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A 35-minute Marketing Manchester music documentary delivered in partnership with integrated agency Social has already been viewed more than 15,000 times and is helping to raise vital funding for those whose roles in the sector have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Manchester Music Now and Then: Music Worth Fighting For was premiered via award-winning global streaming platform, United We Stream GM, in December. Viewers were encouraged to donate to Mayor of Greater Manchester’s charity, OneGM, or WeMakeEvents’ fundraiser for BackUp, which supports people in the Entertainment Technology Industry.

Social was appointed following a competitive tender to work with Marketing Manchester on the documentary project filmed and edited over 18 months, with much of the footage captured prior to the first national lockdown in 2020. The documentary had initially set out to showcase the strength and diversity of Greater Manchester’s current music scene and was adapted to reflect upon what’s at stake for the sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Music Worth Fighting For was produced by a Marketing Manchester team led by Content Curator Simon Donohue working with a Social team led by videographer and editor Luke Barnett. It is dedicated to the memory of singer Denise Johnson, who features in the documentary.

The film features a stellar cast of famous faces and places from the Manchester music scene, including: A Certain Ratio, Blossoms, Courteeners, New Order/Joy Division, Happy Mondays, Lottery Winners, Manchester Collective, Working Men’s Club and Elbow, alongside emerging talent including Yemi Bolitawa, Valve and DJ Olli Ryder, son of Shaun Ryder.

It also hears from industry professionals including technicians, photographers, band bookers, tour guides and promoters (Jay Taylor, Sacha Lord, Jenna G, Paul Husband, Rose Gill, Oliver Wilson) and the many venues and festivals (Night & Day, Manchester Jazz festival, Parklife) that attract many thousands of visitors to Greater Manchester each year.

The film features interviews and insights from individuals emphasising how Manchester’s music is stronger than ever, with more diversity, better venues, and a new generation of talent continuing the story.

The film also details the extraordinary resilience of the response to the pandemic in Manchester, with acts providing online performances and United We Stream attracting millions of viewers worldwide for events featuring Manchester artists.

Sheona Southern, managing director at Marketing Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester is known around the world for music and we’re excited to have made a film celebrating the many people and places that make us famous.

“The team at Social were fantastic to work with and helped Marketing Manchester to realise its evolving vision for the Manchester music documentary through a period of unprecedented upheaval within the live music scene. Social have helped us to capture people’s passion for music in Manchester and we cannot wait to welcome audiences back to experience that for themselves.”

Luke Barnett, video producer at Social, said: “Producing this documentary with Marketing Manchester has been a real labour of love for our team and after the incredibly challenging year we’ve all faced – especially for those working in the city’s music, live events and hospitality industries – it has been a timely opportunity to look back and reflect on what makes Manchester and its music scene so special.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working on this project, a testament not only to Manchester’s exceptional music offering but also a film that looks forward to experiences that we can all hopefully return to later this year.”   

Manchester Music Then and Now: Music Worth Fighting For is available to view on visitmanchester.com.

The project was funded by Marketing Manchester and VisitEngland as part of a broader project to understand and maximise the potential benefits of music and culture in encouraging visits and inward investment. Initial research led by Sound Diplomacy found that while Greater Manchester was successful in attracting 700,000 music tourists in 2015, there is still an opportunity to develop an overarching strategy when it comes to catering to those visitors.

Founded in 2013, Social prides itself on meaningful work that improves lives and makes a positive social impact. The agency’s work revolves around six key pillars including its built environment proposition Social Place alongside Social Care, its social value arm Social Good, Social Lab strategic consultancy, Professional Services specialism and its creative services portfolio.