Second largest city in Colombia with 2.3 million inhabitants, Medellín is commended for the significant culture-led regeneration efforts towards social change by means of culture, education and innovation, and, in turn, overcoming an era of instability which affected the country until the 1990s. Since then, music has given a new momentum to Medellín by strengthening civic culture, social equity and peace through enjoyment and learning of music, especially by young people. In the past years, the city has invested around US$ 35 million in music programmes, including free music courses for youngsters.
Medellín hosts a wide range of music events such as Medellín Vive la Música, the International Tango Festival, as well as Altavoz, the latter of which has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the foremost projects in Latin America for empowering young people. In addition, the city hosts Circulart; a renowned music market, which has generated businesses for over US$ 3 million in a five-year period. The market gathers nearly 1000 artists and bands at each edition, as well as attracting more than 20,000 visitors. Circulart also receives ongoing support from multistakeholders from both public and private sector, and welcomes representatives from some 20 countries and more than 80 production companies at every event.
To guarantee that social change keeps pace with Medellín’s sutainable development, the municipality has implemented a set of social policies as part of Medellín City for Life programme, including the Medellín Lives Music umbrella initiative aimed at strenghening the music industry. In this framework, the city has established four music houses – spaces supporting music creation, education, research and dissemination – strengthened the mobility of local musicians and bands, and fostered an environment conducive for cultural and creative industries to thrive both at the local and the international levels.
As a Creative City of Music, Medellín envisages:
- developing a learning curriculum for audio-installations to enhance the quality of venues and sound equipment, reach new audiences and encourage a wider practice and appreciation of music;
- organizing a national academic event on management procedures aimed to share expertise and further discuss the challenges faced by local music industries, especially in the digital era, as well as boost the private music sector while exploring new approaches towards creative works, distribution chains and new markets;
- fostering the mobility of artists within the UCCN by opening the line-ups of the city’s major music festivals, and developing a large artist-in-residence programme to benefit young musicians; and
- creating an online music library as a common dissemination platform, with music, podcasts and interviews from Creative Cities, to enhance exchanges of know-how and experience.