Sound Diplomacy has been working with the Greater London Authority (GLA) since 2015, with the objective of increasing London’s profile as a global music city. 

What we did:

Sound Diplomacy has worked with the Greater London Authority (GLA) since Autumn 2015, with the objective of increasing London’s profile as a global music city.

Working internally with the GLA, we helped to develop the role of a Night Czar for London. This role, currently held by Amy Lamé, is to champion London’s nightlife, including safeguarding venues across the city and working in partnership with the night time industries, local authorities, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London and the public.

We also supported the development of a Night Time Commission to carry out research on London’s night time economy, and helped develop the London Music Board, to protect grassroots music venues and support London’s grassroots music scene.

On the public-facing side, we lobbied, conducted a feasibility study for, and delivered a Mayoral-led music campaign called Sounds Like London. The campaign was aimed at celebrating and marketing London’s outstanding music offer, as well as shining a light on some of the successes we’d achieved with the Night Czar and Music Board initiatives, including reversing the rate of grassroots music venue closures, working with the Met Police to scrap Form 696, and introducing the Agent Of Change principle within planning law.

Most recently, we delivered a study that aims to accurately map all of London’s music spaces. The map gives a full spectrum of music performance, recording and rehearsal spaces in London, highlighting the areas of threat, opportunity and growth.

London’s buzzing live music scene is world-renowned, having produced artists from Adele to Ed Sheeran, The Clash to The Rolling Stones. Grassroots venues are the foundation of our successful music industry. We’ve taken positive steps to address some of the challenges facing grassroots music venues, but there’s still much to be done.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan



Between 2015 and 2019 Sound Diplomacy was hired by Initiative Musik gGmbH to manage the German presence at SXSW, one of the most important trade shows for the music, technology and film industries in the world, in cooperation with Hamburg Music Business Association (IHM).

What we did:

  • Venue scouting in Austin

  • Event production and preparation for 5+ day event - including conference, concerts and interactive exhibitions.

  • Stakeholder engagement and invitations

  • Programming of music events at the German Haus

  • OrganiAation of Berlin Beats showcase with the support of Musicboard Berlin, showcasing musical talent from Berlin, including Robot Koch, rRoxymore, Stefan Goldmann and Perera Elsewhere.

We have worked in over 40 countries and with over 100 clients, spanning public, private and third sectors, such as the Greater London Authority, City of Cardiff, Ville de Lausanne, City of Brisbane and UNIDO. We are very proud to work with Initiative Musik and the partners of the German Haus on organizing the German presence at SXSW.

South By Southwest (SXSW) is one of the most important trade shows for the music, technology and film industries in the world. In 2017, approximately 1,000 Germans travelled to SXSW, showcase their music and network with international delegates.

A collaboration between different German states, cities and organisations and supported by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, the German presence included the German Haus and a Trade Show booth at the official SXSW Trade Show in Austin. Our work has involved coordinating activities at the Trade Show booth, but mainly focused on running German Haus. In line with the objectives, the German Haus offers space for showcases, networking activities, workshops, concerts and showcase events.

The goal of the German presence is to provide substantial business and networking opportunities for participating startups, businesses and musicians and to showcase Germany in the US and other international markets. In 2018 the German Haus and the German Trade Show booth registered over 10,000 visitors at SXSW.


International Music Marketing Strategy for Tourism and Brand Building


Sound Diplomacy developed an International Music Marketing strategy for Promperu, Peru’s national branding agency, between August 2017 and December 2017. We mapped music genres in the country and identified the most suitable genres and artists to promote their country brand to Peruvians and the rest of the world.

What we did:

  • We partnered with researchers at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru to map all contemporary music genres in the country and identify the most suitable domestic artists to champion Peru through a system of indicators of export-ready artists.

  • We also researched and identified emerging and consolidated Peruvian artists living abroad to act as international ambassadors of Peru’s country brand.

  • We benchmarked Peruvian music against emerging and consolidated international artists and country brands using marketing and business analytics for music sales, streaming, live music revenues and music tourism campaigns.

  • After analysing the current competitors and structural challenges to the promotion of Peruvian music abroad, we delivered an extensive analytical report on the state of the music industry in Peru and its potential to champion the Peruvian country brand through music export and music tourism.

Sound Diplomacy mapped the existing music industry of Peru and researched domestic best case examples on music tourism, music festivals, regional music markets, record labels, artist and genre trends, as well as variations on music consumption trends. These were compared against other similar or aspirational international markets and initiatives to identify the strengths of Peru’s musical country and unique selling points.

We provided a roadmap to export Peru’s most suitable music assets to target audiences on the local and international level, identifying key stakeholders and promotional platforms for the 3 strategic music export areas that had been identified in the previous stage.

We concluded the strategy with an action plan containing 28 short- and long-term actions aimed to grow Peru’s music brand in the strategic areas of Governance, Industry Development, Skills Development, Marketing and Events, and Music Tourism Promotion.



Music Cities: Why music is a tool for urban development

This article first appeared on Ciudades Sostenibles Blog

Image: John R Rogers

Image: John R Rogers

Many cities have found music to be a way to fulfill some of their socio-economic objectives, on top of those that are specifically cultural. For example, Austin (Texas, USA) or Adelaide (Australia) have been declared musical cities and have developed innovative and creative strategies to take advantage of the opportunities that the music industry has to offer.

Other cities and organizations have followed their lead, making music a driver of progress worldwide:

  • Amsterdam was the first city to choose a night-time mayor, a figure responsible for coordinating and strengthening the nightlife and music scene in the Dutch capital.

  • In South Africa, the organisation Bridges for Music uses music as a medium for social integration and to raise awareness about development issues.

  • In the UK, UK Music produces annual reports on the impact of musical tourism over the local economy.

In 2004, UNESCO established the Creative Cities Network in order to promote international cooperation among cities that see creativity as a means for sustainable development and urban progress, as well as a tool for social integration and the preservation of cultural diversity. Since then, about 20 cities have been named musical cities by UNESCO, including Bogota, Medellin, Kingston and Salvador.

Bogota was the fifth city and the first in Latin America to join this network. In a city with an active and prosperous music scene like Bogota, this appointment promoted the creation and implementation of policies dedicated to put music at the center of city life. Since then, Bogotá has developed and implemented a series of public policies to foster greater intercultural dialogue by using music as a tool for social transformation and to overcome some of the city’s main challenges.

An example of these policies is Bogotá’s Music Plan, created in collaboration with several industry players, both public and private. This plan looks at issues such as training, creating musical circuits and the protection of spaces dedicated to live music. One of the measures taken within the plan was the creation of Bogota’s Music Cluster in February 2015 in order to strengthen the pillars that directly affect the industry’s competitiveness—development and innovation, promotion and marketing, regulation and human talent—and to transform the city into the main music business centre in Latin America.

What can Latin American cities do to promote their development through music?

Like Bogota, other cities in the region can also develop strategies to enhance their music industry, and to join the global movement to make music a driver of development. In 2015, under the slogan “a strong and sustainable music industry is the most efficient way to build, maintain and expand vibrant and economically prosperous cities,” the Music Cities Convention was born: an event created by consulting firm Sound Diplomacy and by Martin Elbourne—co-founder of the festivals like The Great Escape and WOMAD—in order to regularly bring together representatives of local governments, legislators, academics, agents of the music industry and urban planners to analyze the role of the music industry as a tool for:

  • Creating jobs

  • Increasing local revenue without raising taxes

  • Streamlining and promoting public transport

  • Managing tourism

  • Regenerating urban areas

  • Retaining and attracting talent and investments

  • Social integration and the rationalization of urban infrastructure.

Since its first edition in Brighton in 2015, the Convention held a second edition in Washington DC and is preparing for a third meeting in the city of Brighton on May 18. This new edition will bring together professionals and thinkers like Carlos Chirinos, a professor at NYU and promoter of the song “Africa Stop Ebola” to raise awareness and educate the population of Guinea about this disease; Mirik Milan, the Night Mayor of Amsterdam; and Eddie Bridgeman, the director of Space Meanwhile, among others.