Birmingham and the (International) Business of Live Music in Times of COVID-19


  • Adam Behr Newcastle University
  • Craig Hamilton Birmingham City University
  • Patrycja Rozbicka Aston University



live music industry, Birmingham, COVID-19, musicians, audience, gig-goers, venues, grassroots venues, mapping


This article discusses the context of, and presents findings from, a project examining the live music sector in Birmingham, UK. This research is set against the backdrop of the broader socio-political impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and links it to national and global contexts. We explore the live music ecology of Birmingham and highlight the interdependencies between the various musical and non-musical stakeholders in the context of the pandemic—including the venues where live music takes place—examining how these stakeholders are responding to the crisis as it unfolds. In doing so, this article asks how an urban geographical area tied into national and international mechanisms of culture, commerce and policy can work to sustain its musical ecology in the face of the uncertainty of a post-COVID-19 era, and underlines the interconnectedness of live music ecologies and wider economies.

Author Biographies

Adam Behr, Newcastle University

Adam Behr is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music at Newcastle University, UK. His research covers cultural policy, the politics and sociology of music—particularly popular music—and the music industries.

Craig Hamilton, Birmingham City University

Craig Hamilton is Research Fellow in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) at Birmingham City University, UK. His research explores the role of digital, data and internet technologies in the business and cultural environments of popular music.

Patrycja Rozbicka, Aston University

Patrycja Rozbicka is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. Her research focuses on different stakeholders in policymaking, music and politics, and the regulation of the live music industry in the UK and the EU.


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How to Cite

Behr, A. ., Hamilton, C., & Rozbicka, P. (2022). Birmingham and the (International) Business of Live Music in Times of COVID-19. Journal of World Popular Music, 9(1-2), 31–48.