"Analysing Live Music in the UK" Findings One Year into a Three-Year Research Project <br> doi:10.5429/2079-3871(2010)v1i1.3en


  • Simon Frith University of Edinburgh
  • Matt Brennan University of Edinburgh
  • Martin Cloonan University of Glasgow
  • Emma Webster




live music,


This series of articles presents the findings of a research team who are one year into a three-year project investigating the social, cultural and economic impact of live music in the UK over the past 50 years. The project is funded by the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council, and rather than focusing on a particular musical genre, it concentrates instead on understanding live music from the perspective of the live music promoter. The project aims to fill a significant gap in the scholarly knowledge and understanding of contemporary British musical culture, and to challenge and refine existing record-industry based accounts of music as a creative industry. The articles cover the team's progress in the following areas: the creation of an analytical framework to explore the historical, cultural, and institutional aspects of live music promotion; the development and professionalisation of the British live music industry over the past 50 years, and its changing relationship with the recording industry over the same period; the role of the state in the regulation of live music in the UK; and ethnographic research investigating how live music scenes operate in specific British localities.

Author Biographies

Simon Frith, University of Edinburgh

Professor Simon Frith is Tovey Chair of Music at the University of Edinburgh. For much of his career, as both an academic and journalist, he has been engaged with the problems of taking popular music seriously (a collection of his essays under that title was published in 2007). As an academic he was a founder member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and a founding editor of the journal, Popular Music, and the majority of his scholarly publications have been in this field. His published works include Sound Effects (1983) and Performing Rites (1996).

Matt Brennan, University of Edinburgh

Dr Matt Brennan is a post-doctoral researcher in music at the University of Edinburgh. He completed his PhD at the University of Stirling, where he researched the interactions between American jazz and rock journalism. He has published articles on the music press in journals such as Popular Music, Popular Music History, and the Jazz Research Journal. He also plays in the Glasgow-based band, Zoey Van Goey.

Martin Cloonan, University of Glasgow

Professor Martin Cloonan is a Convener of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Music at the University of Glasgow. His research interests are in the Politics of Popular Music, an area in which he has a number of publications, and in issues concerning censorship and freedom of expression. Martin is a member of Popular Music, Popular Music and Society and the Beitrage zur Popularmusikforschung. His published works include Dark Side of The Tune: Popular Music and Violence (with Bruce Johnson, 2008), Popular Music and the State in the UK (2007) and Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-92 (1996). Martin also manages the Glasgow-based band, Zoey Van Goey and is the chair of the anti-censorship group, Freemuse.

Emma Webster

Emma Webster is a PhD student in Music at the University of Glasgow. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Sheffield, and before returning to academia, Emma spent 8 years working in music in a variety of guises and music genres, including opera, 'world music', acid techno, and digital distribution. For the live music project, Emma is primarily responsible for ethnographic research into local live music scenes.






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