1. There are certainly not enough venues in communities across Wales to sustain music. This is often a reflection of wider economic problems, e.g. pubs closing down etc., but is primarily a reflection of the lack of promoters on the ground.

 

2. Through our work in distributing music digitally, our data show that there is a larger audience than ever before for Welsh music and Welsh-language music and that that audience discovers and listens to new music through streaming services.

 

3. This highlights the need for intervention/expenditure/promotion in several forms in order to create a new landscape that will nurture new artists (and develop their careers), as well as develop new audiences for the future. PYST is already active in this area and has initiated several schemes to this end, but we broadly believe that the support should be given along the following lines -

 

- Support to nurture and mentor new promoters in different communities so that artists have an opportunity to play in more communities, and so that those communities can profit from live music. We have a scheme in place for which a pilot phase will be launched in October. However, instead of thinking about venues i.e. bricks and mortar, the focus will be on working with and mentoring young crews, so that future promoters have the skills and confidence to organise gigs. By having more promoters, venues will respond to demand.

 

- A digital medium for Welsh music and Welsh-language music that will be the focus of activity and reflect what is happening, as well as creating new content. Again, we are working on this.

 

- More work in schools aimed at learning skills so that access to the industry, either as musicians or to do related jobs, is more open.

 

- Support for promotional services that can draw partners together - venues, labels and organisations. There are many people working in the sector, but they often work in isolation rather than as part of a wider strategy that can draw on collective resources, experiences and knowledge. 

 

4. There is more output than ever, but there has been a reduction in the number of emerging artists, and that is a direct result of those factors - life opportunities, a landscape and media that encourage artist development and audience growth. 

 

5. We have the technology and market access - in Welsh or English - witness the example of Alffa if you want to show how the Welsh language can succeed in the context of streaming services. What is missing, then, is a landscape/pathway that facilitates the necessary growth for artists and audiences.

 

6. Over the years, the lack of public expenditure and the lack of a long-term strategy for that expenditure, compared with the television/film industry, has led to a situation in which there is no context for expenditure, and where the necessary infrastructure for the music industry in Wales is missing. Over a period of 30 years, this has been true - from the 'Cool Cymru' days to the present day. By creating a strategy and long-term targets - created with experts who understand the industry and understand Wales/the Welsh language - it is possible for public spending, whether it emanates from the Arts Council or otherwise, to be intelligent and purposeful rather than panicked or conveying a feeling that a bit of money needs to be thrown at something.

 

7. The music problems seen today in Wales are the result of a lack of strategy, and that is why we currently have an opportunity to ensure that the cornerstones of sensible long-term growth are put in place so that we can take advantage of the existing audiences that are illustrated by the streaming figures. 

 

Thank you

 

Alun Llwyd

Chief Executive

PYST

 

@pystpyst