UK Government Announces Major Music Initiatives

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The U.K. Government has taken significant steps to support the music industry in the country, with a package of initiatives that include the launch of the Creative Industries Council (CIC) and an easing of licensing requirements.

The new initiatives were announced in a joint Treasury and Department for Business Innovation and Skills report entitled the "Plan for Growth." The report, which was presented to Parliament by George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer along with his budget speech, calls for the creation of a Creative Industries Council (CIC) to provide a "voice for the sector with the financial community and coordinate action on barriers to growth."

The CIC appears to be an answer to long-standing calls from the UK music industry for the government to facilitate financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sector.

In addition, the report also recommends that the CIC provide support for SME's looking to expand into new overseas markets and to provide enhanced protections for intellectual property rights.

"We urged the government to set up a more structured and coordinated policy that supports all the creative industries," Feargal Sharkey, a UK music lobbyist told Billboard. "Including games, films, design, fashion and, of course, music. Twelve months later, that is precisely what the chancellor has done."

According to Billboard, Sharkey anticipates that the CIC will be fully implemented by June 2011. Sharkey told Billboard that he would like to see a board of 10-12 experts, each representing a different aspect of the entertainment industry.

The new initiatives announced in the report also look to reduce the impact of the Licensing Act of 2003, which some observers believe hinders smaller venues from presenting live music events.

"The requirements of the Licensing Act 2003 are unduly restrictive and burdensome in respect of some live music, with evidence that small venues in particular are deterred from putting on small live music events. The Government will take action through legislation to reduce the licensing burden for live music performance," the report said. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

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