Craig Hamilton (Birmingham City University, UK)
The second paper in the panel focuses on the methodological aspects of the current project. It outlines the technical processes of scraping data from such sources as local and national listings to provide baseline data of the size and scope of Birmingham’s live music ecology – the number and type of venues, the spread of musical activity across the different areas of the city. Through an explanation of the preliminary mapping of the city’s music spaces, the ‘snapshot’ census of live music activity, the surveys used to assess longer term activity and the triangulation of these sources to assess the overall picture, this paper places the project within the wider context of sectoral research. It discusses the specificities of data gathering in one city, and how the local conditions impact and inform the technical and human dimensions of accounting for a live music ecology. Illustrating the divergences and similarities between researching the sector in Birmingham and in other cities, it moves from an account of the methodology to outlining the data analysis and preliminary findings, demonstrating both the replicability of the method, and the iterative nature of the research process.