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We’ve reported recently on numerous calls for governments and city authorities to help the music industry bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, from musicians to concert venues. As an industry, though, we’re painfully aware that as important as this seems for our community, governments are inundated with similar calls for funding and support from many other industries too. We may not be the priority we think or hope we should be.

Here’s another argument though: what if music can play an important role in helping wider societies and economies recover from this pandemic? That’s the case being made by a new report published this morning by Sound Diplomacy, in partnership with a range of music industry bodies. It’s called the Music Cities Resilience Handbook, and this being 2020, it comes with a hashtag campaign: #BetterMusicCities.

The report’s core is a nine-step ‘plan’ for cities, which can be summarised thus: put artist to work: incentivise creation from crisis; convert creativity into community investment vehicles; create a city music registry; start a cultural infrastructure plan; create emergency preparedness plans (venue, event, city-wide); ensure music, arts and culture language is included in policy frameworks; commit to genre agnosticism; plan and develop a night time economy policy; set up city-wide artist compensation policies, music liaison services and fair play schemes.

We recommend downloading the free report to read this in proper detail, and perhaps do that alongside European indie body Impala’s recent 10-step plan addressing governments. They’re both good examples of the music industry making its case for relief not just because *we* think music is important, but because of the role it plays in the wider society and economy. Sound Diplomacy’s report also struck a chord with us because for each of the steps in its plan, it gives practical examples of ‘how can this be done?’ and ‘who can we learn from?’.

“How can we create more equitable music cities in recovery? If we are imagining future cities with more bikes and fewer cars, with cleaner air and fewer polluters, with more diverse voices making decisions, why can’t we also create better music cities as well? We can,” it suggests.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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