To what extent has devolution influenced popular music policy in Scotland?


Discussion Paper I May 2015

To what extent has devolution influenced popular music policy in Scotland?

Copyright: Radical Independent Music 2015.  All Rights Reserved.


This paper provides an analysis of popular music policymaking in Scotland since political devolution in May 1999 and investigates the extent to which devolution has affected that policymaking and in what ways.

Analysing the ways in which devolution has influenced popular music policy in Scotland assists cultural managers and industry practitioners within the sector to understand how to better lobby and influence that policymaking.

The case is made for adopting a literature-­‐based approach to this research before exploring the key academic literature within the field of the influence of the nation-­‐state on popular music policy. The main conclusion of this review is that it is too deterministic to say that the state simply defines and implements cultural policy for the furtherance of its political and ideological objectives and that the reality is more complex, particularly in the Scottish context where devolved government exists at a level between local and that of the nation-­‐state.

The central sections of the paper begin by setting the Scottish context in terms of demographics, a brief history of devolution and by examining the nature and composition of the popular music industries in Scotland, which are found to be an inherent part of the global music industry. Pre-­‐devolutionary developments in popular music policy in the early Eighties and Nineties are found to have been unsuccessful, whereas the change in the nature and proximity of government and cultural policymaking post-­‐devolution along with the creation of new political and cultural institutions such as the Cross Parliamentary Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry, the Scottish Music Industry Association and Creative Scotland are found to have had an extensive and varied impact on popular music policy in Scotland which has been largely positive.

However, despite the significant advances that have been made since devolution, this research paper concludes that the popular music industries in Scotland remain further down the agenda of Scottish Executive cultural policymaking and Creative Scotland cultural development than classical and traditional Scottish music and other cultural arts, but that devolution continues to offer the possibility of innovation in popular music policy.

Author’s Statement of Originality

Radical Independent Music is the sole author of this paper and that to the best of our knowledge this paper does not violate any proprietary rights or infringe upon anyone’s copyright. Any ideas, techniques, quotations, or any other material from the work of other people included are fully acknowledged in accordance with the Harvard referencing style.

Radical Independent Music May 2015


The author wishes to acknowledge the support of Martin Cloonan, Professor of Popular Music Politics at the University of Glasgow, who has conducted much of the previous research in this area and very kindly took the time to answer the author’s emails on the subject; Creative Scotland for providing access to current documents and links to the Scottish Arts Council archive, specifically Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Kirstin MacLeod, Government Relations, and Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager, Music and IP Development; Jon Price, Senior Lecturer and Jennifer Hinves, Senior Lecturer, both of Northumbria University; and last, but not least, those Scottish popular musicians who have inspired the author since his childhood.

1. Introduction

The influence of the nation-­‐state on popular music policy has been well documented (Brincker, 2008; Cloonan, 1999, 2007a, 2007b; Cloonan and Frith, 2008, 2011; Frith, 1996a, 1996b; Frith and Marshall, 2004; Gemie, 2005; Harewood, 2008; Hudson, 2003; Jacques, 2009; Klid, 2007; Mäkelä, 2008; McGuigan, 2004; Shuker, 2008; Street, 2008; Street, 2012; Williamson et al 2003).

With devolution it is not as simple to say that cultural policy – in this case popular music policy – ‘…is conducted and rationalized on nation-­‐state grounds.’ (McGuigan, 2004, p.91) The Scottish case is more complex.

The aim of this research dissertation is to assess the extent to which devolution and the reconvening of a Scottish Parliament in 1999 has influenced popular music policy in Scotland. Analysing the ways in which devolution has influenced popular music policy in Scotland will assist cultural managers within the sector to understand how to better lobby and influence that policymaking. As Cloonan (2007) has remarked, “…the new relationship between government and the music industries can only (Cloonan’s emphasis) be understood by reference to broader changes which pushed the creative industries to the forefront of successive governments’ economic and social policy.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p. 141)

The definition of popular music here is that used by Shuker (2001) ‘a hybrid of musical traditions, style and influences, with the only common element being that it is characterised by a strong rhythmical component, and generally, but not exclusively, relies on electronic amplification. Indeed, a purely musical definition is insufficient since pop/rock’s dominant characteristic is a socio-­‐economic one: its mass production for a mass, predominately youth, market.’ (Shuker, 2001, p.9)

In reality the Scottish popular music industry consists of several connected industries – artists; composers; the recording industry; the live music industry; the media; education; retail; etc. – and as Williamson and Cloonan (2007) have demonstrated is more appropriately described as ‘music industries’. The usage of the term ‘music industry’ is ‘…often used in ways which state or imply that the industry is a homogeneous unit with shared objectives and interests. However, the reality is that this picture is, at best, outdated and an inaccurate portrayal of the organisational structure of the global music economy…to think of a single ‘music industry’ rather than music industries, plural, is simplistic and does little to aid understanding of these cultural industries which are primarily concerned with the creation, management and selling of music, either as a physical/digital product, a performance, or as a bundle of intellectual property rights.’ (Williamson and Cloonan, 2007, p. 305)

The main objectives of this paper are to:

  • Explore the nature of the popular music industries in Scotland.
  • Investigate the relationship between devolution and popular music policy in Scotland by examining the ways in which the Scottish Executive and its cultural institutions have sought to influence popular music policy post devolution.
  • Contribute to existing research on the relationship between the state and popular music policy, specifically in the context of Scottish devolution and the current debate surrounding Scottish independence.

A discussion of the research methodologies employed within this paper is followed by a review of the key literature in this field, after which the Scottish context is set with an overview of Scotland’s demographics, a brief history of devolution and an examination of the popular music industries in Scotland.

The main pre-­‐devolutionary popular music policy initiatives (or the lack of) are discussed in relation to the roles of the Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB), the Scottish Art Council (SAC) and the Scottish Development Agency (SDA), preceding a detailed and in-­‐depth analysis of the post-­‐devolution period since May 1999. It made sense to structure this section of the paper in a timeline, in terms of the four sessions of the reconvened Scottish Parliament – 1999 to 2003, 2003 to 2007, 2007 – 2011, and 2011 to the present day.

The final section of the paper discusses the conclusions that can be drawn from the author’s research for popular music policy in Scotland and what the future may bring.
2. Methodology

The author has employed the following mixed research methodologies:

  • Qualitative
  • Critical analysis
  • Literature based
  • Structured interviews
  • Hypothesis testingThe primary approach employed within this research paper is a qualitative, critical analysis of the key literature within the field of the influence of the nation-­‐state on popular music policy in general and devolution and Scotland in particular, and the various bills and policy documents of the Scottish Executive and related UK and Scottish cultural agencies.A review of popular music policy in Scotland and how it has been influenced by devolution lends itself to a literature-­‐based approach. It is an efficient and effective way to critically review the role of governmental and cultural organisations, to analyse policy documents and the academic analysis of those policies. This has been ably demonstrated by, for example, Cloonan (1999, 2007a, 2007b), Street (2012) and Symon and Cloonan (2002) academics who have previously conducted research in this field, employing similar methodology. There have also been four administrations elected during the period since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in May 1999, requiring a significant element of historical research, which could only realistically be approached within the available timescales by a literature based approach.The literature search has been conducted via:
  • Northumbria University library and associated access to various other academic sources.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences.
  • Bibliographies contained within key academic texts in the specific field of the nation-­‐state and popular music.
  • Various academic journal articles and specifically Popular Music.
  • Scottish Arts Council (SAC), Creative Scotland (CS), Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive web sites for policy documents, new releases and the Official Report of Scottish Parliamentary proceedings.
  • Various internet search engines.Given that this specific area of research is a relatively specialist field, the author endeavored to support this literature based approach by limited structured questioning of key Scottish Government and CS policymakers and leading academics in the field. Given the challenges surrounding gaining face-­‐to-­‐face access with politicians and officials, these questions were sent via email in May 2012, accompanied by an explanation of the research being pursued. A listing of the individuals contacted and the questions asked can be found in Appendix I. No response was received from the Scottish Executive. CS officials did not answer the questions posed, but provided valuable assistance to the author in terms of links to SAC archives that would otherwise have been difficult to locate. Of the two prominent academics in this field that were contacted, only Professor Cloonan responded. The author recognizes the potential lack of flexibility and insight inherent with this approach, but despite the lack of response from the policymakers in the Scottish Executive and CS this did not represent a major obstacle in the preparation of this paper given that the overarching methodology is literature based.

There is also an element of hypothesis testing in that the intent is to establish if a causal relationship exists between devolution and popular music policy in Scotland, in other words, has devolution impacted policy.

A comparative case study approach of devolution in Scotland with other countries was considered but given the lack of possible comparative examples where devolution has occurred in other parts of the world this was ruled out at an early stage.

Cloonan (2007b) has conducted a comparison of sorts, Scotland with Australia: ‘Of particular political importance is the fact that within the UK significant power is now devolved to the Scottish Parliament in ways analogous to the Australian (six) states and (two) territories system. Thus both countries have forms of non-­‐ centralised government and in many ways post 1999 Scottish politics is comparable to that of one of the Australian states, as in both cases ‘devolved’ government exercise significant, but limited, power in cultural and economic policy whilst being parts of larger nation-­‐states.’ (Cloonan, 2007b, p. 19) However, this author would argue that the federal system that exists in Australia fundamentally differs from devolution in Scotland in that the latter is a country as opposed to a federal state or territory within a single country, which has been given devolved powers and had existed as a relatively autonomous independent nation-­‐state prior to the 1707 Act of Union.

A brief examination of the influence of other nation-­‐states on popular music policy is made as part of the literature review, which now follows.

3. Literature Review

Cultural policy has been consistently employed by governments as a means to delivering and reinforcing their political message and progressing their advancement towards ideological and political hegemony.

As Willet (1978) demonstrates, the cultural policy of the rising National Socialist movement in Germany during the Weimar Republic was instrumental in gaining wider acceptance amongst the population for the ‘…steady slide into Nazism that followed Brüning’s decision to rely on government by decree…During the last two and a half years of the Republic’s life…not only were its liberal institutions largely cleared out of Hitler’s way for him, but also something like a third of the electorate decided (quite democratically) to support him, until his was overwhelmingly the strongest single party.’ (Willett, 1978, pp. 201-­‐201)

Street (2012) has made similar observations about the Soviet Union, particularly during the Stalin era. ‘Although they were very different in their ideological commitments, the Soviet and Nazi regimes evolved similar structures for the management of their officially sanctioned music.’ (Street, 2012, p. 27)

This is a theme explored at length by the Frankfurt School, whose ‘…attention was focused on the assessment of the mode in which ideas and beliefs are transmitted by ‘popular culture’ – the way in which the personal, private realm is undermined by the external (extra-­‐familial) socialization of the ego and the management and control of leisure time.’ (Held, 1980, p. 77)

There is no doubt that political parties and Governments have altruistic reasons for investment in the arts and culture, but that should not disguise the use of that investment to further their political aims and ambitions and often those of the dominant social class. Giddens (1971) quoting Marx points out that ‘…the dominant ideology always comprises ‘partly…an elaboration or consciousness of domination partly…a moral means for this domination’…The main point about the ‘superstructure’ is not that it embodies ideas, whereas the relations of production do not, but that it is comprised of a system of social relationships (especially in the shape of politics, law and religion) which order and sanction a system of class domination.’ (Giddens, 1971, p. 43)

As Frith (1996) has said, ‘Marxist and Weberian musicologists alike argue that music is a form of ideological expression, not just in broad institutional terms (how it is played and heard), but also aesthetically, through the expressive dependence of the organizing principle of music as a structure of willed sounds on the organizing principle of society as a structure of power.’ (Frith, 1996a, p. 269) However, this author would argue that this somewhat deterministic argument is too simplistic – i.e. that the state simply defines and implements cultural policy for the furtherance of its political and ideological objectives and that the reality is more complex involving certainly a clear economic dimension as will be demonstrated below. As Frith concludes:

‘For the best part of this century, pop music has been an important way in which we have learned to understand ourselves as historical, ethnic, class-­‐bound, gendered, national subjects…Music certainly puts us in our place, but it can also suggest that our social circumstances are not immutable (and that other people – performers, fans – share our dissatisfaction). Music is not in itself revolutionary or reactionary. It is a source of strong feelings which, because they are also socially coded, can come up against common sense. It may be that, in the end, I want to value most highly that music, popular and serious, which has some sort of disruptive cultural effect, but my argument is that music only does this through its impact on individuals, and that this impact is obdurately social.’ (Frith, 1996a, pp. 276-­‐277)

In 2004, Cloonan and Frith brought together a number of researchers from various countries at the University of Stirling and asked them to ‘…describe state music policy in their respective countries and to reflect on what differences, if any, such policies had made to recent national music history.’ (Cloonan and Frith, 2008, p.189). Papers published from this seminar – for example, Harewood (2008), Mäkelä (2008), Shucker (2008) – support the argument that nation states have shifted from considering popular music as purely a social and cultural concern to treating it as an economic concern.

Harewood (2008) examines the development of popular music policy in the Caribbean from the 1970s to the early 2000s and found that ‘…music policies in Barbados have had, at the heart of them, the pedagogical project of constructing an ideal Barbadian citizen as conceived by Barbadian political and economic elites.’ (Harewood, 2008, p. 209)

Shuker’s (2008) study of the New Zealand popular music industry found that crucially much of its success lay in the post-­‐2000 Labour Government’s willingness to change policy and support the industry economically. ‘The gradually increased governmental role in the New Zealand music industry has historically often been justified in terms of supporting local culture and identity. While this rationale still forms part of government rhetoric, it has now largely been displaced by a more pragmatic concern for the economic value of the industry, especially in relation to its export potential.’ (Shuker, 2008, p. 271)

Mäkelä (2008) found that in Finland ‘…since the 1990s, state subsidies for popular music have increased significantly and the export of music has become an area that now attracts state policy-­‐makers as well as copyright organisations and sponsors such as Nokia.’ (Mäkelä, 2008, p. 257)

Cloonan (2007a) investigated the relationship between popular music and the state in the UK since the 1950s and concluded that ‘In 1955 it was inconceivable that government would seek to influence the fate of British popular music; by 2005 it was increasingly accepted that it should. This was vividly shown in March 2005 when, during the ‘Franz Ferdinand rocks’ debate in the Scottish Parliament, six parties from across the political spectrum all (Cloonan’s emphasis) accepted that government had a role to play in the future of the country’s popular music and its related industries…UK popular music initiatives can generally be distinguished from those of other countries such as Sweden, Canada, Finland or France by the fact that whereas others tried to counter Anglo-­‐ American dominance, the UK has sought to restore it…This was not defence of national culture from market forces so much as support for economic dominance…’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p. 141)

Street (2012) refers to the Digital Economy Bill introduced during the last days of the last UK Labour Government and argues that its aim of eliminating the illegal downloading of copyrighted material ‘…is representative of another example of the state’s role in managing music, and the political values attaching to it.’ (Street, 2012, p.24) Briefly reviewing the way in which music policy has been used by various nation-­‐states in both authoritarian and liberal capitalist regimes, Street concludes that ‘Music policy, like all policy, is a product of structural processes and the interests organized in (and out of) them.’ (Street, 2012, p.31)

Specifically in the post-­‐devolution context, Williamson et al (2003), Cloonan (1999, 2007a, 2007b), and Cloonan and Frith (2008) have examined the popular music policymaking process within Scotland and as this paper will show throughout the investigation of post devolutionary developments which follows, Cloonan (2007a) has rightly concluded that ‘The story of devolution and pop thus far… is one of unfulfilled potential. Devolution does (Cloonan’s emphasis) offer a new lens through which to analyse popular music policy. However, as yet in Scotland it is somewhat underdeveloped and has been hampered by a mixture of the limitations of the political settlement and vested interests.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p. 143)

This review and analysis of literature in the field of Scottish popular music policy making will continue throughout section 5.

4. The Scottish Context

It is now necessary to provide some contextualization to the area of research in terms of Scotland, Scottish devolution and the Scottish popular music industries.


According to current statistics from the Scottish Executive’s Official Gateway to Scotland the current population of the country is 5.2 million, less than 9% of the 61.8 million total population of the United Kingdom. The main cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Stirling account for only 1.6 million of that population with the remainder spread across a geographical area of 78,772 square kilometres -­‐ including 800 islands, 130 of which are inhabited – resulting in a population density of only 64 per square kilometre. The birth rate is 11.3 births per 1000 of population and the population is growing at 0.54% annually, with an average life expectancy of 80.1 years for females and 75.3 years for males and a net migration rate of 4.1 per 1000 of population. Official languages are English, Gaelic and Scots and the form of government is constitutional monarchy, the same as the rest of the UK, but with a devolved government and parliament which will be discussed in more detail in the next section. (Scottish Executive, 2012)

Gross Value Added – one of the key economic indicators used for measuring the performance and relative productivity of different regions – was £106 billion or £20,220 per head in 2010, compared to £20,974 for England, £15,651 for Northern Ireland and £15,145 for Wales (Office for National Statistics, 2011) so Scotland does not underperform the rest of the UK economy to the extent that pro-­‐Union political commentators often suggest. However, the Scottish music economy does lag behind the UK overall – ‘Popular music has been one of the most vibrant cultural forms of the past fifty years. Yet, as the evidence we present on its popular music industry makes clear, Scotland has under-­‐ performed when compared to the UK as a whole and to Ireland.’ (Symon and Cloonan, 2002, p.1) despite the fact that “Scotland boasts professional strengths across all genres of music – with many well known musicians enjoying national success and international acclaim. Not only does Scotland produce many excellent musicians, it is also a nation of music lovers, buying more live music performance tickets per capita than any other UK nation…” (Creative Scotland, 2011, pp. 14-­‐15) The make-­‐up and nature of the Scottish music industries will be examined after the background to Scottish devolution is discussed.

Scottish Devolution

In the political sense, Oxford Dictionaries defines devolution as:
‘The transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration:

  • Demands for electoral reform and devolution
  • The devolution of power to the regions’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2012)

It is not within the scope of this paper to examine in detail the developments in history that led to Scottish devolution in 1999, but it is important to briefly discuss the key events in order to set the political, economic and social backdrop.

The Union of the English and Scottish Crowns had taken place in 1603, but attempts by the Catholic King James VI and I to achieve closer political union in 1667, 1670 and 1690 had failed. ‘A fundamental sticking point was always that London saw no reason to concede to the Scots freedom of trade with her colonies in America…There was nothing inevitable about a parliamentary union between the two nations.’ (Devine, 1999, pp. 3-­‐4). The English ‘Glorious’ Revolution of 1688 led to the departure of James VII to France and the installation of William and Mary as the new Protestant monarchs in England following their invitation by the English parliament to invade and overthrow the Catholic Stuart dynasty, creating unrest and an unsuccessful Jacobite royalist uprising in the Scottish Highlands led by John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount of Dundee. ‘William and Mary came to the throne of Scotland…not through divine or hereditary right but by the decision and invitation of the Scottish Convention of Estates’ (Devine, 1999, p.4), which consisted of Scottish nobles, clergy and burgh commissioners who met between 14 March 1689 and 5 June 1689 to resolve the outcome of the Scottish throne following William’s invasion of England. ‘The revolution settlement has a double role to play in Scottish history. It saw a final establishment of a Presbyterian Church and most roads to the Union of Parliaments of 1707 either begin in 1689-­‐90 or have a major junction at it.’(Lynch, 1991, p.304)

With the continual threat of armed uprising, ongoing conflict between William’s appointed Scottish government ministers and a strengthening Scottish parliament, and the death of the eleven year-­‐old William, Duke of Gloucester, the only surviving child of the heir to the throne, ‘…William had concluded that Scotland could not be governed within the existing context of the Union of the Crowns and that a union of the Edinburgh and Westminster parliaments was vital to national stability and security.’ (Devine, 1999, p.6) This was a situation further exacerbated by the Scottish parliament which met in 1703 and acted outside the control of the Queen’s Commissioner and his ministers, passing an Act of Security which gave the Scottish parliament the power to determine

Queen Anne’s successor (Anne had succeed William upon his death in 1702). The financial losses incurred in Scotland as a result of the failure of the Darien affair – ‘Perhaps a quarter of the total liquid assets of the country were sunk into the enterprise ’ (Lynch, 1991, p.308) – as Scottish merchants attempted to solve their exclusion from English mercantile trade with the Americas by setting up their own colony during a period of severe harvest failures at home, had also further intensified the political crisis which resulted in the need for union amongst the ruling political elite of both countries and the monarch.

An Anglo-­‐ Scottish parliamentary commission met to draft the Articles of Union which despite hostile opposition within both the Scottish parliament and the wider country were eventually passed. ‘In a historic decision on 16 January 1707, parliament voted itself out of existence by ratifying the Act of Union by 100 votes to 67, a clear majority of 43.’ (Devine, 1999, p.12) However, in order to achieve this and stave-­‐off widespread opposition throughout the country, guarantees were given that Scotland would maintain its own Presbyterian church, Scots law and Scottish educational system, key elements of Scottish cultural life.

Quoting Nairn (1977, p. 77), Schlesinger, et al (2001) point out that ‘Scotland has sustained a distinct ‘civil society’ over three centuries, namely ‘the diffuse assemblage of anything and everything which can be located somewhere in between politics and state power on one hand, and the family on the other’…It is commonplace in discussion of Scottish civil society to cite the historical importance of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, of Scots law, of Scottish education…and to add to this selected elements of a distinctive culture expressed linguistically, musically (this author’s emphasis), and in terms of literature, sport, architecture, painting and much else besides. None of this is to say that Scotland has been closed to influences from south of the border or elsewhere, but it has been different from the rest of the UK.’ (Schlesinger, et al, 2001, pp. 5-­‐6)

It is hardly surprising given how the Act of Union was agreed by the minority political elite despite widespread opposition throughout Scotland that tensions should remain, culminating in a growing Scottish Home Rule movement active since the mid-­‐to-­‐late nineteenth century. Again it is not within the scope of this paper to discuss in detail developments in this movement throughout the past three hundred years. ‘…it had emerged in the 1880s, partly because of fears that the Irish were receiving preferential constitutional treatment ahead of the Scots and also because of concerns for administrative reforms that would make the union with England function more effectively. In 1885 the office of Secretary of Scotland was revived, the Scottish Office established in London and a Scottish Standing Committee was set up in 1894 to consider all Scottish legislation. In addition, a Scottish Home Rule Association was founded to campaign for a parliament in Edinburgh…It was a different story after 1910. Home Rule was now regarded by the Young Scots as the sine qua non of social reform, which was being needlessly impeded in Scotland because of lack of parliamentary time in Westminster and was being delayed by the reactionary forces of English conservatism.’ (Devine, 1999, pp. 307-­‐ 308)

The rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP) during the twentieth century and its progress in UK parliamentary elections in the 1970s threatened the Labour Party’s post 1918 hegemony in Scotland – upon which it relied to be elected to government in UK elections – and resulted in the Callaghan Labour government passing The Scotland Act in February 1978, which ultimately led to a Scottish referendum on devolution in March 1979. Crucially, however, a simple majority in favour of devolution was not sufficient, more than 40% of the electorate had to vote in favour of a Scottish Assembly. ‘A majority voted for devolution, but because of the low poll, the 40 per cent hurdle was not reached and an assembly was not secured. With the fall of the Labour government shortly thereafter, constitutional issues came off the agenda for some years.’ (Schlesinger, et al, 2001, p. 7).

The UK general elections of 1979, 1983 and 1987 resulted in large Conservative majority governments in Westminster, but the Scottish political landscape was radically different with the Conservatives winning only ten out of seventy-­‐two seats in Scotland, Labour with fifty seats, the Liberal/Social Democratic Party Alliance nine seats and the SNP two seats in the 1987 General Election. ‘The government’s values had been rejected in the humiliating defeat of several Conservative candidates in 1987 but were nevertheless still to be imposed because of its electoral ascendancy elsewhere in the UK. Scottish protests against the poll tax, introduced to popular fury on April Fools Day 1988, or the privatization of public utilities were ignored. Mrs Thatcher disregarded the tradition of the union as a partnership in which Scottish interests had been taken into account and instead seemed to consider there to be no limit to the absolute sovereignty of the Westminster parliament.’ (Devine, 1999, p. 606) It is in this context that the policies of Thatcherism can be said to have led directly to the Scottish constitutional issue re-­‐emerging and the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly (CSA) being given renewed impetus, the CSA having formed in the aftermath of the 1979 referendum.

‘There was also a new vitality in many aspects of Scottish culture which helped to underpin the growing interest in Home Rule. Research into Scottish history, literature, politics and society expanded as never before. Novelists such as James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, William McIlvanney, Iain Banks and, later, Irvine Welsh enjoyed enormous international success with works grounded in the gritty realities of urban Scotland and often written in the working-­‐class vernacular. Rock bands like Deacon Blue, the Proclaimers and Runrig were emphatically Scottish in style but nevertheless were able to convey their music to a much wider overseas audience.’ (Devine, 1999, p. 608) Several Scottish popular music artists helped to promote the case for devolution -­‐ and in some cases outright independence -­‐ for Scotland, including, for example, The Proclaimers, with both of the Reid brothers and Pat Kane of Hue and Cry fame joining the SNP and actively campaigning on their behalf. This was a trend that would continue, with a feature of the launch of the recent ‘YES Scotland’ campaign in May 2012 (ahead of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence) also being the participation of a number of high-­‐profile Scottish popular music artists. Much of that support can be attributed to the closer engagement between musicians and politicians that devolution enabled, as will be discussed later.

The resurgence in the Home Rule movement led to CSA publishing A Claim of Right for Scotland in 1988, which recommended the creation of a Scottish Constitutional Convention to discuss how Home Rule should be achieved. The convention was duly formed and included Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Communist and Green parties, the Scottish Trades Unions Congress, Scottish churches, the majority of Scottish regional and district councils and other representatives of Scottish civil society. The Conservatives and SNP did not participate and it is widely believed that ‘…the absence of the SNP…may have made Labour more willing to make concessions than might otherwise have been the case.’ (Devine, 1999, p.612) On 30 November (St Andrew’s Day) 1990 the convention published its report which recommended a legislature elected via proportional representation, financed by taxes raised in Scotland. In the 1992 General Election ‘What were now defined as the ‘home rule’ parties won 75 per cent of the vote and 85 per cent of the seats. The Conservatives were left with eleven of the seventy-­‐two Scottish seats and faced continuing decline thereafter. In the subsequent general election of 1997 Labour was once again elected and the Conservatives, who had fought on an uncompromising unionist agenda, were completely wiped out north of the border.’ (Schlesinger et al, 2001, p.8)

The new Labour government of Tony Blair quickly introduced a White Paper on Scottish Home Rule in July 1997 that included provisions for a new referendum to be held on 11 September 1997 on the creation of a Scottish Assembly and tax-­‐ raising powers. 74.3 per cent of those who voted supported a Scottish parliament and 63.5 per cent agreed that it should have tax-­‐raising powers. The referendum was followed by the Scotland Act of November 1998, effectively reconvening a Scottish parliament – the first since 1707 – along with a Scottish Executive, and Scottish parliamentary elections were held on 6 May 1999.

As the Calman Report later commented, ‘The creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 was a very significant change in how Scotland is governed. Before that, although much of Government in Scotland was decentralised administratively, all legislative responsibility rested with the UK Parliament at Westminster, and the Ministers in the Scottish Office who ran much of Scotland’s domestic policy were answerable to it.’ (Commission on Scottish Devolution, 2009, p.4)

The Scottish Parliament consists of 129 Members (MSPs) directly elected by the Scottish people every four years via a system of mixed member proportional representation in which each voter has two votes – a first-­‐past-­‐the-­‐post vote for a constituency MSP -­‐ there are 73 constituencies -­‐ and a proportional representation vote for a region, of which there are 8 in the Scottish parliamentary elections, each returning 7 MSPs. The majority party elected forms a government, the Scottish Executive, and elects a First Minister and cabinet.

The Scottish Parliament has the constitutional authority to develop and introduce legislation and make laws across a wide range of domestic policy in Scotland including economic development, local government, health, education, transport, crime and justice, agriculture and the environment. Defence policy, foreign affairs, macroeconomic policy, social security and – significantly for popular music -­‐ intellectual property legislation and broadcasting policy, remain reserved to the UK Parliament where Scotland continues to be represented by 59 Members (MPs).

The Scottish Parliament has limited tax raising powers which have yet to be exercised – the ability to raise or reduce income tax by up to three pence in the pound -­‐ and the majority of the Scottish budget continues to flow from the UK Parliament in the form of a block grant, which is funded from UK taxes.

Development, support and funding for the creative arts and industries in Scotland is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, initially being the primary responsibility of SAC -­‐ which predated devolution by five years -­‐ and since 2010, CS. As Flew has pointed out, ‘There is much discussion worldwide about how to generate creative cities and regions, and strategies to develop the creative industries as part of a national innovation strategy are being developed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore.’ (Quoted in Hartley, 2005, p. 344)

The Scottish Popular Music Industries

In July 2002, Scottish Enterprise (SE), the UK government’s economic development agency (or quango) which superseded the SDA, commissioned a comprehensive analysis of the economic value of the music industry in Scotland, of which popular music was of prime importance. This is the most recent detailed mapping of the Scottish music industries and the main findings of the report published in February 2003 (Williamson et al, 2003) were that:

  • ‘Scotland generates around £106 million annually in sales of music and services. However this can fluctuate greatly depending on what albums are released by major Scottish-­‐ based artists and what stadium gigs take place in any given year.
  • Additionally the public sector contributes around £18.8 million to the music economy through the Scottish Arts Council, the Enterprise network and local authorities.
  • The industries are made up of approximately 2,040 full time employees and 2,003 part time workers, with hundreds of seasonal workers at festivals etc.
  • Scotland has personnel working in all the major sectors of the music industry, although several areas -­‐ notably distribution and management -­‐ are weak.
  • While investment by the major record labels in Scottish artists has declined, investment by international companies in the Scottish live music scene has increased, showing the relative health of that sector.
  • The retail sector is also buoyant.’

The researchers were also asked to identify any obstacles to economic development, which were we found to be:

  • ‘The lack of music provision in schools
  • A perceived under-­‐investment in Scottish-­‐based artists by the major record labels and the public sector.
  • A general lack of Scottish media support for domestically based music.
  • A lack of clarity and understanding about the role of the public sector, particularly in relation to the mechanics of funding.
  • A lack of business service providers within the industry, such as managers, agents and publicists.
  • A perceived lack of entrepreneurial skills amongst both Scottish artists and intermediaries.
  • A tension between the public sector’s concern for the Scottish national interest and the private sector’s international perspective.
  • The lack of a Scottish music industry trade and lobbying association’ (Williamson and Cloonan, 2007, p. 26)

Despite having a relatively small population of just over five million, Scotland has produced a disproportionate number of successful popular music acts over the years stretching back to the 1950s. Strong (2002) has produced a very comprehensive catalogue of many of those artists and here are some examples of those who have achieved international success:

Altered Images; Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull); Aneka; Arab Strap; Craig Armstrong; Associates; Average White Band; Aztec Camera; Bay City Rollers; Maggie Bell (Stone The Crows); Belle and Sebastian; Beta Band; Biffy Clyro; Big Country; Big Dish; Bluebells; The Blue Nile; Bronski Beat; Jack Bruce (Cream); The Cocteau Twins; Edwyn Collins; Brian Connolly (Sweet); Deacon Blue; Del Amitri; The Delgados; Barbara Dickson; Lonnie Donegan; Donovan; Sheena Easton; Fish; Franz Ferdinand; Gallagher & Lyle; Goodbye Mr Mackenzie; Calvin Harris; Alex Harvey; Hue and Cry; Idlewild; Incredible String Band; Jesus & Mary Chain; Annie Lennox; Jackie Leven; Love and Money; Lulu; Amy Macdonald; Shirley Manson; Marmalade; John Martyn; Frankie Miller; Mogwai; Nazareth; Rab Noakes; Primal Scream; Proclaimers; Gerry Rafferty; Eddie Reader; Emile Sandé; Shamen; Simple Minds; Skids; Slik; Al Stewart; Ian Stewart; Sutherland Brothers; Teenage Fanclub; Texas; Travis; Midge Ure; Waterboys; Wet Wet Wet. (Hogg, 1993; Strong, 2002; post-­‐2002 additions, this author)

However, it is important to note that in order to develop their careers, many of these artists have either left Scotland at some stage in order to pursue their careers or were signed to record labels and management teams which were not based in Scotland and much of the revenues generated did not return to Scotland. ‘…the economic point is that the return on local musical talent that is internationally successful accrues not to its country of origin but to the multinational companies that sign it up and make it globally available. Economic research in Scotland over the last fifteen years has consistently shown that while Scotland produces an abundance of successful writers, performers and instrumentalists, a relatively small amount of the income they have generated has returned to Scotland. Scottish musicians have to move to London to realise their talent…’ (Frith, 1996b, p.98)

Despite the relative success of smaller Scottish record labels such as (the now defunct) Postcard Records, Chemikal Underground, Rock Action, Soma Records and Shoeshine Records, none of the four major global record companies – Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI (soon to be three if Universal’s purchase of EMI is eventually approved) – have a base in Scotland. ‘…the Scottish and English recording industries can be distinguished in at least two respects. First, the English sector benefits from the presence, in the South East, of the…major music companies. None of these companies has an office in Scotland, which they regard as part of their UK or wider European marketing territory. Secondly, a relatively large proportion of record companies in Scotland specialise in traditional or ‘Scottish interest’ music…’ (Symon and Cloonan, 2002, p.4)

In terms of the recording industry, Williamson et al (2003) found no less than 88 record companies, 95 recording and rehearsal studios, 12 companies manufacturing CDs and musical equipment, and 5 distribution companies in Scotland generating a combined income of £38,489,000, but dominated by a very high number of small companies, with 75% of the income and jobs originating from two companies, Linn Products and Grampian Records, both manufacturers. (Williamson et al, pp. 38-­‐46)

‘We live in an age in which music is ubiquitous in public as well as private places. We shop and travel to music, it is there while we work, sit in waiting rooms, play or watch football, have our teeth filled and hair cut. But while Scotland is thus full of music, little of this music could be called Scottish music, and most of the money made by people providing this soundtrack to our lives flows to London and across the Atlantic, to the global corporations and publishers who dominate its production. Scottish music companies, in short, have to be understood as operating within a global system rather than as somehow independent of or competitive with it.’ (Williamson, et al, 2003, p. viii)

The live popular music industry is a recognised strength in Scotland as was previously referenced above by CS. ‘Where other areas of the music industry in Scotland can be seen to lag behind their equivalents in the rest of the UK and other comparable countries, there is considerable strength in the Scottish live music market, although it is not without problems.’ (Williamson, et al, p. 27) Regular Music and DF Concerts are major concert promoters in UK terms, with the annual T in The Park festival staged by DF Concerts attracting artists and audiences from around the world. Williamson et al (2003) estimated that:

  • ‘The employment generated by the live music industry in Scotland is equivalent to 279 full-­‐time jobs and 684 part-­‐time jobs.
  • We calculate that the income generated by the live music business (promoters, venues, agents, festivals, technical service providers and freelance individuals) is £45,130,000
  • The live music industry in Scotland is very top heavy. A small number of events, promoters and venues dominate the sector, though there is a wide range of smaller operators, who tend to specialise in a chosen form of music.’ (Williamson et al, p. 37)

Williamson et al found it ‘virtually impossible’ to determine the economic value of the media industry as part of their mapping of Scottish music industries, but noted the following key points:

  • ‘There are 39 radio stations, 3 television companies, 2 daily national broadsheets and 1 Scottish-­‐published tabloid, as well as 4 Sunday newspapers based in Scotland, all of which cover music of different forms.  Additionally, a number of (UK) national newspapers produce distinctive Scottish editions. There are also 5 Scottish-­‐based magazines with considerable music content.
  • Television is generally unsupportive of music due to the relatively high costs to rating ratio it produces. A number of music programmes have been produced in Scotland since the early eighties, though all of these have been short-­‐lived, due to either audience or advertiser antipathy.
  • Scottish music has also suffered from both Radio Scotland’s conversion to a speech-­‐dominated station during the eighties, and consolidation and homogenisation that has characterised local radio in the nineties. A spate of new radio stations has only produced marginally more musical choice.
  • There is reasonable coverage of Scottish musical activity of all genres in the Scottish newspapers (though folk/ traditional music seems to rarely enter the mainstream media), but this is often dictated by a combination of editorial whims, the relationship between the industry and the press and the dominance of the news/ topicality agendas imposed by both.
  • Music fans around the world are increasingly using a wider and more geographically spread media to inform their musical taste and opinions – with digital/ internet radio, specialist satellite TV music channels and websites all playing a part. In this context, it is arguable that localised press is playing a diminishing role in the formation of tastes and the “breaking” of new bands.’(Williamson et al, 2003, p.52)

At the time of writing (initially posted in September 2012) CS is conducting another review of the music sector in Scotland using a team of external consultants led by EKOS which will include:

  • ‘Audit and mapping: understanding the sector landscape and ‘where we are now’
  • Sector analysis: understanding the dynamics of the sector and what this means for the future
  • Gap analysis: identifying where gaps and opportunities exist
  • Reporting and recommendations’
    (Creative Scotland, 2012a)

The role of CS in Scottish popular music policy is discussed in more detail below.

5. Post Devolutionary Developments Influencing Popular Music Policy in Scotland

Cloonan (2007a, pp. 25-­‐38) has examined the development of cultural policy in the UK from the end of the Second World War to the 1997 election of the New Labour government and concluded that popular music was largely ignored by ACGB.

The ACGB’s Royal Charter, agreed in August 1946, stated that the organisation’s aim was to develop ‘a greater knowledge, understanding and practice of the fine arts exclusively and in particular to increase the accessibility of the fine arts to the public throughout Our Realm, and to improve the standard of execution of the fine arts’ (cited by Cloonan 1997, p.26, Cloonan’s emphasis). ‘Fine arts’ was understood to mean classical music, opera, ballet, theatre, painting and sculpture, and popular music was not considered to be art let alone ‘fine art’. Although this phrase was removed from the ACGB’s charter in the late 1960s and popular music became eligible for state funding, ‘…20 years into the ACGB’s existence – and in an era now seen as a golden age of popular music – the chair of the ACGB primarily regarded pop as a danger.’ (Cloonan 2007a, p.32) Pressure on funding throughout the economic downturns of the 1970s meant that ‘If pop’s economic success in the 1960s made it appear not to need public help, then by the late 1970s government priorities lay elsewhere…There were no major popular music initiatives via the ACGB…’ (Cloonan 2007a, p.34)

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, reducing the involvement of the state was a fundamental tenet of Thatcherite economic policy and significant cuts were made in public expenditure, including the arts. ‘…the historical reality of popular music’s fate is shown by the fact that the official history of the Arts Council, which was published in 1995, has neither popular music nor jazz in its bibliography…There is very little discussion of music other than classical.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p.37) and Cloonan concludes that ‘…popular music was always unlikely to be the recipient of major ACGB funding. In other words, the state’s main agency for promoting the arts generally ignored the late twentieth century’s most vibrant cultural form. What really strikes home is the lack of a coherent strategy or anything resembling developmental work.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p.38)

Prior to devolution, the publicly-­‐funded SDA had developed and implemented three main initiatives in the late 1980s and early 1990s with regards to popular music in Scotland all of which were largely unsuccessful and duly failed:

  1. Support for the launch of the Scottish Recording Industry Association (SRIA) in 1989, an industry membership association targeted at addressing the concerns of Scottish record labels which fell by the wayside within a couple of years due partly to the dominance of ‘traditional’ Scottish music interests and partly due to internal disagreements.
  2. Funding for a Scottish pop music chart produced by the SRIA, which did not attract sufficient interest and support and soon petered out. ‘Unfortunately the chart revealed that Scottish record buying habits weren’t that much different from UK patterns generally.’ (Frith, 1996b, p. 41)
  3. Sponsorship of a New Music World seminar in Glasgow in September 1990 to provide an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern within the Scottish independent music sector, which although it led to other one-­‐off events such as the Sound City convention sponsored by BBC 1 Radio in 1994 and Glasgow’s Ten Day Weekend festival of independent rock music did not have any longer term impact.

This led Frith to conclude that ‘…without a government of its own, Scotland is dependent for any state music policy on different cultural strategies – on the Scottish Tourist Board and the promotion of ‘heritage music’ on the Scottish Arts Council and subsidies based on artistic rather than commercial judgements.’ (Frith, 1996b, p. 42). Frith contrasts this with the situation in Ireland at that time where music policy was an integral part of state policy and the better for it. ‘This is not to say that the problems facing an Irish music industry will necessarily be solved (after all, among the interests lobbying the government will be the multinational record companies, and Irish culture is no more immune to the sale talk of global entertainers than anyone else), but, at the very least, the problems of economic and cultural development can be made part of the same policy discussion. In Scotland they are not.” (Frith, 1996b, p. 42)

The SDA had been established in 1975 by an Act of the UK Parliament as a Scottish Industrial Development Advisory Board whose primary focus was on economic imperatives and not the wider development of the cultural industries. As with its successor, SE, the SDA was only interested in popular music initiatives to the extent in which they created jobs or generated economic prosperity. Reporting in to the Secretary of State for Scotland, the SDA was distanced in terms of process and key decision-­‐making from cultural policy development within the UK government – primarily ACGB -­‐ and as a consequence those in the Scottish popular music industries who sought to influence policy were too remote from the policy makers to be able to exert any real influence. In any case the SDA did not have a music policy, a feature that also continued with SE, which succeeded the SDA in 1991. This is a key characteristic of the Scottish music industries that changed in a positive sense during post-­‐devolution as is discussed below. ‘After these SDA initiatives, there was a period of inactivity over popular music policy in Scotland, until the 1997 devolution referendum result once again sparked debate about cultural policy in Scotland.’ (Symon and Cloonan 2002: p.8).

Post-­‐devolutionary developments that have influenced popular music policy in Scotland will now be examined in the context of the timeline of each of the four terms of the Scottish Parliament since May 1999:

1999 -­‐ 2003

The outcome of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in May 1999 resulted in a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition which formed the first Scottish Executive or government. Rhona Brankin, Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport, published a consultation document in August of the same year on the development of a national cultural strategy (Scottish Executive 1999). However, the Scottish Executive’s post-­‐devolutionary consultation document did not get off to a good start and made little reference to the popular music industry. Focus groups were however held to review the document and did include popular music artists in an attempt to engage practitioners with policy development, bringing the industry practitioners in to the policy formulation process.

The subsequent strategy document ‘Creating Our Future: Minding Our Past’ (Scottish Executive 2000) was jointly launched on 16 August 2000 by Brankin and Donald Dewar, the First Minister, who in announcing the initial funding package of £7.25M said ‘Celebrating success wherever it is found must be an important part of our strategy and creating the conditions for excellence to flourish in all fields is a central objective. Excellence is not an elitist concept; it is not only for the privileged minority. It can be made accessible to all. Our approach will therefore seek to place culture at the heart of the Executive’s policy development. Our strategy is therefore based on principles of inclusion, of promoting culture in and through education and of widening access and opportunities.’ (Dewar, 2000)

The four strategic objectives of the National Cultural Strategy published in August 2000 were:

  1. ‘Promote creativity, the arts, and other cultural activity
  2. Celebrate Scotland’s cultural heritage in its full diversity
  3. Realise culture’s potential contribution to education, promoting inclusion and enhancing people’s quality of life
  4. Assure an effective national support framework for culture’

Enhancing Scotland’s creative industries was a key priority within which film (Scottish Screen), literature (Scottish Arts Council), art (The National Galleries of Scotland) and museums (Scottish Museums Council) are given great prominence, but popular music is largely conspicuous by its absence.

Dewar’s emphasis on social inclusion was the only aspect relating to popular music to be included within the strategy. ‘The document states its general support for the creative industries but music appears not to be a key sector. The impression that the popular music industry is a low priority for the Executive is further strengthened by the fact that no-­‐one from the industry was invited onto the steering committee put in place to take the cultural strategy forward.’ (Symon and Cloonan, 2002, p.10)

By the time of the first annual review of the policy in 2001, Allan Wilson -­‐ the then Deputy Minister for Sport, the Arts and Culture -­‐ was able to report that one significant initiative had been announced earlier that year, SAC’s first Policy for Contemporary Popular Music launched by the Deputy Minister in March 2001, to increase the participation and involvement in popular music by Scots, ‘recognising the power of popular music-­‐making to engage young people in cultural activities.’ (Scottish Executive 2001, p.28)

In 1994 ACGB had been dissolved in to separate councils for England, Wales and Scotland and SAC had been established as ‘…the lead body for the funding, development and advocacy of the arts in Scotland’ (SAC, 2010), an executive non-­‐ departmental public body – or quango – which was to become the main channel for Government funding of the arts in Scotland. In 2009/10 prior to its dissolution and replacement by CS, SAC had a budget of £61.06 million, which included £48.14 million from the Scottish Government, £12.43 million from the National Lottery and £0.5 million from other income. £57.65 million was to be invested in arts funding and the balance of £3.41 million on operations. (SAC, 2010) Unfortunately SAC had inherited ACGB’s view of popular music, focusing most of its pre-­‐devolutionary efforts on the fine arts and traditional Scottish and Gaelic music.

In the foreword to its 2001 policy document, SAC’s Director states that:

‘The Scottish Arts Council (SAC) has adopted a Contemporary Popular Music policy for the support of contemporary popular music. This term -­‐ where ‘rock, pop and dance music’ might be equally apt -­‐ describes the extensive range of work we cover. It includes the range of musical styles from rock ’n’ roll to punk, techno and drum-­‐and-­‐ bass -­‐ descriptions and terms continue to evolve as styles proliferate. SAC recognises contemporary popular music as part of the spectrum of music as an art form and acknowledges its important role in the wider contemporary cultural scene. The dominant audience for this music is young people and it is extensively linked with the worlds of fashion, design, lifestyle and social attitude. Individuals, groups and, occasionally a whole generation, have used popular music as one of the ways they define their cultural identity.’ (SAC 2001 p.3)

The two years of research carried out by SAC which contributed to the development of this new policy had included numerous meetings with musicians, record labels, agents, managers, promoters, agents, etc. In other words, a key feature of how this research was conducted was that devolution ‘…had started to reduce the distance that has separated popular music in Scotland from policy-­‐making…’ (Symon and Cloonan, 2002 p.2) and the agency responsible for the promotion of culture and the arts in Scotland now clearly recognised the wider value of popular music beyond the SDA’s and SE’s narrower focus solely on the economic benefits.

For the first time in Scotland, popular music policy was made a priority of sorts by government, but by a devolved Scottish Government, as SAC altered its formerly elitist attitude towards the genre. This is clearly evident in SAC’s policy statement:

‘Contemporary popular music is a valid part of the musical spectrum and should benefit from support and encouragement from SAC. An extensive consultation carried out by the Music Department over the last two years indicates a growing acknowledgement of the need for public sector support for this area of work.

  • Contemporary popular music is now part of SAC’s overall music policy and will be integrated within existing funding schemes for music and within other areas of SAC’s work. This area of music will therefore see a steady growth in support over forthcoming years, within the capacity of resources available.
  • SAC will seek additional resources to expand its capacity to support more work in this area with particular priority given to Touring, Promotion and Recording.
  • Our support for contemporary popular music will be informed and guided by an ongoing process of research and consultation with those who have a stake in the current music scene. SAC already uses appropriate expertise from the sector to advise it on decision-­‐making and assessment, and will continue to do so.’(SAC, 2001 p.5SAC setout six main policy aims within this area:
  1. ‘Fund quality projects in the contemporary popular music field which would not otherwise find sufficient support through the commercial or other sectors and which would benefit artists working in Scotland and Scottish audiences.
  2. Support projects which offer a wide range of people access to music, music making and the development of creative skills.
  3. Support projects which help people to develop excellence in the field of contemporary popular music through training in creative, technical, organisational and marketing and promotional skills.
  4. To support projects which give young people the opportunity to participate in and have access to quality contemporary popular music.
  5. To encourage artists and others involved in the music business to stay in and work from Scotland.
  6. SAC aims for a fair spectrum of cultural, geographic and social diversity in the support offered for contemporary popular music, giving due regard to equal opportunities issues and encouraging social, economic and cultural benefit.’

(SAC 2001, p.10)

A key element of the new policy which differentiated SAC in a post-­‐devolution Scotland from all of the other UK arts bodies at the time was the launch of a new recording fund scheme ‘…to offer support for certain kinds of individual recording projects. Its purpose is to support projects which are out of the ordinary or might find difficulty in finding funding through the normal channels. Methods of marketing and distribution, both conventional or through new media, will be expected to feature in applications.’ (SAC, 2001, p.12) This is still a key part of CS support for popular music in Scotland and a number of Scottish popular music artists have benefited from funding for recordings since the fund was first put in place. (See SAC, 2012 for a complete listing)

In June 2002, Mike Watson, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, hosted the first meeting of a new music industry forum for Scotland ‘…giving industry representatives an opportunity to discuss key issues and the development of the sector’s role within the National Cultural Strategy’ (Scottish Executive 2003: p.30) which provided further opportunity for those in the popular music industry in Scotland to directly influence policy makers. This forum had developed out of a Scottish Parliamentary Cross Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry which was launched in December 2000 – and met for the first time in March 2001 – in response to the absence of any focus on popular music in the national cultural strategy. As new Minister for Culture, Watson had attended and spoke at one of the group’s meetings in December 2001, along with representatives from SE’s Creative Industries team.

Cross-­‐party groups within the Scottish Parliament do not have any policy-­making or legislative powers but do allow MSPs to pursue specific areas of interest and are uniquely positioned to be able to lobby ministers. Established and chaired by Pauline McNeill, one of Glasgow’s Labour MSPs, the Cross-­‐Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry has been meeting around six times a year with MSPs, industry representatives, academics and musicians, providing a unique opportunity for popular music industry practitioners to gain access to the policy makers. McNeill, along with fellow Glasgow Labour MSP, Frank McAveety, had made several speeches in the Scottish Parliament demanding a more prominent place for popular music policies. ‘…the Group does give some focus to music industries’ discussions in Scotland and offers some scrutiny (and sometimes stinging criticism) of policy developments…despite lacking any formal decision-­‐making powers or the resources to conduct meaningful research, the mere fact that the Group exists means that key players meet regularly, thus providing the potential to influence popular music policy within Scotland. Prior to devolution that influence would not have been possible.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, pp.125-­‐126, this author’s emphasis)

In addition to SAC, SE, the publicly-­‐funded economic development agency for most of Scotland – excluding the Highlands and Islands which was covered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – was involved in providing research, business advice, funding for events, and business finance for small companies in the creative industry sector, including popular music. In 2000, SE had commissioned a study of the economic value of the music industry in Scotland which found that the various industries produced an added value of £95.4 million annually and provided a total of 7,306 full-­‐time equivalent jobs, but the study did not make any recommendations in terms of how to improve the status quo. (Laing, 2000) A more comprehensive mapping which did include specific recommendations was commissioned by SE and carried out by Williamson et al as previously discussed. The cross-­‐party parliamentary group was critical of SE’s lack of a music policy, given that the organisation’s charter was exclusively focused on the economic benefits of any activities which it invested in and was not concerned with any wider cultural implications or policies. Specific popular music events, which SE has invested in, include:

  • Music Works, a music industry conference which met in Glasgow annually between 2002 and 2005, but fell by the way side when SE funding was withdrawn when the event was unable to become self-­‐financing.
  • The annual Go North music festival held in Aberdeen and more recently Inverness.
  • The MTV Europe Awards held in Edinburgh in November 2003, for which SE provided £500,000 of public funding. However, the focus was on the promotion of Edinburgh as a tourist destination and not promotion of the Scottish popular music industry.

Despite the fact that it has a Creative Industries strategy, it cannot be said that popular music is one of SE’s policy priorities. ‘…it is clear that in terms of popular music, SE has suffered from the fact that it has no music policy per se. Rather it has treated music as part of the creative industries more broadly and thus has ignored the specialist requirements of the music sector.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, p. 133) This gap in SE’s support for cotemporary music was to feed in to the debate surrounding the creation of CS in 2010 by the SNP Scottish Executive.

2003 – 2007

The second Scottish Parliamentary elections were held on 1 May 2003 and resulted in no change in Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition control of the Scottish Executive, with Jack McConnell continuing as First Minister.

The next significant development for Scottish popular music policy was when McNeill, still Convenor of the Cross Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry, proposed a motion to the Scottish Parliament on 16 March 2005:

‘That the Parliament congratulates Franz Ferdinand on winning the Best British Band and Best Rock Act awards at the 25th Brit Awards; welcomes the First Minister’s view that Scotland should be a future host to the Brit Awards; notes that Scotland has an abundance of talented musicians, demonstrated by the fact that 11 acts are to appear at the international music festival in Texas, South by Southwest; believes that Scotland has a strong contemporary music industry which makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, comprising of small, medium and large companies; supports the work of the Cross Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry which brings together virtually all strands of the music industry; recognises the commitment of the Scottish Executive to the industry and the funding of research into the feasibility of creating a music industry forum; further recognises initiatives such as Music Works, funded by Scottish Enterprise, and the need for the enterprise agencies to promote a distinct music industry strategy so as to encourage further development of Scottish-­‐based musicians and related business activity, and sends its good wishes to all bands who are participating in South by Southwest.’ (Scottish Parliament, 2005)

During her introduction to the debate, McNeill said that ‘…although the title of the motion captures the mood in the country of a Franz frenzy, it is just the lead-­‐ in to a much bigger and more serious debate about the significance of the popular music industry in Scotland’ and with reference to the cross-­‐party group, McNeill stated that ‘…its main message is simple: we have a music industry in Scotland and we want recognition from the Governments in Scotland and at Westminster that it matters…We should enshrine popular music in our definition of culture. Rock and pop are a legitimate choice of culture. We should stop talking of the high arts and the low arts, because there is nothing low about rock and pop.’ (Scottish Parliament, 2005)

Later in the debate, Irene Oldfather MSP, said ‘In having today’s debate, we are sending out a clear message. The connection between the industry and the decision makers has been made. It is up to us to take decisive action to ensure that the music industry—performers, teachers and promoters—has a voice on the world stage’. Frank McAveety MSP added ‘Members have touched on the fact that there has been a sterile debate in Scotland about music development, which has assumed that either we support the top classical arts in music or we support popular music. It should not be about supporting either one or the other; we should support both, because ultimately the ecology of music in Scotland feeds off many different influences and experiences.’ (Scottish Parliament, 2005, this author’s emphases)

Following this debate in the Scottish Parliament and as a consequence of the ongoing discussions within the cross-­‐party parliamentary group, SAC published a feasibility study report on the establishment of a Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) and concluded that:

  • ‘The research demonstrated clear support for an association, and the industry itself has been instrumental in helping to shape the form and structure of an association with encouraging enthusiasm.
  • The consultation process indicated very clearly that the core purposes of a pan-­‐industry organisation should be:o to provide a single unified voice for the industry;
    o to identify issues and challenges that are common across the industry; and to engage with policy makers and public bodies to make the (economic and cultural) case for music, and work with them on the development of coherent policies and activities to support and grow economic activity in the music industry in Scotland.’

The report said that SMIA should have a remit to:

  • ‘identify those issues that are common across the music industry in Scotland, and represent the views of the music industry on these issues to political and public sector bodies;
  • lobby on behalf of the Scottish music industry on issues of shared concern;
  • develop an identity under which the music industry in Scotland can present itself and advance lobbying issues on behalf of the entire industry;
  • work with key public sector organisations to develop policies and activities to support and grow the economic value and contribution of the music industry in Scotland;
  • discuss cross-­‐industry issues with the music industry and agree shared lobbying positions on such;
  • act as a point of communication between the music industry and a wide range of stakeholders, bodies and organisations, in particular with the education and broadcasting sectors; and
  • interact with and develop relationships with the current range of organisations and interest groups in the music industry in Scotland and beyond.’(SAC, 2005, pp. 94-­‐95, this author’s emphases)

5 October 2006 saw the chairing of a Music Industry Summit in Edinburgh by Nicol Stephen, Deputy First Minister, in his role as Enterprise Minister, accompanied by Patricia Ferguson, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. Involving industry practitioners, businesses and related organisations, the primary focus of the summit was on how publicly-­‐funded bodies could better support popular music in Scotland and the involvement of different ministers indicated that ‘…governmental support for popular music spans ministerial departments and is a matter of both cultural and economic concern.’ (Cloonan, 2007b, p. 41)

On 27 February 2007, at a second Music Industry Summit, Stephen announced new financial support for the music industry in Scotland in the form of a £500,000 Scottish Music Futures Fund:

‘I am pleased that the sector is now organising itself to speak with one voice and is in a position to express the needs of the industry as a whole. I am delighted to confirm that Ministers have listened to that voice. The industry asked us to support the proposed new Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA). Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will now contribute financially to the creation of the new association…The enterprise networks will also will work alongside the Scottish Arts Council and industry representatives to support the industry to develop its strategy for contemporary music. This strategy will require close and detailed discussions with the music industry. This will result in the delivery for the first time in Scotland of a strategy to support the commercial development of the music industry. The Scottish Arts Council and the new SMIA, once it is operational will be involved in the consultation.

The Scottish contemporary music industry is making its mark internationally and is something of which we should be proud. It is an industry that deserves government backing. I am delighted to give that backing -­‐ the fusion of musical talent with business expertise can significantly strengthen our growing industry.’ (Stephen, 2007)

Due to disagreements within the industry – not all of who supported the concept – and the intervening Scottish Parliamentary election in May 2007, the SMIA was not established until 2008 and will be discussed in the following section.

2007 – 2011

The third general election to the devolved Scottish parliament was held on 3 May 2007. The SNP emerged as the party with the largest number of MSPs with 47, Labour 46, the Conservatives 17, the Liberal Democrats 16, the Green Party with 2 MSPs and one Independent. As the largest party, the SNP earned the right to form the next Scottish Executive and their leader, Alex Salmon, was duly elected as First Minister. However, due to significant policy differences with the other major parties – none of whom supported independence for Scotland – Salmon and the SNP did not form a coalition, but chose to govern as a minority government with support from the Greens and Independent MSPs on specific issues. There are two notable developments with regards to popular music policy during this third session of the Scottish Parliament – the formation and launch of SMIA and CS.

In 2008, SMIA was founded with financial support from SAC and SMIA’s current mission statement is to:

  • ‘Strengthen the music industry from within (create an environment of solidarity across the multitude of disciplines, genres and geographical locations)
  • Promote music business outwith the industry (advocate and champion)’ SMIA’s main objectives are to:
  • ‘Celebrate and promote musical endeavour
  • Stimulate growth:o through training and development and encourage trading within the creative industries and oversees
  • Communicate informationo Forge partnerships (co-­‐ops and consortia)
    o learning from other sectors
    o sharing information about changes in policy and new initiatives’(SMIA, 2012a)

SMIA is a guaranteed limited company led and directed by a board of eleven non-­‐ executive directors consisting of representatives from various sectors and genres of the Scottish music industry who contribute on an unpaid voluntary basis. Details of the current SMIA board members can be found in Appendix II. Still largely dependent on public sector funding via CS, the SMIA board recently published a 2011-­‐2016 business plan which concludes with the overarching aim ‘…to have established itself as a financially autonomous trade association with a proven track record of strengthening and championing the Scottish music industry.’ (SMIA, 2011, p. 12) SMIA aims to achieve this by increasing the number of paid memberships; programming independent record fairs, industry seminars/panel events and training events; holding bi-­‐annual meetings with the Scottish Government and CS and quarterly meetings with music industry forums.

Specific popular music events and activities driven by SMIA in 2012 include:

  • Showcasing Scotland, promoting new Scottish acts at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, USA, in March 2012. This was largely funded with an award of £65,000 from CS.
  • Organising a showcase of emerging Scottish popular music acts – Admiral Fallow, Bwani Junction and Paws -­‐ at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton on 12 May 2012.
  • An industry panel session held at the annual Go North music festival in Inverness on 6 and 7 June 2012.
  • A Scottish Album of the Year award with a £20,000 cash prize which was won by Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat’s ‘Everything Is Getting Older’ at the inaugural awards ceremony in Glasgow on 20 June 2012.
  • Monthly informal industry networking sessions ‘Music Meet Up’ for individuals working in or with the popular music industries in Scotland.

It remains to be seen how successful and all encompassing SMIA will be in the longer term – particularly given the failure of its predecessor, SRIA, in the early Nineties -­‐ but policy intervention from a post-­‐devolution Scottish government has helped achieve what the industry on its own in Scotland had previously failed to do, establish an industry body which ‘…can become an effective and powerful advocate on its behalf: connecting our members; encouraging trade; lobbying government; liaising with government agencies and promoting our nation’s musical endeavour at home and abroad.’ (SMIA, 2011, p. 3)

CS was launched in 2010 and was the culmination of a long drawn-­‐out political process which had began with the establishment of an independent Cultural Commission in April 2004 by then Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Frank McAveety.

The Commission had been tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of how the Scottish cultural sector should be supported, funded and developed. With regards to the contemporary (popular) music sector the Commission, following consultation with various industry practitioners, reinforced previous findings that there was no coordinating body or industry association and identified the need for more media exposure for Scottish artists on the global stage and public funding support for touring (Cultural Commission, 2005, p. 96) At the end of its final 540 page report in June 2005 one of the Commission’s key conclusions was that ‘…the organisational infrastructure of the public funded cultural sector in Scotland is not configured in the most effective way to deliver cultural rights, standards and entitlements.’ (Cultural Commission, 2005, p. 265) The Commission recommended the formation of two separate limited companies with charitable status -­‐ a cultural development agency, which it called Culture Scotland, which would better integrate the diverse range of cultural institutions in Scotland, and a separate Culture Fund that would manage and operate a development fund for the sector.

The Scottish Executive did not take onboard the Commission’s recommendations on a new infrastructure model and instead came up with its own, CS, which it believed ‘…delivers a less cluttered, more transparent and efficient institutional landscape, capable of building on the benefits of the new infrastructure, we will assess the extent to which there are gaps in the current enterprise support services for the creative industries – including contemporary music – which agencies should provide those services, and whether the services could be provided in a more cost-­‐effective manner…The new agency will operate within a national policy framework set by Ministers as a key delivery partner of the Executive. Clarity is essential regarding that strategic relationship, to address comments raised by sectoral interests when consulted during the Scottish Arts Council’s last quinquennial review. Total discretion, however, would vest in the agency regarding its artistic, professional judgements and funding decisions.’ (Scottish Executive, 2006, pp. 32-­‐39, this author’s emphasis)

Once again realpolitik was to intervene in the form of the 2007 Scottish parliamentary elections and the difficulties in driving legislation through the parliament with a minority government. It was 12 March 2008 before Linda Fabiani, Culture Minister, introduced the Creative Scotland Bill to create the new body, which would simultaneously abolish SAC and dissolve Scottish Screen. Despite the Parliament agreeing on the general principles of the Bill during the various debates, it fell at the first stage on 18 June 2008 due to concerns about financing and how resources would be transferred to CS, but in September 2008, the First Minister, Alex Salmond announced that CS would start out as a guaranteed limited company with a CEO and board of directors which would be responsible for the transition plan. ‘The arrangements for establishing Creative Scotland will also undergo further Parliamentary scrutiny through the Public Services Reform Bill, enshrining the arms’ length principle in legislation’ (Scottish Executive, 2008)

This Bill was subsequently introduced on 28 May 2009, passed by the parliament on 25 March 2010 and finally received Royal Assent on 28 April 2010. The final Bill listed the functions of CS as:

(a) ‘identifying, supporting and developing quality and excellence in the arts and culture from those engaged in artistic and other creative endeavours

(b) promoting understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the arts and culture

(c) encouraging as many people as possible to access and participate in the arts and culture

(d) realising, as far as reasonably practicable to do so, the value and benefits (in particular, the national and international value and benefits) of the arts and culture

(e) encouraging and supporting artistic and other creative endeavours which contribute to an understanding of Scotland’s national culture in its broad sense as a way of life

(f) promoting and supporting industries and other commercial activity the primary focus of which is the application of creative skills.’

(Scottish Executive, 2010, p. 21)

CS was formally established on 1 July 2010 and at the launch event at Edinburgh Printmakers, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop acknowledged that ‘The route to Creative Scotland has taken many twists and turns. This Government has actively engaged with the artistic and creative community to ensure their views and needs were understood and taken on board. As a result the vision and shape of the new body are much improved.’ (Creative Scotland, 2010) Note again the emphasis on much closer interaction and engagement between the cultural industries and the policy makers.

The structure of the current CS organisation is as follows:

  • A board consisting of a non-­‐paid Chairman and ten Directors who are accountable to, and appointed by the Scottish Executive. Chairman, Sir Sandy Crombie, is the retired Group Chief Executive of Standard Life and amongst the Directors are representatives from SAC, the National Theatre of Scotland, traditional Scottish music, academia, the film industry, journalism and Scottish local authorities. There is no representation on the board from the popular music industries in Scotland, although classical and traditional Scottish music are represented.
  • Chief Executive, Andrew Dixon, who has a broad background in the arts and cultural sector in England having been Chief Executive of Northern Arts, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative (a public private sector partnership with 176 members, promoting cultural festivals and events and managing tourism and conference marketing for the ‘twin cities’) and Programme Director for the World Summit on Arts and Culture held in Newcastle and Gateshead in 2006.
  • Reporting to the Chief Executive there is a senior management team consisting of three Directors of Creative Development, a Director of Communications and External Relations, a Director of Finance and Operations and a Head of HR. Music is the responsibility of Creative Development Director, Caroline Parkinson, who is also responsible for film, television, creative industries, digital media, IP and skills. Parkinson’s background is in film and television.
  • Fifteen Portfolio Managers report in to the various Creative Development Directors and music falls under the auspices of Ian Smith, who is also responsible for IP development. Smith has been Scotland and Northern Ireland Organiser for the UK Musicians’ Union -­‐ where he founded the Folk, Roots & Traditional Music Section – and was previously Head of Music at SAC. For more than 25 years Smith was a professional musician working with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, was the founder of Scottish Brass and served as a Governor of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. It is fair to say that Smith’s background is firmly rooted in classical and Scottish traditional music, which does not bode well for CS focus on the future development of the popular music industries in Scotland.

Entitled ‘Investing in Scotland’s Creative Future’, the new organisation published its first corporate plan on April 2011 in which it set out its vision for the next ten years and specific goals and objectives for the first three years, supported by a detailed annual operating plan and budget. (Creative Scotland, 2011)

The mission of CS is ‘To invest in Scotland’s creative future’ and its vision is ‘That Scotland is recognised as a leading creative nation – one that attracts, develops and retains talent, where the arts and the creative industries are supported and celebrated and their economic contribution fully captured; a nation where the arts and creativity play a central part in the lives, education and well-­‐being of our population.’ (Creative Scotland, 2011, pp. 6-­‐7) Objectives are listed as:

  • ‘To invest in talent
  • To invest in quality artistic production
  • To invest in audiences, access and participation
  • To invest in the cultural economy
  • To invest in places and their contribution to a creative Scotland’(Creative Scotland, 2011, p. 8)Details of the ten year vision set out by CS can be found in Appendix III and do not include any specific reference to popular music, although to be fair the vision is precisely that – a very high level view of aspirations that do not refer to any specific sector within the cultural industries in Scotland but an ultimate destination point that has been targeted. Throughout the detailed objectives listed in the three year plan, CS refers simply to ‘music’ and again does not specify particular genres (Creative Scotland, 2011, pp. 23 – 32) with the notable exception of classical music which is referenced with respect to working closely with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and traditional Scottish and Gaelic music.Describing the cultural context within which it will operate, the corporate plan does broadly discuss the music sector in Scotland:‘Scotland boasts professional strengths across all genres of music – with many well known musicians enjoying national success and international acclaim. Not only does Scotland produce many excellent musicians, it is also a nation of music lovers, buying more live music performance tickets per capita than any other UK nation. Scotland’s audiences have a wealth of concerts to choose from, including T in the Park, Celtic Connections (the largest festival of Celtic music in Europe), Piping Live, Rockness, the sound Festival and Belladrum to name but a few.’ (Creative Scotland, 2011, p.14) Further specific references are made to popular music in the context of CS support for the annual Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow ‘…Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections – which in 2011 attracted 180 bookers and promoters from 21 countries to see work by Scottish musicians – and South by South West in Austin, Texas, a major international platform for up and coming contemporary bands.’ CS concludes its brief outline of the music sector by stating that ‘Whilst there is much talent to celebrate and promote in Scotland (with an estimated 10,790 people working in music in Scotland, generating £295m GVA – Creative & Cultural Skills 2010) this is set against a backdrop of a recorded music industry which has been declining globally. Creative Scotland, on behalf of the SCIP (Scotland’s Creative Industries Partnership), has been consulting with industry on potential actions and new opportunities to strengthen the sector’s sustainability.’ (Creative Scotland, 2011, p. 15)

CS is financed by Scottish Government treasury funding and restricted funding, the National Lottery and various other partnerships with bodies within the charitable sector, the private sector and local authorities. CS receives £35.5 million in treasury income from the Scottish Executive and £14.5 million in restricted funds – i.e. funds which must be spent on specific pre-­‐approved areas or projects. In 2011/2012 CS forecast that it would receive £19.7 million from the Lottery, which was expected to rise to £28.2 million a year by 2013/2014 as funds diverted to the London Olympics return. Total income for 2011/2012 was expected to be £75.8 million, including £5 million in Lottery reserves.

CS has reported that it made 576 awards through its investment programmes in the period 1 July 2011 – 31 December 2011, totaling £23 million. The organisation does not produce a classification of these awards in terms of cultural sector, but an analysis of the awards listing published by CS on their web site by the author reveals that 21 awards totaling £421,423 were made for projects which could be described as falling within the realm of the Scottish popular music industries. The details of these awards are listed in Appendix IV. However, this excludes awards made to venues, festivals and other multi-­‐cultural events that may have incorporated popular music, but could not be identified as such by the author within the CS documentation. (Creative Scotland, 2012b) Of course financial awards is not the only measure of intervention or assistance given, but is a good indication of where CS has decided to focus its initial efforts.

As previously mentioned, CS is currently undertaking a review of the music sector in Scotland which is due to be published in late 2012 and it will be interesting to see to what extent actions and initiatives relating to the popular music industries in Scotland feature in that report.

2011 –

The most recent (at time of first publication) elections to the Scottish Parliament took place on 5 May 2011 and resulted in an historic outright majority for the SNP – SNP, 69 MSPs; Labour, 37; Conservatives, 15; Liberal Democrats, 5; Greens, 2; Independents, 1.

As part of the election campaign, Cloonan and Frith (2011) published a ‘Music Manifesto for Scotland’, which listed as its key points:

  • ‘The appointment of a Minister for Music.
  • The creation of a Scottish Music Development Agency.
  • Free instrumental tuition for all children in Scotland.
  • The development of The Scottish Music Website.
  • The establishment of a Scottish Music Day.’(Cloonan and Frith, 2011, p. 1)None of these aims has so far been met, and is too early to determine what further impact, if any, an SNP Government with an outright majority will have on popular music policy in Scotland but the difficulties faced with the passage of the Creative Scotland Bill in 2008 will certainly be avoided moving forward. Immediately following the election result, the SNP declared its intention to hold a referendum on full independence for Scotland in the autumn of 2014 and as the ‘YES Scotland’ campaign gathers momentum there is little doubt that Scottish popular music artists, cultural managers and academics in the field will continue to play their part.

2012 has been declared as the Year of Creative Scotland by the SNP Government with an extensive schedule of cultural events scheduled throughout the year including a number of popular music events.

6. Conclusions

As we have seen, prior to devolution the Scottish popular music industries were not a priority of SAC as it inherited ACGB’s view of ‘fine arts’ and concentrated its efforts within the music sector primarily on classical and traditional Scottish music. Reporting in to the Secretary of State for Scotland, SAC was several steps removed from cultural policymaking processes within UK government and Scottish popular music industry practitioners were even further removed from the possibility of influencing and shaping policy and development for their sector.

With its focus on economic development and lack of buy-­‐in from the popular music industries in Scotland, it is not surprising that the handful of initiatives launched by the SDA in the late Eighties and early Nineties were not sustainable, not least because they did not form part of a coherent music policy per se. SE has been shown to have similar problems – economic development, not cultural is clearly its mission and priority and there was a pressing need to create CS as a cultural development agency.

In 2009 the Commission on Scottish Devolution concluded that ‘…devolution has been a real success. The last 10 years have shown that not only is it possible to have a Scottish Parliament inside the UK, but that it works well in practice.

Having a Scottish Parliament is in general popular with the people of Scotland, and they welcome the scope to have Scottish issues debated and decided in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament has embedded itself in both the constitution of the United Kingdom and the consciousness of Scottish people.’ (Commission on Scottish Devolution, 2009, p. 6, this author’s emphasis)

With 76 MSPs representing constituencies, 56 regional MSPs and a Scottish Parliament which meets in Edinburgh, the process of policy-­‐making and the influencing of legislation were now literally on the doorstep of the Scottish electorate, cultural managers and the Scottish popular music industries for the first time. As we have found, from the outset the Scottish Executive was committed to the development and implementation of a national cultural strategy -­‐ although still hampered to some extent by the myopic view of SAC when it came to popular music – and created a Culture ministerial brief, albeit one that was to be combined with Sport in the earlier terms of the Parliament and with External Affairs in the current Scottish Executive.

Driven by the genuine passion for the genre of MSPs such as Pauline McNeill and the creation of the Cross-­‐Party Group on the Scottish Contemporary Music Industry which applied political pressure to SAC and the Executive from within the Parliament itself, SAC launched its first Policy for Contemporary Popular Music in March 2001 within only two years of devolution, and was able to proclaim that a national cultural agency in Scotland had finally recognised ‘…contemporary popular music as part of the spectrum of music as an art form and acknowledges its important role in the wider contemporary cultural scene…Contemporary popular music is now part of SAC’s overall music policy and will be integrated within existing funding schemes for music and within other areas of SAC’s work. This area of music will therefore see a steady growth in support over forthcoming years, within the capacity of resources available.’ (SAC, 2001, pp. 3-­‐5) As has been discussed, it was significant that the process of formulating this policy had for the first time extensively engaged a range of practitioners – musicians, agents, managers, promoters, etc. -­‐ working within or with the popular music industries in Scotland.

The Cross-­‐Party Group not only acts as a lobbying influence within government and with CS, but also provides the opportunity for cultural managers and industry practitioners alike to engage with the politicians directly on an ongoing basis. Devolution has enabled cultural policy development and debates to take place within Scotland at a structural level below that of the nation-­‐state which academics had previously examined, a level which is far more accessible and closer to those popular music industry practitioners and cultural managers who want to get involved and are most affected.

‘Devolution offers a new geographical scale at which to observe the developing field of popular music policy-­‐making. MSPs and other policy-­‐ makers can shape the development of Scotland’s music industry in ways most appropriate to Scottish, rather than UK, priorities. Popular music policy should, however, be of concern to a much broader constituency than that of industry interests alone. Scottish citizens pay for the public money that helps to shape a significant part of their culture, at a time of heightened public sensitivity to issues of cultural identity and expression…devolution has started to reduce the distance that has separated popular music in Scotland from policy-­‐making: it has been the catalyst for a closer engagement between policy-­‐making institutions and the country’s music industry.’ (Symon and Cloonan, 2002, p. 2) Ministers are far easier to lobby now and the policies of public agencies such as CS, SE and HEI are clearly under closer scrutiny.

Under a devolved Scottish Parliament SAC also facilitated and funded the creation of SMIA which has already proven to be more sustainable than its pre-­‐ devolutionary predecessor, SRIA, and is starting to provide more of a unified voice for the popular music industries in Scotland, although the complex nature and diversity of the popular music industries will continue to make that a challenge. It was clear from our overview of the industries in Scotland that they are still very much an integral part of the wider global music industry and subject to the same influences, trends and developments. The extent to which there is a uniquely distinct and different Scottish popular music industry which can be shaped and driven by Scottish Executive, CS and SMIA cultural policies is a subject worthy of further research, but it is extremely doubtful given the global nature of the industry that external influences can be entirely blocked out, albeit their affects could be dampened or filtered within a Scottish context.

Based on the research conducted by the author the jury is still out on CS -­‐ it is simply too early to make any meaningful conclusions with regards to popular music policy. We have discussed concerns that the make-­‐up and background of the board of directors, the responsible Director of Creative Development and the Portfolio Manager for Music and IP Development would suggest that the popular music industries will not be high on their agendas, but that remains to be seen. If financial awards were the only measure we applied then 21 awards with a total value of £421,423 out of a grand total of 576 awards made totaling £23 million is hardly inspiring. We await the outcome of CS’s current study of the Scottish music industry with great interest.

In response to the question posed at the beginning of this paper ‘To what extent has devolution influenced popular music policy in Scotland’, the answer is clearly that it has done so extensively and in a myriad of ways.

Devolution has created new political and cultural institutions that are far closer to cultural managers and industry practitioners in both a physical sense and in the context of a Scottish Executive, which wants to develop and promote distinctive national cultural strategies via CS. These new institutions provide valuable opportunities for both cultural managers and the industry to access, lobby and influence the policy-­‐makers on a regular basis, a situation which simply was not possible pre-­‐devolution. There are policy areas that affect the Scottish popular music industries which are still reserved by the UK Government – for example, copyright and broadcasting – which will need to wait for the outcome of the referendum on independence scheduled for autumn 2014.

Finally, it is appropriate to conclude with Cloonan who has pioneered so much of the previous research in this area. ‘…the development of political devolution offers a new lens through which to view popular music policy, as it is in effect a level between local and nation-­‐state government…the formation of particular approaches towards policy born of devolution show that it can make a contribution to the analysis of popular music policy. As well as showing constraints, it offers the possibility of innovation within those constraints.’ (Cloonan, 2007a, pp. 119 -­‐ 139)


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Appendix I – Structured Questions

The questions below were emailed to the following individuals:

  • Fiona Hyslop, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Scottish Executive
  • Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland
  • Kirstin MacLeod, Government Relations, Creative Scotland
  • Ian Smith, Portfolio Manager, Music and IP Development, Creative Scotland
  • Martin Cloonan, Professor of Popular Music Politics, University of Glasgow
  • Simon Frith, Tovey Chair of Music Professor, University of Edinburgh1. Do you believe that devolution has affected popular music policy in Scotland? 2. If so, in what ways?
    3. Does Scotland have a distinctive popular music policy from that of the rest of the UK? 4.   If so, in what ways? 5.  What would you like to see change with regards to the Scottish Government’s current policy on popular music?

Appendix II – Board of Directors of Scottish Music Industry Association

  • Stewart Henderson -­‐ Chair -­‐ Chemikal Underground Records
  • Dougal Perman – (Vice Chair) Inner Ear/RadioMagnetic
  • Tam Coyle -­‐ Manager / Promoter / DJ
  • Caroline Winn – General Manager -­‐ Hebrides Ensemble
  • Greg Kane -­‐ Hue and Cry / Blairhill Media
  • Stephen Hume -­‐ Tolbooth
  • Jamie Gilmour – Hail Eris Management / Scottish Music Centre Douglas MacIntyre – Creeping Bent
  • Ally Gray -­‐ Managing Director – EmuBands
  • Caroline Gorman -­‐ Head of Music – Rage Music
  • Richard Chater -­‐ Rubadub / Numbers

(SMIA, 2012b)

Appendix III – Creative Scotland’s Ten Year Vision

‘To provide a rallying call for a creative Scotland we have identified a series of aspirations based on a ten year horizon to 2020 and complementing the Government vision for Scotland as a whole. Our three year plan will make steps towards these outcomes but we want to use this document to inform discussions on the longer term cultural vision for Scotland.

We would like to see:

  • Scotland as a year-­‐round festival nation recognised as one of the top ten places in the world to visit for culture
  • A new generation of talent emerging from the ladder of career opportunities
  • Scotland being viewed as an attractive place to live, work and learn as an artist
  • Culture becoming the calling card for Scotland internationally – welcoming the world’s artists and audiences to Scotland
  • Scotland having the highest levels of participation in the arts in the UK with creativity reaching into every home
  • Scotland’s individual places and communities proudly celebrating and sharing their unique strengths, identities and contributions to a creative nation
  • A thriving and sustainable film and TV sector with a digital network and the BBC expanding its role in Scotland with culture embedded in national public service broadcasting
  • World class cultural facilities being delivered through a 10 year capital plan
  • 2000 alumni from the Creative Scotland artists’ residencies programme acting as champions and ambassadors for a creative Scotland
  • Scotland recognised as an international leader in the arts for children and young people, giving every child in Scotland access to the arts
  • A cultural economy that exceeds the UK average and contributes to sustainable economic growth
  • Scotland being recognised as one of the world’s most creative nations.’ (Creative Scotland, 2011, p. 20)

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