Through its policies and investments, Abu Dhabi seeks to advance its position as a culturally diverse global city, with creativity and culture driving sustainable urban development. The cultural and creative sector has been recognized as a key driver of social cohesion, economic growth and diversification in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi’s music sector has shown consistent growth over the years with over 600 music enterprises, employing more than 4,000 cultural professionals. These numbers increase significantly when taking into account expanding connections between music and other cultural and creative fields including film, digital media, and video games. The city has a rich heritage in traditional music and performance that has contributed to its identity. A milestone for Abu Dhabi was the establishment of the Cultural Foundation in 1971. The establishment of Bait Al Oud, a centre for study and teaching of classical Arabic music is another major addition to Abu Dhabi’s music landscape. The opening of the New York University Arts Centre and Music programme in 2015 was another significant effort of the city. Since 2020, Berklee Abu Dhabi has supported Abu Dhabi’s goal of growing its contemporary music scene and recording industry. The Abu Dhabi Festival and Abu Dhabi-Classics bring internationally acclaimed musicians from Arabic and world music traditions to the city.
As a Creative City of Music, the following steps will be important:
- Building effective and resilient institutions at the city level and creating mechanisms that promote inclusion;
- Establishing international talent development platforms, setting up exchange networks to share knowledge, initiating cross-sectoral projects as well as global music expositions, all contributing to broadening support for the music sector and wider cultural and creative industries;
- Creating policies that support entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation while supporting education at every level and the professionalization of the sector;
- Improving access, strengthening the creation and dissemination of music, and increasing participation in cultural life; and
- Strengthening cooperation between different institutional stakeholders, such as NGOs, academic institutions and the private sector.