The future of music in Liverpool



Research by LJMU in partnership with Bido Lito! asks the question how do we make Liverpool a global music city?

Image of a concert

LJMU has teamed up with Bido Lito! Magazine to research and produce a report on the future of music in the city.

The research work focused on key themes - music in the city, music tourism, developing new talent, the potential of a music industry hub and music education.

The idea of the research was to challenge the city’s music community to come together and develop a shared, collective vision for the future of music in Liverpool.

More than 500 responses were received from the music community including representatives from labels, production companies, studios, agents and community-led organisations as well as artists.

The overwhelming views were that the biggest challenges facing the industry in Liverpool were a lack of strategy and conflicts over land and property.

Key findings also included a lack of diversity in the current music scene, a need to encourage children and young people to get creative with music as part of their education, an increase in ‘pay-to-play’ gigs combined with low attendance.

Lead investigator Dr Jan Brown from Liverpool Business School said: “The research demonstrates a real grassroots passion for music in the city.

“Not only passion but a sophisticated knowledge and understanding of the key issues and opportunities being faced both now and in the future.

“This knowledge and understanding also unearths a wealth of innovative ideas and potential ways forward that could have a real impact on music in the city and beyond.

“LJMU want to be a key long term stakeholder in the Music City strategy, working together with partners across the sector in multi-disciplinary teams to develop new and exciting opportunities.”

Liverpool has a rich musical heritage with The Beatles legacy drawing in tourists from around the world, but some participants felt that the heritage industry overshadowed contemporary music in Liverpool.

The report has provided the Liverpool music community with a platform to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the sector in the run up to 2018 – 10 years on from the Capital of Culture.

Project lead, Editor-In-Chief at Bido Lito! Magazine, Craig Pennington said: “A buoyant Music Cities movement has gathered pace over recent years, a new sphere of thinking that intersects music, urban policy and planning.

“We see cities across the world – from Groningen to Adelaide – creating innovative new frameworks, which place support for the development of their music sectors and communities at the heart of their city vision.

“In contrast, we have up until now witnessed an absence of strategic planning around music policy in Liverpool.

“This project is intended to present fundamental and incisive questions to Liverpool’s music community, paving the way for a new form of sector-led leadership around music.”

The conclusion of the research is that a new era of collaboration between the city, city-region, universities and the music community – from the grassroots DIY venues to the managers of international artists is needed.

The development of a collective Music City hub and focused strategy has the potential to create jobs in a variety of areas including audio music production, electrical engineering, videography, marketing and event management.

LJMU has commissioned 5,000 copies of the full report to be distributed by Bido Lito! at key locations around the city, it is also available to read online

This research work coincides with the formation of a Cultural Entrepreneurship and Research Centre at Liverpool John Moores University.

Photo credit: Andy Hughes



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