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The spatial value of live music: performing, (re)developing and representing urban space.

Authors: Arno Van Der Hoeven*, ESHCC / Dept. of Media and Communication, Erik Hitters, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Topics: Communication, Cultural Geography
Keywords: live music; spatial value; gentrification, urban densification
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper examines the spatial value of live popular music for cities. It focuses on how this cultural form contributes to performing, (re)developing and representing urban spaces. In recent years, live music has received a more prominent role in both the music industries and urban policy. As the revenues from recorded music declined, live music became more central in the business models of the music industries. Meanwhile, the post-industrial city has become a stage for events that serve a wide range of social, cultural, economic and spatial objectives. However, the densification of the built environment leads to debates about the extent to which live music’s positive outcomes outweigh the nuisance it causes for residents in terms of noise and the unavailability of public spaces during events. Furthermore, in many cities small venues are struggling with issues of gentrification. This implies that the spatial value of music is part of wider concerns about who owns the city and which forms of culture can be produced and consumed in urban areas. Against this background, the paper asks the following two questions: How can the spatial value of live music be defined? How can the spatial value of live music be supported in urban planning? This study is grounded in a qualitative content analysis of live music reports and strategies, and in-depth interviews with policy-makers, festival organizers and venue owners.

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