We caught up with the Incorporated Society of Musicians recently to chat about some of the issues ailing the Southwest music scene, many of which are mirrored nationally and urgently need addressing. The original article can be read here on the ISM blog.
Born out of a community music collective at the turn of the century, DMS are proud to have always made time to nurture our roots and to lay out a path behind us, down which future generations of artists and entrepreneurs may carry the torch. Operating outside of the major city bubble in the Southwest of England, the adverse effects of a declining music scene have never been more visible.
The situation is complex but to chase it to the core, a lack of national funding for community-led music projects and the seemingly incessant closure of grassroots venues where emerging artists cut their teeth, are two areas that desperately need spotlighting if the situation is to turn itself around. These local-level projects and spaces have more than proven to benefit youth development, and through inspiring and encouraging their creativity, they can have a wide range of benefits to the music industry and thus the UK economy as a whole.One such project is Plymouth Music Zone, a charity that transforms the lives of vulnerable or disadvantaged youths through music therapy. Their team hold a passionate belief in the power music to make a positive difference and they work with highly skilled music leaders, often professional artists themselves, to deliver interactive music workshops that are vibrant, engaging, inspiring and fun.
We at DMS recognised the significance of such a venture and have worked closely ever since to ensure their needs are met, donating countless refurbished computer systems and providing financial support to keep the project rolling between funding bids. Many of those positively affected by the work of PMZ have, and will continue to have, a positive impact on the industry themselves as musicians, songwriters and even mentors to others that find themselves in similar situations.
More recently, another music-based organisation caught our attention. The philanthropic duo behind Street Factory have been working tirelessly to inspire up-and-coming generations from the streets of Plymouth and into their studios, where they learn to express themselves through hip-hop and dance while forming lasting social connections in a safe and welcoming space.We contacted Toby G, a recent recipient of an MBE for his communal services, who was buzzing after a successful crowdfunding campaign had just unlocked the next stage of their project. With some impressive financial backers that we were happy to reach out and stand with, Street Factory’s plans for a 550 capacity multi-purpose performance space and adjoining studios and workshops that are now much closer to becoming a reality.
Our team here at DMS work proudly to serve the independent music sector, both through helping artists and labels through the process of manufacturing their music and by supporting the very community that we emerged from all those years ago. If every company working within the music industry managed to find the time to champion their local roots and enrich the creative communities that raised them, this vibrant sector would be even stronger still.