UK Music calls time on unpaid internships


UK Music has joined forces with Intern Aware, to launch an Internship Code of Practice for music companies and young people. 

The code will help employers understand their role and duty when hiring an intern, and importantly show them their responsibilities in terms of pay and tenure. The guide also provides potential interns with information about what they can expect when joining a music company, to safeguard them against poor quality and unpaid positions. 

To coincide with the launch, UK Music has conducted research around careers and skills. In the poll, the music industry was perceived as the most open industry in terms of attracting ‘talented people, no matter what the background,’ polling top, over Sport, Film & TV, Banking and Government. 30% of those surveys believed that it was ‘very open.’  Furthermore when those aged 15 – 24 were polled, Music remained the ‘most open’ industry. This research, shows that despite a perception that the music industry is competitive, young people believe that there are career opportunities for them.

The Code of Practice will be launched at an All Party Parliamentary Group meeting, Chaired by John Robertson MP. At this parliamentary event, a panel of industry experts and interns currently employed in music companies will talk about their roles and how their internship is providing vital experience for them to progress with a career in the music industry.

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music said; “Music is one of the UK’s strongest cultural assets, to maintain our standing, we must ensure that our businesses are filled with the most talented people, constantly refreshed from the widest pool of creative talent. Internships are a fantastic way for a young person to get their foot in the door, but we must, attract and retain people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. Diversity is a necessity, not an option.

Our research shows that despite common myths, people perceive music as an open industry. This means we must ensure that music companies offer paid internships to maximise the number of candidates applying to any role.

The policies and advice in this guide will ensure that employers respect every young person for their talent and not their ability to work for free. Adherence to this code will benefit both the employers and the intern.”

Gus Baker Co-Director of Intern Aware said; “Unpaid internships make access to the music industry exclusive and rule out talented young people who can’t afford to work for free.

We are delighted to be supporting UK Music’s fantastic new guidance which will help ensure fair access to the music business.” 


UK Music is the umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers and music licensing organisations. The members of UK Music are: AIM, BASCA, BPI, MMF, MPA, MPG, MU, PPL, PRS for Music and the UK Live Music Group.