UK Census To Measure Live Music’s Cultural, Economic Worth

The first nationwide live music census will take place March 9, tracking performances of all kinds in cities across the UK. 

– UK Live Music Census

Some 200 volunteers in Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton are to track performances over a period of 24 hours, “from lone buskers to massed choirs, from pub gigs to stadium concerts,” according to the announcement.

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An online survey will go live on the same day, asking musicians, venues, promoters and audiences to share their live music activity, which will “help to understand the value of live music and help to protect it.”

The census comes a day after the UK government publishes its spring budget 2017. Small- and medium-sized business operators, including venue operators, are bracing themselves for an overhaul of commercial property rates.

“Venues around the country have been telling us that they already operate on thin margins, so proposed increases in ratable values of up to 55 percent in some cases will have a significant impact,” said Dr. Matt Brennan from the University of Edinburgh, leader of the music census. “The UK Live Music Census will be very important in identifying challenges that the industry faces, such as rising rates and other issues. It will give us a detailed picture of what exactly it means to be venue owner, a musician, and a live music lover in 2017. Our hope is that the Census will be a vital tool in strengthening a much-loved part of the UK’s culture.”

Besides live music’s economic and cultural value, the census also aims to capture the diversity of musical genres, audience demographics, ticket prices, and attitudes toward secondary ticketing.