Since inception, UK Music has had a number of successes in influencing the legislative agenda. Here are some examples of policy work achieved by UK Music:-
1. Live Music Act
The Licensing Act 2003 was criticised for increasing the regulatory and financial burdens on musicians, performers and venues. UK Music coordinated industry campaigning to support much needed deregulation of live music. Lord Clement-Jones introduced a Private Members Bill to Parliament that exempted live music in small venues from local authority entertainment licensing. UK Music played a key role in providing evidence to the Government in support of the legislation and persuading Parliamentarians to support its proposals. The Government were convinced of the need for the legislation and in 2012 the Live Music Act became law. The exemption contained in the Act was further increased to allow for a greater number of music performances to benefit in April 2015.
2. Copyright Exceptions
UK Music coordinated the music industry’s response to the Hargreaves Review on Intellectual Property. The proposals originally sought to introduce a series of widely drawn exceptions to copyright that would have limited the ability of the music industry to adequately monetise and exercise its rights. UK Music provided evidence as to why the proposals would bring harm to the industry. In some case the exceptions were redrawn to take account of these arguments and evidence. However, on one particular exception (private copying) the Government proceeded despite warnings from the industry and supported by a number of Parliamentary Select Committees. The Government’s decision was ultimately challenged in the courts by UK Music, BASCA and the Musicians Union whereby the Judge decided to quash the regulations. A potentially damaging piece of legislation was thwarted as a result of this pan-industry industry.
3. Change in Planning Laws
Music venues have been challenged by changes in planning law that make it easier to build new homes without full planning permission being required. In particular this is problematic for music venues that are based near former office blocks that are then converted into residential accommodation. The venues become susceptible to noise complaints from residents when they move into new accommodation and then face additional conditions, costs and bureaucracy – ultimately threatening the businesses. Campaigning alongside the Music Venue Trust, UK Music met with ministers and succeeded in convincing them to achieve an additional requirement to planning law that ensures noise impacts are considered when offices change to residential accommodation outside planning law.
4. SIC and SOC codes
In order to assess whether a policy has an impact on a sector the Government relies on industrial and occupational codes (SIC and SOC). Unfortunately the codes do not adequately capture the music industry, particularly due to the number of microbusinesses that operate in the sector. In producing Measuring Music, an annual report on the economic contribution of the music industry, UK Music has been successful in providing alternative data sources. This has encouraged the Government to support efforts for international reform of the codes, acknowledge the limitations in its own creative industries and sight UK Music’s work and commitment in this area.