UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher (pictured) has also started predicting the weather, predicting a “perfect storm” for the music industry due to cuts to music in schools and the closure of hundreds of small music venues.
To those of you not familiar with the phrase, a perfect storm does not mean a good storm. Storms are generally destructive and that is what Dugher is getting at here. It in fact means something along the lines of a bad situation caused by a combination of less than favourable circumstances
In his first keynote speech as the new head of UK Music, Dugher told the Musicians’ Union conference in Brighton that the music business now faced an “existential crisis”. Rather than suggesting we all disappear into an underground bunker armed with copies of Camus and Kafka, Dugher of course thinks that we need to take action, saying: “We are facing a perfect storm that has seen a drastic drop in music in schools and a huge increase in the number of small music venues that have been forced to close down”.
Dugher continued: “The combination of these threats has left the UK music industry facing an existential threat. This grim reality potentially puts in jeopardy the UK’s ability in the future to generate breakthrough artists that are one of the keys to sustaining Britain’s £4.1 billion music industry. It is vital that we rise to this challenge and fight to keep music alive in our schools and battle to save all those music venues that are currently in danger”.
On the education front, Dugher said the first challenge was the sharp decline in music provision in schools following the introduction of the English Baccalaureate in 2010 as a performance measure. Creative subjects such as music are excluded from the EBacc and according to the latest figures from the University of Sussex, 59.7% of state schools said the EBacc has had a negative impact on music provision and uptake.
Dughers second key point was around closure of venues, which does seem an odd focus point considering that the Music Venues Trust has stated that the number of grassroots venues in London remained stable for the first time in ten years and that UK Music’s own recent ‘Wish you were here’ report showed that overall, audiences in small venues increased by over 10% from 5.6m to 6.2m year on year.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story! The Gen predicts a ‘Cloudy with sunny spells’ period for the music industry over the next few years with “Camus and Kafka” winning the Mercury Prize in 2018.
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