"Welcome everyone to our BPI members conference – In Tune With Tomorrow.

It is great to see so many of you that I have met and got to know better in these first 9 months in the music industry and to see many people here I haven’t yet had the chance to meet.   

As many of you know, I came from the games industry heading up Ukie, where we were determined to remind people how games were at the apex of innovation, storytelling, art and creativity.         

And I am finding just the same in music.

Music like games is an emotional art form.

And just like games, music is about fandom and community.

Both Music and Games sit at the apex of creative and cultural innovation.  Both, in their own way,  transport listeners and fans into stories and other worlds.  

And, as immersive technology evolves, we increasingly have the ability to do that as one-and-the same music and games experience.   They are also inherently social spaces where people connect.

The music industry’s power is not just emotional. It is economic. It is cultural. It is global. It is local. It is everywhere.

British music is all of this, and more. Music is all about being human.

And we want to keep it that way – in fact we want to grow it into something even more engaging, exciting and connecting.

Why have we decided to hold today’s event?

Well, part of the thinking that led us to host this event was the celebration of our 50th anniversary – which made us both reflect on the past and look to the future – and consider our place in the world at this time of very significant change. 

It brought home the significant inflection point we’re living in right now.

British music has been a global powerhouse for decades and we are now in a world of more global competition than ever before.

We are still competing at the top of the table globally.  But, there is strong competition from other territories.

We have a dawning new era of AI and wider technological shifts with all the opportunities and challenges that presents. 

Today we are meeting on Earth Day and we all face existential questions about the impact of climate change on how we live and work.

Beyond music, our society and how we interact as people continues to change and be impacted in so many ways by technology.

What strikes us most in thinking about all these impetuses was not the future of the industry so much as the future of people. Music is intensely human centric. 

We need to continue to support the power of humans to create beautiful art, and the power of that creativity to move and inspire others.  

And our driving motivation is ensuring human creativity – the kind that truly connects us as people, and as society, remains front and centre.

We cannot, we should not, we will not stand by and leave our future to be determined by technology. I have always been a technophile, but first and foremost I believe humans are in the driving seat and should be rewarded and valued – not technology on its own.

Our future economic and cultural success and health will be determined – and we are the UK with a USP here – by the unique understanding that human intelligence and passion combined with technical possibility is the future.

Today we want to explore the power of that creativity in the coming years.

And we want to ask some of the key questions we collectively need to explore so we understand how we enable creators – and especially the next generation of talent - to thrive.

How do we ensure that we continue to provide opportunity throughout the music ecosystem not only to artists, musicians and songwriters, but all those who support them - from engineers to stylists, data scientists to lawyers, to marketers to lighting technicians, to creators of digital worlds to people running venues.

In a world where governments talk a great game about how brilliant the UK is in creativity, how will they commit to nurturing the next generation of critical talent and skills we need – not just talk about it, but make it happen.

How do we ensure that the talent pipeline is as open and equitable as it can be across the UK – providing opportunities regardless of background or location; and giving us as employers the best diverse talent.

And what are those key future skills we need to nurture and push support for and how do we ensure we’re providing the right educational and employment pathways.

How do we best look after those working in our sector, considering equity and inclusion and the wellbeing of all in music.

Because diversity is the engine of creativity and innovation.

How do we create and preserve those opportunities in the face of tech disruption and, in particular, generative AI?

What does fandom look like in ever more engaged, global and immersive environments.

And how do we play our part on confronting ever more pressing urgency of climate change that is potentially the biggest of all threats to the future of how we live our human lives.

These are questions we’re asking ourselves as the music sector; and they are the questions policy makers need to be asking too….

These ambitions need to shared across the political spectrum because this is not about party politics. And not just because this will serve the music sector well – but because it will also serve the UK well - economically, culturally and societally.

So today, we present our calls to action – both for industry and policymakers for it is only by working together can we achieve greater success.

Call to action 1: human creativity and the creative industries should be among any Government’s top policy priorities

Top of our list is that human creativity should be front and centre in all policy making.

For too long the creative industries have not been given the prominence they deserve by policy makers. For too long our story of innovation going hand in hand with creativity has not hit home.

There has been a lot of positive sounds from policy makers in recent years, but history tells us good words don’t always translate into tangible and targeted action.

We need to see policy makers hold big tech and AI developers to account: to require them to seek permission and pay for the music they use to train AI; to keep detailed records of those training sets; to label AI generated outputs and to respect the voice, image and likeness of creators. 

In short, to do their part in valuing the blood, sweat, emotion and tears of human creativity. That is what real innovation looks like.

Call to action 2: enable a healthy climate for investment in human creativity

The music ecosystem and label investment is a catalyst to support recorded music and artists. A&R and marketing investment has doubled since 2016.

But we need policies and approaches from government that mean the regulatory environment supports and doesn’t hinder this continued investment so we can grow the opportunity for everyone.

We have a job to do to really open up the opportunity and include the next generation of talent from wherever they are, so they are nurtured, through grassroots venues to festivals, and to be shown what future careers in front of and behind the mic look like.

But we also need to continue to act together to safeguard the wellbeing of creators and all in our industry, like supporting the development of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, as we and labels are doing.

And we are working collaboratively with music industry colleagues including the MU, ISM, Ivors, Charisse Beaumont, Paulette Long and Charlene Brown to put in place a music-wide online resource to provide information, awareness and signposting for all those working in our sector. 

The recent Misogyny in Music inquiry heard that reluctance to speak up and lack of awareness of what to do if things go wrong are still problems that need more to be done.

Call to action 3 – support creative education & better fund specialist creative education

Our sector creates thousands of high quality jobs of the future and those jobs of the future are ever evolving in tandem with new ways to create, connect, discover and enjoy music and fandoms.

Music teaching is a critical part of this. And so is specialist creative arts education which is exactly what the likes of the BRIT School, ELAM and now the Bradford school are focused on.  

This is not just good for our skills future – being creative and given the support to be so also supports empathy, creative problem solving, team work, emotional resilience – all things we as humans require.

This is good for the wider economy. Many of the future jobs we need as an industry are also transferable into other creative sectors. Enabling this is going to be part of our ambitions as a growth led economy.

Politically, this also means asking why there are inequities in funding of specialist schools across different sectors.

Call to action 4: keep British music globally competitive

The UK remains the number 2 in the world for music exports but there is no room for complacency.

Our goal as part of the government’s vision for the Creative Industries is to reach £1bn in exports by 2030 and we are well on our way to that.

This isn’t just about economics – it is also important that our sense of identity as a cultural power is exported globally - and this is something the UK has traditionally been very good at.

For all the positive data coming out about revenue increases in the industry, it is more competitive globally than ever and parts of the world are fast accelerating their growth in music.

Streaming has enabled more artists all over the world to have their music discovered by fans across the globe. But that comes with more competition.

We will continue to work on our international trade mission programme which is there to help you and your artists access and understand the new global opportunities. We will continue to lobby for further targeted support – through the Music Export Growth Scheme and other measures that will help us help the UK culturally and economically.

We can’t be complacent about this – if we succeed globally with British artists, everyone wins.

Call to action 5 – industry wide action on climate change

Today is of course Earth Day. None of our aspirations for the future means much unless we tackle arguably the biggest challenge to us all as humans – climate change. 

Music has its part to play, with various initiatives in place from more sustainable physical product to travel and how we run events (nod to steps at event).

At the BPI we are well down our path to making our awards and events sustainable, and doing key impactful partnerships through our platforms such as the BRIT awards with No Music on a Dead Planet and others.

We have also renewed our commitment with AIM to the industry Climate Pact. We the BPI will continue to be the committed partners to the industry to realise our shared and urgent ambitions.

These are our asks, and we need to work together from whatever part of the music ecosystem you represent to achieve do our bit. And from what I know from my short time working in this sector, the will and the way is ahead of us.

We are stronger acting together on these goals, and others, and we look forward to doing just that.