Glasgow could be a global music tourism destination similar to Nashville if it better capitalised on its rich heritage, venues and reputation as a hotbed for talent, according to a new report.
Iconic music halls such as Barrowlands, King Tut’s and the larger SSE Hydro help attract some of the biggest names in pop but figures show only 2per cent of gig-goers come from outside Scotland and book hotel accommodation.
The city is considered as the second biggest music economy in the UK outside London – generating £160m in revenues – drawing 1.4m music fans every year.
However, a new report titled ‘Growing the Value of Music Tourism in Glasgow’ found that not enough is being done to capitalise on its worldwide appeal, which includes being awarded UNESCO City of Music in 2008.
Now, 22 separate recommendations have been put forward after the report ommissioned by Glasgow Life and Scottish Enterprise found there was to scope to boost international music tourism.
A panel of experts, including representatives from the Scottish Music Industry Association, Scottish Enterprise, and SSE Hydro, will today be presented with 22 recommendations to help Glasgow market itself in a similar way to Liverpool, New Orleans and Nashville.
Central to the findings include plans to tell the stories of venues such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – where Oasis were discovered – and the Barrowland Ballroom, cited as a favourite venue of the Rolling Stones and the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, where Stan Laurel first performed.
Othe ideas include creating music districts across the city, promoting live music at Glasgow Airport, introducing techno tours, and establishing a Glasgow Music Subway Trail.
Tourism, events, marketing and fashion students at Glasgow Caledonian University have also been asked to come up with innovative ideas to boost the city as a music hub.
“Glasgow is a world-class, world-renowned city of music. Now we just need to tell the world,” said Dougal Perman, chair of the Scottish Music Industry Association and a member of the panel.
He added: “Music tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy but most of the money spent on music events in the city comes from locals.
“Glasgow’s high reputation at home and abroad is undervalued and under-exploited.
“There is great potential but more work needs to be done to learn from the experience of others and to design practical affordable and cost-effective interventions which would command the support of the industry.”
Glasgow natives Belle and Sebastian have backed the report, saying more needs to be done on the marketing front.
A spokesman for Glasgow Life, said: “Music and tourism go hand-in-hand in Glasgow, with data from UK Music showing that of the 1.4 million annual attendances to gigs in the city, nearly 450,000 are from music tourists; representing almost half of all music tourists to Scotland.
“As the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music, we’re recognised by the world’s biggest artists and promoters as a live music hotspot and a must play destination, while visitors regularly cite our diverse music scene – from the likes of Celtic Connections and the World Pipe Band Championships to TRANSMT – as a reason for coming to Glasgow.
“The promotion of our music assets, from our world-renowned and much loved venues – like the Barrowlands – to our thriving portfolio of annual events and festivals, and the people who make our industry tick, is also a key theme of the city’s Tourism and Visitor Plan, which aims to attract one million more overnight visitors by 2023; boosting our tourism economy by more than £770 million and creating 6,600 new jobs.”
Creative consultants Inner Ear found in a recent report that Glasgow is home to 43 live music venues including the O2 Academy, the Royal Concert Hall – which is the main venue for the Celtic Connections festival – which runs in January and February each year – as well as the City Halls and 35 music bars.
However, unlike Nashville and New Orleans in the US, famed respectively for their country/rock ‘n’ roll and jazz music scenes – Glasgow is largely genre neutral and is famed more as a cool ‘gig’ city.
Beyonce and Jay Z, Britney Spears and disco legend Nile Rodgers are among the acts due to perform in Glasgow this year.
And DF Concerts – which has mothballed its T in the Park event – has brought a new music festival to the city in TRNSMT, which brings 120,000 music fans to the city over three days in June.
Kendrick Lamar and Kings of Leon will also play in August at the Summer Sessions event, which takes place in Bellahouston Park in August. A smaller boutique festival at Kelvingrove Bandstand has also featured featured bands including the Pixies and Primal Scream.