The ‘true state’ of UK’s live music

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

The UK’s first ever live music census is being carried out in six cities across Britain. The project aims to take a snapshot of current trends and map out the ways the public engage with music. It is hoped the survey will help measure live music’s cultural and economic value and identify future challenges and opportunities.

The 24-hour survey began at 12:00 on Thursday in Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton. It has been commissioned by UK Music, the campaigning and lobbying group that represents the recorded and live music industry, and is being led by the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.

Prof Martin Cloonan, professor of popular music politics at Glasgow University, said: “What is being proposed has never been done before and is set to reveal the true state of the UK’s live music industry. “Live music is a vital cultural and economic asset and it is important to monitor its health and to support it.

“The results will help to provide the clearest picture of the Glasgow live music scene yet, illustrating that vibrancy while also show issues which need to be addressed.” According to UK Music, the music industry is worth an estimated £4.1bn to the UK economy and creates almost 119,000 jobs.

The group said that despite the value of live music to the economy, the full picture of what the public is listening to and how they listen and interact has never been fully and accurately surveyed.

Dr Matt Brennan, from Edinburgh University, is leading the UK Census project.

He said: “Venues around the country have been telling us that they already operate on thin margins, so proposed increases in rateable values of up to 55% in some cases will have a significant impact. “The UK Live Music Census will be very important in identifying challenges that the industry faces, such as rising rates and other issues.

“It will give us a detailed picture of what exactly it means to be venue owner, a musician, and a live music lover in 2017. Our hope is that the census will be a vital tool in strengthening a much-loved part of the UK’s culture.”

The census aims to cover 70 music events in Glasgow alone. Hundreds more will be covered at the five other cities in England. The survey team will also talk to audiences, venue staff and musicians. Its findings will be supplemented by a nationwide online survey for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences that will be open until 8 May.

 

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