Live music in the UK is facing challenging times. Grassroots venues are run on tighter and tighter margins, facing threats from gentrification, noise complaints, and rising business rates; music education faces an uncertain future; and arts funding is being cut across the board.
We know that live music is an immense economic and cultural asset, driving everything from tourism to civic pride, and that live music also has huge cultural and social value, whether it be a place for spending time with friends and family, or even to improve health and well-being. However, at present, still not enough is known about it, and much of what we do know is anecdotal rather than presented in the ‘numbers and narratives’ manner to which politicians and other key decision-makers respond.
This, then, is one of the drivers behind the UK Live Music Census, the world’s first national music census; a ‘Springwatch’ for live music, if you will. As Lord Clement Jones, a driving force behind changes to live music legislation in the UK, notes: “Data about the sector has so far been relatively scarce and mostly anecdotal, and so the much needed data collected by UK Live Music Census will help us protect live music going into the future”.
Since March, online surveys have been gathering data about live music across the UK, from audience members and musicians, and from those who make it all happen behind the scenes: venues and promoters.
And this is where you come in!
We need as many musicians (and venues, promoters and audience members) as possible to complete the surveys, in order that we can build a complete picture of live music activity around the country. We are particularly interested in musicians in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton as these are our ‘snapshot’ cities for which we will be creating in-depth reports. Please complete the survey(s) and help us to spread the word about them to musicians and other live music practitioners in your area.
The online surveys are open until 31st May, accessed via the UK Live Music Census website, uklivemusiccensus.org – one lucky respondent will win an iPad! (T&Cs apply.)