Covid and the Welsh Music Industries – Paul Carr |






Stay Music Alternate Weblog

On this submit, Professor Paul Carr of the College of South Wales outlines a current report offered to the Welsh Authorities’s Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee on the impression 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 an expert musician for various years previous to shifting into academia. After shifting to Wales in 2003, I shortly shaped a relationship with The Welsh Music Basis, a now defunct organisation that accomplished 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 stay music in 2011, which I offered at two occasions (Kingston and Leeds) in 2012. A recording of the Stay Music Alternate session in Leeds may be discovered right here.

This weblog submit is said to an in depth report I documented for the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, which was revealed final month on the Stay Music Alternate web site. You can too entry the report, some closing reflections and watch the proof session I gave to the Tradition, Welsh Language and Communications Committee by way of this hyperlink.

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

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

Earlier than I give attention to some ‘submit report’ ideas, I wish to say just a few phrases in regards to the building 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 help for the music industries in Wales because the pandemic commenced, with public help falling into the next classes: music particular (for instance the Grassroots Music Reduction 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 (by way of the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) or the Self-Employment Revenue Assist Scheme (SEISS) for instance). On account of many music trade 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 induced 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 fast protocols.

With a view to present additional context on the impression of the pandemic on the Welsh music industries, Chapter 3 focuses on present analysis, starting from UK primarily based trade surveys (together with the evaluation of a undertaking 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 Evaluate to Different Nations’, Chapter 4 initially compares the help packages of the Dwelling 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 trade stakeholders extra uncovered throughout a pandemic corresponding to Covid-19. The chapter additionally highlights among the issues with evaluating ‘like for like’, with many funding packages elsewhere on this planet not being clear how music is included. The chapter concludes with an summary of initiatives from nations around the globe, 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 recommendations to Welsh Authorities. These may 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 is just not attainable but; what’s going to by no means be attainable and what help will probably be accessible for all of those outcomes. This technique ought to carefully contemplate how sub-sectors which can be open for enterprise can maximise earnings, along with contemplating carefully the way it can help the strategically vital elements of the industries which can be closed for public well being causes get again on their ft.

Advice 2: At the side of 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 impression of Covid- 19 into consideration. This plan ought to have a variety of outcomes and contemplate by way of an motion plan components corresponding to the way it can maintain, retain and incubate expertise; how public confidence may be re-established; how the assorted elements of the music industries may be supported and invigorated; how real looking various enterprise fashions may be carried out; how trade 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’.

Advice 3: For the Welsh Authorities to fee detailed analysis into the function music performs within the Welsh economic system and the impression of Covid-19 on its sub-sectors. Along with outlining the monetary, societal and cultural contribution of the music industries varied sub-sectors, the analysis ought to establish gaps within the ‘expertise pipeline’ that exist because of sub-sectors closing. The overarching goal of this work must be to confirm how a lot earnings the Welsh music industries generate; how a lot presently stays inside Wales; and what may be accomplished to make sure the nation (i.e music trade 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 varieties all through the nation and the way these resonate domestically, nationally, globally and ecologically. This map and database must be frequently 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 evaluation 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 in addition, following European nations corresponding 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 mandatory.

Advice 8: As a part of a digital technique, for the Welsh Authorities to discover a web-based ‘tradition at house’ initiative (together with each stay and recorded work), which not solely showcases Welsh music alongside different artwork and tradition, but in addition 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 stay music, for the Welsh Authorities to work with native councils so as to motion ongoing enterprise fee aid and versatile licensing (for pop up occasions and busking for instance), along with guaranteeing the ‘agent of change’ precept is carried out.

Advice 10: For the Welsh Authorities to think about the viability of fixing from a ‘combined economic system’ grant funding mannequin, to 1 which depends much less on industrial earnings.

Advice 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’).


Advice 12: For the Welsh Authorities to make sure that the assorted abilities required within the ‘new music industries’, are mirrored in class, faculty, college and personal trade 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 artistic job market continues to be decimated because of the pandemic.


Advice 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 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 trade knowledge that emerged because the pandemic progressed, it was irritating to notice that this ‘world’, ‘European’ and UK knowledge 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 have been 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 trade knowledge and venues strategically working collectively) have nonetheless to be actioned.

As my analysis progressed, it turned obvious that particular Welsh knowledge was important if a) we have been to know the impression 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 preserving updated with the ever-changing panorama of presidency coverage and understanding the usually delicate variations between ‘UK’ (which regularly 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 effectively meant—a lot of the steerage is imprecise, 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 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 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 stay 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, consultants from the industries, or certainly lecturers corresponding to myself.

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