The Liverpool Live Music Census Team
Studying Music Industry at the University of Liverpool is an unparalleled experience. In a city which embraces its musical heritage and identity so much, you feel like you are in just the right place for it.
Luckily, we just happened to be studying for our Master’s in Music Industry Studies in the same year as the UK’s first ever national Live Music Census took place! It was a project aimed to help measure live music’s cultural and economic value, discover what challenges the sector is facing and inform policy to help it flourish.
Organised by researchers from the Live Music Exchange research group, the census took place in seven cities across the UK during a 24-hour period, with an additional nationwide three-month online survey. However, Liverpool was initially not included in the list of cities the census took place in. On the initiative and under the guidance of our wonderfully encouraging music professor Mat Flynn, we decided to take matters into our own hands.
Led by Mat and supported by the national team, a group of our fellow coursemates and friends put our heads together and organised our own Liverpool Live Music Census. We identified live music venues in Liverpool, approached them by email, phone or personal visits, raised awareness of the project and got as many venues as possible to agree to participate. Finally, after months of planning, on Census Day on 1 June, we went out to survey venues and audiences across the city. We asked venue owners about their practices of putting on live music, their main experiences and challenges of being a venue in Liverpool. We enquired audience members about their habits of attending live music events, such as how often they attend said events, how much they are willing to spend on or travel for an event, etc. The data gathered was later compiled into a report and published on the UK Live Music Census website. This all gave us an idea of the live music sector and economy in Liverpool.
During the course of the project, we were able to experience different aspects of the music industry and put into practice the things we were learning in the classroom. We gained new skills and lessons that will sure be beneficial in our future endeavors. We got to try our hand at a range of activities such as communicating and liaising with venues, planning and negotiating, social media outreach and marketing, recruiting volunteers, and analysing and compiling reports of our findings.
Contributing to a project with a potential positive impact to the live music sector was a truly rewarding experience. Unfortunately, live music’s value is often underappreciated. Projects like these are necessary to break these assumptions and help bring about the necessary changes that will benefit the sector and the industry as a whole. We are glad to have been able to take part in the Liverpool Live Music Census, hopefully the first of many such events aimed at doing just that, while studying at the University of Liverpool.
The team after a long and successful Census Day, 1 June 2017
Written by Luis and Erli