It drives growth, generates investment and sustains thousands of jobs. What is this miracle industry: oil, aviation, fashion, finance? No, this particular economic wonder actually enhances reputations, makes people feel good and inspires millions of tourists to travel the globe. Let’s hear it for music!
While Walking Heads has been producing the Glasgow Music Tour it seems the rest of the world has been waking up to the fact that music is not just the food of love, it’s a hard cash asset to the economy of cities, towns and villages across the world.
Music tourism is a newly invented term for an age-old human impulse to visit places where exciting things happen. From Glasgow to Glastonbury, from Austin Texas to Anstruther, from Barcelona to Berlin, Tokyo, New York, Melbourne, Sao Paulo, Sydney… music-lovers flock in their millions to pay homage to old legends and discover new talent.
And that makes money. Lots of it. Which should be music to the ears of policy makers and politicians too especially in our age of austerity. According to research report Destination: Music, music tourism contributes £864 million to the UK economy which is the equivalent of 19,700 full time jobs. And that’s certainly an underestimate, says research leader Prof Adam Blake, as it does not include the vast numbers of non-ticketed or smaller capacity events. “The true value of music to UK tourism will be much higher.”
“I am hugely excited by the findings of this research. Its message is crystal clear: music provides a huge boost to UK tourism, it drives growth, it sustains thousands of jobs across all regions and it enhances our lives. I am optimistic that policy-makers will view this data and acknowledge there is even more we could achieve, especially when it comes to attracting overseas visitors. The rest of the world clearly recognises the importance of music to the UK. It is time we did similar.” Feargal Sharkey, Chief Executive of UK Music.
(All of which is reason to oppose the new Public Entertainment Licence threatening the future of small grassroots, non-ticketed events across Scotland…but that’s a story for another day.)
Right now, Scotland’s live music is a cause for celebration especially in Glasgow (City of Music) where the tourist industry is exploring wider potential of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. As Bluebells’ Ken McCluskey says in this latest WH video, people have been coming for at least 100 years to enjoy one of the city’s most enduring assets. “The live scene has always been a great draw for tourists”. Expect to hear lots more about music tourism as UK Music lobbies politicians to increase numbers of overseas music fans. Meanwhile, don’t be a tourist, get to know the city with us on Glasgow Music Tour.