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Valuing Live Music: The UK Live Music Census 2017 report

14 Feb 2018

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The UK’s first ever national live music census took place in 2017.  For 24 hours from noon on Thursday 9th March 2017, volunteers in cities across the country went out and about to live music events, from pub gigs to massed choirs to arena concerts. 
 
Live music censuses took place in our three primary snapshot cities of Glasgow, Newcastle-Gateshead and Oxford while affiliate censuses also ran in Brighton, Leeds and Southampton on 9-10 March and in Liverpool on 1-2 June, the affiliates led by members of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership (MAP).
 
Nationwide online surveys for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences were online from March until June. The intention of the census project was to help measure live music’s social, cultural and economic value, discover what challenges the sector is facing and inform policy to help live music flourish.
 
This report, published in February 2018, sets out the findings of the census. It draws on survey data, both quantitative and qualitative, to bridge the current knowledge gap regarding the specific relationship between the value of live music on the one hand and the current challenges facing the UK’s live music sector on the other. It also draws on eighteen semi-structured profile interviews with individual musicians and venue workers in order to provide illustrative examples of some of these challenges.
 
Workers from small music venues and (music) bars/pubs form the majority of the interviewees – and, indeed, a key focus of the report – as this currently appears to be the area of the sector facing the most pressing challenges. It is also worth noting that, overall, over half of all participating census venues were from the smaller end of the sector.