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UK Music and MMF to present to select committee on creative industry finance today

By | Published on Tuesday 30 November 2010

As previously reported, UK Music’s Feargal Sharkey and the Music Managers Forum’s Brian Message will both put on their snow shoes later today to attend a hearing of the Business, Innovation & Skills Parliamentary Select Committee to discuss the challenges faced by creative entrepreneurs seeking finance for their ventures. 

Well, I say previously reported, the snow shoes bit we haven’t previously mentioned. But that’s because we didn’t know it would be snowing today. And I’m not sure Sharkey and Message would be taken all that seriously if they arrived wearing snow shoes on a lovely sunny day. 

But what we did previously note, when last reporting on this scheduled select committee booking, was that both Sharkey and Message have previously called on government to provide more assistance to independent music companies, with Message in particular seeing initiatives such as the enterprise finance guarantee scheme as a possible alternative to the traditional major label record deal for managers looking to build a viable business around their new acts.

Pre-empting what he might say during the select committee hearing later today, Sharkey just paused from polishing the aforementioned snow shoes to call CMU HQ and say this: “The music industry is a hive of innovation and creative talent, populated by hundreds of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who give the UK a unique cutting edge on a global stage. Along with our other creative sectors, we have massive potential to drive economic growth. However, our own evidence would suggest that creative entrepreneurs are persistently encountering barriers to growth. Particularly when accessing finance. This is especially unfortunate when others, and especially government and the CBI, are recognising the role played by our industries in manufacturing creative goods and exports”.

Sharkey adds that while the select committee review of creative industry funding is welcome, the Labour government of 2001 already undertook such a thing and what was really needed now was for government to take action. He continued: “The government’s Department Of Culture, Media & Sport actually published a report in 2001 entitled ‘Banking On A Hit’, which acutely recognised many of the challenges faced by the music industry. This was all well and good, but we cannot have another ten years of procrastination. Our music industry is the creative envy of the world. However, if we are to realise our full aspirations, then it is imperative government engages with us and acts now”.