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Friday, 11 November 2011

The Feargal Sharkey/UK Music rumour mill

Feargal Sharkey has resigned as head of industry lobby group UK Music.

Feargal and UK Music were one of the loudest proponents of the clampdown of online music sharing under the Digital Economy Act, but their approach had softened somewhat over the last 6 months or so.

UK Music's attention had shifted from lobbying parliament to wining and dining journalists, party policy-makers and even the odd activist (but not me!).  I have also been struck by the more conciliatory tone of representatives of UK Music I chatted to during recent policy forums.

Feargal's departure has fuelled a couple of rumours amongst those in the digital policy arena. Either Feargal didn't sign up to the new approach, and has quit in protest; or, Feargal was driving the new approach, and has been driven-out by hard liners within UK music.

However, a third rumour doing the rounds last August is that Feargal is being lined up to enter the House of Lords as the government's music and creative industries Tzar.

An extension to this rumour is that his recent work with UK Music wasn't taking him any nearer to the Lords. The anti-piracy scene got a lot muddier recently, with the Liberal Democrats voting-in an official policy position of repealing all the anti-piracy sections of the Digital Economy Act at their last conference.

I hear Feargal took a senior Lib Dem policy advocate to lunch at the Ivy a couple of weeks ago, whether this had any bearing on his resignation is anyone's guess.

Either way, I'm guessing rumours of an Undertones reunion are the least likely to be true!

@JamesFirth

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