2019 | 4 views | 30 Pages | 238.04 KB
musical culture today that seem more akin to his pre-war than post-war situation. My point is that over the last fifty years popular music culture has been organised around the relationship of the recorded music and live music sectors and this relationship is constantly changing. This is the context for our research project.
Simon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 2Anderson is right to argue that the postwar rise of recordings to musicaldominance didn t just happen and that the pre rock era has not had sufficientattention in popular music studies but his conclusion about the relative culturalimportance of recording and live music is I think generally accepted Who inpopular music studies would disagree with this summaryThe basis of the prewar music industry was live performance of music byamateurs and professionals Whether it involved the purchase of to beperformed sheet music ticket sales or using musicians as attractions for thesponsored broadcasts the live performance was the major method throughwhich music was appreciated danced to consumed listened to andanticipated After the war the music industry systematically altered itselfaround recordings all of which are vital to our modern day conception ofhow we conceive of popular music Anderson 2006 p 7On the other hand I suspect that even Anderson might modify this assertion alittle in the light of developments since he wrote there are certainly elements ofmusical culture today that seem more akin to his pre war than post war situationMy point is that over the last fifty years popular music culture has been organisedaround the relationship of the recorded music and live music sectors and thisrelationship is constantly changing This is the context for our research projectWe wanted to look at the history of British popular music since 1950 from theperspective of the live music sector rather than assuming as do most popularmusic histories that the postwar history of popular music is in effect the historyof the record industryWhat are the effects of this shift of perspective To be schematica a clear sense that over the last 50 60 years we have had three popular musiceras I think of these as pre rock 1950s 60s rock 1970 80s and post rock1990s 2000s in each of which recorded and live music have a different sort ofeconomic and cultural co existence This argument is developed in Brennan scorresponding article in this journal but I should stress that live music history isn ta matter of a sector rising or falling Live musical performance is a continuouslynecessary aspect of musical culture and one of the fascinations of the live musicbusiness is promoters ability to adapt to ever changing circumstancesb There are many kinds of live performance that can be classified according to avariety of criteria amateur professional public private primary secondary andwhich involve a variety of economic arrangements commercial charitable statesubsidised corporately sponsored etc To be interested in live performance ingeneral as we are is therefore to have a much richer sense of British musicallife than a focus on record production and distribution and in particular of thecomplexity of what it means to be a popular musicianc The local and national state has a much more significant role in live thanrecorded music Its role is partly regulatory live music is licensed and thehistory of licensing regimes and their effects on musical venues gatherings etcis fascinating in itself this point is developed in Cloonan s corresponding articleI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 3in this journal But the state s role is also promotional investing in andsubsidising certain sorts of musical activity and venue This is not just a matter ofarts or tourist policy it also involves for example youth and multicultural policythink of the role of community centres and resources in the history of black Britishd Live music as the work of Sara Cohen and her colleagues in Liverpool hasshown is particularly significant for understanding musical locality and place 1Live music has to happen somewhere and the changing places of music wherelive events happen the geography of audience are a crucial strand of socialhistory And the place of live music is also a venue whether a pub back room afarmer s fields or a purpose built stadium The changing spaces of musicalperformance contain their own technological architectural and ideologicalaccounts of what people have understood as a good sound a good performancea good listening experience a good night out Webster discusses this further inher corresponding article in this journale To look at the business of music from the promoter s perspective is to get adifferent sense of the musical power structure than that provided by the recordindustry which has interestingly tended to treat promoters as the most shadyand untrustworthy players in the musical game Promoters have both a differentimmediate sense of the problem of juggling with many interests at once artistsmanagers agents venues regulators record companies audiences and adifferent long term understanding of musical careers and audience needs tolook after an artist starting out is to benefit from their market value when theybecome big stars to look after this audience for this show is to ensure they comeback for the next one The promotional business is a mess of contradictions acontract based business without contracts an exploitative business based onface to face goodwill a highly regulated business which often seems close tochaotic and criminal contradictions which remain even with the recent rise of anew sort of live music corporate oligopoly From our perspective what matters isto understand that local small scale do it yourself promotion remains asnecessary to the live music ecology as Live Nation et al The exchange value oflive music as a commodity that is to say is dependent on its use value as aparticular kind of uncommodifiable experience1 See for example the work coming out of their current AHRC funded project PopularMusicscapes and the Characterisation of the Urban EnvironmentReferencesAnderson Timothy J 2006 Making Easy Listening Material Culture andPostwar American Recording University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis MNI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 4Constructing a Rough Account of British ConcertPromotion HistoryMatt Brennanm t brennan gmail comUniversity of EdinburghThis is the second of four related articles in this journal presenting findings from the firstyear of a research project on live music in the UK A framework in progress is proposedwhich periodizes the history of British concert promotion since 1955 The first period of1955 1969 is characterized by the absence of corporations and ancillary industries andthe presence of entrepreneur concert promoters the Musicians Union reciprocalexchange the impact of DIY music making and youth pop the strain on concertpromoting conventions by the growth of the pop market The second period of 19691996 is characterized by record labels subsidizing tours to promote record sales newschool pop promoters the professionalization of ancillary industries catering to livemusic and the development of the arena circuit The third and final period of 1996 2009is characterized by record sales losing wallet share ticket prices rising well aboveinflation the rise of multi national corporations entering the live music market and achanging dynamic between the recording and live industriesKeywords live music United Kingdom UK Great Britain concert promotion historymusic industry promoters Live NationIntroductionThe live music research project introduced by Simon Frith in the first partof this series of articles aims to cover the history of British concert promotion from1955 to the present day As such one of the biggest challenges for our researchteam is to conceptualize over fifty years of the rich and varied history of Britishlive music and how to best divide it into manageable chunks In this article I willpresent our initial attempt to construct an account of the development of Britishconcert promotion which we have tentatively periodized into three eras Thesedivisions are likely to change as we go further in our research but they representa first stab at giving some structure to what is in reality a very complex historythat is resistant to having crude eras imposed upon it These divisions aretherefore not meant to be definitive however there are some interestingcharacteristics in each period that endow the divisions with a certain kind of logicwhich I will outline nowI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 51 1955 1969a Absence of corporations and ancillary industries concert promoters asentrepreneursOne obvious difference between the live music sector in 1955 versus nowis the absence at that time of corporate promoting entities and a professionalizedsector of ancillary industries to live music live sound engineering ticketingtransport etc Instead we see the presence of a more informal network ofvenues agents managers and promoters with key individual entrepreneurialpersonalities leading the way At the top of the promoting food chain wereestablished promoters such as Harold Fielding and Harold Davison who dealtwith jazz musical theatre and jazz based pop There were also newcomerpromoters such as Larry Parnes and Arthur Howes who capitalized on theburgeoning teen pop market These larger usually London based promotersoften worked with local promoters in towns across the UK to book showsPromoters also often simultaneously acted as managers agents promoters andlabels for artists they worked with which made the British music industry distinctfrom the US where anti trust legislation prevented taking on such conflictingroles Boyd 2008b Musicians Union reciprocal exchangeThere was also a completely different protocol for foreign musicianswishing to perform in the UK Since at least the 1930s the British MusiciansUnion wielded a strong influence on the Ministry of Labour and discouragedthem from granting work permits to any American dance bands wishing to play inBritain unless a reciprocal agreement was in place where a British dance bandwould be sent to the US to perform in exchange 1 Since there was next to nodemand for British jazz and pop in the US until much later this meant that veryfew American artists performed in Britain until 1955 when reciprocal exchangesbegan to become more common Even at the height of the British invasion in the1960s however when there was actually demand in the US for Britishperformers the Musicians Union reciprocal exchange still had to be abided byand affected whether touring bands could bring their own backup band or notc Impact of DIY music making and youth popThe 1950s and 1960s period is characterized by an upsurge in amateurand DIY Do It Yourself music making in genres such as trad jazz skiffle folkR B and rock With these genres came new kinds of venues and clubs thatcatered to each style and the emergence of a pub gigging circuit Pop groupsalso displaced dance orchestras which for years had enjoyed residentialcontracts at ballrooms Young audiences on a night out gradually went to fewerlive dance orchestras instead preferring to dance to DJs spinning records ofpopular artists or a mix of live bands and dance records 2 Concert promoters whoproved unable to adapt to such changes risked commercial ruin but those whoremained flexible were able to reap rewards Cliff Richard and the Shadows oneI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 6of the most popular acts performing teen beat music sold out tours in recordnumbers which were promoted by Arthur Howes Cliff and the Shadows wereone of the pioneering youth pop acts who began to tour in their own right ratherthan as part of a package tour not least because they were able to perform setswithout relying on a backup bandd pop s growing market strains concert promotion conventionsThe growth in audience demand for appearances by pop groups like CliffRichard The Beatles and other bands resulted in a shifting of the economicgateposts for the live music sector during this time Pop managers were able toargue on behalf of their artists for increasingly better terms for concerts and inthe mid 1960s there are many reports in the music press of a growing tensionbetween concert promoters and pop artists 3 Performers expresseddissatisfaction with promoters for using venues with inadequate facilitiesadvertising an artist when no booking had been made and promising fees werein the post but which never arrived Promoters on the other hand complained ofbands not fulfilling contracts due to getting a record in the charts ignoring theirprevious commitments and signing up for better paying gigs elsewhere as wellas a general attitude of indifference by certain professional groups and theiragents The rapid growth of the pop concert market meant that existing norms oflive music promotion on structural technical and performative levels werequickly becoming inadequate to meet market demand in the UK and finding asolution was often a painful process of trial and error2 1969 1996a record labels subsidize tours to promote record salesOne solution to come into place was for an act s record company to takecontrol of touring to fit in with album promotion and 1969 is a year when onebegins to notice reports of the dynamic between the recording industry and liveindustry changing most noticeably in press releases of record labels subsidizingconcerts and touring costs to promote record sales in Britain And it is thischange that we ve decided to use to mark the beginning of our second periodRecord labels had experienced a period of great growth in the 1960s and werebeginning to realize that they now had the cash flow to offer financial support tohelp their new signings perform and tour at a loss in the hopes that expenseswould be recouped in future record sales Labels like EMI and RCA startedpresenting free concerts to promote their new acts and by 1970 the MarqueeClub was booked every Monday night exclusively for record label promotionconcerts 4 Over the next few years there are reports in trade publications aboutlabels underwriting substantial costs of tours to break new and even establishedI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 7b new school pop promoters via student unionsThe music press in 1969 also has many reports about the emergence of anew touring circuit in colleges An ad in Melody Maker at the beginning of theyear placed by an agency called College Entertainment Limited thanks a list of67 social secretaries for their patronage so this circuit was clearly taking shapeprior to 1969 as well MM 4 January 1969 p 20 Social secretaries were eitherappointed or elected student concert promoters at universities and thisdevelopment resulted in two things 1 a new touring circuit that gave acts accessto the very important college market 2 a new route for the younger generationwho were closely connected to the new rocket market to break into an industry inneed of employees who were more directly in touch with their market Jenner2008 Some industry professionals who got their start as social secretariesinclude promoter Harvey Goldsmith Chrysalis founders Chris Ellis and TerryWright and the Who and Rolling Stones tour manager Pete Rudge althoughthere are countless othersc professionalization of ancillary industries sound light trucking securitymerchandise ticketingAs anyone who has seen footage of the Beatles playing Shea Stadiumcan attest the equipment for used for sound lights transport and otherelements of a large scale concert event were either non existent or woefullyinadequate by the time the Beatles abandoned touring in 1966 However by theend of the 1960s and early 1970s bands were beginning to buy high poweredcustom built sound and light systems for use in American stadiums which theywould then sometimes use in much smaller town halls converted cinemas orslightly larger venues such as London s Empire Pool or Earls Court 5 Bands thatcouldn t afford to own their own high end touring equipment or who realized thatsuch equipment was only needed when they were on tour for small parts of theyear created a demand for various ancillary industries to the live music sectorsuch as professional sound and lighting trucking and security There was also aprofessionalization of merchandise such as t shirts and programmes in the1970s which were sometimes the result of labels and managers co opting andcontracting illegal bootleggers who were often more successful and innovative intheir band merchandising than the artists themselves Colson 2009 Finallycompanies such as Ticketmaster shifted some of the balance of power awayfrom promoters as they took over the mechanics of ticket selling and increasedrevenue potential via booking fees and commission Ticketmaster was founded inthe US in 1976 and established its UK division in 1981 and was merely oneexample of a growing ticketing industry which grew rapidly especially once theproliferation of credit cards and later internet sales made it easier to set up callcentres and websites rather than individual box offices Ticketmaster 2009Latham 2009 But the first internet sale by Ticketmaster only occurs in 1996which brings us to our third period and which I ll discuss in a momentI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 8d the development of the arena circuitAnother key development during this period was the building of arenasthat could be used for pop concert events Unlike America where bands hadbeen touring arenas and stadiums since the Beatles in the mid 1960s fewsimilarly adequate venues existed in most British cities apart from London andby adequate I don t mean acoustic improvements or audience enjoyment Imean capacity to cope with ticket demand Even in London stadium gigs startedmuch later than in the States with the first pop gig at Wembley Stadium being a1972 rock n roll revue with Bill Haley and Little Richard MM 22 July 1972 p 33Appropriately sized and equipped venues outside of London were few and farbetween until gradually throughout the late 1970s to the early 1990s a workablearena tour circuit emerged with key venues including the The NEC Birmingham1976 the SECC in Glasgow 1985 The GMEX in Manchester 1986 and theSheffield Arena 1991 The advent of indoor arenas meant that bands could tourin the UK using similar equipment standards and economies of scale that theydid in the US Most importantly whereas before a band might have to play twoshows a night for two nights at a town hall they could now play one night at anarena for half of the labour and hire costs making more money more efficientlyand thus growing the live sector Latham 2009e professionalization of promotersThroughout the 1970s and 1980s concert promoters themselves alsoshowed signs of increasing professionalization if only in an attempt to moreeffectively lobby government and other areas of the industry In 1986 theConcert Promoters Association formed in response to an attempt by thePerforming Right Society to treble their fees for live pop concerts promptingpromoters to collectively and successfully take action CPA 2008 Similarly theInternational Live Music Conference which takes place in London and is themost important live music industry event in the world was formed in 1988according to one source because agents thought they were going to be pushedout of the business and agents used the ILMC to strengthen their collective voiceLatham 2009 Finally in 1989 a live music industry trade paper called Applausewas founded where none had existed before once again hinting at an industrythat was beginning to become more publicly visible and coherent with concertpromoters beginning to shed at least on the surface what Keith Negusdescribed as a bad reputation in the past for being aggressive wheeler dealersmaking excessive profits and occasionally running off with the takings Negus1992 p 1301996 presenta records begin to lose wallet shareThe first factor in the third period of British concert promotion has to dowith the recording industry rather than the live industry per se Key dates oftenI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 9cited in the digital period of the British record industry are 1999 when Napsterwas created or 2001 when broadband arrived in the UK and peer to peer filesharing began to take off in Britain However in a recent article by Will Page thechief economist of the PRS he argues that in fact the key year for shiftingpatterns in music consumption is actually 1996 According to Page this is whenrecorded music begins to lose its wallet share which refers to the proportion ofdisposable income that people devoted to buying music recordings Page 2007He demonstrates that recorded music s wallet share of disposable income hasactually been falling since as far back as 1996 meaning that record labels weregetting increasingly less of the consumer s wallet than they did despite thistrend taking root during a period of uninterrupted economic expansion ibidMore interestingly the fact that this downward trend predates the advent ofbroadband in the UK by 5 years offers a rebuttal to claims that piracy is the soleculprit of the record industry s current woes ibidb ticket prices begin to rise well above inflationAs I mentioned earlier Ticketmaster s first internet sale occurs in 1996but meanwhile another equally interesting change in ticket selling starts in thisyear Economists Alan Krueger and Marie Connolly 2005 demonstrate that1996 is the point when concert ticket prices begin a period of rapid growth from1981 to 1996 concert prices grew slightly faster than inflation However from1996 to 2003 concert prices grew much faster than inflation ibidc the rise of SFX Clear Channel and Live Nation1996 was also the year the American Robert Sillerman and his companySFX Entertainment began acquiring companies in the live music sector althoughhe would not acquire any British companies until he bought three of the mostsignificant promoters and venue operators in the UK in 1999 Apollo LeisureGroup Midland Concert Promotions and the Barry Clayman Corporationmaking the American based SFX one of the biggest players in the British livemusic landscape virtually overnight Funding Universe 2009 In 2000 SFX wasbought by the multi national corporation Clear Channel which then spun off itslive entertainment assets into a separate company Live Nation in 2005 In avery short space of time then Live Nation has become the most importantconcert promoter in the UK as well as the second biggest music company in theworld larger than any of the major record labels apart from Universald changing dynamic between the recording and live industriesThe decrease in revenue from recorded music rise in ticket prices anddeeper pockets of multi national promoters have yielded interestingdevelopments such as reunion gigs by many bands who had been inactive foryears to cash in and buoy themselves against decreasing income from recordsales It s also meant a noticeable growth in the number of summer musicfestivals which despite experiencing a contraction this summer due to a mix ofover saturation last year and the recession are still at their most plentiful in theI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 10history of British music In 2008 consumer spending on live music is reported byseveral sources to overtake spending on recorded music in the UK Mintel 2008Page 2009 Despite the actual value of the live music sector being hard tomeasure and a contraction in the past year it remains safe to say that thedynamic between the recorded and live industries is changing and that it s nolonger clear which revenue stream in pop music is now dominant revenue frombranding syncing and merchandise should also be considered in this debateConclusionIn this very condensed periodization of the history of British concertpromotion I haven t had time to mention many important elements such as therole of radio and TV dancing and discotheques the rise of corporatesponsorship and countless other factors Indeed one could argue for a differentset of historical emphases and different division points and therefore analternative construction of the history of the British live music from 1955 2009 Onthe one hand our team is conscious of Keith Negus s suggestion that musicalhistory making cannot be known in any innocent sense Arranging a vast numberof sounds words and images into musical eras is not a neutral activity Itinvolves a process of imposing patterns and order onto the many events takingplace across space and through time 1996 p 138 On the other handconstructing historical eras regardless of their artificial nature can be anecessary and potentially useful method to make sense of an inevitably complexand often unwieldy wealth of historical dataThis article has described many changes in the history of British concertpromotion and their impacts on the UK s live music culture are varied Howeverone of our project s aims to also reveal what characteristics have held the Britishlive music sector together over time Take for instance the following quote frompromoter Harvey GoldsmithThe music Radio One is playing has no relation to the current live trendsAbsolutely zero For the up and coming acts life is becoming increasinglymore difficult The Rolling Stones they re still pulling the crowds inBut there are too many shows on the road and I don t think the marketcan take it I can foresee a slump in the concert business The new actsdon t seem to be paying dues anymore One hit record and they re alreadyheadlining their own tour They re being pushed too hard and too fast Andnot enough good ones are coming through I think this is the fault of therecord companies The companies are holding back to a man and goingthrough a very strange phase they re not finding new acts Thecompanies are cutting out what they used to do on promoting acts They rejust saying If they don t sell records well drop em And this is reflected atour end of the business quoted in Partridge 1974 p 8I J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 11Goldsmith s comments could have come from any number of industry pundits in2009 but in fact the quote is from 1974 As much as our historical research ischarting changes in the live music sector it s also revealing what appear to berecurring themes in the discourse of the industry As our research progresses wehope that an account of the industry s past will be useful not only as a documentbut also in illuminating and analysing its present condition1 Jim Goldbolt 1989 has written more than p 3 MM 9 July 1966 p 8 9 MM 11any other on the impact of the Musicians February 1967 p 20 MM 13 FebruaryUnion on the live music sector although 1966 p 4 MM 17 September 1966 p 25our research team is currently conducting MM 28 January 1967 p 8more research to investigate this history4 See RR 4 June 1969 p 2 16 July 19692 In 1959 for instance the Association of p 13 RR 2 May 1970 p 2Ballrooms which represented over 140ballrooms across Britain began to 5 See MM 12 September 1970 p 36 MMformally work with the Musicians Union 25 September 1971 p 1 MM 22 Julyagainst the perceived threat of disc hops 1972 p 9 MM 19 August 1972 p 5 MMMM 6 June 1959 p 1 19 August 1972 p 243 See MM 28 November 1964 p 5 MM 9October 1965 p 4 MM 8 January 1966AcknowledgementsThis article is part of a larger project examining the promotion of live music in theUK and is funded by AHRC research grant F00947 1ReferencesBoyd Joe 2008 Interview with Matt Brennan in London 7 NovemberColson Gail 2009 Interview with Matt Brennan in London 4 JuneConcert Promoters Association 2008 Press release supplied by Carole SmithCPA secretaryConnolly M Krueger A 2005 Rockonomics The Economics of PopularMusic working paper http www krueger princeton edu working papers htmlAccessed 15 July 2009Funding Universe 2009 SFX Entertainment Inc 22 Januaryhttp www fundinguniverse com company histories SFX Entertainment IncCompany History html Accessed 15 July 2009I J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 12Godbolt Jim 1989 A History of Jazz in Britain 1950 1970 London QuartetJenner Peter 2008 Interview with Matt Brennan in London 11 NovemberLatham Paul 2009 Interview with Matt Brennan in London 3 JuneMelody Maker 1959 Ban these Disc Hops Say Ballroom bosses 6 June p 1Melody Maker 1964 Club promoters to combine 28 November p 5Melody Maker 1965 Walkers quit the ballroom scene 9 October p 4Melody Maker 1966 Perils of Pop and the shady men on its fringes 7 JulyMelody Maker 1966 Ballroom row 13 February p 4Melody Maker 1966 Northern promoters attack pop groups 17 September pMelody Maker 1966 Stones States gates dismal 16 July p 6Melody Maker 1966 Time to move on from the ballrooms 8 January p 3Melody Maker 1967 Are All Promoters Angels 11 February p 20Melody Maker 1967 Who would be a promoter 28 January p 8Melody Maker 1969 College Entertainments Limited Advertisement 4January p 20Melody Maker 1970 2 000 watts of Who Power 12 September p 36Melody Maker 1971 Who Go Heavy 25 September p 1Melody Maker 1972 Garden party at crystal palace bowl Advertisement 22Melody Maker 1972 Garden Party V Advertisement 19 August p 5Melody Maker 1972 The Rock n Roll Show Advertisement 22 July p 33Music Week 1973 20 000 Barclay James Harvest promotion 3 FebruaryMusic Week 1973 Bowie LP drive on 24 March p 1Music Week 2009 UK live revenues surpass record sales 17 Marchhttp www musicweek com story asp storycode 1037247 Accessed 15 JulyNegus Keith 1992 Producing Pop Culture and Conflict in the Popular MusicIndustry Edward ArnoldNegus Keith 1996 Popular Music in Theory Cambridge PolityI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 13Page Will 2007 Economics Time to Face the Music Music Ally 18 OctoberPartridge Rob 1974 Business we re heading for a slump Melody Maker21 September pp 8 9Prynn Johnathan 2008 Festival explosion turns live music into 1 9bn bigbusiness Evening Standard 10 Septemberhttp www thisislondon co uk standard article23553561details Festival explosion turns live music into 1 9bn big businessarticle do Accessed 15 July 2009Record Retailer 1969 2 000 at first EMI Harvest Free Concert 4 June p 2Record Retailer 1969 RCA books Lyceum for promotion concert 16 July p 13Record Retailer 1970 Promotion showplace 2 May p 2Ticketmaster 2009 Company History 22 Januaryhttp www ticketmaster com history index html Accessed 15 July 2009I J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netSimon Frith Matt Brennan Martin Cloonan Emma Webster 14Live Music and Music Policy Some initial thoughtsMartin CloonanM Cloonan music arts gla ac ukUniversity of GlasgowThis is the third of four related articles in this journal presenting findings from the firstyear of a research project on live music in the UK It presents some initial findings andreflections upon the impact of live music on music policyKeywords live music music policy regulationIntroductionThis paper draws on research which has been conducted as part of thelive music project on my own longstanding interest in the regulation of popularmusic and also on my recent experience as a band manager It differs from theAHRC project in that whereas that covers all genres of music my focus here ismore narrowly on popular music I want to tease out some of the policyimplications of researching live music and do so by examining three key areas1 The necessity of regulation2 Live music and the black economy3 The impact of technology on ticketingI want to argue that live music has direct policy implications for which are notpresent with recorded music As such it presents a potentially rich field ofresearch for those of us who are interested cultural policy and regulatoryframeworksI should note before I begin that this paper draws upon work done for theproject by the rest of the team and particularly interviews conducted by MattBrennan and Emma Webster So I d like to acknowledge their contribution whiletaking full responsibility for the arguments in the paperI J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal netAnalysing Live Music in the UK 15Part One The necessity of regulationIt is noticeable that live music has received much less academic attentionthat recorded music has especially in terms of its industrial structure But anothernoticeable thing is that when live music has received attention it has been interms of issues concerning its regulation thus in the early 1980s Michael Clarkewrote a book on focussed on free festivals and the problems they were havingClarke 1982 In 1991 Paul Chevigny documented the way in which local bylaws had virtually banned jazz from parts of New York and my own work oncensorship and music in the UK in 1996 featured accounts of how regulationcould act as a form of censorship In 2003 Shane Homan s first bookdocumented the way in which Sydney s local music scene was mediated byregulations or the lack thereof So there is something of a tradition of academicwork on live music concentrating on regulation and thus on policy In order toillustrate this I now want briefly to address four more areas flyposting the 2003Licensing Act the importance of locality and Form 696The regulatory framework around live music begins even before a gig hasstarted Here perhaps one of the most contentious issues in recent years hasbeen advertising of gigs by flyposting and or flyering As part of our researchwe re interviewing promoters and one of the issues which has come up is theattitude of local authorities towards this issue Sheffield promoter Alan Deadmantold us thatthere s no poster boards I think in many respects that s got worseIt s almost like a neo fascism where cities think that in order to attractinvestment people to relocate there they have to have a squeaky clean cityDeadman 2008Similarly Mark Mackie of leading Scottish promoter Regular Music reported thatThe police came up here and gave me a warning about some fly posting I vebeen doing Edinburgh s got its head in the sand right Glasgow met theproblem head on and has official fly posting sites now that are cleaned upand tidied and the drums and they re working a treat Mackie 2008Elsewhere it was reported that Newcastle has had a well earned reputation forvociferously pursuing people flyering from local venues Mean and Times 2005p 6 and that Liverpool Council has also taken action against flyposting despitethe fact that many music venues depended on fly posting as their main source ofadvertising even though it was often in breach of the law Cohen 2007 p 204This sort of action can alienate live music promoters and a DEMOS reportsuggested that compromises such as having designated spaces for flyposting arenecessary and that Ideally there should be no restrictions on flyering in thestreet Mean and Times 2005 p 22I J vol 1 no 1 2010 http www iaspmjournal net