Live Music Industry in Wales
A Snapshot of Findings Thus Far
• All data confirms that the UK music industry has experienced
a infrastructural shift over the last 20 years, with live music
now being regarded not as a publicity vehicle for CD sales, but
a significant means of making money.
• Data from Will Page (PRS Chief Economist) recently indicated
that UK live music consumer spend revenues had increased
9.4%, to 1.5 bn in 2009.
• Wales constitutes 4% of this total – £60 000 000
• A lot of money - BUT
• Scotland = 11% of total - £165 000 000
• Even taking into account population differences – Scotland is
generating more money, and more effectively keeping it
within the country.
• Report by the Arts Council of Wales (2005) indicates that
Popular Music (which it describes as ‘Other’) is by far the
most ‘visited’ form of musical event, with 39% of the
sample going to at least one gig a year.
• This compares to 13% for Classical concerts, 7% for Opera,
and 11% for ‘Folk, Traditional and World Music’.
• Despite these ‘positives’, funding for Popular Music is not
• Additionally, The Publican reveals that UK pub closures
peaked at 52 per week in the first half of 2009, with a total
of 2,365 closures by the end of that year.
• This is in addition to some dedicated venues closing. For
example in South Wales, TJ’s, The Point and Barfly.
• Online Questionnaires
• Case study type interviews
• Steering group meetings
• Forum meetings
• Review meetings
Some Perceived Strengths
• Some Great Music!
• Some excellent venues.
• Some good infrastructural and business
support mechanisms in place.
• A track record of successful artists.
• A strong identity.
Some Perceived Weaknesses
• Wales as a whole has a limited array of
specialist music venues, in particular outside
• The tendency for Wales to be regarded as a
‘region’ as opposed to a nation.
• A lack of retention of IP within Welsh borders.
• A perceived lack of support for Popular Music
by The Arts Council Of Wales.
Some Perceived Opportunities
• The development of similar Music Festivals such as SWN in
key centres of Wales.
• To Work in partnership with WMF, local councils and the
Major Events Unit to encourage more people take on the
challenge of live music promotion.
• To explore the means through which it is possible to
empower musicians to take advantage of the ‘micro loans’
outlined in Hargreaves Report recommendations.
• The construction of an body similar to DF Concerts in
Scotland (with WAG support) to ensure –
• Industry skills are passed down
• Finance stays in Wales
• Career aspirations are realised.
Some Perceived Threats
• The lack of dedicated music venues in mid Wales.
• Various parts of Wales may suffer from close proximity to
English towns such as Bristol, London and Liverpool.
• Some participants interviewed give the impression that they
have reached a plateau in their career, after which they
consider changing occupation or moving out of Wales.
• Differences in local governmental infrastructures to
encourage ‘night time economies’?
• The practice of buying in technical skills for events such as Hay
and Greenman Festivals.
• The shortfall in technical skills forecast by Creative and
Cultural Skills (CCS)
• Depending on Area -The 2003 Licensing Act??????
1) Working Together
• 93% of the sample believed they were already
working ‘closely’ with colleagues in related
professions of the music industry.
• 63% of the sample believed a ‘minimum
standards scheme’ for live venues would increase
• 71.6% of the sample believed they were working
closely with sub sectors outside of Wales, with
88.9% of the remainder stating they would like
2) Inward Investment
• Online questionnaire suggests councils could –
• Allocate dedicated subsidised space for
• Provide access to funding for venue
improvement and training
• Opportunities to take advantage of
Hargreaves Report and Major Event Strategy.
3) Training Provision Needs
• Generally looked at positively in
Questionnaire, many people prepared to pay
at least part of fees.
• 72.1% of the responses indicated that they would be
interested in training provision in the future, with the
preference being for one off workshops that focus on
specific areas of the live music industry.
• Very good interest in ‘Accreditation for Prior
4) Sales and Marketing
• 59.6% of promoters attempt to sell advance tickets for their
• Achieved by various means –
• Bigcartell, Wegottickets, Ticketmaster, Seetickets,
Ticketline, Ticketweb, Fatsoma, Catapult, Live Nation, direct
mail, social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter
• Only 41.7% of responses highlighted that they had a means
of evaluating the marketing techniques they employed.
• 51% of venues seen to provide Ticket Counts.
• Everyone mentions slow ticket sales!
• Complicated ongoing issues with many touring bands not
touring or even performing in Wales.
5) Welsh Language Issues
• A number of ‘themes’ have emerged so far, including
• The Welsh Language scene requires entrepreneurs
who are prepared to promote.
• Issues associated with young Welsh speaking artists
sometimes getting media coverage too early.
• Issues associated with the size of venues associated
with the Welsh speaking music scene.
• Money to fund Welsh Speaking music to non Welsh
6) Examples of Good
Practice - Venues
• 64.3% agreed with the policy that venues and promoters should
implement a practice of no ‘pay to play’
• 70% - all venues should be PRS licensed
• 63% - Venues should provide ear protectors
• 74% - Venues should have explicit contracts
• 81% - Venues should provide a professional quality backline
• 67% - Venues should monitor volume levels
• 85% - Venues should have set wage structures
• 61% -Agreed with the development of a Kite Mark scheme.
• Code of conduct suggestions:
• Band’s not accepting more than one gig in the same area within a
set time frame.
• General professionalism.