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Manchester music scene contributes £169m to UK economy

Greater Manchester Combined Authority will now work with UK Music and the music industry to take forward recommendations that will support, strengthen and grow Greater Manchester’s music scene even further in the future

UK Music has released figures of its review into music in Greater Manchester, and they reveal how important the city-region’s thriving music scene is to the UK economy and the city’s international reputation.

The music created in Manchester over the last two centuries, from The Hallé Orchestra, established in 1858, to the ‘Madchester’ era, has been very influential. 

 This and many other findings are included in an independent report from UK Music, the umbrella body for the country’s commercial music industry.

In summer 2018, UK Music was commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority to produce an independent review of the music sector across the city, understanding the successes and challenges for both artists and music audiences.

In 2017, its live music audience accounted for 1.9 million attendees, generating £169 million in music tourism for the region, with its music tourists representing 5.4 per cent of all music tourists nationally.

The independent review was co-chaired by BPI and Brits chair (and former Sony Music CEO), Ged Doherty, crisis management director, Karen Boardman, and Inspiral Carpets legend, Martyn Walsh.

The report made 10 key recommendations for Manchester to grow and strengthen its music sector. These recommendations have been informed by extensive consultation including three roundtables involving key music representatives from across the city, as well as two public surveys:

1. Setting up a new music board

2. Establishing a Talent Pipeline Fund

3. Establishing a global music city-region

4. Protecting grassroots venues through Agent of Change

5. Incentivise businesses with discounted rates

6. Coordinate music education services

7. Opportunities for emerging artists

8. Inclusive networking

9. Reaching out to every corner of the city-region

10. Integrating transport

 Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We need to recognise that the music industry has changed since 1989. It is quite a lot harder now than it was then for new talent to get noticed and to break through. Gone are the days of watching Granada Reports on a Friday evening and hearing Tony Wilson, having finished reading the headlines, say: ‘And, to play us out, here’s Northside'”.

“We need to find new ways of doing the same and giving today’s Mancunian talent a stage and spotlight in which to shine. It was this impulse which led me to ask UK Music to undertake an independent review of our music scene across Greater Manchester. It was time to take an honest look at ourselves.

 “This review has helped us to understand our strengths, what works well for our artists and audiences; but also to be aware of our weaknesses and what more we can do to stay ahead of the game and make Greater Manchester an even better place to make and enjoy music.”

 UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said: “No one knows better than Andy Burnham just how critical music is to the economy and the cultural fabric of Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester is known throughout the world for its rich music heritage, but this UK Music report, which reveals music generates £169 million for the local economy, is all about the future. It’s about how we build on that proud past and how we can use music as a tool to help grow the city region economy, create more jobs and attract investment and visitors here. 

 “UK Music is delighted to have worked with Mayor Andy Burnham and the co-chairs of this important review – Karen Boardman from crisis management, Ged Doherty, chair of BPI and Martyn Walsh from Inspiral Carpets. Informed by extensive consultation with the Greater Manchester music industry and music fans, including two public surveys and three roundtable meetings in Central Manchester, Stockport and Wigan, our review and its key recommendation to establish a music board will ensure greater co-ordination and connectivity across the region’s music scene.

 “Our objective is to grow the region’s diverse music scene and boost the talent pipeline by protecting grassroots venues, improving transport links to boost the night time economy, expanding the number of rehearsal spaces and increasing opportunities for young people from every background to access music. We look forward to continuing to work with Andy on the next steps to ensure Greater Manchester position as a global music city region is fully realised.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority will now work with UK Music, and the music industry to take forward the recommendations that will support, strengthen and grow Greater Manchester’s music scene, for both artists, and audiences, so that the city-region can continue to be the UK’s musical powerhouse.

We’ve conducted an exclusive interview with UK Music CEO Michael Dugher on the state of UK grassroots venues at this point in time, which will be out in the July/August issue of the mag. Keep your eyes peeled.