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 forthcoming, this project , also supported by the AHRC, marks the progression of our work into knowledge transfer. Building bridges between the academy, the music industries and the wider public, Live Music Exchange is informed by academic research and hands-on experience in a range of musical contexts. It’s our starting premise that constantly shifting relationships between state and commercial investors, small scale and corporate interests, merits a view of live music practice on an ecological model. From a neutral standpoint, we’ll be working with a host of practitioners to promote a healthy and vibrant environment. We are able to bring our expertise to bear on consultancy and research services across the field of musical activity.

Click here to see the timeline of Live Music Exchange activities since 2012.


Dr Adam Behr – Director

abehr0011.jpgDr Adam Behr is a Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music at the International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University. His research covers popular music, the  music industries, cultural policy, and the intersection of music and politics. It includes extensive work on live music, including the UK Live Music Census and the Edinburgh Live Music Census as well as two AHRC funded projects on the Cultural Value of live music. Other work includes research on music tourism, digitisation and copyright (as part of CREATe – the UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre), open mic nights, and on the history and sociology of bands.

He has taught a range of popular music and related courses at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and City University, London. He has also performed as a guitarist, bass player and DJ in a variety of contexts and published in academic journals including The International Journal of Cultural Policy, Rock Music Studies, Cultural Trends, The Journal for Cultural Research and Political Studies. His writing online and in print for a general audience has also appeared in numerous outlets including The Conversation and the New European.

Dr Matt Brennan – Director

MattMatt Brennan is a Reader in Popular Music at the University of Glasgow, and has served as Chair of the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). He has led multiple funded research projects as Principal Investigator focusing on the live music sector, including the UK Live Music Census (the first nationwide census of its kind in the world). Matt has authored, co-authored, and edited several books in the field of popular music studies. His most recent book, When Genres Collide, was named as one of Pitchfork’s “Favourite Music Books of 2017” and received an Honourable Mention at the Association of American Publishers’ 2018 PROSE Awards. He has also co-authored The History of Live Music in Britain from 1950-1967 and co-edited The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music Education. He is the editor of the Bloomsbury book series, Alternate Takes –  Critical Responses to Popular Music. 

Professor Martin Cloonan – Director

martinProfessor Martin Cloonan is Director of the Turku Insitute for Advanced Studies (TIAS, www.utu.fi/tias) at the University of Turku, Finland. His research interests include the politics of popular music and issues concerning regulation, censorship and freedom of expression, in which he has published extensively. He is co-ordinating editor of Popular Music (CUP) and he sits on the editorial board for the journals Popular Music and Society and the Beitrage zur Popularmusikforschung. Notable publications include:  Players’ Work Time: A History of the British Musicians’ Union (with John Williamson, 2016), Dark Side of The Tune: Popular Music and Violence (with Bruce Johnson, 2008), Popular Music and the State in the UK (2007) and Banned! Censorship of Popular Music in Britain: 1967-92 (1996). Martin also managed the Glasgow-based band Zoey Van Goey and chairs the anti-censorship organisation Freemuse (www.freemuse.org). He quite likes The Fall.


Dr Emma Webster – Co-founder, former director, advisor

Emma Webster was awarded her PhD in Music from the University of Glasgow in November 2011. The title of her thesis was ‘Promoting Live Music: a behind-the-scenes ethnography’, and the cross-genre research involved comparative ethnographic work into promotional practices in Glasgow, Bristol, and Sheffield. Prior to this, she received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sheffield and then worked for eight years in music in a variety of roles and genres including opera, ‘world’ music and acid techno. In 2015-2016, Emma worked on the one-year AHRC-funded Impact of Festivals at the University of East Anglia with George McKay, in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival. In 2016-2018, Emma worked on the AHRC-funded UK Live Music Census project with Matt Brennan, Adam Behr and Martin Cloonan. For more, see emmawebster.org

Professor Simon Frith – Éminence grise

simonSimon Frith is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh.  He chaired the Judges of the Mercury Music Prize for its first 25 years, but is now concentrating on completing the three volume history of live music in the UK, written with the research team who also launched Live Music Exchange.  Volume 1 (1950-67) was published in 2013; Volume 2 (1968-84) will be published in 2019; Volume 3 (1985-2016) is in progress.


Danny Hagan – Co-Founder, Green Man Festival

Mark Hobson – Managing Director, Corporation, Sheffield

Peter Jenner – Sincere Management; Secretary General, International Music Managers’ Forum; Director, UK Music Managers’ Forum

Nod Knowles Nod Knowles Productions

Paul Latham –   Former President UK Live Nation, Former Chair, National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills.

Louise Mitchell – CEO, Bristol Music Trust

Oliver Morris – Director of Education and Skills, UK Music; Trustee, Creative and Cultural Skills.

Will Page – Director of Economics, Spotify

Alex Reedijk – General Director, Scottish Opera

Beverley Whitrick – Strategic Director, Music Venue Trust

Dr Kevin Milburn – Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, London South Bank University

Dave Webster – National Organiser – Live Performance, Musicians’ Union