Live map to track impact of outside shocks on music industry


Researchers from BCU have teamed up with colleagues from Aston and Newcastle universities to create a live music map, which can track the impact of events such as Brexit and COVID-19 on the industry.

The vital new resource has been developed by the Birmingham Live Music Project (BLMP) team, and features around 200 music venues with B-postcodes – ranging from the 15,800 capacity Utilita Arena to the tiny Lamp Tavern, home to the Black Diamond Folk Club.

Music workers and fans from across the city are now being invited to contribute recommendations for current venues to be included on the map to ensure the database is comprehensive, to accurately track socio-economic, political and geographical changes in Birmingham’s live music industry over the coming months and years.

BCU researcher Dr Craig Hamilton said: “The BLMP map launch signals the start of a crowdsourcing initiative that will be vital to the success of the project. Our map currently shows the majority of the main and major sites of live music, but we know this does not represent the full extent of live music venues in the city. 

“To help us complete the picture we’re hoping that music fans, musicians and industry workers can tell us about venues and spaces missing from the map.”

The BLMP map is the first such exploration of the Birmingham venue landscape, and will present valuable information about the health of the sector, which plays a key role in generating a £211 million contribution towards the UK music economy.

Of particular relevance at present is the plight of small to medium-sized music venues during the global COVID-19 pandemic, which saw live music venue activity in Birmingham, and across the UK, stop almost immediately as a result of lockdown restrictions.

Currently, the Birmingham Live Music Project mapping model is limited to the geographic area covered by B-prefix postcodes – excluding the wider West Midlands and greater Birmingham area – to render the scope of the project manageable and achievable. There are plans to expand the map in the future.

You can view and contribute to the Birmingham Live Music Project map and database here.

Pictured: Lowkey at the Glee Club Birmingham, April 2019. Tiger Today image shows Hans Zimmer at Birmingham Arena, March 2019. Both photos courtesy of @waynefoxphotography.

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