Sam Murray (Middlesex University, UK)


In 2019 the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee of the National Assembly for Wales launched an inquiry to investigate the state of the Live Music Industry in Wales. The inquiry set out to examine: licensing issues, taxation, distribution of state funding, availability of venues, support for talent development, creation and distribution of Welsh language music, and the impact of technology.

Whilst the inquiry was inspired by a similar inquiry run by the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee in 2018, the Music Industry in Wales inquiry sought to examine how through the confines of devolution a new approach could be taken in terms of government support for live music.

This paper explores how an inquiry that was set out to look at standard live music industry practices, morphed and changed to ask fundamental questions about what an ideal ecology for live music practice, in the unique context of Wales, would be. Through analysis of evidence session taken as part of the inquiry, and the responses of the politically diverse committee, this paper identifies how Wales, through its Live Music Industry, is carving an innovative policymaking approach to ensuring the protection of live music through the lenses of cultural heritage and cultural experience.

It will draw on the propositions of the UK Live Music Census (Brennan, Cloonan, Behr and Webster, 2018) and subsequent works by the census research team to explore how music policy in Wales could respond to and develop live music policymaking in the Westminster context.  It will also reference the contemporary work of Luke Thomas (2020) who’s research was given in evidence to the inquiry.