Birmingham and the (International) Business of Live Music in Times of COVID-19

Adam Behr, Craig Hamilton, Patrycja Rozbicka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the context of, and presents findings from, a project examining the live music sector in Birmingham, UK. This research is set against the backdrop of the broader socio-political impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and links it to national and global contexts. We explore the live music ecology of Birmingham and highlight the interdependencies between the various musical and non-musical stakeholders in the context of the pandemic— including the venues where live music takes place—examining how these stakeholders are responding to the crisis as it unfolds. In doing so, this article asks how an urban geographical area tied into national and international mechanisms of culture, commerce and policy can work to sustain its musical ecology in the face of the uncertainty of a post-COVID-19 era, and underlines the interconnectedness of live music ecologies and wider economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of World Popular Music
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

© Equinox Publishing Ltd.

Funding Information:
This article is based on activities and research conducted within “The UK Live Music Industry in a Post-2019 Era: A Globalised Local Perspective” project funded by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC),11 which is led by Nesta and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The research took place between February 2020 and January 2021.


  • live music industry
  • Birmingham (UK)
  • COVID 19
  • musicians
  • audience
  • venues
  • gig-goers
  • grassroot venues
  • mapping


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