Today in London, one of the world’s most prominent Music Cities, Mayor Boris Johnson made an historic announcement in hopes of stemming the threats posed against live music venues in the city.

As described in The Mastering of a Music City, Mayor Johnson established a Music Venues Taskforce earlier this year that was chaired by Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust. The task force has paved the way for a commitment by the City of London to a number of key policies described and recommended in our report, including:

  • The Agent of Change principle which has been effectively used in Melbourne and Montreal;
  • The London Music Development Board, an advisory board with broad representation from the music community and key public sector departments;
  • A champion for the night-time economy; and,
  • A pro-music planning approach with such things as a Culture and Planning Guide that provides ideas as to how planning policy can protect venues and cultural spaces, and an upcoming symposium with developers.

In addition, the Mayor’s announcement says that his office “will continue to work closely with local authorities, developers and the music industry to encourage a pro-culture approach, particularly in areas where there are music zones and clusters for example Camden, Denmark Street, Hackney and Soho.

The Mayor’s Venues Taskforce conducted a census of the live music venues in the city and found that 35% had been lost since 2007. The Mayor’s press release notes the importance of venues as incubators of talent, and drivers of music tourism. Musicians Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran also commented on the announcement, reinforcing the importance of the availability of spaces for new talent as they hone their skills and develop an audience.

We’re pleased that The Mastering of a Music City has been helpful in this exercise, but the real work has been done by the members of the task force and local advocates like Shain Shapiro of the Music Cities Convention and Tim Arnold of Save Soho. Congratulations! A lot is at stake in London, a great Music City where artists from around the world go to perform.