Live Music Exchange Resources

Promoting live music in the UK: a behind the scenes ethnography – Emma Webster (2011)


Author(s): Emma Webster
Organisation / Affiliation: Live Music Exchange- (Edinburgh/Glasgow Universities)
Date: 06/10/2011
Source: Academic

Live music promoters have hitherto been academically neglected (and often publicly maligned) individuals and organisations. This thesis, then, shifts the academic focus from the recording industries towards live music and towards the figures behind-the-scenes who connect artist, audience and venue in the live music environment. To do so, this work explores the practices and experiences of promoters in the UK; it focuses on Glasgow, Sheffield, and Bristol, and is based on ethnographic research at case study venues.

The thesis offers a phenomenological perspective on what promoters do and why, and their role as mediator with key figures such as artists and agents, as well as their relationships with the state. It argues that promoters are cultural investors (and exploiters), importers and innovators who both shape and are shaped by the live music ecology within which they operate.

Finally, the thesis examines the three stages of the promotional process – planning, publicity, production – to argue that promoters are key figures not only in the construction of the musical lives of contemporary British citizens, but also in the rich cultural (and economic) ecology of cities, towns and villages in the UK.

Click here to view the whole thesis.

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