Kevin Brennan MP has been recognised for his service to the music industry by being named as one of the first recipients of an Ivors Academy Honour.
Kevin’s constituency office is located on the same street that legendary Cardiff composer, Ivor Novello, was born. When Kevin was recently presented with an Honour by the Ivors Academy, named after him, for his campaigning work for songwriters, it reminded him of the rich musical heritage of Cardiff.
Cardiff West has many people who work within and around music. ”I’ve always been proud to represent them in my parliamentary and constituency work”, Kevin said. Cardiff’s Womanby Street has long provided a soundscape to the city for generations of music lovers. In 2017, the street’s vibrant music scene almost came to a close. Kevin supported the grassroots campaign which resulted in the Welsh government revising planning policy to bring it in line with the Agent of Change principle.
Music venues such as Clwb Ifor Bach, The Moon and Fuel Bar on Womanby Street are a vital part of the research and development of the UK’s £6.7 billion per annum music industry. They are the starting point of a virtuous circle. Welsh music stars like Tom Jones, The Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers honed their skills in small music venues across South Wales and without these venues, it’s highly unlikely they would have been able to develop the ability to generate millions of pounds for the local economy with big venue performances at Cardiff Castle, the Motorpoint Arena or the Principality Stadium.
Artists need to be able to make money from recording music too. Music streaming services like Spotify are an incredible development, allowing fans to have all the world’s music in their pocket for a monthly fee less than the cost of one album. Despite this, music streamers have exploited outdated legislation which has allowed those to get away with paying artists too little for their music when it is streamed. Kevin tried to correct this wrong when in 2021, he introduced his Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, Etc.) Bill to parliament. The Bill’s key proposal was to introduce “equitable remuneration” to bring streaming in line with radio play and ensure a fairer share of the money went to the artists, musicians, composers, songwriters etc. Whilst the UK Government stopped it from passing, Kevin believes his Bill has laid down a strong foundation which can be built upon in the future.
Another key area of the music industry which has long needed urgent action, according to Kevin, has been the problem of ticket touts and the secondary ticket market. As a father of a Swiftie, Kevin was appalled to see tickets for Taylor Swift’s concert in Cardiff being advertised for resale at over £3,000. He raised secondary ticketing at Prime Minister’s Questions and recently asked the Leader of the House of Commons – when is the government going to get to grips with these rip-off merchants? Music fans deserve better, Kevin told us.
“I have been working on these issues and others around music now for over a decade”. As a musician himself, Kevin is passionate in using the power of music to enhance and change lives. For that to really happen, we need to value music, and value the people who make it. Amen to that, Kevin!