Music industry wants tax breaks to help it develop new artists

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The Independent Online

The British record industry is calling on the Government to extend its research and development tax-credit scheme to music companies, to try to help it keep the UK at the forefront of the global music scene.

In its response to the Government's Creative Economy Programme, the BPI - the record industry's trade body - argues that the music sector spends a bigger proportion of its annual turnover on R&D than the aerospace, motoring and defence sectors put together. Yet it does not qualify for any of the financial support which these industries receive from the Government. The BPI's executive chairman, Peter Jamieson, says the music industry spends some £200m a year - equivalent to 17 per cent of its annual revenues - on developing new talent, such as Corinne Bailey Rae, one of the biggest new British acts to emerge this year.

Mr Jamieson said that such levels of investment were on a par with the pharmaceutical sector.

"We believe the time is right for government, together with industry, to consider closely a tax-credit regime for A&R [artist and repertoire], which is the music business's research and development," he said.

"Such a system would create incentives for greater investment in our industry, and would put the development of British intellectual property on the same footing as in other industries."

In its submission, the BPI says that the Government should create a Creative Industries Strategy Group to help co-ordinate incentives for Britain's arts sector.

"We believe that the Government should focus on creating frameworks not micro-managing intervention," continued Mr Jamieson. "We want to see the Government develop the appropriate structures for investors, policymakers and intellectual property education and enforcement."

He added: "Many of the seven Creative Economy Programme working groups noted the need for a new body to co-ordinate policymaking and statistical gathering. We agree and recommend the formation of a Creative Industries Strategy Group which would be a standing body to allow interaction and co-ordination between relevant people in Government and the industry."

Mr Jamieson also said that the music industry's £200m a year spend on R&D makes an enormous contribution to the British economy. He said music industry sales generated £300m of VAT revenues alone for the Government last year.