Funding will boost city region’s strategy to support world-famous music industry

Liverpool City Region is progressing plans to support its music sector with a £1.6m investment from the combined authority for its LCR Music Board.

The authority originally approved a £2m investment in the Music Board in March 2020 – £400,000 of that funding has already been provided to support the work of the board, including quickly establishing a £150,000 emergency support fund for music businesses affected by the pandemic.

As the economy emerges from the pandemic, the remaining £1.6m, together with match funding from local organisations and providers, will enable the board to deliver the second phase of the ‘LCR Music Sector Development Project’, aimed at ensuring business growth, skills and talent development alongside associated investment to strengthen the LCR music ecosystem through the creation of an LCR Music Office.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Liverpool City Region has as strong a claim as anywhere to be the home of British music. No area has had more number one hits and, in my opinion, nowhere has our heart or our talent.

“Today, our music scene is as vibrant as ever. We’re home to a thriving community of incredibly talented artists who are continuing our area’s proud legacy.

“Our musical heritage is obviously very important, attracting millions of visitors to the region every year, but I want to invest to ensure that our future can be just as bright.”

He added: “The new LCR Music Office will help to oversee the musical sector in the region, providing one front door for businesses and acts alike who need support or guidance to take their careers to the next level.”

Cllr Mike Wharton, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority portfolio holder for culture, tourism and the visitor economy, said: “Music is central to our city region and we have a long tradition of shaping the culture, not just of our city region or country, but also the world.

“It’s vital that we continue to support our local music industry and this investment will help do just that, by supporting the entire infrastructure required to create jobs within the sector and allow the artists of the future to continue to emerge.”

Kevin McManus, head of Liverpool UNESCO City of Music, said: “The local music sector is an important economic driver for the city region and this programme will help ensure that the sector can continue to grow, creating skilled jobs here, retaining talent in the region and making it a place where other music businesses want to invest.”

The skills development strand of the project will deliver apprenticeships and traineeships across the music sector. The programme will also support industry career events, and outreach to young people, providing career advice and support in association with local music education hubs, aiming to support young people into full time sector employment.

The project will invest in talent development through established initiatives such as LIMF Academy and the Momentum programme delivered by PRS Foundation.

The Music Ecosystem element of the project will involve the creation of an LCR Music Office, led by Kevin McManus, dedicated to supporting the growth of the sector. It will be a single point of contact for music businesses across the city region, providing information, advice and signposting to available support.

Initially the Music Office’s focus will be on supporting the work of the Music Board and in particular the delivery of the SIF funded programme.

The Music Board project was initially devised pre-COVID, but the pandemic led to an immediate change to the programme, so that it could respond to the needs of the industry.

As a result, £150,000 of the initial combined authority allocation was paid to Culture Liverpool in May 2020, to enable the delivery of an emergency support fund for music businesses suffering due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 50 music businesses were supported through this fund with grants of up to £5,000 per business.

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