DD2224 Sounds Like London

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
26 March 2018
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

This decision seeks approval to complete delivery of Sounds Like London, a flagship music campaign celebrating London’s grassroots music scene and place as a leading music city. It will take place in summer 2018.

The campaign will include the commissioning of new events; working in partnership with existing London-wide events; and spotlighting existing grassroots activity. Partners will receive a Sounds Like London branding pack to identify their events as part of the campaign.

The theme of Sounds Like London 2018 will be Women in Music. It will support the Mayor’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign. It will showcase the iconic women, up and coming artists, community activists and music industry professionals who make London one of the greatest music cities in the world.

This decision also seeks approval for an exemption from the GLA Contracts and Funding Code to extend the current contract with the management consultants and appoint an Artistic Director for the Mayor’s flagship urban music project.


That the Executive Director of Communities and Intelligence approves:

• Expenditure of £150,000 from the 18/19 budget to support the Sounds Like London campaign in summer 2018. Amount will cover project management, event production and marketing.
• Exemption from the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to:

a. Extend the current contract of the current project management consultants up to September 2018 up to a value of £50,000;
b. Appoint an Artistic Director of the Mayor’s flagship urban music project, up to the value of £25,000. Money approved in MD2242; and

• Receive sponsorship income of up to £50,000.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The music industry is valued at £4.1billion in the UK. London is home to a large number of organisations that make up the music industry. London’s diverse music offer is a key driver of domestic and international tourism. Music tourism alone contributes over £1 billion every year to the capital’s economy. London’s diverse music offer also makes it a desirable place for businesses and students to locate.

Challenges at grassroots level are threatening to undermine London’s place as a global capital of music. 35% of grassroots music venues have closed in the last 10 years, leaving just 94 grassroots venues. This means that new talent has fewer opportunities to play and progress, and that London risks losing its place as a centre for the emergence of globally successful artists. The Mayor has commissioned research and produced an updated rescue plan to tackle venue closures.

Despite many UK women artists being amongst the bestselling global artists, the music industry suffers from a lack of women in senior roles. Women make up 60% of interns, 59% of entry-level business roles, but only 30% of senior executive positions. To inspire a new generation of women performers, promoters and music industry professionals, more needs to be done to celebrate visible role models.

Development of a campaign to champion London’s music scene was approved in ADD2140. The campaign has now been developed and this Director’s Decision will approve spending and receipt of income to complete its delivery.

The campaign, called Sounds Like London, will support London’s grassroots music scene. The theme will be Women in Music, as part of the Mayor’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign which commemorates the centenary of the 1918 Representation of The People Act, which gave the first women in the UK the right to vote.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The project aims to build campaign messages through a programme of Sounds Like London branded events across a period of one month in summer 2018. Its objectives are to:

• Work in partnership with planned events across London that support grassroots music and celebrate the women behind London’s music scene, promoting and spotlighting them under the Sounds Like London campaign banner.
• Programme and commission a number of high profile events which encapsulate the campaign message and support artists and audiences.
• Secure commercial sponsorship, working closely with GLA partnerships team.
• Create a Sounds Like London visual identity that can be applied by partners to their activities.
• Create an online platform to host listings and content.
• Recruit high profile artists and ambassadors to support and champion the campaign.
• Appoint an Artistic Director to develop a flagship urban music project which will celebrate women artists, involve inspiring up and coming musicians, and showcase music rooted in London.

The main outcomes for this project will be:

• Increased awareness of London’s grassroots music scene, increasing audiences and helping to secure the future of venues and up-and-coming talent.
• Increased awareness and impact of the Mayor’s work to tackle gender inequality via his #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign and his work to tackle the decline in grassroots music venues in London.
• Visible stories of the women behind London’s music scene shared, inspiring younger generations and developing new talent.
• Increased public awareness of London’s music heritage, both past and present.
• A clear message shared that London is the most diverse and open music city in the world.

To deliver Sounds Like London, GLA officers will appoint a project management consultant, to be managed by GLA Culture and Creative Industries Unit. They will deliver the following objectives:

• Secure content from partners that supports the theme and can be badged with campaign branding.
• Support the GLA’s marketing and media campaigns
• Work with the GLA to secure commercial and media partners
• Liaise with partners and artists and coordinate their involvement in Sounds Like London
• Organise special event(s) and project manage, with the GLA, any GLA programmed events
• Support the management of website and social media content

Extending Sounds Like London Project Management contract

- Sound Diplomacy was awarded the contract to deliver the Sounds Like London project in September 2017 following a competitive tendering process and have developed the project to this point. They have so far secured a number of venues and promoters to provide content for the campaign. They have been engaging with potential brand and media partners and providing regular reports on their progress to the GLA. The contract of £44,350 was awarded following a competitive tendering process operated by TfL procurement and approved by ADD2140. The contract currently ends on 31 March 2018.

- The GLA wishes to seek approval to continue to contract with Sound Diplomacy to complete the delivery of Sounds Diplomacy’s Sound Like London project. The contract will be extended to cover the period 1 April to 30 September 2018. The value of the contract will be increased by up to a maximum of £50,000. Under the new contract they will complete the delivery of the items outlined above at Clause 2.3. They hold relationships with all partner organisations and are midway through negotiations with brand and media partners. As the project is taking place in June 2018, their knowledge and experience of this project would be hard to replicate with a new consultant in the timescales available. The risks of failure is high if a new consultant is appointed. Any future contract will be subject to a competitive tendering process.

- Given the value of the proposed contract, GLA officers acknowledge that Part C of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (“Code”) requires that a call off from a suitable framework is undertaken or a formal tender process in consultation with TfL procurement. However, the Code provides that an exemption from that requirement may be approved upon certain specified grounds, including where there has been previous involvement in a specific current project or continuation of existing work which cannot be separated from the new work. GLA officers are of the view that this ground is applicable in this case as set out above.

Appointing Artistic Director for flagship urban music project

- The Mayor has approved the delivery of a flagship urban music project under cover of MD2242. For the project, the GLA will commission and produce a series of events curated and performed by leading female grime artists. The project will be one of the pillars of the Mayor’s Sounds Like London and #BehindEveryGreatCity campaigns.

- The GLA wishes to appoint DJ, broadcaster and grime ambassador Sian Anderson as the Artistic Director of the project. Sian has unique knowledge and experience of the grime/urban music sector. She is well respected and is the only person in this field with the full range of skills needed to deliver the project.

- Given the value of the proposed contract, GLA officers acknowledge that Part C of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code (“Code”) requires that a call off from a suitable framework is undertaken or a formal tender process in consultation with TfL procurement. However, the Code provides that an exemption from that requirement may be approved upon certain specified grounds, including the supplier’s artistic knowledge, being unique in her ability to provide a service and lack of competition. GLA officers are of the view that these grounds are applicable for the reasons set out in paragraph 2.5 above.

The key performance indicators (KPIs) for the Sounds Like London campaign will be:

Marketing KPIs: traffic to the Visit London website; the reach of the social media campaign, engagement with digital content; press coverage.

Stakeholder engagement KPIs: number of content partners; number of established artists engaged in the campaign; number of up and coming artists engaged in the campaign; number of venues that participate.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

There are a number of grassroots music venues that are not fully accessible to disabled users. Wherever possible events will be programmed in accessible venues. However it should be noted that the aim of the project is to support grassroots venues to enable them to make upgrades to their infrastructure, such as making them fully accessible to all Londoners. Consideration to accessibility will be given at the planning stage.

The campaign will aim to involve a varied range of performers and participants from a diverse range of communities represented in London. The campaign will aim to showcase the best of London’s grassroots talent, creating opportunities and will provide a platform for London musicians.

The marketing campaign will be promoted via the Visit London website and GLA social media channels, which target all Londoners and meet GLA accessibility requirements.

Other considerations

The programme activities detailed link to key Mayoral priorities including:

• Supporting the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign.
• Continuing to support new and existing major cultural festivals and events
• Building on London’s vital tourist industry by promoting the city’s cultural riches to Londoners, the rest of Britain and the world.
• Promoting access to culture for all Londoners.
• Championing London’s vibrant night-time economy.
• Supporting the #LondonIsOpen campaign.

One of the main risks to the project is failing to secure the required level of sponsorship. GLA Officers are confident of securing sponsorship to contribute to the delivery of Sounds Like London, however in the event that sponsorship for this event isn’t secured, GLA Officers will review the planned delivery and scale the event back accordingly.

Financial comments

Approval is being sought for the expenditure of £150,000 to deliver a London Music Campaign – Sounds Like London.

The GLA will contribute £100,000 and it is anticipated the remaining £50,000 will come from partners. However, at present no contractual commitments have been agreed therefore in the instance where this does not fully materialise this campaign will be appropriately scaled back.

The expenditure will be met from the Culture and Creative Industries 2018/19 budget and subsequently managed by the same unit.

Investment and Performance Board



Sounds Like London campaign announced

March 2018

Sounds Like London project management contract extended to 30 Sep 2018

March 2018

Artistic Director of flagship urban music project appointed

March 2018

Content confirmed with partners

March-May 2018

Secure media partner

April 2018

Programme launch event

May 2018

Delivery of campaign

June 2018

Evaluation of the programme, 2018 Project closure

September 2018

Share this page