A major report published on 12 April 2019 has set out a blueprint for Cardiff's future as a music city. 

The much-anticipated Sound Diplomacy report into Cardiff's music sector took a year to compile and makes 12 strategic recommendations which, if fully incorporated into Cardiff's Music Strategy, could see: 

  • The creation of a major international signature event/festival and artist showcase;
  • The establishment of a Music Board for the city to represent and champion Cardiff as the UK's first Music City;
  • A masterplan for Castle Quarter which highlights its unique position within Cardiff's music scene;
  • The renovation and refurbishment of St David's Hall to create a revitalised National Concert Hall of Wales;
  • The revision of existing licencing policies and introduction of Musician Loading zones at city centre venues;
  • The creation of a Cardiff Music City tourism marketing strategy.

Cardiff is the fastest-growing city in the UK and is looking to establish itself as a leader as a Music City, a standard of urban development which champions and promotes music as a tool for growth.

Plans were initially launched in December 2017 and this is the latest stage of the plan. The Music City report saw the world-leading consultancy Sound Diplomacy - which helps cities deliver economic growth, investment and cultural development through music - speak with hundreds of people working across Cardiff's music industry on it's biggest project yet.

These discussions were made up of a series of roundtables, interviews and an industry survey - all providing information from those working in or alongside the music industry and eventually informing the 12 strategic recommendations outlined in the final report. The report aims to protect Cardiff's music scene and nurture its individuality and growth for the forseeable future. 

Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said:

Music does a number of things for towns and cities. It creates jobs in itself. It creates a reason to be somewhere. It attracts visitors. It provides us with a sense of identity. And we also cannot ignore that music for music's sake is a good thing. 

We want to become the first city in the UK to incorporate music into its city structure, from planning and licensing to social wellbeing and tourism. Through this we will create vibrant, exciting communities, build our international profile and increase the social and economic value of music in our city. 

The report reveals a host of interesting statistics and figures about the current state of the music sector in the city. 

The music sector is worth £104m a year to Cardiff's economy and through it 1,440 jobs are directly generated; 840 of those jobs are full time and 600 are part time; the average annual income of artists and creative agents is £18k; technical and management music sector workers earn on average £27,500 a year and the total number of jobs generated and supported by the music sector in Cardiff is 2,494. Cardiff has a similar number of people working in the music sector as Bristol and Liverpool, but the city creates 4.3 jobs per 1,000 residents versus 2.7 in Bristol and Liverpool. 

President of Sound Diplomacy, Shain Shapiro said: 

I am thrilled that Sound Diplomacy's report is being published today. We have spent many months adding up, measuring and assessing Cardiff's music ecosystem. We have canvassed the opinion of hundreds of people, from music industry professionals, artists, and people in the music education sector, to funders, teachers, venue managers, and music lovers. 

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Peter Bradbury said: "Cardiff is already one of the UK's creative powerhouses - our creative sector employs around 15,000 people and generates over £1 billion of value for the local economy - but the UK's live music sector, and the number of jobs it supports, is growing. Recent figures show that in Wales, music tourism sustains 47,445 jobs and a £115 million annual spend on concerts and festivals - that represents a real opportunity for our music sector and for the wider city economy."

A Cardiff Council Cabinet report, which was discussed yesterday, sets out a series of next steps in light of the Sound Diplomacy report. If the recommendations in the Cabinet report are agreed, work will begin to develop plans for a city Music Board, including proposed terms of reference and resourcing options. A Music Strategy work programme will also be put in place to provide detailed responses to the recommendations in the Sound Diplomacy report. 

Read more about this new report here. 

Click here to see the Cabinet meeting agenda on Thursday 25 April with links to the full report.

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