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It’s difficult to provide an accurate idea of Scotland’s music industry, because it covers an enormous range of jobs, genres, venues, events and media.

So it’s not surprising that there’s no single entity looking at its size, scope and economic contribution.

The big picture 

A Creative Scotland review of the sector, last updated in 2014, covered live music, the recording industry and music education. It suggested there are more than 10,000 people working across around 400 businesses in the Scottish music sector.  

More recently, UK Music published an examination of the way live music specifically contributes to the UK economy through ‘music tourism’ – people travelling within the UK and from overseas to attend music-related events. They suggested music tourism in Scotland could be worth almost £300 million a year and support more than 3,000 full time jobs.  

Working in music 

The industry offers a wide range of jobs. As well as writers and performers, there are opportunities in recording studios, publishing, management and production, live events, technical support, teaching and specialist retail.   

The average level of qualifications is around foundation degree/higher national diploma, which means people working in the industry generally have specialist qualifications. However, employers have voiced concerns that those qualifications don’t necessarily equate to the practical skills and experience they’re looking for.  

There tends to be a shortage of general business and communication skills, and there are developing gaps in terms of skilled technical workers. That’s led to growing concerns about digital, IT and creative expertise in the future. 

Developing your skills 

You’ll find details of all kinds of training and development courses, workshops and seminars from the Scottish Music Centre’s pinboard, as well as opportunities for networking across the UK and Europe.  

The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) was set up to foster, promote and serve the best interests of Scotland’s music industry. Among other activities, it provides training events, including workshops and masterclasses.  

Making Music Scotland also offers various development events, covering general skills like accounts and taxes as well as industry-specific workshops. It has a selection of online toolkits on subjects like setting up and running and production company as well as sourcing funding opportunities.

Funding and support  

As well as general open project funding for all kinds of creative projects across Scotland, Creative Scotland’s Made in Scotland showcase supports the cost of developing work for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It also offers Onward Touring, a programme that helps get your company overseas if it’s signed by an international presenter.  

The PRS for Music Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. It operates across all genres through a range of funds. Resonate, for example, launched in July 2016, and offers support of up to £10,000 for UK orchestras who want to rehearse, programme, tour or promote music from the Resonate database. 

You’ll find loads of information about funding and how to apply for it from the Musician’s Union, as well as news about new funding initiatives and the workshops or guides that will help you access them.  

Looking for sound advice and/or a sounding board?

Contact us to organise a meeting with one of our experienced and friendly creative industry advisors.