5. Manchester Punk Zines

Dr Allan Watson

In 2019, the music industry contributed £5.8bn to the UK economy, of which £2.9bn were exports.

The North of England, especially Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, has been a key region for the emergence of trends in popular music since the 1960s. They continue to be important to their regional economies but suffer from challenges in terms of access to global networks. Allan’s research on regional music industry clusters examines the role the creative industries can play for the Levelling Up agenda, as well as the challenges the sector faces outside London. Within the UK’s regions, local music economies remain highly informal, based on local social networks and communities of practice. They are also poorly connected to the main hub of the UK music industry in London, through which they can access international markets.

Therefore, for small independent music companies across the UK, the ability to build their own personal networks of trust with partners and intermediaries within and beyond the region becomes crucial to their success. Allan’s research in this area has a strong policy focus and seeks to inform programmes and policy initiatives that could solve some of these challenges, including the creation of regional music business mentorship schemes and regional music industry business specific loan schemes.

More about Allan’s research