Policy

Creating Music Powerhouses

Music impacts a wide range of areas for local government – planning, licensing, regeneration, health, housing, arts and culture, sustainability, tourism, and economic growth, among others.

Page actions

The UK has an ability to captivate music audiences worldwide, but we must nurture the talent that supports its profile on a global scale, especially against an increasingly competitive market. Local music ecosystems are key to this as they are critical to the talent pipeline.

UK Music’s 2022 Power of Music report documented the health and community benefits
of music, highlighting how music can be a cost-effective and accessible tool to forge community
and boost wellbeing.

A strong local music scene can bring new visitors and funds to an area. It can put places on the cultural map and encourage long-term growth.

Music impacts a wide range of areas for local government – planning, licensing, regeneration, health, housing, arts and culture, sustainability, tourism, and economic growth, among others. By uncovering best practices in each and measuring how they impact each other, we can see that
investment is only one part of a thriving music ecosystem. A robust policy framework with
music incorporated into performance indicators is key.

Luckily, any city, town or place can capitalise on all the opportunities music can deliver. From
our experience working around the UK with our partner the Center for Music Ecosystems, we developed a Music Powerhouse Toolkit for local government, council, regions, and cities, with four recommendations.

  • RECOMMENDATION ONE: Use data to ensure music is at the heart of planning and licensing policy. To create sustainable, growth in communities it is integral that music features in long-term strategic planning consultations. Planning and licensing officials should work together to establish a joined-up decision-making process. This is important for both long-term strategic planning and scheme-by-scheme regeneration and should include considering the impact music can have on the local high-street, community centres and building density. Key to this process is good data. Local leaders need strong data, so they know they are making the best, most accurate decisions possible, based on clear evidence.
  • RECOMMENDATION TWO: Regenerate empty spaces as hubs for music, culture and community. Creating an inventory of music spaces, places and businesses, plus empty premises that could be used for music and culture, can help match providers with needed space or regenerate disused or empty stock. Making it easy and safe to access space responsively through an inventory or register can speed up approvals and increase the number of visitors to a town or city. Also, this mapping can be overlaid on wider land-use planning assessments to better highlight cultural deserts and areas of need.
  • RECOMMENDATION THREE: Enshrine music and the local community in regeneration and partnership plans. Decisions made at the front end should ensure provision for a community recording studio or cultural workspace are built into the scheme rather than bolted on.
  • RECOMMENDATION FOUR: Create a music advisory commission with local
    business leaders, stakeholders and tourism boards. Find out more about music boards here.

More suggestions on how towns, cities and regions can develop into music powerhouses can be found in our Sheffield,  Manchester reports, as well as our report on the value of music heritage – Imagine.

If you would like to read more about our asks to Government read our Manifesto for Music.