Recognising the Importance of the Welsh Music Industry; MAKING MONEY: Welsh Music Foundation Involved in a Broad Variety of Projects from BBC Radio 1's One Live Event in Cardiff to the Official Fringe, Bringing Rises of Up to 400pc on a Regular Week's Trading

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), September 6, 2001 | Go to article overview

Recognising the Importance of the Welsh Music Industry; MAKING MONEY: Welsh Music Foundation Involved in a Broad Variety of Projects from BBC Radio 1's One Live Event in Cardiff to the Official Fringe, Bringing Rises of Up to 400pc on a Regular Week's Trading


Byline: IESTYN GEORGE

MORE people work in the music industry in Britain than in manufacturing. In 1999, British music made US$6bn - twice as much income as was generated by the UK film industry. 216.5 million albums were sold in the UK last year, with Wales accounting for 6.7pc of that figure.

These are statistics that rarely cross the mind of the music consumer. People don't think of their favourite singers and musicians in fiscal terms. Wales's pride in the Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals and the rest is not based on their economic achievements.

The same could have been said for the Irish rock band U2 during the 1980s, but the fact that only Guinness made more money for the Irish economy is a useful reminder just how economically powerful the music industry is.

More importantly, it demonstrates just how influential a thriving domestic music industry could be on a small economy like Wales.

The music will always come first. But take a minute to consider just how much music you consume day-to-day without actually taking a CD out of its jewel case and feeding it to your stereo. Driving the car, walking along the high street, in pubs, bars and restaurants, watching television, even on the hold-line when you make a phone call. All these apparently incidental brushes with music are all earned and paid for.

The Welsh Music Foundation was formed with the support of the Welsh Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. We believe that music is one of the most overlooked economic resources in Wales.

We intend to ensure to change that myopic view. The record industry comprises more than 2,000 companies. It is dominated by a handful of multi-national companies, yet the vast majority of music businesses are classed as small businesses. Between 80pc and 90pc of these are micro-businesses.

These can range from specialist record shops to equipment hire companies, recording and rehearsal studios to design firms producing flyers and posters for music events.

Our job is to stimulate the economy, bringing new businesses and ventures into South Wales, promote and advise those existing companies working in the industry and gather information about companies and consumers, enabling us to identify the potential worth of the music industry in Wales.

In the two years since its formation the Welsh Music Foundation has been involved in a broad variety of projects. It played an active role in bringing BBC Radio 1's One Live event to Cardiff. The WMF co-ordinated Official Fringe event, brought together a number of local promoters and record companies under one umbrella. Through their hard work, more than 80 Welsh bands played free gigs in eight venues across Cardiff.

The musicians received national exposure and played in front of their biggest audiences. The effect on the local nightlife economy was also significant, with hostvenues reporting their turnover increased by between 50 and 400pc on a regular week's trading. Andy Parfitt, the head of Radio 1, described the event as "the most successful fringe event" since the advent of Sound City/One Live.

Another major project was working alongside London-based Channelfly plc to bring a new live music venue to Cardiff. …

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