Applying creativity to nurture music scenes; an interview with Paloma from Sound Diplomacy

As creatives, we love music. It inspires us, it unites us and it liberates us, and music was, most probably, our introduction path to creativity.


However music is not only an enjoyable art, but it's also an industry which represents an incredible asset to cities, goverments and countries. Sound Diplomacy knows that and they have the job (and talent) to create strategies that nurture music scenes.

We talked to Paloma, researcher at Sound Diplomacy, about music, creativity and how they use Triggers to design their strategies.

Triggers: What's the connection between music and the creative industry? Do real music scenes help to grow the creative community of a city?

Paloma: Indeed, having a healthy music environment helps the creative community to grow and strengthen. The music industry is a creative industry and, what I particularly like about music, is how it interacts with the other creative industries just as much as it can do with the non-creative industries. At Sound Diplomacy we work with the concept of Music Cities, which are essentially sustainable cities or regions that have certain conditions allowing music scenes and industries to grow. Enhancing this can be done from a governance perspective, from a private business perspective and from an artist and creative perspective. For instance, the health of a local music scene is a fairly good indicator of the creative vitality of a city, but also of how much the local government cares about its creative citizens. The creative industries benefit of having a healthy music scene because music brighten ups the life in the city and artists and music businesses are also potential clients and employers for the other creative industries.

Triggers: What's the biggest challenge for music nowadays? How could we use creatives to solve it?

Paloma: Music is currently going through its best times and its worst times. From a creative perspective, the digitalisation of music and music tools is a game-changer – it’s great that artists and producers have accessible tools and plenty of inspiration to create. However, the ubiquity of music has devalued it and artists have a harder time now to live off their music solely. Essential music spaces in cities are also endangered, such as music venues and nightclubs. We need creative solutions to overcome these challenges, coming from all sides of the creative sectors, and backed by better data collection to be able to justify why music matters, as well as how and why should it be protected. For instance, architects, designers and creatives in general may find better ways to host music in neighbourhoods. Creative profiles are reinventing music technology and developing music tech cities, like Berlin and Stockholm. Any aspect of the music industry can be reimagined, so creatives have a lot of possibilities in this field.

Triggers: How did you use Triggers at Sound Diplomacy? How did it help you?

Paloma: One of the projects I’ve been involved in during the past months is researching for a music strategy in a small country. Even though the project draws mostly from the scientific method, some parts of our work are linked to (strategy) design, so they benefit from incorporating creative thinking processes. For actions we were already convinced to propose, the Project Manager and I used the landing cards from Triggers to test if they were good enough. For problems with no actions or recommendations, we did 1-minute brainstorming rounds with random cards from the User-centric deck and wrote them in post-its. Then we’d put together all the ideas generated and developed actions selecting from the different answers. It was a very proactive way of generating new solutions to very particular problems, but I’m partly afraid that governments in general are quite conservative to prototyping new actions. We’re hoping our clients are keen on adapting or fully implement these creative ideas, too.

Visit Sound Diplomacy website to know more about them.