Using Sound Diplomacy’s unique tools, we mapped Cardiff’s music industry, from venues to businesses and resource points. There are 40 music venues, 29 nightclubs, 11 record/equipment stores, 27 recording studios, 6 rehearsal spaces, 7 radio stations, 45 registered music teachers, 15 booking agents/promoters, 26 festivals with paid tickets, 20 co-working spaces and 7 record labels.
These statistics, when compared with Bristol and Liverpool, two cities of comparable populations (Bristol has 535,907 people and Liverpool has 552,267), show a city keeping up with its competitors. Cardiff has 0.143 venues per 1,000 residents (12), just behind Bristol, which has 0.147. Liverpool only has 0.107 venues per 1,000 residents. Cardiff also boasts 27 recording studios compared to Bristol’s 9 and Liverpool’s 13.
The city’s nightclubs and music venues are clustered in or around the Central Cardiff area, and most retail points are located on or around St. Mary Street. Recording studios can be found across all suburbs, and rehearsal spaces stretch from north to south, although one location is within Cardiff University and is for students only. While there are a few co-working spaces in suburban areas, most are clustered in Central Cardiff and the Bay Area, adding to the city’s vision of the Bay Area as a creative hub.
A 90-day calendar snapshot shows 161 gigs scheduled across Cardiff. Many of these gigs are undefined by genre, although a few defined themselves as ‘alternative’ music, and one each claimed themselves as pop, jazz, hip hop/rap, or rock. During this same timeframe, Liverpool had a comparable 415 upcoming shows over 90 days. Bristol had the busiest calendar, with a whopping 740 gigs over 90 days (13). While the ‘business’ and ‘creation’ sides of the industry look more active in Cardiff, the performance sector falls behind cities of similar sizes - this could be for a number of factors, including but not restricted to: more weekday, afternoon and evening gigs in Bristol and Liverpool; more venues (although Cardiff has a competitive venue per capita ratio, it is still a smaller city than the other two); misleading data (there simply could be less Songkick activity in Cardiff).