This year’s Musicians Union (MU) conference was largely dominated by how important it is to lobby the government in times of economic crisis and funding cuts.
Delegates at the conference at the Bristol Royal Marriot Hotel, which ran from July 26th to 27th, were told by Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, that musicians must campaign for a strong Arts sector.
“Nowhere are the current cuts more short-sighted than in the Arts,” he claimed. “The Arts are not a luxury that we cannot afford – they are a major part of our economy and they enrich all of our lives.”
He added that the TUC will work with the MU to ensure working musicians have more rights and will “continue to argue that there is a viable alternative to the current politics of austerity”.
On the second day of the conference, Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry and music licensing organisations, gave a speech to attendees.
He stressed the importance of getting the Digital Economy Act implemented, saying it “will help to stimulate and grow a legitimate online market for music”.
Mr Sharkey also fought the case for hearing the government’s view on the Hargreaves Review, which examined how the intellectual property framework can support growth and innovation.
Commenting on the two-day event, John Smith, general secretary of the MU, said: “This year’s conference has been held against the backdrop of tough economic times, and all of our discussions have touched on how the current cuts agenda is affecting musicians.
“There are many developments still to come this year – for example the government’s response to the Hargreaves Review, and further debate for the Live Music Bill – and the MU is committed to continue to campaign for increased rights for musicians.”
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