Full Sound Diplomacy report into Cardiff’s music sector published

The much-anticipated Sound Diplomacy report into Cardiff's music sector has been published in full today. 

The report makes 12 strategic recommendations which if fully incorporated into Cardiff's Music Strategy could see: 

  • The creation of a major international signature event/festival and artist showcase;
  • The establishment of a Music Board for the city to represent and champion Cardiff as the UK's first Music City;
  • A masterplan for Castle Quarter which highlights its unique position within Cardiff's music scene;
  • The renovation and refurbishment of St David's Hall to create a revitalised National Concert Hall of Wales;
  • The revision of existing licencing policies and introduction of Musician Loading zones at city centre venues;
  • The creation of a Cardiff Music City tourism marketing strategy;

The Sound Diplomacy Music City report, took a year to compile and saw the world-leading consultancy - which helps cities deliver economic growth, investment and cultural development through music - speak with hundreds of people working across Cardiff's music industry. 

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "Music does a number of things for towns and cities. It creates jobs in itself. It creates a reason to be somewhere. It attracts visitors. It provides us with a sense of identity. And we also cannot ignore that music for music's sake is a good thing. 

"We want to become the first city in the UK to incorporate music into its city structure, from planning and licensing to social wellbeing and tourism. Through this we will create vibrant, exciting communities, build our international profile and increase the social and economic value of music in our city. 

"This is a UK first and we believe the results of such an approach will be transformational for Cardiff. It will recognise and support the role that music can play in all aspects of our lives and it fits into our wider ambitions to expand our city's creative and digital sectors. 

"Cardiff is a city of artists, musicians, singers, producers, sound engineers, and of course, music lovers. All part of a wider creative community that is second to none in Britain, and who help make Cardiff one the most creative and inventive cities in the world. We've got talent, we've got venues, we've got spirit and we've got a cultural distinctiveness that sets us apart. Our Music Strategy will look at how we can maximise the economic and social value of music through collaboration." 

President of Sound Diplomacy, Shain Shapiro said:  "I am thrilled that Sound Diplomacy's report is being published today. We have spent many months adding up, measuring and assessing Cardiff's music ecosystem. We have canvassed the opinion of hundreds of people, from music industry professionals, artists, and people in the music education sector, to funders, teachers, venue managers, and music lovers. 

"The recommendations that have been taken from these conversations and the city's dedicated sector are geared at incorporating music across Cardiff's greater policy infrastructure, in a way so it celebrates what's there, but works to create lasting solutions to the challenges the city faces." 

Cllr Thomas added: "Sound Diplomacy recommend setting up a Music Board which will drive the Music City agenda forward. Our job at the council will be to act as the roadie in this situation - to make sure everything is in place for the artists to deliver their best. We want to ensure the creative forces in the city are given the best opportunity to express themselves and to help deliver on this vision of making Cardiff a world leader in the music cities movement." 

"There are many challenges for grassroots music venues to survive and thrive, often challenges out of the control of local government. But these challenges will not prevent us in Cardiff from doing all we can to support the sector and help create the right conditions for music in our city to flourish. It requires us to work with the sector, to identify how we can collectively support our ambitions for live music. 

"We want to bring forward a strategy which will see Cardiff establish itself as a leader in urban development that uses music as a tool for growth rather than a by-product of it." 

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Peter Bradbury said:  "Cardiff has music in its soul and the recommendations brought to the table by Sound Diplomacy provide us with a strong basis on which to develop a Music Strategy that will help grow the city's already successful music sector.  

"Cardiff is already one of the UK's creative powerhouses - our creative sector employs around 15,000 people and generates over £1 billion of value for the local economy - but the UK's live music sector, and the number of jobs it supports, is growing.  Recent figures show that in Wales, music tourism sustains 47,445 jobs and a £115 million annual spend on concerts and festivals - that represents a real opportunity for our music sector and for the wider city economy." 

The report reveals a host of interesting statistics and figures about the current state of the music sector in the city. Among those are: 

  • The music sector is worth £104m a year to Cardiff's economy
  • There are 1,440 jobs directly generated by the music sector in Cardiff
  • 840 of those jobs are full time and 600 are part time
  • The average annual income of artists and creative agents is £18k
  • Technical and management music sector workers earn on average £27,500 a year
  • The total number of jobs generated and supported by the music sector in Cardiff is 2,494
  • Cardiff has a similar number of people working in the music sector as Bristol and Liverpool, but the city creates 4.3 jobs per 1,000 residents versus 2.7 in Bristol and Liverpool.

Cllr Bradbury continued, "From local pubs and community venues to concert halls and major stadiums, the city's music ecosystem is already thriving, but the challenge clearly laid out in the Sound Diplomacy report, is for us to ensure that our wider approach to city development is aligned with the needs of the music industry, so that music can support the city's economy, and the city can support its musicians and music professionals.

"There is clearly much work to be done and I will be discussing the full report with my Cabinet colleagues in the near future and progressing with the potential establishment of a Music Board to help make Cardiff a genuine music city."  

A Cardiff Council Cabinet report, which will be discussed at a meeting next Thursday (18thApril), sets out a series of next steps in light of the Sound Diplomacy report. 

If the recommendations in the Cabinet report are agreed, work will begin to develop plans for a city Music Board, including proposed terms of reference and resourcing options.  A Music Strategy work programme will also be put in place to provide detailed responses to the recommendations in the Sound Diplomacy report.  

Click here to see the Cabinet meeting agenda, with links to the full report.