Jim Carroll

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Feargal Sharkey to head up new music-biz body

It’s a long way from “Teenage Kicks”. This week, former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey was unveiled as the head of UK Music, a new umbrella body representing various strands of the British music business. Since hanging up the microphone after …

Fri, Oct 31, 2008, 10:29

   

It’s a long way from “Teenage Kicks”. This week, former Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey was unveiled as the head of UK Music, a new umbrella body representing various strands of the British music business.

Since hanging up the microphone after his third solo album in 1991, Sharkey has reinvented himself as a key behind-the-scenes player.

After initially working with a number of record labels, Sharkey then emerged as something of a favourite son when it came to government appointments to public bodies in the UK. Before taking up the reins with UK Music, he was a member of the Radio Authority and also chaired the Live Music Forum.

The latest entry on his resumé will see the Derryman heading a body made up of eight trade organisations, representing record labels, musicians, songwriters, managers and publishers. UK Music has some grand goals and ambitions about how to promote the interests of the music business and its main role is likely to be as a super-advocate for its members regarding national and EU policies.

Its first tasks include submissions to government on illegal file-sharing, research into music consumption habits, the preparation of a Music Industry Manifesto and a huge number of music education initiatives.

What’s striking about UK Music is the breadth and depth of its remit. The group plans to work closely with a plethora of UK government departments to ensure the group has inputs into such areas as enterprise, innovation, skills and education.

It’s clear that UK Music recognises that music has to be promoted as more than just a cultural or artistic concern at government level.

Such joined-up thinking from a pan-industry music lobby group compares unfavourably with the ramshackle and haphazard way the Music Board of Ireland went about its work during that body’s brief and unlamented existence. Its failure may mean that future attempts to represent the interests of musicians and music-business bodies here in any meaningful fashion are already hindered before they begin.

Let’s hope UK Music turns out to be a more successful venture.

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