Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 14:53 UK

UK 'can become top music nation'

Feargal Sharkey
Feargal Sharkey was frontman of punk group The Undertones

The UK is aiming to overtake the United States as the world's top music-making nation in the next 10 years.

Industry body UK Music said it wanted more successful records to be made in Britain than any other country by 2020.

It is also calling for a new cabinet committee to let ministers focus policies for the creative industries, reporting to the prime minister.

"We think can be number one," UK Music chief executive Feargal Sharkey said. "We're not far off it."

In 2008, the UK provided four of the world's 10 best-selling artists and is currently home to the biggest green-field festival, Glastonbury, and the world's most successful ticketed venue, the O2 in London.

The music industry contributes around £5bn to the UK economy per year and employs twice as many people as financial services companies, UK Music said.

We could have the whole thing in place by the end of the week
Feargal Sharkey on the proposed cabinet committee

The umbrella body said politicians should take a "grown up" approach to the country's music market, which is the second-largest in the world.

Sharkey, former frontman of punk group The Undertones, said he had been "quietly discussing" the idea of a committee with people in government.

It was a way to "pass the gauntlet back to the government", he explained.

"The next step is very easy, the government needs to say 'that's a great idea', and get on with it," he said.

"We could have the whole thing in place by the end of the week."

UK Music has launched a series of proposals under the title Liberating Creativity, in which the pan-industry group also asked government to cooperate with other European nations over the licensing of music for digital platforms like Spotify.

UK Music also reiterated its call for the government to scrap rules that require pubs to apply for a licence to host small live music events.

"We think that's an outrageous thing and a huge bureaucratic burden to place on those pubs and artists," Sharkey said.

"That first step is part of the process that ends up with people being able to stand on a stage at Wembley in front of 90,000 people."

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