Member profile Andrew Bishop, BishopSound

For our latest member profile, we spoke to Andrew Bishop, founder of Ripon-based speaker manufacturer BishopSound. He feels “cautiously optimistic” following a devastating two years for the live events industry, which caused great uncertainty for those in the supply chain.

BishopSound was founded by Andrew Bishop in 2016 with a mission to make audio equipment that delivers the famed ‘British Sound’.

The British Sound refers to a generation of British bands in the 60’s. Their distinctive use of amplification and loudspeakers is described by BishopSound as “a warm, rich and inviting sound which is easy on the ear”.

Today, the Ripon-based business designs, manufactures and supplies speakers for public performances across the globe. Customers range from music venues to night clubs and churches.

When Covid-19 arrived, live performances were one of the first casualties as venues closed their doors and people were required to socially distance. No live music meant no speakers.

“For the past couple of years, we have been silenced,” says Andrew. “With productions postponed or cancelled and no certainty over when they will take place, it has been very difficult for us to plan and survive.

“We had to turn everything down and run the business on a pilot light. We tried to find a way to exist, relying on a few venue refurbishment opportunities, but we have been forced to live in hope that the sun will come up again.”

Many businesses found their future under threat. Government grant relief focused on culture providers but not necessarily suppliers.

“The situation has been grave,” says Andrew. “People have taken their lives. Others have left the industry which has led to a skills drain.”

Andrew has been at the forefront of political lobbying efforts to secure a lifeline for the live events industry. He used the IoD’s influence to escalate these concerns and played a key role in the #wemakeevents industry campaign.

Dr Roger Barker, IoD Director of Policy and Corporate Governance, spoke directly with Andrew and lobbied cabinet ministers and DCMS on his behalf.

As restrictions ease and the live music industry prepares to make up for lost time, 2022 could see a surge in demand for BishopSound products. The challenge will be how quickly the business can scale back up, secure supplies and keep up with that demand.

“We are nervous,” admits Andrew. “We don’t know what will happen next. We are cautiously optimistic but we need to see some real leadership from government before we can make decisions about investing.

“The sun will come up and, when it does, you can be assured that we will be flying the flag for British sounding speakers!”

The IoD is in constant dialogue with government. They want to hear our members’ views. What issues and challenges are you facing? Join Policy Voice – a panel of IoD members who give us their views monthly on current business issues.

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