PixelBeard goes for growth at Cotton Exchange

Innovative app developer PixelBeard is the latest digital business to arrive at the Cotton Exchange in Liverpool.

PixelBeard designs bespoke mobile app experiences for iOS and Android devices, helping clients to reach customers via mobile technology and maximise their success in the App Store.

It has taken a 1,250 sq ft space in the Bruntwood - owned building following a period of sustained growth, which has included instructions from clients including Universal Studios, Sony Playstation, Channel 4 and Aircharge.

Bruntwood has sensitively transformed the historic Cotton Exchange in recent years, attracting scores of innovative businesses from the digital and creative sectors. The company is currently refurbishing the reception area to create a new refreshments area, meeting rooms and a series of collaboration and breakout spaces.

Will Roberts at PixelBeard, said: “We pride ourselves on creating exquisite mobile-first digital products so we wanted a workspace that would reflect our business and give us somewhere to develop our client offering in the coming years.

“The Cotton Exchange feels like the perfect new home for us, working alongside our peers in the digital and creative industries and hopefully giving us a platform to expand our network.”

Tony Reed, head of commercial at Bruntwood, said: “We are committed to creating vibrant, contemporary workspaces where ambitious businesses can flourish; that’s what we continue to deliver at the Cotton Exchange and it is great to welcome another excellent addition to the building.

“There is a spirit of innovation throughout the Cotton Exchange and I’m confident that PixelBeard will bring a further exciting, new dimension to the thriving culture within the building.”

The first Sound City+ announcement is here!

We are delighted to announce the speakers who will be joining us across the 3rd - 5th May! We return to the British Music Experience at the renowned Cunard Building then moving across various locations in The Baltic Triangle to share exclusive insights with the most exceptional names in the industry right now! For more information, head to: http:///

We look forward to seeing you! 


The INNOVATION NETWORK OF EUROPEAN SHOWCASES, or INES, is a European cooperation project initiated by eight international showcase festivals – including Westway LAB – and gigmit, the European digital platform for artist booking. Currently, INES has expanded to twelve showcase festivals.



Showcase festivals are national music industry events that provide a platform for artist discovery, business networking and education. They combine live music performances, conference programmes and trade shows.
This makes them the innovation hubs of the music industry. Whether it’s about artist discovery, professional education or capacity building, it all happens there.
By connecting those hubs, INES will create a united and strong European music market.


There are four great programmes to support European artists and music pros in order to built their international careers:


Be seen by Europe’s tastemakers when it comes to talent discovery and apply for all INES showcase festivals easy and online with a few simple clicks.
Many showcase festivals that receive band applications are now available in one spot for all European artists.

This programme will enable young talents to get equal European exposure and the chance to build their international careers by showcasing around Europe.
INES partners nominate around 10 promising young talents from their own country to rotate through participating festivals in Europe.


Music professionals are the key drivers of the music industry. INES#pro is a funding programme that supports professionals to attend all those great European showcase festivals out there, to discover bands, create personal networks, be educated and craft powerful synergies.

Education is the foundation of a successful industry. INES aims to make knowledge more sustainable and accessible to everyone in the music business by filming panels, workshops, presentations and discussions that happen live at the INES showcase festival conferences and creating an open source video library for music business education.




Enea Spring Break (Poland)

Westway Lab (Portugal)

Waves Vienna (Austria)

c/o pop Festival (Germany)

Budapest Showcase Hub (Hungary)

Monkey Week (Spain)

Sonic Visions (Luxembourg)

MENT Ljubljana (Slovenia)

Linecheck (Italy)

Nouvelle Prague (Czech Republic)

Live at Heart (Sweden)

Off The Record 2018 Curators

We are so excited to announce the curators for our sister event, #OTRMCR 2018!

Off The Record will be back again in Manchester 15th-16th November 2018 for a full day of panels & workshops and an evening of live music hand-picked especially by our music industry curators.

Limited early-bird tickets on sale now from £15 –


Artists can now apply to showcase at two of South Korea’s most important industry events, MU:CON and Zandari Festival, as part of the Sound City Korea initiative.


Supported by Arts Council England, this is the fourth year that Sound City will take artists to MU:CON and Zandari, providing a gateway into the exciting Korean music market.

Taking place from October 5 – 7, Zandari Festival and its conference focuses on the live and independent sector, with 200 emerging artists performing in 22 venues to 3,000 industry delegates and 15,000 music festival attendees.  

MU:CON 2019 will take place in late September (dates TBC) and showcases 150 artists to an industry audience of 3,000 at its conference. It has a particular focus on publishing and sync licensing.

Over the first three years of Sound City Korea, 73 UK artists and industry professionals attended and showcased at Zandari Festa and MU:CON. Industry executives who have attended the showcases to date boast a combined audience reach of 3.2 million across markets including China, Korea, South Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, Russia, Germany, Spain, Serbia, Denmark..

The Sound City Korea initiative invites artists plus a member of their team to apply and includes funding to attend the showcases. Artists should be based in England and include details of their current UK and international activity in their application as well as links to their music. Applications are open until 6pm on July 27, to apply go to:

Full Schedule

British Music Experience

Main Stage

9:40  Welcome to Sound City+ Rebecca Ayres

09:45-10:15  Passports Open & Boarding Cards Ready: A Guide To Securing A Slot On The European Festival Circuit

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

10:20-10:50  Can I Speak to the Manager Please? In association with Leeds College of Music

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

10:55-11:25  In Conversation with Tim Ingham

11:30-12:00  DIY - It’s Not All About The Music! In association with BA (Hons) Music Production at Edge Hill University

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

12:05 - 12:55  FUTURE MUSIC CITY - Discussing the role of the Liverpool City Region Music Board, presented by Bido Lito! In association with Bruntwood

13:00-13:30  It’s A Match! In association with Liverpool Business School at LJMU

13:35 - 14:05  How Emerging Artists Can get their Music on T.V In association with BIMM

14:10 - 14:40  In Conversation with Vince Power

14:45 - 15:15  How to write songs and eat! Making money out of music presented by MPA & BASCA

15:20 - 15:50  Let’s Get This Show On The Road in association with Sort Touring

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

15:55 - 16:25  Making the most of our talent in association with BPI

16:30 17:15 In Conversation with Alan McGee

17:20 - 17:30  Closing Address with Mayor Joe Anderson followed by Delegate Drinks


10:30 - 11:15 WTF Is Publishing?

11:25 - 12:10  Distributing Music in the European and International Markets

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

12:20 -13:05 Brighter Sound and KeyChange Present: The Imposters Session

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

13:15 - 14:00  If You’re Unhappy and You Know It, Sing a Song!

14:10 -14:55  From Song Writing to Sync Writing: How to transition from commercial music to writing for film and TV

15:10 - 15:55  The Art Of Making Records hosted by Funnel Music and the Music Producers Guild.

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

16:05 - 16:50 The Age of Streaming and Where Is the Money? Hosted by Exit Live

Panel supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

Cunard House

10:00 - 16:00  Acoustic Showcases

10:00 - 11:30  Keychange Breakfast Reception

11:00 12:30 Silent Radio: Speed PR Surgery

13:00 - 16:30  Meet The Industry Sessions supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases

10:30 - 16:30  Meet The Speakers supported by INES - Innovation Network of European Showcases


19:00 till Late Delegates Closing Party/Sound City Launch in association with INES - District Venue, Jordan Street, L1 0BW

BPI Trade Mission to China

BPI is organising a week long trade mission to China In partnership with The Department for International Trade (DIT) and AIM (The Association of Independent Music) with the idea to boost British music in the ever increasing Chinese market which is consuming more international music than ever before. The week-long mission will include a programme of education, networking, B2B meetings, conferences, showcases and a visit to Sounds of The Xity (SOTX) the biggest music trading event based in China and the only Chinese platform with a long-term commitment to the joint development of the Chinese and Western music industries.

Hosted by Sound City’s partner Modern Sky, Sounds of the Xity Conference is the music project which uses a market-oriented method to export Chinese music culture into the world. Its attending delegates from all over the world, are mostly at the top rank within the range of festival organisations they come from. The event covers not just music but technology, fashion, design, and documentary, and its core program of SOTX consists of two elements SOTX EXPO and SOTX FEST. SOTX EXPO devotes itself to taking Chinese music culture abroad using market principles, while SOTX FEST provides customers the most cutting-edge music experience.

Artists, promoters, record labels, festival bookers, directors and organisers, are being invited to participate in the mission including Sound City’s founder and Director of Modern Sky UK, Dave Pichilingi who will have his own tailored itinerary for the mission.

Chris Tams, BPI Director of Independent Membership and International, said:

“The BPI and its partners organise a number of international trade missions to key music markets each year by way of developing export opportunities for their members and to promote British music around the world.”

“This is the second mission to China we’ve been involved with and we hope to build on the success of last year’s mission. With a burgeoning aspirational population that clearly has a love of all things British, improving respect for copyright and authentic quality products, and the UK needing to forge new international trading relationships, the timing of this second visit couldn’t be better. Music has become Britain’s global calling card and we fully intend to use it in this exciting emerging market which has the potential to transform global music sales.”                      

Full schedule for Sound City+ 2018 revealed! Diverse range of industry execs and experts will discuss artist development, new...

Full schedule for Sound City+ 2018 revealed!

Diverse range of industry execs and experts will discuss artist development, new tech, mental health and more at the British Music Experience

The full schedule for this year’s Sound City+ conference in association with Bruntwood has been revealed.

The annual Sound City + business event is the UK’s leading independent conference for new music - founded to champion the rich and diverse creative output of the North of England, in particular, but welcoming and celebrating exciting artists and leading executives from all over the world every year.

Kick starting the bank holiday weekend on Friday 4th May, the 2018 edition of Sound City+ will take over the British Music Experience and Signature Living’s Cunard House, which celebrates the UK’s finest musical exports from the last century inside Liverpool’s historical Cunard Building.

The event will welcome music industry faces from all over the world, including representatives from member festivals that make up the Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES) which is supported by Creative Europe. They’ll be discussing the opportunities open to UK and European artists, how the live industry differs in each and how to secure gigs beyond an act’s native borders.

Sound City+ will also host a series of workshops aimed at helping young talent make strides in every aspect of their career from sync to distribution to production, as well as personal development in terms of mental well-being and self-confidence.

This includes a discussion about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it between Tawiah, an artist from South London, and Fiona Buckland, a life coach whose roster of clients include Google and Soho House.

The session is co-hosted by PRS Foundation’s Keychange and Brighter Sound’s Both Sides Now programme.

Both Sides Now is a three-year project for young and emerging female artists and industry professionals from the North of England that aims to bridge gaps in access, opportunities and career progression through residencies, commissions, national and international showcases, education and training.

PRSF’s Keychange, meanwhile, is a pioneering international initiative that empowers women to transform the future of music and encourages festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022. A special breakfast reception will be held at Sound City+ to support and celebrate the drive.

Elsewhere in the programme, Help Musicians UK will support a panel looking at how the music industry and touring can affect the mental health of musicians and managers, and what they can do to improve it for the wellbeing of themselves.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will also be in attendance, discussing the newly formed Liverpool City Region Music Board, and its ambition to make music an essential thread of the city’s “fourth industrial revolution economy”.

Also announced are special In Coversation sessions with legendary label owner and manager Alan McGee, who will be talking about his work with Musicians Against Homelessness, and prolific promoter Vince Power.

They are among a diverse list of panellists and speakers including Craig G Pennington (Bido Lito!), Chris Hawkins (BBC 6 Music), Katia Giampaolo (artist manager), Laura Bohn (artist manager), Guna Zucika (artist manager), Becky Ayres (Sound City), Andraz Kajzer (MENT), Silvia Sardeira (Live At Heart), Delphione Grospiron (Midem), Thomas Heher (Waves Vienna), Casandra Govor (BPI), Kameil Sattar (Proper Music Distribution), Holly Ashmore (7digital), Matt Ross (11 Entertainment), Kirsty Booth (Music Publishers Association), Gareth Smith (Sub Pop Publishing), Dan Moore (BASCA), Dave Connolly (Molecular Sound), Mike Murphy (Ditto Music UK), Andrew Hunt (Music Producers Guild), Dan Cox (producer), Bruno Ellingham (producer), Alex Pilkington (Funnel Music), Tawiah (artist), Giorgio Serra (Exit Live) Fiona Buckland (life coach), Queen Zee (artist), Aidan Culley (Help Musicians UK).

Previously announced Sound City+ panels will discuss topics including the modern-day artist entrepreneur, making the jump from local gigs to wider tours, and the potential opportunities of successful sync.

Full information about panels, workshops and networking sessions can be found at

Sound City+ Director Jo Whitty said: “This year’s conference line-up is one of the strongest we’ve ever had at Sound City+. We’ve tailored our panels, workshops and networking events to really tackle the issues and obstacles that young musicians, managers and music entrepreneurs are faced with in 2018. We’ve a real mix of speakers from all sides of the industry and a range of backgrounds who will be sharing valuable insights and expertise.”

The conference is a precursor to the Sound City festival, which will take place across numerous venues within Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and Baltic Market. More than 250 artists will perform during the two-day festival on 5th and 6th May, with the first wave of acts having already been announced including, DMA’s, The Slow Readers Club, Picture This, Idles, Wye Oak and Black Honey, Peace, Sunset Sons, Yellow Days, Baxter Dury, Jaws and Dermot Kennedy.

Conference Only Tickets: £22

Conference and Festival Tickets: £77

Tickets are available from See Tickets on the link below:


Twitter: @SoundCityPlus


Instagram: @sound_city_plus

Stealing Sheep Suffragette Tribute Presented in partnership with Edge Hill University and Brighter Sound.



In response to the centenary of suffrage, Stealing Sheep are celebrating women with a performance inspired by the suffragette movement. Co-commissioned by Edge Hill University and Manchester-based creative music charity Brighter Sound, ‘Stealing Sheep’s Suffragette Tribute’ will bring together female drummers and percussionists from the Liverpool area with design, AV and production students to create a marching band and procession featuring brand new music - all inspired by women, equality and empowerment.

The performance will be the culmination of a five-day artistic residency led by Stealing Sheep. The residency is part of Both Sides Now, an initiative led by Brighter Sound to support, inspire and showcase female artists based in the North of England. Edge Hill University have co-commissioned the piece as part of its ‘Wonder Women’ year of celebration of women’s suffrage, and empowered its students to be involved through its innovative Student Opportunity programme! #EHUWonderWomen 

‘We’re doing a residency with Both Sides Now at the Invisible Wind Factory where we’ll be inviting 15 female drummers to join us in a marching procession that will showcase at Liverpool Sound City! The procession is a celebration of women and responds to the centenary of suffrage with female musicians and dancers from Edge Hill University. We’re working with a choreographer called Kate Cox and working with map projections which will be installed in the blade factory during the festival!’ - Stealing Sheep

Bruntwood tunes in to Sound City+


Property company Bruntwood Group is to sponsor this year’s Sound City+ music conference in Liverpool!

Bruntwood Group is a family-owned property company that specialises in creating environments for businesses. It owns, lets and manages more than 100 properties in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham, employing more than 650 people. The company is committed to making the UK’s great city regions even greater by creating the right places for business success. Landmark Bruntwood buildings in Liverpool include the Cotton Exchange, which has become home to a variety of creative and digital businesses in recent years, and Queen Insurance Buildings, which includes Queen Avenue, the city’s only remaining Victorian arcadeand home to several independent businesses. 

Sound City +, which precedes the Sound City music festival, is the UK’s leading independent new music conference and welcomes a wide range of music executivesfrom across the world. This year’s Sound City+ takes place on Friday 4 May at the British Music Experience in the Cunard Building, ahead of the festival at the Baltic Triangle and Cains Brewery on the weekend of 5 and 6 May.

More information about Sound City+ 2018 can be found at 

Colin Forshaw, Regional Director at Bruntwood, said: “We are committed to supporting events and organisations that enrich the cultural offer in the Liverpool city region, making it a better place to live, work and succeed. Liverpool’s unique maritime and industrial heritage has long created a melting pot of music, culture and business, inspired by the world. Sound City+ embodies that rich blend perfectly and underlines the city’s continuing role as a creative epicentre, so we are proud to support it.”

Dave Pichilingi, CEO of Sound City, said: “This year’s Sound City is going back to its roots, with the festival taking place around the Baltic Triangle and the Sound City+ conference welcoming global industry colleagues to the Pier Head. It’s great to have Bruntwood on board as a sponsor. It’s a company that shares many of our cultural values and our love of the city. We have developed a real synergy with the Bruntwood team and we look forward to developing that relationship with other initiatives in the future.”

PRS Foundation’s Keychange Initiative



“Championing equality is at the heart of what we do at Sound City, across our festival and conference programme and within our organisation we strive for diversity in everything we do.“ - Sound City’s COO Becky Ayres

Sound City is incredibly proud to be a part of Keychange! We pledge to tackle gender inequality by empowering women to transform the future of the music industry, whilst encouraging industry conferences and festivals to achieve a 50:50 balance by 2022. 

Find out more about Keychange here: 

Sound City + set for British Music Experience, first speakers announced

This year’s Sound City + conference will take place at the British Music Experience in Liverpool’s historical Cunard Building.

The annual Sound City + business event is the UK’s leading independent conference for new music - founded to champion the rich and diverse creative output of the North of England, in particular, but welcoming and celebrating exciting artists and leading executives from all over the world every year.

Landing on Friday, 4th May, Sound City + 2018 will offer a day of panels, workshops and InConversations from a wide range of industry professionals.

Panellists confirmed for the event so far include Steve Tilley (Kilimanjaro Live), Tim Ingham (MBW), Peter Bradbury (Sky), Nicky Bignell (BBC), Simon Pursehouse (Sentric Music), Nick Michault (Push Management), Steve Vondy (I Love Live Events), Lee Mitchell (Sort Touring), Alex Von Harsdorf (Gigmit), Andy Kettle (Steaming Kettle PR), Sophie Small (Music Gateway), Shadez The Misfit (Ne+Label) and Patrick Cloherty (Sentric Music).

Sound City conference attendees will descend upon the British Music Experience, which tells the story of British music through costumes, instruments, performance and memorabilia, all housed in the iconic, grade II listed Cunard Building on Liverpool’s UNESCO World Heritage Site waterfront.

The Cunard Building is a fitting venue for Sound City +. Completed in 1917, it was a hub of emigration throughout the 18th and 19th Century and therefore a key contributor to Liverpool’s historical and present-day status as a creative exporter and a melting pot of music, culture and business from across the globe.

The Sound City + conference is a precursor to the Sound City festival, which will take place across numerous intimate venues within Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and Baltic Market.

More than 250 artists will perform during the two-day festival on 5th and 6th May, with the first wave of acts having already been announced including, DMA’s, The Slow Readers Club, Picture This, Idles, Wye Oak and Black Honey, Peace, Sunset Sons, Yellow Days, Baxter Dury, Jaws and Dermot Kennedy.

Discussing the new partnership between Sound City, The BME and Signature Living’s Cunard House, Jo Whitty, Sound City+ Director, said: “We are extremely excited to be teaming up with the BME and Signature Living to bring Sound City’s international music conference back into the heart of Liverpool and to one of its most iconic buildings. Our aim is to create a hectic, energised environment for our delegates and the BME naturally creates the perfect atmosphere. Our conference is aimed at the new kids on the block, those who want to shake things up and embrace change. Sound City+ is a place to meet people, be inspired, have arguments and do some amazing business.”

Kevin McManus, Curator of the BME, said: “The British Music Experience is delighted to be working with Sound City and Signature Living in hosting the Sound City + 2018 industry conference here. Our museum tells the story of British rock and pop and how it has been influenced by society, culture and technology, so it is the perfect setting in which to welcome senior music industry figures and music fans from across the world. I’m sure it will make what is already a well established and well regarded event into something even more memorable.”

Managing Director of Signature Living Kris Mochrie, said: “Signature Living are delighted to be working in partnership with the fantastic Sound City. The Cunard Building is an incredible setting for this highlight in the 2018 music calendar and I’m looking forward to working with the team over the next few months.”

The conference will announce further speakers, panels and activities over the coming weeks.  

Tickets are available from See Tickets

  • Arts Council England
  • PRS Foundation
  • LJMU
  • Lithuanian Culture Institute
  • Levis
  • PPL
  • Keychange
  • See Tickets
  • INES
  • Creative Europe
  • Bruntwood
  • Baltic Creative
  • Help Musicians
  • PRS for Music