The Music Industries and LobbyingPresentation Transcript
John WilliamsonM.Litt (Popular Music Studies) 30th January 2012
What is lobbying? [definitions] Why is it relevant to the music industries? Who are the lobbyists and who is lobbied? Case Study / UK Music Problems with lobbying Is it effective? Conclusions
“There is no neat way of defining what is generally acknowledged to be a porous concept.” (House of Commons‟ Public Administration Committee) The term has generally become discredited “public affairs” “Contact between those working in the public sector and those attempting to influence their decisions” (ibid)
“Lobbying is any activity that seeks to influence government and public policy. Lobbying falls under a sub-sector of the Public Relations industry known as Public Affairs. A Public Affairs campaign will encompass a range of activities, of which forming relationships with politicians and government officials is just one. For example, a campaign may involve commissioning reports from think tanks, scientists or academics, which support a particular position. It may also involve using the media to influence public opinion to put pressure on politicians to act.” (http://www.powerbase.info)
Each of the US state legislatures has its own definitions of lobbying and lobbyists – e.g. North Carolina “influencing or attempting to influence legislative or executive action, or both, through direct communications or activities with a designated individual or that designated individual’s immediate family”
“Developing goodwill or communications or activities, including the building of relationships, with the intention of influencing current or future legislation” Both formal and informal links reflected in these definitions. Lobbying consists of both direct and indirect attempts to influence politicians
Direct: meeting with politicians and civil servants; supplying and producing information; maintaining good relations and (in some extreme cases) helping to draft legislation. Indirect: organising interest groups and individuals to drum up support for interests / viewpoints(petitions, letters, etc.). Placing stories in the media.
Lobbying has become important in the music industries in recent years due to the involvement of governments in areas of policy /the law, notably: • Copyright / Intellectual Property • Monopolies and Mergers • Arts and Heritage Enterprise funding • Education • Technology / internet regulation • Live Music / local government – health and safety etc.
This is a relatively recent development. . why? Frith (1993): “The British music business has been successful enough not to need industrial support and pop has never been thought worthy of cultural subsidy” Frith (2000): “Compared to other media industries (broadcasting or the press) the British music industry has not been the object of much government interest”
However, there has always been a connection between government and the music industries in the UK. Prior to 1999, no immediate threats to industries, so their need to lobby government was limited. Indeed, BPI supported City Technology Colleges – Brit School formed in 1991. Government (prior to Blair government) deeply ambivalent towards music industries
Attempts to add tape levy to 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act failed, partly because of what Frith calls “poor image” of “music industry.” Accusations of price fixing and monopolistic behaviour from Office of Fair Trading. These provided the impetus for the record industry (BPI) to begin engaging with government in mid 1990s to improve image of their members
2 other factors in the increased use of lobbying: • New government, new engagement with cultural industries post 1997. Formation of DCMS, Creative Industries Mapping Exercises etc • New technologies, declining sales of recorded music. And an outcome – the widening of the range of music industries‟ interests involved in lobbying. No longer recording industry = “music industry.”
Lobbyists can be salaried staff of the firms or industrial organisations they represent or . . . Working for multi-client public affairs companies („lobbyists for hire‟). The major companies within the music industries have responded to industrial “crisis” by formation of UK Music and the engagement of public affairs consultants
UK Music – formed in 2008 after pressure from government for music industries to speak with “one voice.” Replaced previous umbrella body – British Music Rights. Chief Executive= Feargal Sharkey Initially made up of 8 different organisations representing different parts of the music industries. . .
AIM – Association of Independent Music BASCA – British Academy of Sognwriters, Composers and Authors BPI – British Phonographic Industry MMF – Music Managers‟ Federation MPA – Music Publishers‟ Association MPG – Music Producers‟ Guild MU – Musicians‟ Union PPL – Phonographic Performance Ltd PRS for Music
It was criticised for still not representing the full range of music industries‟ interests due to lack of live music bodies. In 2011, UK Music board was joined by the newly formed UK Live Music Group, chaired by Live Nation‟s Paul Latham. Includes: Agents‟ Association, Association of Festival Organisers, Association of Independent Festivals, Concert Promoters‟ Association, International Live Music Conference, National Arenas Association, Production Services Association, Independent Venues and Promoters‟ Association.
Promote awareness & understanding of: • Interests of UK music industry at all levels • The value of music to society, culture & the economy • Intellectual Property rights and how they promote creativity • The opportunities and challenges for music creators in the digital age4 priority areas: policy and government relations; policy within the EU; Education; Research
Jo Dipple – promoted in 2012 to replace Feargal Sharkey. Former journalist – Today, News of the World, Daily Mirror Trinity Mirror as Head of Public Affairs Worked in Strategic Communications Unit at Downing Street as special adviser to the Treasury.
2010-11 – Ministerial Meetings with Judith Wilcox (3), Ed Vaizey (4), David Willetts (1), John Penrose (2) Oral evidence given to Parliamentary Committees (Business, Innovation and Skills) by Sharkey and Brian Message. Subjects of meetings include intellectual property, music publishing, music, music licensing, live music
Individual organisations and companies also meet with government ministers beyond the scope of UK Music – e.g. BPI, MPA, EMI, Universal Music, PRS for Music, PPL, AIM, MMF. Large companies also employ public affairs firms. .Universal Music has employed Lexington Communications, Open Road, Finsbury Ltd.
“maintain a positive profile” “managing business and reputational risk the political process generates” “reliable insight and political intelligence about public policy” “developing effective briefing materials” “staging events, receptions and conferences” “input on all aspects of legislative process and developing lobbying strategies around
Lobbying has become a major political issue, though not necessarily one that transfers to the public. High profile cases – Bernie Eccleston (1997), Lord Ashcroft, cash for honours. Suspicion of influence in return for political donations. Lack of transparency and regulation – no statutory register of lobbyists Relationships and “revolving door” between civil servants/ political staff and lobbying companies
Very difficult to prove connections between these relationships and policy implementation, but suspicion is aroused when former ministers end up working for organisations in the industries they previously regulated . . . The hiring of people with personal contacts and influence within government is a particularly controversial strategy.
Examples in the music industries : • Estelle Morris is an example in the music industries: former Arts Minister, now on board of PRS for Music • Louise Mensch – husband manages Metallica, Snow Patrol, etc. • MP4 – band comprising Members of Parliament with assorted interests in music industries: releasing album with Revolver; produced by Robin Millar, remix by Pete Waterman; gig with Feargal Sharkey – all important figures in music industries‟ lobbying bodies.
A further issue with lobbying is the cost. Some indicators of the amounts spent by industry organisations –those this is also non-transparent. In 2008, EMI threatened to withdraw from industry organisations, claiming membership cost them $250m per year RIAA lobbying expenditure $2.1million in first quarter 2011 (Congress disclosure report)
Some evidence of success for music industries in recent years: • Copyright extension on sound recordings in EU/ UK (previously in USA) • Live Music Act (2012) • Digital Economy Act (2010) – three strikes legislation in France • Setting up of reviews and commissions • Mergers of Sony BMG, Live Nation / Ticketmaster etc • Government support for music industries • Opportunities for access to ministers/ officials
BUT.. .the lobbying interests of the music industries are often checked / slowed by a combination of : • More powerful vested interests • Legal processes • Unsympathetic reviews • Work of groups opposing the worldviews of large cultural industries conglomerates
Stop Online Piracy Act / Protect Intellectual Property Act – both passed through House of Representatives in 2011. Major protests / lobbying ahead of proposed Senate vote in 2012. Google, Facebook, eBay and others took out NY Times ad in 2011. Blackout by Wikipedia and other sites – 18 January 2012
Google blacked out logo and linked to petition signed by 4.5 million people. 350 000 emails sent to Senators 2.4 million tweets in 4 hours Evidence of impact: Senators withdrawing support, vote postponed. However, this was achieved with a huge lobbying spend.
Google spent $9.7m on lobbying Congress in 2011; Facebook over $1million 1 company (Google) spent more than RIAA representing an entire industry. Live Nation spent $220 000 in 2011. Companies lobbying on SOPA/PIPA – on all sides - spent $150 million in second half of 2011.
UK‟s Digital Economy Act (2010) – implementation held up by legal process. BT and Talk Talk challenged provisions of the Act allowing suspension of internet access for serial file sharers / sending out of warning letters. Challenge initially rejected, now at Court of Appeal. Based on EU law. Has delayed implementation of Act
The government reviews of IP (Gowers and Hargreaves) have generally failed to be convinced by claims of lobbyists – both arguing for government policy to be shaped by “economic evidence” – but problems of finding neutral, non-aligned data. That which is produced is routinely rubbished by content industries. Opposition from groups like Open Rights Group, Creative Commons, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Lobbying is difficult to define and opaque: it is in the interests of both the lobbyists and politicians to not reveal any information beyond what they have to Lobbying comprises both direct and indirect attempts to influence policy through both formal and informal links with policy makers
Industries lobby as individual companies, under industrial umbrella organisations and in conjunction with other industries (e.g. RIAA/ MPAA) They use both their own corporate affairs staff or public affairs companies depending on perceived effectiveness. Lobbying is increasingly costly for organisations and not always effective. Biggest challenge may not be resistance of politicians but greater power of other, related (technology) industries
The cultural industries – music included – have become increasingly involved in lobbying as government has become more interested in them economically. UK music industries have responded to government interest by conducting extensive campaigns on (primarily) copyright related matters
How important is lobbying to the music industries? Is lobbying more important to some than others? (recording, publishing, live) Who (ultimately) pays for the lobbying? Who (primarily) benefits from it? How does it impact on the creators? How does it impact on consumers?