The genesis of the Live Music Exchange was a comprehensive three-year study of the live music sector in the UK, undertaken by the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

After a successful conference to mark the completion of the study and with a three book series emerging from the work, Live Music Exchange (also initially supported by the AHRC) was set-up to build bridges between the academy, the music industries and the wider public. A space for discussion of a range of issues around live music, it is informed by academic research and hands-on experience in a range of musical contexts. Its starting premise is that constantly shifting relationships between state and commercial investors, small scale and corporate interests, merit a view of live music practice on an ecological model.