The music industry worldwide is going through a major restructuring, with the economic focus shifting heavily from the recording industry towards the live music business. Despite this, it has been suggested that the media, and some academic sources as well, still routinely relate the overall concept of the music industry solely to the recording industry. Examining music through live practice can offer an alternative picture of the Finnish music industry, and at the same time provide valuable information on the overall changes in music media and music dissemination and contribute to the development of emerging creative industries.
The multidisciplinary project Liveology is the first comprehensive academic research on Finnish live music. The objective of the project is to provide an interpretation of the transformation of live music in Finland from the 1970's to the 2010's. The study concentrates on the live music scene of the last forty years, as it progressed from grass root activism towards professionalized entrepreneurships. Our hypotheses are that the ideologies and practices of Finnish youth and political organizations have had a profound and long-lasting effect on the transformation of live music practices on local, regional, and national levels. We assume that there is still a special reciprocal and symbiotic relationship between the ideological and commercial live music industry and their surrounding communities, but that there is also a trend towards the more commercially advanced practices followed e.g. in Britain.
Liveology draws theoretically on cultural music research, media studies, arts management, and marketing research. Empirical data will be collected from the major music festivals in Finland. Methodologically, the work relies on qualitative data collecting, including archive research, interviews, questionnaires in social media, and audience surveys. Data collection will be carried out in collaboration with a research network spanning several universities and archives in Finland and abroad. Research material will be archived for future academic use.
Liveology is having an impact on the live music industry by partly organizing the annual MARS Festival (Music, Assembly, Research, Showcase). The MARS already has ignited research projects combining the expertise of academics and representatives of the music industry, and will likewise serve as a platform for presenting the research results.