Feargal Sharkey on the launch of UK Music’s industry-wide skills audit

All of us are familiar with the seismic changes that have swept across our industry in the past 10 years. A decade of digital innovation has opened up countless possibilities in how music is made, how it’s recorded, played, distributed and consumed. Our relationships with fans, with retailers – and with each other – have been radically transformed. Even describing what constitutes ‘the music industry’ is a task in itself.

For those of us making a living from music, the implications have been significant. From the emerging songwriter or fledgling independent label, right through to the biggest multinational corporations, the range of skills needed to survive and thrive in the current music market have multiplied.

It is vital that UK Music members are fully equipped with all the help they need to drive this exciting business forward.

Indeed, improving access to skills and training was one of the key recommendations made by UK Music in Liberating Creativity, the manifesto UK Music launched for the music industry earlier this year.

To ensure any potential skills gaps can be identified, we have devised an online survey in conjunction with Creative and Cultural Skills (ccskills.org.uk) asking everyone, from individual creators to major labels and publishers, about their current roles and how those could be improved with training.

For the long-term development of our commercial sector, it is crucial that existing companies, and particularly micro-businesses, can compete and grow. Meanwhile, it is equally vital that those young people who aspire to work in our industry are diverse, highly-skilled and have under their belts a wide range of practical experience. We need to guarantee that our combined skill set is enough to not only push, but propel us through the 21st century.

Once the results are gathered, we will work to ensure that adequate funding is channelled towards those in the music sector who require specific training and new skills.

The survey is accessible via the UK Music website (ukmusic.org) and musicweek.com, and will run until the end of June.

I sincerely hope everyone reading this can take five minutes to complete it.

Let’s not forget – you’re brilliant, but let us help you to stop falling over!

Feargal Sharkey is Chief Executive of UK Music

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