To date, there has been a significant gap in work on the social history of music in Britain from 1950 to the present day. The three volumes of Live Music in Britain address this gap and do so through a unique prism—that of live music. The key theme of the books is the changing nature of the live music industry in the UK, focused upon popular music but including all musical genres. Via this focus, the books offer new insights into a number of other areas, including the relationship between commercial and public funding of music, changing musical fashions and tastes, the impact of changing technologies, the changing balance of power within the music industries, the role of the state in regulating and promoting various musical activities within an increasingly globalised music economy, and the effects of demographic and other social changes on music culture. Drawing on new archival research, a wide range of academic and non-academic secondary sources, participant observation and a series of interviews with key personnel, the books have the potential to become landmark works within Popular Music Studies and broader cultural history. The second volume covers the period from Hyde Park to the Hacienda (1968–84).
Simon Frith is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh, where he previously held the Tovey Chair. He was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, in the late 1960s and from 1972 to 1987 taught Sociology at the University of Warwick while working as a rock critic for a variety of magazines, including Let It Rock and Melody Maker.
Matt Brennan is reader in Popular Music at the University of Glasgow. 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 served as chair of the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.
Martin Cloonan is director of the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS) at the University of Turku, Finland.
Emma Webster completed her PhD, Promoting Live Music: A Behind-the-Scenes Ethnography, in 2011. She has since held AHRC-funded postdoctoral positions at the Universities of East Anglia and Edinburgh and an Early Career Research Fellowship at Oxford Brookes University. She is a founder and director of research group Live Music Exchange.