PANEL OF THREE PAPERS: ADAM BEHR (NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, UK), CRAIG HAMILTON (BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY, UK), PATRYCJA ROZBICKA (ASTON UNIVERSITY, UK)
Above is the video of the Zoom Discussion on Thursday 16th July at 18:00 UK Time. Below are the full video presentations by each of the panellists
PAPER 1: THE LIVE MUSIC ECOLOGY – CONTEXT, CONTINUITIES AND CONTROVERSY (ABSTRACT) ADAM BEHR
PAPER 2: GATHERING THE DATA – MEANS, METHODS AND MAPPING (ABSTRACT) CRAIG HAMILTON
PAPER 3: BIRMINGHAM’S PERSPECTIVE – LOCAL RESPONSES AND CONCERNS (ABSTRACT) PATRYCJA ROZBICKA
Photos, Abstracts and Biographies
This paper begins by outlining the concept of the live music ‘ecology’ as applied to specific localities (notably cities) and the various relationships within them – such as between venues, musicians, promoters, councils and licensing officers. It considers the research background to the current project – the ‘live music census’ methodology, as deployed in individual cities from Melbourne, to Edinburgh and, latterly, across the UK – and then moves on to examine its wider applications. Through a discussion of the relationship between local music, national polities and their international contexts, it highlights the interconnectedness of live music ecologies, and economies.
The potential ramifications for local music ecologies in the UK from Brexit, for instance, are considerable. Even beyond the problems faced by touring acts, the ‘cultural pushback’ of perceptions that Britain is harder to visit could limit opportunities for local promoters and venues. Disruptions to supply chains risk additional challenges for festivals and production companies, and limits to free movement could impact local economies – like the Midlands – heavily dependent on recruitment of skilled workers from Europe, and on a tourist economy. This paper examines sets up the theoretical context, and practical consequences, for the interdependence of local music and national policy.
Adam Behr is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music at Newcastle University. He is a director of the knowledge exchange body Live Music Exchange. His interests include the intersection of music and politics and his research has included work on the cultural value of live music, copyright and musical practice, and cultural policy. As well as academic publications, he writes extensively for the web, for Live Music Exchange, The Conversation and elsewhere.
In this paper, I discuss the creation of an online, interactive map of music venues in the city of Birmingham, UK. The map was developed as part of a PEC-funded research project, ‘The UK Live Music Industry in a post-2019 era: a Globalised local perspective’, and was launched on 1st June 2020. I begin by outlining my approach to the map and the project, which has been informed by a practice-led engagement with data-derived business models (Hartmann et al, 2014) as they relate to popular music production, distribution and consumption. I describe how this led me towards the development of a number of data-derived methods, included automated data collection, the use of machine learning algorithms, and the creation of interactive web interfaces that were then applied to this project. I then go on to describe the process behind the creation of the online map, which involved the use of third party API data and the development of an interface using the open source programming language, R. I close my paper with a reflection on the process, and argue that the type of data-derived methods I have described are a useful additional to our methodological and critical arsenal in popular music studies. The paper also points toward a number of resources developed by the project, which could enable the replication and further development of similar approaches by researchers exploring live music ecologies
Craig Hamilton is a Research Fellow in the School of Media at Birmingham City University. His research explores contemporary popular music reception practices and the role of digital, data and Internet technologies on the business and cultural environments of music consumption. This research is built around the development of The Harkive Project (www.harkive.org), an online, crowd-sourced method of generating data from music consumers about their everyday relationships with music and technology. Craig is also the co-Managing Editor of Riffs: Experimental Research on Popular Music (www.riffsjournal.org)
This paper concentrates on the participants within the Birmingham live music ecology, the qualitative aspects of the research and the consultation process that feeds into it. With a core network of local actors including Birmingham City Council, the Birmingham Music Coalition, and the Birmingham Music Archive – as well as national agencies – the project seeks to incorporate stakeholder perspectives throughout the research as part of a process of the co-production of knowledge. Building on the previous papers’ accounts of the national and international policy contexts, and the data gathering, this section of the panel moves onto a synthesis of the specific implications for local businesses and policymakers of the research findings. It provides a picture of the key concerns for Birmingham’s live music ecology, drawing on the wider dataset and first-hand accounts of both the historical and present-day cultural activity in the city, and their intersection with local government and civil society. With a view of the wider structural picture provided by the overarching research findings, this paper looks to strategies for communication and co-ordination in response to the challenges thrown up by Brexit for Birmingham and the West Midlands – the localized approach to national policy shifts.
Patrycja Rozbicka, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham (Aston Centre for Europe). Her main areas of interest and publications include: participation of interest groups and various stakeholders in the national and EU political systems; coalitions and networks studies; and regulation of the live music industry. She is PI on the Project ‘UK Live Music industry in post-2019 area: Globalized local perspective’ funded by Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, led by NESTA.