NEWS: SXSW - Manchester launches Beyond the Music festival in Austin with panel, showcase and New Order headlining gig
Credit: Warren Jackson

NEWS: SXSW – Manchester launches Beyond the Music festival in Austin with panel, showcase and New Order headlining gig

Manchester has launched the world’s first change-making music conference and festival at SXSW in Austin. Beyond the Music will have its first edition on 11 – 14 October 2023 and tickets are now onsale.

Announcement day began a Fireside Chat at the UK House, featuring Beyond The Music founder Oli Wilson, co founder Sarah Pearson, and Chair Rose Marley, alongside the Mayor of Greater Manchester, UK, Andy Burnham. The four discussed why now is the time for Manchester to launch an international music festival and conference and how Beyond The Music will be different from other events. The aim is rethink the music industry and its business model, rather than to have the business of music operate in silos, working within a co-operative model to discuss and address the issues. For too long artists appear to have been the last priority rather than the first and that has to change.

Talking to Oli Wilson, the son of Tony Wilson, after the panel discussion he confirmed that conversations had begun before the pandemic hit. There was real momentum for a forum where numerous parties across the music industry can come together. Indeed he said it was “overwhelming” the desire for change.

At the heart of Beyond The Music will be four days of live music by the most exciting new and established artists from around the world, alongside a series of conferences exploring The Past, The Present, The Future and The Summit, identifying everything from the entrepreneurs who have aided in defining Manchester’s music DNA to the new wave, the right to sustainability, ownership and equality within the industry, and how to find music’s place within the new cultural economy of tech, gaming, branding and film & TV.

“The industry has seen a decline from £5.8 billion in 2019 to £3.1 billion in 2021. The economy of the music business has been severely challenged by the pandemic, exit from the European Union and the development of new technology, and coupled with the evolution of the cultural economy it is forcing us to examine current infrastructure and models that have existed in the industry for years – are they fit for purpose for now?“  asks Beyond The Music’s co founder, Sarah Pearson.

“It is incumbent on us to look at the ethical practices of the business, which need a root and branch overhaul. We need to change the very nature of how we live and breathe as an industry, putting artists and musicians first. Beyond The Music is a response to a need for evolution and innovation. 

“We haven’t scratched the surface of the true value of this cultural powerhouse. Music is the most shared art form in the world, it’s how we communicate across borders, how we build relationships, it’s democratic and it’s egalitarian. Music defines people’s lives, gives pleasure and eases pain. It’s important to all of us, so the very foundation upon which it’s built should be too.”

Also announced today, the Beyond The Music Discovered programme offers the opportunity for new artists and bands to submit their music to a panel of music industry experts, led by A&R executive Caroline Elleray of Second Songs Publishing, for the chance to perform at one of the festival’s anchor music venues in Manchester city centre; encouraging music discovery through live performance. Submissions are open here.

Beyond The Music is the first festival and conference to have an integrated decision-making structure to create actions, and exist as more than just a talking shop. Its Co-Operative Membership programme will allow everyone from musicians, producers, managers, record labels, and trade bodies, through to delegates and gig lovers to have their say in the future of the global industry. By participating in Beyond the Music, everyone will have a stake and a say.

Beyond The Music’s first artist ambassadors, New Order, took to the stage of the The Moody Theatre to launch Beyond The Music to the world. The legendary Manchester band played an incredible set of hits old and new, with support from The Orielles and Loose Articles

Tickets are now on sale for this ground-breaking event. For more information and updates please see Beyond the Music here.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.