IASPM International Conferences - Proceedings, Situating Popular Musics

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Live music as ideology
Martin Cloonan

Last modified: 2013-01-22


The current crisis within the recording sector has been accompanied by an apparent boom in live music. In 2008 and 2009 the economic value of live music in the UK exceeded that of recorded music and the gap appears to be growing. While such trends have been commented upon in numerous places, what has been less common is to examine the ways in which the accompanying discourse around live music has held it to be the popular music experience. Where once consumers were told that hi-fis were the best way to experience music, now the uniqueness of being there is stressed by promoters keen to maximise profits. Based on research carried out in the UK between 2008 and 2011, this paper examines the implications of these changes. It suggests that the rise of live music has been accompanied by an ideology which has sought to re-define the definitive musical experience and speculates about the implication of this for musicians and fans alike.

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