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This Must Be The Place – the new book by the man who helped shape Cardiff’s Music Strategy


Back in 2019 a plan to unlock the full potential of Cardiff’s music sector by incorporating music into the city’s decision and policy-making was launched. Four years and a pandemic later, the man who helped shape Cardiff’s music strategy, renownedmusic and cultural policy expert and founder of Sound Diplomacy, Dr Shain Shapiro has written his first book.

This Must Be The Place: How Music Can Make Your City Betterhas been lauded by urbanist Richard Florida as “a playbook for city leaders, musicians, artists, activists, and citizens to use music to make their neighbourhoods stronger, more vibrant and inclusive,” and described by former Chairman of Stax Records and CEO of Motown Records, Al Bell, as“a seminal book by a seminal thinker.”

Dr Shain Shapiro

Told in an accessible way through personal stories from cities around the world,This Must Be the Placeexplores how music can make cities better by introducing and examining music’s relationship to cities, and the powerful impact music can have on how cities are developed, built, managed and governed.

Ahead of the book’s publication, Waterstones Cardiff will host a special event supported by Cardiff Music Board, on September 11thfeaturing Dr Shapiro in conversation with music journalist and member of Cardiff Music Board, Gavin Allen.

Speaking ahead of his return to Cardiff, Shain said: “It is a pleasure to launch my global book tour in Cardiff, one of the UK’s best music cities. I am proud to have worked with the city on its strategy a few years ago and even prouder of the work that the city – and its partners – have done since to centralise music as a core policy area in local government. The book celebrates this kind of work, so bringing it to Cardiff is incredibly meaningful to me.”

One of the key developments in Cardiff as a result of Dr Shapiro’s work was the establishment of a Cardiff Music Board, tasked with driving forward Cardiff’s music strategy.

Despite the impact of the Covid-19, which saw Cardiff Music Board’s focus shift to ensuring the city’s music sector received the support it needed to survive the pandemic, the work of the board over the last four years has resulted in some significant changes to how Cardiff operates as a city, and a number of success stories for music in Cardiff.

Cardiff Music Board:


  • is now made aware of all relevant planning applications so they can comment, if required;
  • is a formal consultee on Cardiff’s replacement Local Development Plan, which is currently in development;
  • has had input into Cardiff’s new busking strategy;
  • has hosted a series of nights of live music to support local grassroots venues in the wake of the pandemic;
  • helped secureGŵyl Cerdd Dantfor Cardiff for the first time.
  • worked with local music venue, Porter’s to secure a 20-year lease at a new location.
  • held discussions with Live Nationaround the new arena, with a view to identifying opportunities and to link the arena to the grassroots music sector.
  • has secured funding for a full-time Music Officer role to support its work.


Chair of the Music Board and Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “The work Shain did in Cardiff changed the city’s thinking on music and we’re delighted to welcome him back.”

“It’s fair to say that following the first meeting of Cardiff Music Board in 2020, just two short months before the pandemic struck, we haven’t made quite as much progress as we would have liked towards implementing the ideas explored in Shain’s book, and in our Music Strategy, but we are still determined that Cardiff must be the place, and committed to the idea that music can make our city better.

“When we embarked on this new way of looking at music, we wanted Cardiff to become a global leader in the Music Cities Movement – we’re not there yet, but now, with the pandemic behind us, the real work is just beginning.”

Tickets for the book launch, at Cardiff Waterstones on September 11th, are available here: