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Wales sets up fund to boost music industry

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Developing a music industry in Wales and addressing a “deficit” of entrepreneurial skills will be the focus of a new fund to be launched by the country’s arts council.

The Arts Council of Wales is currently consulting on proposals to introduce a Music Industry Development Fund that would support Welsh musicians in developing business skills.

The document states: “In our experience, there’s a fundamental ‘deficit’ of skills among Welsh musicians. This isn’t necessarily in artistic terms, but often in knowledge and understanding of the ‘music business’. Our funding could seek to remedy this.

“Having the talent is the essential prerequisite to a successful career in music. But these days, business skills are also essential to becoming a professional musician making a sustainable living from music.”

Given ACW’s existing support for opera organisations and orchestras, it plans to prioritise musicians and groups working in other genres for this funding stream. It says it will consider supporting a range of projects including helping new promoters to scale up their activities, developing the use of digital technology to distribute work and initiatives that “springboard musicians and industry professionals into new areas of opportunity”.

David Alston, ACW’s arts director, commented: “Creating a Music Industry Development Fund is one of the key outcomes of the major funding review we completed last year. Although we were able to increase funding to a number of important music organisations, we felt we needed to do more to provide practical help and support to musicians, promoters, bands and organisations across all musical genres. At the heart of our new approach is a partnership with Welsh Music Foundation to form Cerdd Cymru: Music Wales, an initiative specifically designed to advance the international market readiness of the music of Wales.”

Alston added that one of the first successes of ACW’s focus on the national music industry was attracting the music trade fair WOMEX to Cardiff in 2013.

The deadline for responses to the consultation on ACW’s draft proposals is January 25.