UK Music urges Government to protect music industry in Whitehall reshuffle

The outgoing UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has called on the prime minister Boris Johnson to ensure the music industry is safeguarded against any departmental overhaul.

The PM is thought to be considering proposals to reorganise departments including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The music industry contributes £5.2bn a year to the British economy and Dugher has encouraged the PM to take steps to protect it among any revamping of Government departments that takes place.

He went on to suggest that any adjustments should include bringing the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and music under one departmental roof, as it currently sits within BEIS.

The former shadow culture secretary emphasized the importance of protecting music exports, which generates £2.7bn in revenues each year and is the third biggest market in the world.

Dugher said: ‘It is vital that the forthcoming changes to Government departments safeguard the future of our world-leading music industry which makes such an important contribution to our economy at home and our soft power overseas.

‘Whilst we should not underestimate music’s role in cultural terms, my fear is that the music industry could get left behind with the museums and art galleries in some kind of emaciated ‘heritage’ department.

‘Music has always been stuck between a rock and a hard place: whilst UK Music has made huge progress, too many in Whitehall still don’t appreciate that music is an economic powerhouse on a par, and indeed bigger, than many other great British industries; at the same time, there are still too many arts snobs who don’t see music, and in particular popular music, as a ‘proper’ art.

‘The music business must be at the top table of the Government’s industrial strategy.

‘Bringing intellectual property and music together in one department would be a natural fit and simplify policy-making. It would also send a powerful signal about the fundamental importance of IP to our industry.

‘It is critical that the music industry gets some much-needed continuity from the Government. I have dealt with four DCMS Secretaries of State and many different ministers in under three years as UK Music CEO.

‘We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan and DCMS Minister Nigel Adams has been a superb minister who has displayed tremendous support for our industry. We need that strong relationship to continue the success story of our industry.’

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