The first ever UK Live Music Census is surveying a day’s worth of live music across the country today, Wednesday 9th March. The Guardian asks, ‘In a digital world with ever more ways to listen, is being there still the biggest thrill?’
Southampton Solent University is taking part in the first ever national UK Live Music Census that aims to map out the UK live music industry. The Guardian’s article ‘When did you last hear live music? Stand up and be counted’ challenges going to gigs in a digital age. Even though small venues have been facing big challenges and around 30% have closed down in the past years, ticket sales for live shows are still making the most money in the industry.
‘So what’s going on? Why does live music still matter in an era of digital everything?’
Dr Matt Brennan at the University of Edinburgh hopes to offer answers. He’s organised the UK Live Music Census, the first of its kind in the world. For 24 hours from noon on Thursday 9 March, Brennan and his collaborators will be making a survey of all live music in six UK cities: Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton. When we spoke a month before the census, 500 volunteers had already signed up. Professionals and music lovers elsewhere in Britain are being invited to complete the picture with their own surveys online until 8 May.
Oli Steadman and Tom Hodgson, bassist and trumpeter with indie-folk outfit Stornoway, remember the advice they were given when starting out: “Don’t treat your tour as the business card for an expensive product; make a product cheaply – and that’ll be your business card to go out and tour. Live is where everything comes in.”