1. In your view, what is the current state of the region’s “Independent Music Industry?”

Great pool of talent with extremely creative people working very hard to make amazing music and projects with little recognition from outside of their small pockets.

2. What do you think are it’s immediate needs with reference to the areas that you are most familiar with?

Record labels that have competent distribution and marketing / advertising / plugging support.

3. As far as the region’s “Independent Music Industry” is concerned, what do you think shows the greatest potential for the next few years?

Hopefully labels such as Bigger Than Barry Records, Ondryland, Speech Fewapy Records, and any other small labels that are nurturing local talent and managing to sustain themselves

4. In recent years, there has been a range of initiatives and projects designed to support the development of music in Birmingham. Can you list 5 projects or initiatives that you think have proved beneficial to the “Independent Music Industry?”

Not sure if these count but the work of:

Bigger Than Barry for bringing cutting edge, fashionable acts to the city and taking Birmingham on tour. Also packing out every event they promote.

This is Tommorrow for putting on shows for alternative acts that are touring nationally and billing local artists with them to help nurture audiences

The Rainbow Pub for giving Birmingham a quality small and mid size independent venue and cultural hub.?Capsule for offering a vibrant, left field alternative brand of events and Supersonic.

Moseley Folk Festival for being generally ace and offering local acts a channel to perform on the same bill as mainstream artists, especially Ben Calvert’s Bohemian Jukebox Stage.

Also Oxjam Festival, Cold Rice and Chicks Dig Jerks deserve mentions.

5. Can you list any projects or initiatives that you think have proved “of little use or benefit” to the “Independent Music Industry?”

Gigbeth – poorly curated. For something as ambitious and potentially amazing, it falls flat due to weak line ups. Does not give a good impression of Birmingham to the outside looking in, especially when Camden Crawl, Nottingham’s Dot to Dot, Brighton’s Great Escape and Manchester’s In The City are widely commended.?Give Bigger Than Barry, Chicks Dig Jerks, This is Tomorrow, Moseley Folk, Cold Rice and Capsule a budget to put on the festival – they are all experienced and have kudos.?(I realise that there are more promoters / events companies doing fine work in other genres, but these are the ones I am familiar with)

6. With regard to your answers to questions 4 and 5, do you think Birmingham should continue to pursue the idea of more initiatives and projects designed to support the development of music in Birmingham?

Yes, but re: point 5 give it to people who can make the city desirable, dare I say ‘cool’?

7. If you could make any changes to, or include any new ideas for, any “strategy for supporting the development of music in Birmingham” what would your top priorities be?

Support for small independent record labels in the form of advice from experienced and respected mentors from their respective genres.

8. If you were given the task of evaluating whether a project or initiative had been successful, what would you suggest as the best indicators of success, failure, benefit or disaster for the “Independent Music Industry?”

Whether an event is well attended or not is a signal of success or failure and whether a record label could sustain itself would be a measure.

9. As far as your knowledge or understanding of the region’s “Independent Music Industry” is concerned, what are it’s greatest strengths, and what are it’s greatest weaknesses?

The artists are the greatest strength we have.
Perhaps weaknesses are a lack of direction or focus from these talented individuals due to a lack of support from a local ‘industry’.

10. If you could do anything to “support the development of music in Birmingham” what would you do and why would you choose to do that?

Plug alert: I try to by shouting about the bands and promoters that I love in national press (The Fly) and my local Blue

Whale music blog. So anything involving writing.

Andy Roberts 

The Music Network was contacted in January 2010 by a group drawn from Birmingham City Council and the Arts Council England to begin to determine an overview of the current state, needs and potential of the “Independent Music Industry” in Birmingham.

The Music Network invites people with an interest or active role within Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry to answer 10 questions.

If you wish to get involved read 10 Questions for Birmingham’s Independent Music Industry and send your completed responses by email to: info at birminghammusicnetwork.com – Thank You.

Simon Howes has created an easy to use google survey for these questions here too.

All completed questions will be published here unless you state otherwise. Please be sure to include your full Name and any links to your website or blog so you can be credited in full as the author of the response. Views from all sides are sought so don’t be afraid to speak your mind. We may learn something.