How can we strengthen Liverpool’s City of Music status?
Liverpool City Council has brought together key music industry figures to shape a music strategy which makes the most of its UNESCO City of Music status.
External sector experts have used ground-breaking analysis to get an understanding of the scale and significance of the music sector, which includes live music events, production services, recording studios and music publishing – which generates more than £100m turnover annually.
BOP Consulting – a creative industry leader – has researched Liverpool’s music scene, and found that:
- There are approximately 341 music venues across the city region
- The region’s music sector supports 2,360 jobs
- There is a live music audience of 937,000 per annum – made up of 520,000 local visitors and the remainder from the rest of the UK and overseas
- Live music is a significant part of the City Region’s music economy – live music accounts for 44% of music sector turnover in Liverpool, as opposed to an average of 23% for the UK
They went on to make a number of recommendations which will be discussed at a special meeting hosted by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, which is to take place in March.
These recommendations include:
- The creation of a Liverpool City of Music Board to develop an overview of the music industry and develop a strategy for investment and development.
- The establishment a Liverpool Music Office which creates a single point of entry for the music sector, based on the successful Liverpool Film Office.
- To engage with Apple Corps in a partnership relating to the heritage of The Beatles, including securing an agreement to use Beatles-related materials to optimise and build on the existing visitor offer in the city.
When analysing Liverpool, BOP found the city has a vibrant live music scene with extensive heritage, the low cost of business premises makes the city an attractive option and there is a strong music-related offer at city universities.
In terms of weaknesses, the research found the region is not seen as an industry hub, homegrown talent leaves for London and overall the music scene is fragmented with no leading sector voice, a lack of diversity in programing and there are significant commercial pressures on venues.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Liverpool’s rich music history is undeniable and draws millions of visitors to the city annually – whether it’s people experiencing our Fab Four attractions, taking in the enviable talent of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra or enjoying the gigs or music festivals which dominate our cultural calendar.
“When it comes to other UK cities, we stand out, and our UNESCO City of Music title is an acknowledgement of that. However we want to make the most of this sector and get an accurate picture of today’s music scene and understand what we can put in place to ensure it reaches its potential.
“This is the first time a report of this scale and detail has been undertaken, and working in partnership with creative experts is a significant step to achieving a city region-wide strategy which will invest and enhance all aspects of our music sector.
“Working with Steve will ensure this infiltrates across Merseyside and together we can build on the incredible legacy already in place to ensure Liverpool, and the wider region, remains a key player in the music industry – nationally and internationally.”
City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We are generally very good at celebrating our musical heritage, but this is about recognising and exploiting the full potential of an important and flourishing economic sector. The city region continues to develop outstanding and innovative musical talent, but we have to develop the infrastructure that enables us to support our musicians, develop the sector and exploit its appeal to global visitors.
“It’s another area where we can grow our economy and build our international reputation by focusing on something where we have a unique and exceptional offer.”
UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher said: “UK Music welcomes this report and the positive determination of Mayor Joe Anderson and Liverpool City Council to support the local music scene which brings so much enjoyment to so many people from the city and indeed from across the world, and one which makes a significant contribution to the Liverpool economy. Liverpool truly is a world music city and the findings of this report will help inform an important ongoing discussion about how the music industry in Liverpool and the wider City Region can best be protected, supported and strengthened in the future.”
BOP consulted widely within Liverpool and engaged national music organisations, including UK Music, Music Venue Trust and the PRS Foundation. They were supported by an industry advisory group with representation from all parts of the music sector. These included Ad-Lib, Sound City, Constellations, Sentric Music, Parr Street Studios, Bido Lito!, British Music Experience, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, University of Liverpool and Nothin’ But The Music.
The ‘next steps’ meeting to look at the recommendations will coincide with the launch of UK Music’s “Wish You Were Here” report on the contribution of music tourism to the economy of Liverpool City Region which will take place in the near future.