Rebecca Ferguson meets minister to discuss music industry discrimination

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

Singer Rebecca Ferguson says she had a “very productive initial meeting” with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden in which they discussed discrimination in the music industry.

The Liverpool-born performer, an X Factor finalist in 2010, has been campaigning for the introduction of a regulatory body for the sector, which would work to ensure artist welfare.

Mr Dowden described their meeting last week as “engaging and constructive” and said Ferguson had “passionately shared” her views on the matter.

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Writing on Twitter on Monday, he added: “We agreed that Ministers will work with Rebecca and industry figures to take this discussion forward.”

Ferguson replied, writing: “I had a very successful meeting with Secretary of State @OliverDowden I look forward to working with the government and ministers to bring about positive change in the music industry.”

The 34-year-old soul and R&B singer, who has released four albums and become a panellist on ITV’s Loose Women since appearing on The X Factor, has previously called on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to extend its inquiry into the economics of music streaming to incorporate artist welfare.

MPs are investigating how the streaming model has affected artists, record labels and the sustainability of the wider sector.

Ferguson has previously criticised music managers and agents she claims manipulate artists, and has received support from Ivors Academy chairman Crispin Hunt and Welsh Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones, who is also a member of the DCMS Committee.

She now hopes to meet with ministers and members of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to push for stricter regulation.

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In a statement released following their meeting, she thanked those artists who had shared stories of discrimination with her ahead of her discussion with Mr Dowden.

She wrote: “Having reached out to the Secretary of State, Oliver Dowden a few weeks ago I was delighted that he agreed to meet me last week. We had a very productive initial meeting and Oliver was very open to working with me in taking the discussion forward.

“I’m looking forward to driving the artist welfare matter ahead with ministers, the extended DCMS team and hopefully some industry leading figures.

“I’ve made it very clear over the last few weeks where I stand and why I am trying to drive change and install some regulation in the industry – I stand by my views that a safer industry will make for a happier and healthier working environment, which in turn will increase productivity.”

She added: “I wont to thank everyone who has been brave enough to share stories with me of their experiences of the industry and why change is needed.

“I also want to thank the people who have been getting behind me, showing their backing and I’ve been really touched by the support that music fans have shown me. Although only the start, we have taken a big first step for making change.”