New publication in MAST Journal

COVID-19 and the UK Live Music Industry: A Crisis of Spatial Materiality

I have a new journal article published, co-written with Dr Iain Taylor and Dr Sarah Raine. It was published in MAST – The Journal of Media Art Study and Theory. The article is based in part on the work I am doing around live music in Birmingham with the BLMP project.

About the article

For the live music industry, and those who work in it, the COVID-19 outbreak has been predominantly framed as an economic crisis, one in which the economic systems through which revenue is derived from music-based products and practices have been abruptly closed off by a crisis of public health. Using Lefebvre’s trialectics of spatiality as a theoretical lens, we will argue that, for live music, the COVID-19 outbreak can be seen as a crisis of spatial materiality.

During a time of lockdown and social distancing, spaces of music production (rehearsal spaces, studios) and consumption (venues, nightclubs) have found themselves suddenly unfit for purpose. Drawing upon empirical data from ongoing research projects in Scotland and the Midlands, we will highlight the ways in which COVID-19 has disrupted the spatial practice of music. From there, we will argue that there is a need for new representational spaces of music, and the creation of new forms of musical-spatial practice, appropriating spaces of the domestic and the everyday, and fusing / overlaying them with new cultural meaning and (crucially for musicians) a reconsideration of value by potential consumers.

It seems likely that a return to “business as usual” post-COVID-19 may not be possible for the live music industries. By considering the COVID-19 period as a spatial crisis for music industry professionals through the frame offered by the work of Lefebvre, this article offers popular music researchers and industry professionals alike a new perspective on their opportunities to redraw the conceptions and practices that underwrite the economic functionality of live music.

Read the article

The article is available Open Access and can be read/downloaded here.

To view the rest of the issue and to read more about the journal, visit the MAST website.

About the journal

MAST is an online, open-access, and double-blind peer-reviewed journal featuring interdisciplinary scholarship in the domain of media studies. MAST stands for “Media Art Study and Theory” and aims to publish and promote innovative research, writings, and works by artists and scholars who present new methods, approaches, questions, and studies in the field of media studies in theory and practice. The journal is relevant to academics, artists, researchers, theorists, and art curators with an interest in artistic research, theory, and praxis of media, introducing works that demonstrate creative engagements with current debates in media studies. MAST is sponsored by NeMLA (The Northeast Modern Language Association) at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Dr Craig Hamilton
Dr Craig Hamilton

My research interests include popular music, digital humanities and online cultures.