What the political parties are saying about the music industry

Unsure what each political party is doing for you as a music fan? We've found out.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 7th Jun 2017.
Originally published: 6th Jun 2017

Image: The Electoral Commision

In case you'd be hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, we're about to have a General Election. The media is rampant with discussion over a plethora of key issues, with everything from the future of the NHS, immigration and Brexit featuring on the battleground for who will lead our country in what will be the most important election for decades.

There are also a number issues which directly affect you as music fans. We've combed through the main party's manifestos and spoke to them to find answers on the following subjects: 

Passing legislation against unfairness in the secondary ticketing market.

Music venues are closing rapidly. What are they doing to prevent this from getting bigger, and do they value the nightlife industries?

As Brexit looms leaving the EU will have an impact on young people travelling across Europe, making it harder for people to get into countries and also potentially more expensive. How will each party deal with the challenges to young people going abroad?

Not enough young people vote - what is each party doing to engage more voters aged 18-25, and any think the voting age should be lowered to 16?

These might not be deal breakers for who gets your vote but they are still issues worth knowing about before you make your decision, because like pretty much everything in politics they have an impact on you and people you love.

Remember this election is the opportunity for you to have your voice heard - don't be apathetic. The next four or five years will be pivotal for all of our futures, so get out there and make your vote count (and join in with our discussion on Facebook).

The Conservative Party

Read the Tory manifesto

In recent times the Conservatives have been the most outspoken force for good on secondary ticketing out of all the main parties, helping lobby for legislative change and holding the likes of GetMeIn to account during the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

It's a big shift for them as well - back in 2011 Tory MP Sajid Javid famously described ticket touts as "classic entrepreneurs" when speaking in the House of Commons, so it's refreshing that the government has not only changed tack but backed this up with genuine action with the Digital Economy Bill amendments earlier this year.

They haven't supported claims to lower the voting age, and on the other two issues they are less clear. Whilst there's a commitment to small businesses nothing specifically focuses on music venues and their cultural value in their manifesto.

Their discussion about Brexit has essentially been an attack on what Labour would do and a consistently repeated policy of keeping their cards close to their chest. They have also stressed no deal is better than a bad deal, which is essentially put up or shut up to the EU. Whether you trust them to deliver the best result boils down to your feelings about them as a party more than an analysis of what they've promised for it.

The Labour Party

Read the Labour manifesto

The Labour party certainly have the vote of the majority of the music industry, as evidenced by the outpouring of support from artists at their rallies. They've also included their support for music venues in their manifesto, with page 95 stating the following:

"Music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry’s infrastructure and ensuring a healthy music industry continues in Britain. Labour will review extending the £1,000 pub relief business rates scheme to small music venues."

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has spoken about his support for grassroots music venues and access to instruments in schools in a recent interview with the Independent. They have also supported a lowering of the voting age, with much of their campaign focused on increasing voting turnout in all demographic groups - but particularly young people.

Regarding secondary ticketing Sharon Hodgson, the MP for Washington and Sunderland West, was a vocal supporter of the FanFair Alliance when it launched last year, and deputy leader Tom Watson made the case for jail time for touts as recently as November 2016. Should they regain power they look to at least continue the momentum of the Tories on the issue, with their manifesto stating:

"The broken ticketing market in the UK means tickets sell out instantly and are put up at vastly inflated prices on ticket-tout websites. Labour will enforce anti-bot legislation and implement the recommendations of the Waterson Review to ensure fair opportunities for fans to buy tickets.

Finally regarding Brexit they have accepted the referendum result have put national interest at the forefront. Their manifesto states it will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards. Their focus will be on fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union. They will reject ‘no deal’ as a viable option.

Liberal Democrats

Read the Lib Dem manifesto

The Lib Dems's press office provided us with complete answers to all four of our questions, which you can read below:

On Secondary Ticketing

Secondary ticketing is a useful tool for when there are legitimate and unforeseen reasons why someone can no longer attend an event and wants to resell the ticket. Unfortunately, there are many companies and individuals that allow the systems in place to be abused and charge huge amounts for tickets. 

We instigated and supported amendments to the Digital Economy Bill to clamp down on the ability of bots to purchase large numbers of tickets when they are released and we would like to see all websites operating in the UK market, regardless of where they are based, convening to our laws on the regulations for re-selling tickets to events and the protections available to buyers. 

We await the report of the Competition and Markets Authority in their sport into whether hear sites are complying with existing and new legislation   Enforcement is now the key to making sure that artists get proper reward and the public are not ripped off.

On the closure of music venues

Lib Dems will examine the available funding and planning rules for live music venues and the grassroots music sector, protecting venues from further closures. We will also create creative enterprise zones to grow and regenerate the cultural output of areas across the UK.

The music industry is vital to our economy and must be protected. There are many examples of how big a role the sector plays in the success of the UK economy: Ed Sheeran and Adele are just two artists that have had a global impact and really exhibited how much talent the UK has to export to the rest of the world.

These acts began in the UK, in small live music venues and Liberal Democrats made sure music was deregulated by the Live Music Act to protect these venues. And, we are working with people like UK Music and Music Venues Trust to safeguard and develop their future. 

On what Brexit means for ease of travel

Liberal Democrats fought hard to remain in the EU because of the many benefits it gives us, including the ability of young people to travel freely - either as part of the Erasmus scheme or to live and work, experiencing life in another country. It would be a great shame if this benefit is lost - but it could be retained if we keep our membership of the single market as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Both the Conservatives and Labour however have said they will not retain membership of the single market, despite countries like Norway and Switzerland being outside the EU but still members of the single market. It's only the Liberal Democrats that are fully committed to keeping our membership of the single market and also giving the people, not politicians, the final say on the Brexit deal.

We voted for departure last year but not for destination - no one knew then what Brexit actually would look like. That's why we believe that what started with democracy should end with democracy, not a Government stitch up. 

On getting more young people voting

Young people should have a say over their future. Liberal Democrats have long argued for the voting age to be lowered to 16 and we have taken many opportunities to push this cause in Parliament over the last couple of years. It is a clear commitment in our manifesto and it's the right thing to do.

United Kingdom Independence Party

Read the UKIP Manifesto

UKIP's existence first came about for the campaign for Brexit, which they were successful in achieving. They've now developed to a genuine polticial party, and whilst their manifesto is quite extensive on a number of key political issues for young people, including looking to scrap tuition fees, they have no plans to discuss independent venues or secondary ticketing as part of their political focus both before and after the election.

They gave the following answer on their views on freedom of travel post-Brexit:

UKIP would certainly look to encourage ease of travel for people (not just young people) across the EU, with the obvious proviso that there would have to be a real, proper border between the UK and the EU. One cannot control immigration without such a border, and this remains one of our steadfast priorities as a campaigning party. But once a British student has entered the EU, one would hope that arrangements would be made that they can travel freely across the EU, something that fits with regulations around freedom of travel across the Schengen Zone.   

But once a British student has entered the EU, one would hope that arrangements would be made that they can travel freely across the EU, something that fits with regulations around freedom of travel across the Schengen Zone.     

Festivals 2018