The Welsh Music Industry In International Comparison

Next week we will introduce a music industry report from Wales. The country is a sub-national part of the United Kingdom from a statistical point view. Making evidence-based policy or market analysis is as challenging as in emerging markets where government statistical services are weak. And the parallels do not stop here.

Earlier this year we introduced a comparison of music audiences in the Chapter 2. Central European Music Industry Report. Using our regions and retroharmonize software, we can re-run the code and compare part so the United Kingdom audience to various European audiences. Creating new, sub-national indicators allow a better market or policy analysis and comparison among small and larger countries. Going to sub-national levels is particularly important in live music, which is mainly a local business.

While participation in concerts is similar to Western European nations in England (red) and Northern Ireland (grey), and in Scotland, maybe even to Northern Europe, in Wales we see very different participation rates.

Participation in music: concerts

In Wales, concert attendance falls quickly from a promising start, which is similar to Central and Eastern Europe. While the granularity of our data is a bit too low for active participation like playing a music instrument or singing, we see striking differences for Wales, too.

Participation in music: playing an instrument

While Wales is part of the UK British Industry, its role is similar to Slovak or the Croatian music industry in many sense. It is part of a larger entity (Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia, Croatia part of Yugoslavia, and now they are part of the borderless EU) but in an economically peripheral way. Wales offers less career opportunities for artists and audience, so the most valuable, highly-educated, high-earning audience (which can keep buying more and more expensive tickets) is missing, any many art talents leave to England or beyond.

Participation in music: singing

This leaves the “supply” of music drying, and the sustainability of the live music audience at peril.

In July 2020, Professor Paul Carr of University of South Wales was commissioned by Senedd Cymru – the Welsh Parliament to create a report examining the state of play in the post Covid-19 music industries in Wales. The Welsh Music Industries in a Post-Covid World, featured on our Demo Music Observatory website, will be presented to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. We hope that this is the beginning of an exciting cooperation when we can share knowledge between Western and Eastern Europe, and support new, evidence-based policies on a devolved, sub-national level.