POPLIVE - Staging popular music

Sustainable Live Music Ecologies For Artists, Music Venues and Cities

POPLIVE is a large-scale research project on live music. The project is focused on how local live music ecologies can contribute to value creation in the careers of pop musicians, the position of music venues and festivals, and the local (urban) society in general. What is the role of live music ecologies in skill and talent development of young artists? What is a healthy balance between structural and temporary live music infrastructure? What is the value of live music ecologies for cities? In the project a mixed approach is used of both extensive quantitative, and intensive qualitative information.

The popular music industry is slowly changing its focus from recorded music to live music revenues. Also, musicians increasingly depend on live concerts to earn a living. These developments have consequences for live music. First, for musicians in a precarious labour market, a performance based business model requires an extended and changing skill-set. Second, fixed pop venues experience increasing competition from new and often temporary stages, like festivals and popup locations. Third, live music industries are increasingly expected by local governments to have economic and sociocultural benefits. In short, sustaining popular music as a viable creative industry requires strong local music ecologies that add economic, cultural and social value for various stakeholders.

With this research project we analyse the value of live pop music. Not only economically, but also socially and culturally. Is the role of live music for the careers of musicians shifting? How are the preferences, perceptions and behaviour of consumers of live music changing? And what does that mean for the future of music venues and festivals? What is the value of music venues and festivals for their environment? What do they contribute to the local economy and tourism? What is their role with regard to reaching new and more diverse audiences? How can music venues and festivals contribute to talent development, musical innovation and genre diversity?

Research team

  • prof.dr. (Pauwke) PPL Berkers

    Pauwke Berkers is full professor Sociology of Popular Music, specifically in relation to Inclusion, Well-Being, and Resilience in the Department of Arts and…
    prof.dr. (Pauwke) PPL Berkers
  • (Rick) RA Everts, MSc

    Rick Everts (1989) is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture. Rick’s PhD research focuses on the role of live music…
    (Rick) RA Everts, MSc
  • dr. (Erik) HJCJ Hitters

    **Erik Hitters is Associate Professor of Media and Creative Industries in the Department of Media & Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam.** He has…
    dr. (Erik) HJCJ Hitters
  • prof.dr. (Susanne) MSSE Janssen

    Susanne Janssen is full professor of Sociology of Media and Culture and research director of the Department of Media and Communication at the Erasmus School of…
    prof.dr. (Susanne) MSSE Janssen
  • (Martijn) M Mulder

    In 2017 Martijn started his PhD research on live music experiences and ecologies at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, under supervision…
    (Martijn) M Mulder

External team members

Dr. Paul Rutten


Portrait Paul Rutten (Square)

This project is funded by NWO

POPLIVE is a large-scale research project on live music that takes place from 2017 to 2021 at the Erasmus University and the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with the VNPF (Dutch Association of Music Venues and Festivals) and MOJO Concerts BV. The project is funded by the NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) as part of the Topsector Creative Industries. For more information about the funding of this project, please see the NWO website.


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