New figures quantify Greater Manchester's annual musical contribution

Music tourism contributes more than £169m to the Greater Manchester economy every year, according to a new report from UK Music.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 19 Jul 2019
  • min read
Music tourism contributes more than £169m to the Greater Manchester economy every year, according to a new report from UK Music.

The organisation also calculated that the live music audience across the region numbers 1.9 million annually, with a total of 703,000 music tourists visiting during 2017 alone.

The report was commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority to provide an independent review of the local music sector, understanding the successes and challenges for both artists and audiences.

It was co-chaired by BPI and Brits Chair (and former Sony Music chief executive) Ged Doherty, Crisis Management director Karen Boardman and Inspiral Carpets legend Martyn Walsh.

In it, there are 10 key recommendations for Greater Manchester to grow and strengthen its music sector. These include; setting up a music board, establishing a talent pipeline fund, coordinating music education services, protecting grassroots venues and providing opportunities for emerging artists.

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, said: ‘We need to recognise that the music industry has changed since 1989. It is quite a lot harder now than it was then for new talent to get noticed and to break through. Gone are the days of watching Granada Reports on a Friday evening and hearing Tony Wilson, having finished reading the headlines, say: “And, to play us out, here’s Northside...”

‘We need to find new ways of doing the same and giving today’s Mancunian talent a stage and a spotlight in which to shine. It was this impulse which led me to ask UK Music to undertake an independent review of our music scene across Greater Manchester. It was time to take an honest look at ourselves.

‘This review has helped us to understand our strengths, what works well for our artists and audiences; but also to be aware of our weaknesses and what more we can do to stay ahead of the game and make Greater Manchester an even better place to make and enjoy music.’

Michael Dugher, UK Music chief executive, added: ‘No one knows better than Andy Burnham just how critical music is to the economy and the cultural fabric of Greater Manchester.

‘Greater Manchester is known throughout the world for its rich music heritage, but this UK Music report, which reveals music generates £169m for the local economy, is all about the future. It’s about how we build on that proud past and how we can use music as a tool to help grow the city region economy, create more jobs and attract investment and visitors here.

‘Our objective is to grow the region’s diverse music scene and boost the talent pipeline by protecting grassroots venues, improving transport links to boost the night time economy, expanding the number of rehearsal spaces and increasing opportunities for young people from every background to access music and to forge a career in music. We look forward to continuing to work with Andy on the next steps to ensure Greater Manchester position as a global music city region is fully realised.’

Greater Manchester Combined Authority will now work with UK Music and the local music industry to take forward the recommendations that will support, strengthen and grow Greater Manchester’s music scene, for both artists, and audiences.

Read the Greater Manchester Music Review 2019 report at