Rising Star is our monthly column in which we meet the industry’s brightest new talents. Here, Hannah McLennan, Parliamentary and research manager, UK Music, talks us through her industry journey so far...
You previously worked as a civil Servant. What made you move to the music industry?
“I joined UK Music in 2021, just as things were reopening after the pandemic. Like a lot of people, I’d really missed going to gigs and festivals and music was something that really got me through lockdown. I have a degree in politics and I joined the Civil Service straight out of university, so I thought any hope of joining the music industry was a bit of a lost cause, but when I saw the job advert [for UK Music], I knew I had to apply. My friends are still baffled at how I found a job combining the two things I’ve been going on about since I was a teenager – music and politics!”
UK Music works across a range of sectors. What does your work entail and how essential is UK Music in bringing disparate areas of the industry together?
“UK Music is a trade body with 10 organisations in our membership, which is how we’re able to bring things together and prioritise important areas. My work mainly involves taking issues or policy ideas to government and policymakers, working on topics like protecting copyright, intellectual property legislation and improving access to education. In 2022, I worked on our Power Of Music report, and in October we’re launching our manifesto, which summarises the business’ asks to all political parties ahead of a general election. It’s important that the industry has a cohesive voice so we can get the best support available.”
UK Music recently published a report on music tourism, and you are a project lead in this area. What benefits did the report explore?
“The report outlined the economic benefits of music tourism, and writing it was such a joyful process because it was so inspiring to hear about the work going on all over the UK, from music walking tours to sustainability and accessibility initiatives. The report also concludes with a guide for local and regional governments to turn their towns and cities into music powerhouses.”
You also play a leading role in UK Music’s sustainability work. What does this involve and how can the industry become more sustainable?
“The current priority is linking the work happening across the sector with government. With sustainability, I think creative solutions are where we’re headed. EarthPercent and Brian Eno’s initiative to include the Earth as a credited songwriter – so a portion of royalties go towards environmental activism – is such a clever way to think of sustainability and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of that. If not, there will be a lot of damage. There’s evidence that young people are more concerned about the planet than other generations, which means they’re pursuing climate-positive careers. Unless the industry finds ways to offer this to those starting out, we’re going to be losing phenomenal talent.”
Finally, what are your ambitions for the future?
“I love the work I do on sustainability and last year I started a part-time masters degree on the topic. I also recently joined the charity Attitude Is Everything as a shadow trustee, it’s so exciting to be given this opportunity at an early stage in my career and is something I’d recommend other people look into. Equal access and diversity is another part of the industry I’m keen to stay involved with in the future.”
PHOTO: Jacqui McSweeney