role in shaping the future of the sector. She also raised the importance of safety and accessibility, a sentiment which was echoed throughout the summit. 

The audience at the NTIA summit in Manchester.

The audience at the NTIA summit in Manchester.

Plaid Cymru MS Luke Fletcher, representing the Welsh music industry, discussed some of the issues the industry is facing in Wales. He raised the challenges faced by smaller, independent artists, particularly in the wake of the UK’s departure from the EU. With a nod to Welsh Language Music Day (which took place on the day of the panel), Luke advocated for the importance of supporting local and grassroots talent. 

Liberal Democrat Councillor Richard Kilpatrick highlighted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Manchester’s hospitality sector. He emphasised the urgent need for policymakers to address the repercussions of the pandemic and prioritise support for businesses struggling to recover, potentially through tax relief. He raised the need for better protection of music venues, particularly with the issues currently facing iconic Manchester venue Night and Day. 

Finally, Labour MP Jeff Smith focussed on some of the potential legislative initiatives aimed at bolstering the night-time economy, including efforts to establish the agent of change principle. He highlighted the need for the government to look for a new approach when it comes to some of the issues the industry faces. Jeff mentioned his work chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the Night-Time Economy as a significant step forward in advocating for the industry’s interests within Parliament. 

Moving to the Q and A, Tom asked panellists about some of the most pressing issues, including freelancer protections, business rates, and the need for local-led initiatives. Business rates and VAT on tickets had been a particular theme throughout the summit, with some of the panellists agreeing this would be a welcome initiative for the sector. Both are included as asks in UK Music’s Manifesto for Music. Closing the panel, Tom asked all panellists for their predictions on when a General Election might take place.  

Tom Kiehl addresses the audience at the NTIA Night Time Economy Summit

UK Music’s interim Head of Public Affairs, Hannah McLennan, attended the conference across the Thursday and Friday. She went to several interesting panels including one with the Northern Mayors and Metro Mayors, featuring a discussion on regional perspectives and priorities within the night-time economy. She also joined an insightful session on Martyn’s Law, where panellists discussed the next steps for the legislation, which aims to increase safety and security measures across night-time establishments. 

During the summit the NTIA launched their second UK electronic music industry report, which features a case study with Tom Kiehl on the work of UK Music. In the piece, Tom advocates for electronic music’s role in bridging technology and tradition while challenging the biases in politics that favour classical music. He highlights the genre’s appeal to youth in the digital age and calls for support to protect venues and promote diversity. The case study concludes Tom “envisions a thriving electronic music scene driving cultural evolution and fostering innovation across boundaries”. The full report is available here.  

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