The UK’s first ever national live music census took place in spring 2017: for 24 hours from noon on Thursday 9th March, an army of volunteers went out and about to live music events in Glasgow, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton (and 1st June in Liverpool), from pub gigs to massed choirs to arena concerts. A nationwide online survey for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences was online from March until June.
The intention was to help measure live music’s cultural and economic value, discover what challenges the sector is facing and inform policy to help it flourish. The census covers all genres and takes a broad definition of live music to include events featuring DJs.
The UK Live Music Census was organised by researchers from the Live Music Exchange research group, a collaboration across the universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and the University of Turku (Finland). In 2015, the same researchers organised a pilot live music census in Edinburgh, inspired by work in Melbourne by Dobe Newton in 2012.