Friday, March 1, 2024

Covid and the Welsh Music Industries – Paul Carr |

Reside Music Change Weblog


On this publish, Professor Paul Carr of the College of South Wales outlines a latest report offered to the Welsh Authorities’s Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee on the influence of Covid-19 on the Welsh music industries. Right here, he summarises key findings and proposals, and displays on the method of conducting the analysis.

I’ve lengthy had an curiosity within the relationships between authorities coverage and the music industries, having been knowledgeable musician for quite a few years previous to transferring into academia. After transferring to Wales in 2003, I shortly shaped a relationship with The Welsh Music Basis, a now defunct organisation that achieved quite a lot of good when it comes to being a central supply of data and recommendation for stakeholders within the Welsh music industries. This relationship finally resulted within the first report I documented on dwell music in 2011, which I offered at two occasions (Kingston and Leeds) in 2012. A recording of the Reside Music Change session in Leeds could be discovered right here.

This weblog publish is said to an in depth report I documented for the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, which was revealed final month on the Reside Music Change web site. You may as well entry the report, some closing reflections and watch the proof session I gave to the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee through this hyperlink.

Though the report was focused in the direction of the Welsh music industries extra broadly, its principal focus was dwell music. This was for 2 causes:

  1. The Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee had already been focusing its considerations on dwell music previous to the pandemic. This was clearly interrupted, and my proof session was the final of the collection of proof investigations.
  1. All consultants agree that dwell music is the sub-sector that has been most impacted by the pandemic – that is mentioned at size in my report.

Earlier than I deal with some ‘publish report’ ideas, I wish to say a couple of phrases in regards to the development of the report and the method of data gathering. The report is cut up into six Chapters (together with the introduction and conclusion) cumulating in 14 suggestions, which I define beneath.

After the Introduction, Chapter 1 outlines the contextual backstory of the emergence of personal and public assist for the music industries in Wales for the reason that pandemic commenced, with public assist falling into the next classes: music particular (for instance the Grassroots Music Aid Fund managed by Inventive Wales); artistic/performing arts sector particular (for instance the £53 million ‘Cultural Restoration Fund’ allotted in July to the humanities and tradition sector as a part of the £59 million allotted to Wales by the UK authorities); and pan UK/pan sector (through the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) or the Self-Employment Earnings Assist Scheme (SEISS) for instance). Because of many music business stakeholders being ineligible for any of this public funding, this preliminary chapter additionally outlines the pan UK non-public sector initiatives instigated by the likes of Assist Musicians UK, the Musicians’ Union and the Affiliation of Impartial Musicians.

Chapter 2 begins by inspecting recommendation given to the music industries by the UK and Welsh Governments regarding roadmaps out of the pandemic, with each famous as being on comparable trajectories, though implementing distinct methodological approaches. Because the pandemic progressed, these distinct approaches have resulted in Welsh efficiency venues nonetheless not being open for enterprise, which prompted concern and at instances confusion, as different nations corresponding to Germany, the Republic of Eire, France, Finland and certainly England appeared to have clearer, extra speedy protocols.

With a view to present additional context on the influence of the pandemic on the Welsh music industries, Chapter 3 focuses on present analysis, starting from UK primarily based business surveys (together with the evaluation of a venture instigated by the Forté Challenge) to educational analysis, together with journal articles, analysis tasks, symposia and extra casual ‘thought items’.

Entitled ‘What Wales Can Study and How Does it Examine to Different Nations’, Chapter 4 initially compares the assist packages of the Dwelling Nations, earlier than inspecting accessible assist mechanisms in different components of the world. The chapter highlights the issues of evaluating assist in Wales to many different European nations, who’ve a historical past of supplying far better sums of cash to artists and art-based organisations—which clearly leaves UK venues and different music business stakeholders extra uncovered throughout a pandemic corresponding to Covid-19. The chapter additionally highlights a number of the issues with evaluating ‘like for like’, with many funding packages elsewhere on the planet not being clear how music is included. The chapter concludes with an summary of initiatives from nations all over the world, which have been included to assist and kick begin their respective music industries.

The report concludes by contemplating the next suggestions for the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee to contemplate, prior to creating solutions to Welsh Authorities. These could be outlined as follows.

Suggestions for Motion

Reopening and Restoration Methods

Suggestion 1: For the Welsh Authorities to develop an in depth and clear short-term reopening technique for the Welsh music industries, which outlines what is feasible now; what isn’t doable but; what’s going to by no means be doable and what assist might be accessible for all of those outcomes. This technique ought to carefully take into account how sub-sectors which are open for enterprise can maximise earnings, along with contemplating carefully the way it can assist the strategically vital components of the industries which are closed for public well being causes get again on their toes.

Suggestion 2: Along side related experience from the music industries, the college sector and the Arts Council of Wales, for the Welsh Authorities to develop a long- time period three-year music industries restoration technique, which takes the continuing influence of Covid- 19 under consideration. This plan ought to have a spread of outcomes and take into account through an motion plan components corresponding to the way it can maintain, retain and incubate expertise; how public confidence could be re-established; how the assorted components of the music industries could be supported and invigorated; how reasonable different enterprise fashions could be applied; how business coaching can meet the wants of the ‘new sector’; and the way the technical infrastructures of venues/rehearsal rooms/recording studios can change into ‘covid-proof’.

Suggestion 3: For the Welsh Authorities to fee detailed analysis into the position music performs within the Welsh financial system and the influence of Covid-19 on its sub-sectors. Along with outlining the monetary, societal and cultural contribution of the music industries numerous sub-sectors, the analysis ought to establish gaps within the ‘expertise pipeline’ that exist on account of sub-sectors closing. The overarching goal of this work needs to be to confirm how a lot earnings the Welsh music industries generate; how a lot at the moment stays inside Wales; and what could be achieved to make sure the nation (i.e music business stakeholders) can retain extra of it.

Suggestion 4: For the Welsh Authorities to construct on the venue mapping analysis that has already taken place, by financing a searchable public going through database of the Welsh music industries and an interactive map of its music venues, which outlines venue sorts all through the nation and the way these resonate domestically, nationally, globally and ecologically. This map and database needs to be frequently up to date.

Suggestion 5: For Inventive Wales to develop and agree upon a complete Taxonomy of the music industries in Wales, to make sure all related sub-sectors are supported and represented.

Suggestion 6: For Inventive Wales to assessment its membership to make sure it displays related experience associated to the aforementioned taxonomy.

Suggestion 7: For Inventive Wales to contemplate the viability of not solely selling Welsh expertise, but additionally, following European nations corresponding to France, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland, to set the required protocols in place for Welsh music to be prioritised on radio and T.V, working with UK Authorities when needed.

Suggestion 8: As a part of a digital technique, for the Welsh Authorities to discover an internet ‘tradition at house’ initiative (together with each dwell and recorded work), which not solely showcases Welsh music alongside different artwork and tradition, but additionally encourages and funds digital capability and creativity. This digital technique ought to be sure that all households in Wales have entry to quick dependable broadband.


Suggestion 9: To make sure most of the people proceed to have entry to a broad vary of dwell music, for the Welsh Authorities to work with native councils with a purpose to motion ongoing enterprise charge aid and versatile licensing (for pop up occasions and busking for instance), along with guaranteeing the ‘agent of change’ precept is applied.

Suggestion 10: For the Welsh Authorities to contemplate the viability of adjusting from a ‘combined financial system’ grant funding mannequin, to at least one which depends much less on industrial earnings.

Suggestion 11: For the Welsh Authorities to work with the UK Authorities departments corresponding to DCMS to cut back the ‘worth hole’ for Welsh artists (the hole between a music creator’s earnings and the fee of ‘tech giants’).


Suggestion 12: For the Welsh Authorities to make sure that the assorted expertise required within the ‘new music industries’, are mirrored in class, school, college and personal business curriculums.

Suggestion 13: For the Welsh Authorities to start to contemplate and plan for the potential of a psychological well being disaster within the music industries, because the artistic job market continues to be decimated on account of the pandemic.


Suggestion 14: For the Welsh Authorities to work with Arts Council Wales to make sure funding is on the market equitably throughout the music industries, and that the grant software course of is demystified, reaching deep into the assorted networks of the music industries.

Transient Reflections

Once I take into consideration the four-month means of writing the report retrospectively, there have been quite a few challenges. The primary is that that is the one analysis I’ve ever undertaken the place there was just about no literature once I began—though it was gratifying to see it slowly emerge as I progressed. I tried to seize this rising work within the report. Secondly, though I used to be grateful for the business information that emerged because the pandemic progressed, it was irritating to notice that this ‘world’, ‘European’ and UK information didn’t reply one vital query—how does this relate to Wales? As I outlined within the aforementioned report I documented for the Welsh Music Basis in 2011, the Welsh music industries have a definite set of challenges, which were round for a few years. Certainly, lots of the suggestions I outlined on this earlier report (such because the significance of ‘mapping’, sympathetic licensing, particular Welsh business information and venues strategically working collectively) have nonetheless to be actioned.

As my analysis progressed, it turned obvious that particular Welsh information was important if a) we have been to grasp the influence of the pandemic on the nation, and b) are capable of formulate an in depth consideration of how the nation can get better from it. Because the reader can see above, I’ve advisable that Welsh Authorities motion this problem, however whether or not this occurs stays to be seen. The third problem when writing the report was maintaining updated with the ever-changing panorama of presidency coverage and understanding the customarily delicate variations between ‘UK’ (which regularly meant English) and Welsh tips. I tried to seize the emergence of Welsh Authorities recommendation and monetary assist mechanisms over a 4 month interval and there’s no query that though it is extremely effectively supposed—a lot of the steerage is obscure, open to interpretation and doesn’t provide any clear steerage for the sub sector most impacted by the pandemic—Freelancers. This isn’t to criticise Welsh Authorities, as this problem continues to be important and unprecedented, however as quite a few commentators have famous— Covid-19 considerably magnified data gaps in authorities understandings of particular industries.

I shut this temporary weblog publish in anticipation of the long run, ready to see how Welsh Authorities reply to the recommendation it has been given during the last two years and contemplating how I can personally ‘fill any gaps’ that aren’t actioned. Any enhancements within the dwell music industries in Wales would be the results of a joint effort, which incorporates the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee and all of those who gave proof and submitted statements of assist—be it the Musicians’ Union, consultants from the industries, or certainly lecturers corresponding to myself.

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