For today’s post, I shall be exploring and analysing UK Music’s Wish You Were Here (2016) document, which aims to highlight the contribution of live music and music tourism to the UK economy. It is the third edition of the report, which was first published in 2013. It is interesting to note that UK Music is an umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry, from the artists to the labels, and one of its key members is the Live Music Group. Considering this report focuses heavily on live music’s contribution to the UK’s economical structure, acknowledging its authors ties to a pro-live music organisation holds weight in understanding why this report has been published above its statement to highlight the contribution of live music.
Whilst Wish You Were Here doesn’t outline a particular policy, it instead argues its case through its various speakers for its use in music policy making: “Wish You Were Here provides evidence of jobs, of revenue, tourism and trade. Wish You Were Here offers solid proof of the value of music. Please use this report. Use it over and over again when making the case for music policy in every part of the UK” (Dipple, 2016). By utilising a wealth of statistics, and presenting them as facts, from the very opening pages of the report, UK Music blind you somewhat by the healthy figures – such as the total concert attendance for 2015 being 24 million – at such an early point within the report, that it attempts to avoid you asking the simple question: why?
Whilst the report covers every region of the UK, it hones in on particular towns and cities, opting to focus on particular events and statistics happening within them, rather than on a wider regional scale. This is particularly interesting to note, as whilst the report indeed serves its purpose in highlighting the extremely healthy and growing contribution of live music and music tourism in the UK, it neglects to stress the need to continue to raise awareness and importance of this. For the West Midlands region, it focuses on Coventry and the invention of 2-tone, neglecting Birmingham and Walsall, and their roles in pioneering Heavy Metal. This is perhaps due to the lack of music tourism in Birmingham, despite the wealth of heritage it holds. However, in a report designed to develop future music policies in favour of live music and music tourism, I believe it is far more important to raise awareness of the areas lacking economically, so that the schemes implemented in places such as Coventry can be carried over.
Statistically, from the larger numbers concerning concert goers to the smaller ones concerning employment, this report strengthens the need for music policies to allow room for the live industry to continue to grow in a safe environment away from the influence of the secondary ticketing market, but more importantly, strengthens the need for music policies which set out plans for further cities and towns to create musically-rich heritage-based tourism schemes which ultimately will create more jobs and generate more income.
UK Music, (2016). The Contribution of Live Music to the UK Economy. Wish You Were Here. UK Music.
Dipple, J. (2016). Introduction. In: UK Music (2016). The Contribution of Live Music to the UK Economy. Wish You Were Here. UK Music.