We want to know what you think, and let you know what we’re doing

A Letter from SMIA Chair Dougal Perman, 19 January 2017

The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) is being restructured, reprioritised and reformed. We communicate regularly with our paid membership, but we also want to let those of you in the wider music industry (and related sectors) know what we’re doing, including asking you to share some of your experiences for us to take on board when talking to government.

The SMIA has been invited to take part in several government and public agency consultations. I will attend some of these meetings, and we will ask specific members to attend others, where appropriate. We want to know how you feel about these issues. We are consulting our membership, which is growing steadily. The more members we have, the louder our collective voice and the more influence we carry.

EU Referendum Stakeholder Event

Firstly I am attending an EU Referendum Stakeholder Event chaired by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. As part of this event I (on behalf of the SMIA) will take part in round table discussions. The following questions have been put to us:

1. What impact has the vote to leave the EU had on your sector and what has your initial response to this been?

2. What are the key characteristics of a differentiated approach to Brexit (as set out in Scotland’s Place in Europe) for the Scottish culture and tourism sectors and what are your main priorities that you would like to see the Scottish Government advocate?

Responses to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee’s call for evidence on the EU referendum and its implications for Scotland, including a number from culture, creative industries and tourism stakeholders, can be found here.

Please take a few moments to answer these questions via this consultation form. (Open to members and non-members alike.)


Scottish Government Creative Industries Advisory Group

The SMIA has been invited to join the Scottish Government’s Creative Industries Advisory Group. The group is comprised of representatives from across the 16 sub sectors that make up the government’s definition of Creative Industries. Themed discussions will invite members of the group to draw on experience, knowledge and perspectives of the sectors they represent. Fiona Hyslop wants to hear from us about successes, issues and priorities so that the group can take a collective view on how the Scottish Government and its public agencies can support the creative industries as a whole.

The group will meet twice a year. The first meeting is on 8 February. I want to be able to speak on behalf of SMIA members so I need to know what matters to them, so we are inviting our members to contribute experiences. If you are interested in joining, please contact Robert (robert@smia.org.uk) or I (dougal@smia.org.uk).


Creative Industries Skills Forum

Skills Development Scotland have asked us to join their Creative Industries Skills Forum. The forum will meet quarterly. It has been formed:

"To ensure that skills issues across the Scottish Creative Industries sector are articulated by industry leaders, understood and prioritised by the public sector agencies and effectively addressed through private and public sector investments and partnerships."

The first meeting is on Friday 27 January. I will be attending on behalf of the SMIA. I will gather more information and report back. If you have any specific points about skills gaps or development needs, please do let us know via this form. (Open to members and non-members alike.)


Leadership & Business Skills Workstream

Skills Development Scotland have also asked the SMIA to join in its Leadership & Business Skills Workstream discussions. Very short notice, I know, but the first meeting is this Friday 20 January at 3:00 pm in Glasgow. They are interested in having an SMIA member who is a music industry employer take a seat around the table. We have asked our member businesses if anyone can attend.


Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Development International

We have the ear of the public agencies listed above and are in regular contact with all of them. We can arrange meetings to discuss issues, share successes and seek to influence policy. We are keen for our members to keep in touch and let us know what matters to them. The more that we hear from our members, the more we can work to best serve them.


Help Musicians UK: Scottish Initiative

We have a very positive relationship with Help Musicians UK and have been invited to contribute to the formation of Help Musicians Scotland, following their success in establishing Help Musicians Northern Ireland in 2016. We will keep our members, and the wider industry, informed about developments, including all opportunities for participation.


UK Music

Last year UK Music re-engaged with the SMIA. We are talking with them about gathering and sharing data and collaborating on an event around employment in the music industry, which will take place at University of Glasgow on 2 March. We would also like to partner with them on an event about the future of the music economy, more details of which in the near future.


SMIA Research Projects

We are delighted to announce the initiation of two new research projects, which will contribute towards our ambition to conduct a thorough music economy mapping exercise.

Firstly, in partnership with the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities, we are running a pHD student-driven research project to identify the skills gaps, training needs and development priorities for the Scottish music industry. Research will be done via surveys, questionnaires and a series of in-depth case studies. We expect to share some interim findings in the next quarter and will publish the results when they are ready. We will, of course, welcome input from our members. Some of the research activity will accompany the series of workshops, seminars and masterclasses we are running around Scotland throughout 2017. Robert will inform members of our schedule of events for the year (so far) in the next newsletter.

Secondly, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, we are running a post-graduate student-driven research project to begin building a comprehensive directory of music industry businesses and practitioners throughout Scotland. This database will be a valuable asset, owned by the SMIA, and form the foundation of the next phase of our research ambitions: calculating value and GDP.


SMIA Becoming a Consortium Co-operative

Finally, we are in the process of converting the SMIA into a consortium co-operative. The key difference will be that each paid up member will have voting rights in the administration of the company. (Business members with multiple employees registered will have one vote per business.) Members will vote on the annual election of directors at the AGM and other pertinent issues that affect the company.

The consortium structure also enables creative collaboration in new ways. For example, record labels could join together under the SMIA consortium banner to group buy the services of music pluggers and PR agents; music managers could get together to co-ordinate visa applications and share administrative tasks and so on. We expect the process to be complete in April. We will share more details about the consortium on the website in due course.


Website and Membership System

We are about to launch a new website, which will improve the presentation and organisation of information, including a much better membership area which will contain a resources library of content that is exclusive to members.
I hope all of these opportunities and activities are of use and interest to you. Please do complete our consultation forms to let us know about your challenges, successes and ambitions.

And if you are interested in joining, for any of the reasons I have outlined above, to access our member-only events or take advantage of our growing list of benefits, please do get in touch.


All the best,

Dougal Perman
Chair, Scottish Music Industry Association