The place of popular music in Scotland’s cultural policy

Adam Behr, Matt Brennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last two decades the status of popular music as both a cultural activity and creative industry has changed significantly in Scottish and UK cultural policy. The change is in line with a broader shift away from thinking of the arts as cultural activity in need of subsidy and towards treating them as part of the creative economy. The current cultural policy landscape pertaining to popular music is mapped out, drawing on interviews and an online survey with members of the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) and complementary interviews with stakeholders from relevant government and arms-length funding and development bodies. The Scottish Government's (SG) White Paper on independence highlighted the creative industries as one of five growth sectors key to the Scottish economy, but for popular music – and in line with the global music industry – many working in the Scottish music industry face acute challenges. Given EU regulations (and the Scottish Government's preference to remain in the EU) and international agreements in areas like broadcasting and copyright, if they are to flourish many members of the SMIA will likely need to strengthen their relationships with the wider UK and global music industry, regardless of the outcome of the referendum on independence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
JournalCultural Trends
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • music industry
  • cultural policy
  • popular music
  • music industries


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