National identity versus commerce

an analysis of opportunities and limitations within the Welsh music scene for composers and performing musicians


  • Paul Carr University of Glamorgan



cultural authenticity, music industry, Welsh language music, Welsh national identity


This article investigates the sometimes opposing political, commercial and nationalistic pressures on Welsh musicians to sustain a living. Furthermore, it considers how these factors can potentially affect their Welsh identity, a term which was identified by Sarah Hill (2007) as being inherently problematic. After documenting a brief contextualization of the history of Welsh popular music and its dialogic relationship with the construction and portrayal of identity, the article outlines how opportunities and threats are impacted by this construction. It argues that both the government and the music industry need to negotiate the grey area between economics and cultural authenticity, leaving musicians free to portray their ‘Welshness’ as they see fit. The necessity for a unified industry that facilitates musicians to exploit their intellectual property rights inside and outside of Wales is also emphasized as an important factor regarding the capacity of the Welsh music industry to propagate employment for its workforce.

Author Biography

Paul Carr, University of Glamorgan

Paul Carr is Head of the Music Academy at the University of Glamorgan’s ATRiuM campus in Cardiff. His research interests focus on the areas of musicology, widening access, the music industry and pedagogical frameworks for music-related education, publishing in all of these areas. He is also an experienced performing musician, having recorded with artists as diverse as The James Taylor Quartet and American saxophonist Bob Berg.


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How to Cite

Carr, P. (2012). National identity versus commerce: an analysis of opportunities and limitations within the Welsh music scene for composers and performing musicians. Popular Music History, 5(3), 265–285.