What is the UK live music census?

The UK’s first ever live music census – a ‘Springwatch’ for live music.

For 24 hours from noon on 9 March 2017, we will track performances in cities across the country – from lone buskers to massed choirs, from pub gigs to stadium concerts – in Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Birmingham, Southampton and Brighton. Volunteers will be asked to record aspects of the gig including the musical genre, the venue, door charge and audience demographic.

A nationwide online survey for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences will also go live on 9 March and will be open until 8 May.

We hope the survey – a UK and world first – will help measure live music’s cultural and economic value, discover what challenges the industry is facing, and inform policy to help it flourish.

Sign up here to receive an email when the surveys go live, keep up-to-date with the project, and to volunteer for Census night itself.

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Please take the time to read through the information on how we will use your personal information and other data protection information here. We have tried to keep it brief!

About

Why are we doing a Live Music Census?

Live music is popular across the UK, and has become increasingly important to the music industries, overtaking recording revenues in 2008. Yet recent years have been difficult for venues. These challenges are felt particularly keenly by the smaller venues, clubs and pubs which provide for local musicians and audiences, and which serve as the training ground for future headline acts.

There is widespread interest in the live music sector, and there have been numerous reports assessing its value produced by industry organisations, policy bodies and the charity sector. Nevertheless, there is still a gap in our knowledge about the specific relationship between the value of live music on the one hand and the current challenges facing venues across the UK on the other.

Accounts of live music activity vary according to where they have been produced, by whom, and by what method. This variation can make it difficult to make meaningful comparisons across cities, and across different types of music and different types of venue.

Our project will address these issues directly. The UK Live Music Census will be a collaboration between music industry organisations, policy bodies and leading academic live music researchers. Working with key personnel in the live music sector, and building on the project team’s pilot study of a census of live music in Edinburgh, we will provide the first account of live music in the UK that covers the full range of venues and that includes all types of musical activity – from amateur to top-flight professional.

The UK Live Music Census is a new project between the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, run by members of the Live Music Exchange team in partnership with the Musicians’ Union, Music Venue Trust, and UK Music, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

What are we going to do?

With project partners UK Music, the Musicians’ Union and the Music Venue Trust, we will be surveying musicians, venues, promoters and audience members nationwide to provide the most comprehensive dataset yet of live music across the spectrum in the country.

Alongside industry personnel and policymakers, our team are developing a toolkit for conducting a snapshot census of live music in three cities (Glasgow, Newcastle and Oxford) and are sharing it with other institutions so that they can conduct parallel snapshots in Leeds, Southampton and Brighton. Our affiliates at the British and Irish of Modern Music Institute (BIMM) in Brighton, Leeds Beckett University and Southampton Solent University will be running Censuses in those cities.

What do we hope to achieve?

Our previous research shows that the way that different local councils deal with live music and venue licensing can have a profound effect on live music provision, but also that it is difficult for them to make informed decisions given the variety of approaches used in previous reports.

By bringing together representatives of the music industry, policymakers and academics to help to design the surveys and promote them nationwide, this project will assist all of us by providing a method and framework we can all agree on for assessing the scope and value of live music in the UK. This will be a huge step forward for all concerned in working to safeguard and develop the cultural and economic well-being of this most valuable facet of local character in towns and cities across the country.

Team

Matt Brennan

Dr Matt Brennan

Principal Investigator

University of Edinburgh

Matt’s current research focuses on the music industries - and live music in particular - and the social history of the drum kit and drummers.

Martin Cloonan

Professor Martin Cloonan

Co-Investigator

University of Glasgow

Martin's 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.

Adam Behr

Dr Adam Behr

Co-Investigator

Newcastle University

Adam’s research covers the politics and sociology of music, particularly popular music, and the music industries.

Emma Webster

Dr Emma Webster

Research Associate / Visiting Researcher

University of Edinburgh / Oxford Brookes University

Emma’s research interests are in live music and festivals, on which she has also written various industry reports

Musicians Union

The Musicians’ Union (MU) is a globally-respected organisation which represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors of the music business.

Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust is a charity created in January 2014 that exists to protect, secure & develop UK Grassroots Live Music Venues.

UK Music

UK Music is a campaigning and lobbying group, which represents every part of the UK recorded and live music industry.

The project also has a broad advisory board with significant international representation from academic, industry and policy spheres

Resources

Toolkit

From May 2017, you will be able to download the Live Music Census Toolkit so that you can carry out a census in your home town – this will include among other things a ‘how to’ guide, timeline, checklists, glossary, a guide on how to gather listings data, plus templates for press releases and funding applications. Check back in May 2017 to download your free guide or contact us via the form below.

Volunteer Information

Thank you for volunteering for the UK Live Music Census!  We couldn’t do it without your help so a huge THANK YOU in advance from all of us.

Click here to go straight to the Venue Observation survey.

Click here to go straight to the Audience Interview Survey – remember to download the Participant Information first!

Click here to go to the Volunteer Information page which contains all the information you require, including Survey Instructions, Training Refresher, Collecting Data, Staying Safe, The Surveys.

Live Music Resources

Membership organisations for musicians


Attitude Is Everything – charity which works to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry
British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) – supports and protects the professional interests of songwriters, composers and lyricists of all genres
Equity – trade union representing artists from across the entire spectrum of arts and entertainment
Featured Artists Coalition – campaigns for the protection of UK performers’ and musicians’ rights
Incorporated Society of Musicians – professional association for musicians: performers, composers, teachers and more
Making Music – association of amateur and semi-professional musicians including choirs and orchestra
Musicians’ Union – trade union which represents musicians working on all sectors of the music business
Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) – collects and distributes money on behalf of performers and record companies for the use of their recorded music
PRS for Music (MCPS + PRS) – collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers, for the use of their musical compositions and lyrics

Funding Bodies for Live Music


Arts Council England – the national development agency for the arts in England, providing funding for a range of arts activities
Arts Council of Northern Ireland – as above, for Northern Ireland
Arts Council Wales – as above, for Wales
Big Lottery Fund – gives grants to organisations in the UK to help improve their communities
Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) – BPI (British Phonographic Industry) / UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) – supports emerging artists, bands, DJs, performers, etc. that have had their first success in the UK and are ready to try and break into an overseas market
British Council
Creative Europe Desk UK – funding for collaborative projects in media and culture
Creative Scotland – the national development agency for the arts in Scotland
Help Musicians UK – independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement
The Prince’s Trust – help for young people to train, learn or help get a job
PRS for Music Foundation – the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent
Youth Music – young persons music charity set up in 1999 to promote music making opportunities and to provide advice to those with the least access

Information for Venues and Promoters


Attitude Is Everything – charity which works to improve Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry
Julie’s Bicycle – not-for-profit organisation working with the arts and creative industries to make environmental sustainability a core component of their work
Music Venues Alliance – a free-to-join, informal association of Grassroots Music Venues and other organisations/individuals who are passionate about this part of the music industry and have pledged their support to the work of the Music Venue Trust.
Music Venue Trust – charity that aims to protect, support and improve independent live music venues in the UK

Glossary

Definition of a Live Music Event

We appreciate that there will be some grey areas as to what constitutes a live music event but we advise using the following definition: a live music event is one which musicians (including DJs) provide music for audiences and dancers gathering in public places where the music is the principal purpose of that gathering.
For a live music activity where the purpose is less clear – a singer in a restaurant or a DJ in a nightclub, for example – it should be included in the Census if the event is advertised as a live music event (e.g. jazz at the Ashmolean Restaurant) and/or the performer is named (e.g. Carl Cox at Fabric).

It is also worth bearing in mind that a live music event, by its nature, needs a place in which to happen, performers, an audience, a catalyst — someone or something to bring these things together — and appropriate technology to enable the event to happen, e.g. instruments, microphones (Frith 2012), hence the live music activity in question should also have these five elements.

Finally, does the event pass the elephant test, i.e. would the promoter/organiser, audience, and/or performer consider it to be a live music event?


Live Music Venue Types

We appreciate that there will be grey areas and some venues have more than one function, the following should cover the majority of venues used for live music – you should consider the primary function of the venue:-

  • Bar, pub (20-100) – main focus is alcohol sales with occasional music
  • Restaurant/café with music (20-100) – main focus is food with occasional music
  • Small music venue (<350) – dedicated music venue, mainly standing gigs[1]
  • Medium music venue (351-650) – dedicated music venue, mainly standing gigs
  • Large music venue (651-5,000) – dedicated music venue, mainly standing gigs
  • Concert hall (200-3,000) – dedicated music venue, mainly seated gigs
  • Arts centre (200-2,000) – multi-arts, multi-purpose venue
  • Theatre/opera house (500-2,500) – mainly theatre with some live music/opera
  • Church/place of worship
  • Hotel or function room
  • Small club (<500) – dedicated club, mainly for dancing
  • Large club (>500) – dedicated club, mainly for dancing
  • Other (20-1,000, incl. town/village hall, church, community centre, student union) – venues which are used for live music occasionally
  • Arena (5,000-25,000) – large, covered, multi-purpose arena or conference centre
  • Stadium (5,000-100,000) – large, usually uncovered, main purpose usually for sports
  • Outdoor – small (<25,000)
  • Outdoor – medium (25,000-50,000 per day)
  • Outdoor – large (>50,000 per day)

Also refer to Music Venue Trust’s definition of grassroots venues in the Mayor of London’s Rescue Plan (2015).


Promoter-artist deals

  • Pay-to-play – artist pays the promoter/venue to perform
  • Ticket allocation – promoter organises show and artist is expected to sell tickets
  • Self-promotion – artist sells tickets and takes the risk on the show
  • Free – no monetary payment but artist may receive expenses
  • In-kind – artist receives a non-monetary ‘payment’
  • Busking – paid by donation
  • Promoter-artist split – promoter takes door proceeds, recuperates costs of gig, splits remainder with the artist
  • Profit minus guarantee – if no profit, the artist still gets guaranteed fee, but if profit, then promoter deducts guarantee and pays artist the balance
  • Flat fee – the artist receives a guaranteed set amount of money no matter how many people attend
  • Guaranteed fee plus profit – the artist takes a percentage of the profit on top of the guaranteed fee
  • Salaried – e.g. as part of an ensemble

Prize Draw Terms & Conditions

This prize draw is operated by the UK Live Music Census (the “Promoter”). The UK Live Music Census is a new project between the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, run by members of the Live Music Exchange, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

  1. The prize draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over, except employees of the Promoter, their families, agents or any third party directly associated with administration of the UK Live Music Census and/or the prize draw.
  2. The prize draw is free to enter and no purchase is necessary.
  3. All entries must be submitted via the SmartSurvey website. Respondents are permitted to answer more than survey type (audience, musician, venue, promoter) but only one entry per person is permitted per survey type.
  4. The opening date for entries is 12 noon on Thursday 9th March 2017 The closing date of the prize draw is 12 noon on Monday 8th May 2017. Entries received after this time will not be accepted.
  5. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries not successfully completed due to a technical fault technical malfunction, computer hardware or software failure, satellite, network or server failure of any kind.
  6. A winner will be chosen by random draw performed by a computer process on Tuesday 9th May 2017 (“Draw Date”).
  7. The winner will receive an iPad mini 2 (32GB, silver or space grey, Wi-Fi only, with no ) or equivalent model at the Draw Date. The Promoter reserves the right to replace the prize with an alternative prize of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond the Promoter’s control makes it necessary to do so
  8. The winner will be notified by email (using details provided at entry) before Friday 12th May 2017 and must then provide a postal address to claim their prize. If a winner does not respond to the Promoter within 30 days of being notified by the Promoter, then the winner’s prize will be forfeited and the Promoter will be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above.
  9. The prize will be sent to the winner by post within 60 days of being notified of their win.
  10. The prize for the winner is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
  11. The decision of the Promoter regarding any aspect of the prize draw is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  12. Participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry. The Promoter reserves the right to refuse entry, or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.
  13. The Promoter reserves the right to hold void, cancel, suspend, or amend the promotion where it becomes necessary to do so.
  14. Insofar as is permitted by law, the Promoter, its agents or distributors will not in any circumstances be responsible or liable to compensate the winner or accept any liability for any loss, damage, personal injury or death occurring as a result of taking up the prize except where it is caused by the negligence of the Promoter, its agents or distributors or that of their employees. Your statutory rights are not affected.
  15. Winners may be required to participate in publicity related to the prize draw which may include the publication of their name and photograph in any media.
  16. Personal data supplied during the course of this promotion may be passed on to third party suppliers only insofar as required for fulfilment/delivery/arrangement of the prize.
  17. The prize draw will be governed by Scots law and entrants to the prize draw submit to the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts.
  18. The Promoter can be contacted at uklivemusiccensus@gmail.com

Press