Last week all MPs received a pack from me inviting them to take part in a new parliamentary competition aimed at highlighting intellectual property rights issues called Rock the House – a competition whose origins I can trace back to one specific moment... my answer to question 17 of Conservative Home’s 20 Questions for the Class of 2010.
The question? What do you most want to achieve in your first term in parliament? Of course we all have many areas we wish to contribute in whilst in Parliament, but over the last 10 years my career has been in film and music, so I drew on that experience to answer: ‘To be a Parliamentary champion of film and music’.
Preserving Intellectual Property Rights is essential for the future of all our creative industries. Additionally the Coalition document made a commitment to Live Music. So, I set my mind to pulling together a coherent proposal to raise the profile of intellectual property rights and the importance of live music for UK artists - and Rock the House was born.
In a nutshell, the competition aims to be an accessible vehicle through which to capture the imagination of the public, and legislators, in recognition of the need to support the music industry – primarily through increased awareness of IP and the contribution live music can be to our pubs, communities and ultimately overseas earnings (without the Cavern we may never have had the Beatles!). Each MP will nominate one band and one live music venue from their constituency. Any band or live music venue can enter the competition by downloading and completing an application form from the website and send fully completed submissions to their MP.
Pitching the idea to organisations and individuals within the music industry was the next step and I was bowled over by how quickly it gained industry-wide support and sponsorship from: Brian May (Queen); Andy Taylor (Duran Duran); Lee Latchford Evans (Steps); Future Publishing (Total Guitar, Classic Rock and many more); Yamaha music; UK Music; BPI; Live Nation; Music Managers Forum (MMF); Incorporated Society of Musicians; Musicians Union; MVPA; LondonParties; Team Spirit Media Group; Pernod-Ricard; the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music (APPG on Music); and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pubs & Clubs (APPG on Pubs & Clubs).
The sponsors and supporters have pulled together the most unbelievable array of prizes, many of which money can’t buy, including: the chance to perform live at two music festivals; a photo shoot with an internationally published music photographer; Yamaha gear and instruments; the chance to network and have consultancy sessions with top industry professionals; master classes from top sound and lighting engineers; the opportunity to record music; the chance to make a music video; invaluable PR exposure through coverage in Future Publishing’s catalogue of specialist music titles – to name but a few.
The competition is taking off way beyond what I expected and my office is being inundated with enquiries from other MPs, constituents, the press and public. If this project can nudge the debate in the right direction, we will have made a positive impact. And it all started with that question 17!