In an era of the rise of the free market and economic globalization, Martin Cloonan examines why politicians and policymakers in the UK have sought to intervene in popular music – a field that has often been held up as the epitome of the free market form. Cloonan traces the development of government attitudes and policies towards popular music from the 1950s to the present, discovering the prominence of two overlapping concerns: public order and the political economy of music. Since the music industry began to lobby politicians, particularly on the issue of copyright in relation to the internet, an inherent tension has become apparent with economic rationale on one side, and Romantic notions of ‘the artist’ on the other. Cloonan examines the development of policy under New Labour; numerous reports which have charted the economics of the industry; the New Deal for Musicians scheme and the impact of devolution on music policy in Scotland. He makes the case for the inherently political nature of popular music and asserts that the development of popular music policies can only be understood in the context of an increasingly close working relationship between government and the cultural industries. In addition he argues that a rather myopic view of the music industries has meant that policy initiatives have lacked cohesion and have generally served the interests of multinational corporations rather than struggling musicians.
Popular Music and the State in the UK Culture, Trade or Industry?