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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 18:36 GMT
'Ministry of sound' launched
Alicia Keys
Soul star Alicia Keys sang at the Commons last week
MPs and Lords with an interest in the music industry have officially founded a cross-party body to examine key issues facing the UK music industry.

The All-Party Music Group (APMG) was launched at the House of Commons with speeches from chairman Stephen Hepburn, the Labour MP for Jarrow, and Dr Kim Howells of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

More than 70 MPs have shown an interest in attending the group's meetings, the APMG has said.

Representatives of all branches of the industry, from songwriters' organisations to copyright experts, were in attendance.

Most politicians, including myself, really only know about the UK music industry from the consumer perspective

Stephen Hepburn

Mr Hepburn said the group would provide a forum to discuss the most pressing issues facing composers, artists, music managers, record companies, distributors, retailers and the public.

"We plan to hold several meetings throughout the year focusing on specific themes," he said.

These themes might include music education, issues facing small businesses and the challenges posed by the online world.

Mr Hepburn said he hoped MPs and Lords would be able to go on practical visits to music industry businesses.

Stephen Hepburn
Stephen Hepburn heads the new all-party group

"Most politicians, including myself, really only know about the UK music industry from the consumer perspective," he said.

"We buy CDs and attend concerts."

A spokesman for British Music Rights welcomed the new body as as "the ideal forum for politicians to engage with interests across the industry".

Andrew Yeates, of the British Phonographic Industry, said: "It is great to see Parliament taking such an active interest in the music industry, which is a UK national champion. "

See also:

15 Mar 02 | Music
Alicia makes Commons 'hip'
28 Feb 02 | Music
Alicia has keys to stardom
15 Mar 02 | Music
Nicely in tune in the Commons
05 Dec 01 | Music
Folk fans furious at minister
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