Week 6 Blog: Music Policy

This week’s blog focuses on cultural policy, which is a predetermined plan adopted by individuals/institutions evaluated and implemented to play a fundamental role in the value of music culturally and commercially. Policies within the music industry emanate from various sectors, for instance, UK Music (UK Music report, 2016). This lobbying group is a direct conduit for its members and politicians through discussions, dialogue, submissions and consultation (ukmusic.org, 2017). From a policy perspective, it would be the government’s responsibility to decide what areas to allocate scarce resources into. Policies can be implicit or explicit having an indirect or direct impact.

John Street (2013) in his article, ‘Music markets and manifesto’ investigates how the value of music is constituted politically as opposed to its aesthetics. He argues that there should be an explicit focus on music as a political resource and bearer of political values.

Street (2013) gives 2 case studies based on the BBC. The first that it must be able to give commercial value by generating income for songwriters compared to any other channels. The second is on DJ Chris Moyles whose value lies in his representation as a conduit suggesting his promotion of British music talent, as a result, his popularity, representatives, and ratings contribute to the health of the UK music industry, outweighing the justification of Moyles high salary. Dipple (2016) states “music is intrinsic to the creative sector growing at 8.9% making it the second fastest expanding industrial sector (cited in UK Music report, 2016).

Brown, et al, (2000) assert that support for cultural industries in relation to local, nation and global MI is a big question to be addressed in terms of music policy. The relationship between the three segments of MI is not as straightforward as it seems in the tension between political and economic aspects of music policy. Furthermore using cultural industries as part of local economic strategies, for example urban, regeneration, lays bare the notions informing music policy from a creative and artistic viewpoint.

Nussbaum (2001) places music at the centre of human emotion and flourishing and also at the centre of the moral and political order. However, Street (2013) is wary of making music a magical entity that exists beyond the material world. It is also a commercial product, exchanged in the market place with a value in monetary terms.

The main methodological framework in music policy used in current analyses is the survey. UK Music relies heavily on this research method. It is mainly an economic and commercial measure applied to non-market goods. “Measuring Music” the UK Music survey which measures the economic contribution of the music Industry to the UK economy is used as a lobbying tool for influencing governmental music arts policy.



Brown, A., O’Connor, J. and Cohen, S. (2000). Local music policies within a global music industry: cultural quarters in Manchester and Sheffield. Geoforum, 31(4), pp.437-451.

Ukmusic.org. (2017). Policy & Campaigns – UK Music. [online] Available at: http://www.ukmusic.org/policy/ [Accessed 19 Mar. 2017].

Shuker, R. (2008). New Zealand popular music, government policy, and cultural identity. Popular Music, 27(02).

Street, J. (2013). Music, markets and manifestos. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 19(3), pp.281-297.


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