Understanding the Hong Kong Live Music Sector: The Value of Live Music Infrastructures

Project: Research project

Project Details


At a time during which the importance of live music sector has been growing economically, socially and culturally across the globe in the face of deep changes to the ways in which recorded music is produced, circulated and consumed, the live music industry in Hong Kong (HK) has not yet become the focus of academic analysis. HK’s live music ‘ecology’ (the ecosystem of locally and materially embedded hard and soft infrastructures engaged in the production and promotion of live music) is active and diverse in terms of its venues – from stadiums, mid-scale concert spaces, bars featuring live music, and small-scale or underground venues –, of musical styles – from classical and jazz music, to Cantonese pop, to independent and experimental music – and of demographics. Yet no sustained study has analyzed the characteristics and role of the HK live music sector across a comprehensive range of hard and soft infrastructures. This project will address this gap and attempt to explore the economic, cultural and political conditions under which live music infrastructures operate in HK. Taking the cue from recent research on the live music sector in popular music studies, the research team for this project asks: what is the structure of the live music ‘ecology’ in HK? How does this ecology not only create economic, but also social and cultural value for HK? What are the specificities of HK’s live music ecology as an East Asian urban center compared to the more documented live music ecologies of Western Europe, Australia and North America? Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, the research team will a) map the local live music hard and soft infrastructures and their practices currently active in the city; b) produce a data set aimed at understanding the ‘health’ of the live music ecology in HK – as a whole and per venue-size categories and broad genre sectors – by conducting detailed surveys targeting musicians, venues and promoters, as well as audiences; c) conduct qualitative profile interviews with specific promoters, venues and musicians; d) use the data gathered through desk research, surveys and interviews to produce two academic articles as well as a report aimed at being a resource for policy planning and funding allocation under the HK government’s leadership. The results from this research will provide important and wide-ranging insights into the strengths and difficulties of the live music ecosystem in HK for the first time.
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/22


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