musicians

Save the Future of Music

Music surrounds us every day

On TV and in films, in the shops, bars and cafes we visit, in our own homes and headphones, and of course at the gigs and shows we attend.  We use music to celebrate the highs and lows in life - from weddings to funerals.  We use it to relax at the end of a long day, and we use it to pump ourselves up in the gym. Music unites people and gives them strength.  More practically - this is also an industry worth £6.7Bn to the UK economy. 

All of this is only possible if we invest properly in education & grassroots music.  Just as the Premier League is dependent on school sports and grassroots teams to build talent - so our music industry is dependent on music education & grassroots venues. 

A Fair Deal for Musicians and Venues

To ensure the long term prospects for music in the UK Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn & St Pancras Charlie Clinton, and the Camden Lib Dems, are calling for: 

  • Restoration of funding for music education

  • Protecting Musicians’ right to practice at home 

  • Protecting existing Live Music Venues from unreasonable complaints 

  • A levy on large venue (5500+) ticket sales to fund grassroots music venues 

  • Removing barriers to musicians touring the EU 

  • Pragmatic regulation of AI to enable a new wave of creativity without negatively impacting the industry.  

Read the full text of the motion passed at the London Liberal Democrats Annual Conference here 

Show your Support

By signing our petition you are sending a message to politicians that you believe the music industry and everyone working within it, especially at the grassroots level deserves, more support.

We will keep you up to date by email.
We will contact you occasionally by telephone.
Musicians Petition
Would you like to receive email updates? (required)
Would you like to receive phone communication? (optional)
You can opt-out at any time

The Liberal Democrats may use the information you provide, including your political opinions, to further our objectives and share it with our elected representatives. Any data we gather will be used in accordance with our privacy policy: libdems.org.uk/privacy. You can exercise your rights and withdraw your consent to future communications by contacting us: data.protection@libdems.org.uk or: DPO, Lib Dems, 1 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PN.

Threats to the Future of Music

Musicians & the music industry face challenges at every level. We have captured a snapshot of the issues from the early years of a musician's journey through to the impact of future technology.

There is a new generation of talent just waiting to be discovered & nurtured among our children, but providing the opportunities for all children, regardless of their background or wealth, to develop those talents is critical. Currently only 15% of state school pupils received sustained music tuition - while the the figure is 50% in independent schools.  If the government & local councils don't provide more schools with more funding and support, music will be increasingly limited to those who can afford private tuition: leaving talent undiscovered and denying the joy of music to millions of children. 

For young aspiring musicians, grass roots music venues (GMVs) are a key stepping stone to a career in music - allowing them to hone their craft as a performer. These venues are where artists from the Beatles, Queen & the Rolling Stones to Amy Winehouse & Ed Sheeran learned their trade. Without them we wouldn't have the world leading acts to fill our larger venues & stadiums.  Yet research by the Music Venues Trust shows they currently operate with razor thin profit margins of 0.5% on average (0.2% in London), and in 2023 16% of all GMVs shut down or stopped offering live music - 125 in total (27 in London). Rising bills and changing consumer habits brought on by Covid and the cost of living are two of the challenges forcing venues to close their doors, but part of the problem also lies with noise complaints. Venues which have been in place for decades are still being shut down by noise complaints from new neighbours.  Everyone has a right to peace in their own home - but that must be balanced with a pragmatic approach to protecting these cultural jewels. 

The same is true of individual musicians practicing at home.  Covid means that more people than ever now work from home, increasing the chance of music practice conflicting with the working hours of our neighbours.  Musician Fiona Fey was effectively forced out of her home by Lewisham Council - despite her attempts to find some sort of agreement with the neighbours, and despite a ruling in 2017 which confirmed musicians should have a right to practice at home within reasonable hours.  Based on this and other similar precedents Lewisham council would most likely have lost a court case if one had been brought, but very few musicians have the financial ability to bring such a case.  We need to make the law clearer so Councils can't avoid accountability. 

As a part-time musician himself, Charlie works with full-time musicians regularly and understands the pressures they are under, as well as the dedication they have shown to their craft over years or decades, and the sacrifices they make in their personal lives.  According a Musicians Census in 2023, nearly half (43%) of working musicians in the UK earn less than £14,000 per year  - less than half the annual average salary.  Another report by UK music shows these challenges have been made worse by artificial barriers created as a result of Brexit  - with 30% of musicians reporting a loss of income due to new restrictions and red tape applied to EU tours.  As ever, it is the lowest earners who are hit the hardest, as they lose up to 49% of their EU revenue (more than any other group).  

Finally as with every other industry, music is set to be disrupted by the arrival of more advanced AI.  The question is - will it lower barriers to entry and unleash an explosion of creativity, benefiting musicians, audiences and industry alike? Or will it become a tool used to steal creative credit and further widen inequality between the musicians who deliver the music and the businesses who profit from it?  Liberal Democrats believe we should be regulating to deliver the first outcome and prevent the second.  UK Music have developed some excellent principles including ensuring AI generated music is clearly tagged, ensuring copyright laws prevent the use of music in algorithms without permission, and introducing a new "personality right" - preventing the use of AI which imitates your voice or image without permission.  We are calling for a set of principles like these to be adopted into law. 

Today, everything may appear fine at the top of UK music scene - but the foundations are crumbling: impacted by rising inequality, the cost of living crisis, Brexit, changing working patterns & the rise of AI.   What will it look like in 10 or 20 years if we don't tackle these challenges now?  

Save the Future of Music. Support our Petition for a Fair Deal.