Covid and the Welsh Music Industries – Paul Carr |

Stay Music Trade Weblog

On this submit, Professor Paul Carr of the College of South Wales outlines a latest report introduced 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 suggestions, 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 an expert musician for various years previous to transferring into academia. After transferring to Wales in 2003, I rapidly shaped a relationship with The Welsh Music Basis, a now defunct organisation that accomplished a substantial amount of good when it comes to being a central supply of knowledge and recommendation for stakeholders within the Welsh music industries. This relationship finally resulted within the first report I documented on reside music in 2011, which I introduced at two occasions (Kingston and Leeds) in 2012. A recording of the Stay Music Trade session in Leeds could be discovered right here.

This weblog submit is expounded to an intensive report I documented for the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, which was revealed final month on the Stay Music Trade web site. It’s also possible to entry the report, some ultimate 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 direction of the Welsh music industries extra broadly, its principal focus was reside music. This was for 2 causes:

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

Earlier than I concentrate on some ‘submit report’ ideas, I want to say a number of phrases concerning the building of the report and the method of knowledge gathering. The report is break up into six Chapters (together with the introduction and conclusion) cumulating in 14 suggestions, which I define under.

After the Introduction, Chapter 1 outlines the contextual backstory of the emergence of personal and public help for the music industries in Wales for the reason that pandemic commenced, with public help falling into the next classes: music particular (for instance the Grassroots Music Aid Fund managed by Inventive Wales); inventive/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 Revenue Help Scheme (SEISS) for instance). Resulting from many music business stakeholders being ineligible for any of this public funding, this preliminary chapter additionally outlines the pan UK personal sector initiatives instigated by the likes of Assist Musicians UK, the Musicians’ Union and the Affiliation of Impartial Musicians.

Chapter 2 begins by analyzing recommendation given to the music industries by the UK and Welsh Governments regarding roadmaps out of the pandemic, with each famous as being on related 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 brought on concern and at instances confusion, as different nations comparable to Germany, the Republic of Eire, France, Finland and certainly England appeared to have clearer, extra speedy protocols.

In an effort 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 Mission) to tutorial 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 help packages of the Residence Nations, earlier than analyzing accessible help mechanisms in different elements of the world. The chapter highlights the issues of evaluating help in Wales to many different European nations, who’ve a historical past of supplying far larger sums of cash to artists and art-based organisations—which clearly leaves UK venues and different music business stakeholders extra uncovered throughout a pandemic comparable to Covid-19. The chapter additionally highlights among 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 integrated to help and kick begin their respective music industries.

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

Suggestions for Motion

Reopening and Restoration Methods

Advice 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 is going to by no means be doable and what help can be accessible for all of those outcomes. This technique ought to carefully take into account how sub-sectors which might be open for enterprise can maximise revenue, along with contemplating carefully the way it can help the strategically essential elements of the industries which might be closed for public well being causes get again on their toes.

Advice 2: Along with 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 continued influence of Covid- 19 under consideration. This plan ought to have a spread of outcomes and take into account through an motion plan components comparable to the way it can maintain, retain and incubate expertise; how public confidence could be re-established; how the varied elements of the music industries could be supported and invigorated; how lifelike various enterprise fashions could be carried out; how business coaching can meet the wants of the ‘new sector’; and the way the technical infrastructures of venues/rehearsal rooms/recording studios can develop into ‘covid-proof’.

Advice 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 ought to be to confirm how a lot revenue the Welsh music industries generate; how a lot presently stays inside Wales; and what could be accomplished to make sure the nation (i.e music business stakeholders) can retain extra of it.

Advice 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 ought to be recurrently up to date.

Advice 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.

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

Advice 7: For Inventive Wales to think about the viability of not solely selling Welsh expertise, but additionally, following European nations comparable to France, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland, to set the mandatory protocols in place for Welsh music to be prioritised on radio and T.V, working with UK Authorities when obligatory.

Advice 8: As a part of a digital technique, for the Welsh Authorities to discover a web-based ‘tradition at dwelling’ initiative (together with each reside 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 make sure that all households in Wales have entry to quick dependable broadband.


Advice 9: To make sure most people proceed to have entry to a broad vary of reside music, for the Welsh Authorities to work with native councils with a purpose to motion ongoing enterprise price reduction and versatile licensing (for pop up occasions and busking for instance), along with making certain the ‘agent of change’ precept is carried out.

Advice 10: For the Welsh Authorities to think about the viability of adjusting from a ‘blended financial system’ grant funding mannequin, to 1 which depends much less on business revenue.

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


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

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


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

Transient Reflections

Once I take into consideration the four-month strategy of writing the report retrospectively, there have been various challenges. The primary is that that is the one analysis I’ve ever undertaken the place there was nearly no literature after 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 knowledge that emerged because the pandemic progressed, it was irritating to notice that this ‘world’, ‘European’ and UK knowledge didn’t reply one essential 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, most of the suggestions I outlined on this earlier report (such because the significance of ‘mapping’, sympathetic licensing, particular Welsh business knowledge and venues strategically working collectively) have nonetheless to be actioned.

As my analysis progressed, it grew to become obvious that particular Welsh knowledge was important if a) we had 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 recuperate from it. Because the reader can see above, I’ve beneficial that Welsh Authorities motion this problem, however whether or not this occurs stays to be seen. The third problem when writing the report was holding updated with the ever-changing panorama of presidency coverage and understanding the customarily delicate variations between ‘UK’ (which frequently meant English) and Welsh tips. I tried to seize the emergence of Welsh Authorities recommendation and monetary help mechanisms over a 4 month interval and there’s no query that though it is extremely nicely supposed—a lot of the steering is imprecise, open to interpretation and doesn’t supply any clear steering for the sub sector most impacted by the pandemic—Freelancers. This isn’t to criticise Welsh Authorities, as this problem continues to be vital and unprecedented, however as various commentators have famous— Covid-19 considerably magnified data gaps in authorities understandings of particular industries.

I shut this transient weblog submit in anticipation of the longer term, ready to see how Welsh Authorities reply to the recommendation it has been given over the past two years and contemplating how I can personally ‘fill any gaps’ that aren’t actioned. Any enhancements within the reside music industries in Wales would be the results of a joint effort, which incorporates the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee and all of people who gave proof and submitted statements of help—be it the Musicians’ Union, specialists from the industries, or certainly lecturers comparable to myself.

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