A coalition of the UK’s largest streaming services and High Street record stores has published a joint vision to further drive an entertainment market which has grown over 40% over the past five years to more than £11bn.

The document, produced by digital entertainment and retail association ERA, has been hammered out over the past six months by companies ranging from Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, HMV and GAME to independent store keepers, some with only one or two employees.


The new vision document argues that the key to further growth lies in technology coupled with the passion for entertainment which characterises the sector.


ERA Chair Ben Drury unveiled the vision document at the organisation’s Annual Conference which took place yesterday (Sept. 13) to an audience of 100 ERA members and representatives of the music, video and games sectors.


Said Drury, “With AI throwing the spotlight on a new generation of technology, it’s time to remind ourselves that new technologies are always a net positive for the entertainment industry. It’s all too easy to forget that streaming, the CD and the vinyl record were new technologies once and many of the concerns being voiced about AI would be familiar to executives of 15, 40 or even 75 years ago. Growth in entertainment is a combination of innovation and the passion we all feel for music and video and games.”


ERA’s new vision statement outlines the five values which drive its work and that of its members – Collaboration, Pragmatism, Fan-focus, Sustainability and Diversity. It defines three principles which shape its work -  Embracing technology and innovation, Choice and Value. And it sets out the sector’s four goals: Efficiency, Transparency, Fairness and Recognition of the crucial role digital services and retailers play.


“The digital entertainment and retail sector is the unsung hero of the entertainment business,” said Drury. “This document will not only drive our work plan of advocacy and service for digital services and retailers but will also help define us to the outside world, including the musicians, actors, directors and games developers who depend on us to make a living.”


Uniquely ERA represents global players like Spotify, Amazon and YouTube, through High Street chains HMV and GAME to hundreds of independents, and many of them contributed to the new mission statement:


Andrew Stewart of Amazon Prime Video said, “People are so familiar with it, that it’s easy to take for granted what our sector has achieved, but 24/7 access to so much entertainment from across the world on any device wherever you are really is nothing short of a miracle.”


Phil Halliday, Managing Director of HMV Retail, said, “Maintaining a High Street presence for entertainment is vital for consumers and for Britain’s creative economy. When it comes to showcasing the best that entertainment can offer, there is no substitute for a physical store.”


Ashli Todd of Spillers, Cardiff, founded in 1894, the world’s oldest record shop, said, “Selling music is like no other job in retail – the goods we sell are the soundtrack to people’s lives. It’s food for the soul.”


Safiya Lambie-Knight, Head of Music and Spotify UK & Ireland, said, “At Spotify we work every day to build the best platform for creators and unlock new possibilities for them to reach their fans around the world.”


Brad Aspess MBE, Chairman and founder of home delivery specialists Rarewaves said, “We sell around 1.8m different product lines across music, video, games and other categories. Technology is at the heart of our business and means that we can offer the widest choice to the consumer. If it is available, we are selling it.”


The latest edition of ERA’s mission, values and principles is an update of previous versions published in 2015 and 2018. It can be downloaded here.

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