Emma Webster

BMus, PhD

Honorary Research Associate (affiliated with Oxford Brookes until August 2016)

Profile

Emma Webster received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in November 2011. The title of her thesis was ‘Promoting Live Music: a behind-the-scenes ethnography’, and is the first academic account of what live music promoters do and the contexts within which they work. The research focuses on the live music scenes of Glasgow, Bristol and Sheffield, and involved ethnographic fieldwork at arenas, clubs, festivals, concert halls, and pubs, and interviews with promoters, venue staff, musicians and audiences.

Prior to this, she received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sheffield and then worked for eight years in music in a variety of roles and genres including opera, ‘world’ music, acid techno and digital distribution. With previous experience in marketing, historical and statistical data analysis and company management, and working at a variety of levels from small-business to large arts organisations and local councils, Emma has a very broad skill-set, along with a comprehensive understanding of the varied needs and interests of stakeholders in the UK live music sector.

Emma was commissioned to produce the annual report for the UK Festival Awards conference in 2010, produced a comprehensive audience analysis for GuilFest in 2012, wrote and presented the six-year report for the Association of Independent Festivals in October 2014, and worked on a census of live music in Edinburgh in 2015. Future research includes a national live music census, work on booking agents and touring networks, as well as an examination of gender within the UK’s live music industries.

Emma was funded for a year by the AHRC in 2012 to act as Knowledge Exchange External Relations Officer at the University of Edinburgh set up and run Live Music Exchange, an online hub for anyone interested in live music researcher, of which she is currently a Director.

Emma is currently working as the Research Associate for the AHRC-funded Impact of Festivals project at the University of East Anglia, with Professor George McKay, in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival. She is a visiting researcher at Oxford Brookes University.

Research interests

  • Live Music
  • Popular Music
  • Music Industries
  • Ethnography

Publications

Published

  • Behr, Adam, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, Simon Frith, and Emma Webster. ‘Live Concert Performance – an ecological approach’. Rock Music Studies 3, no. 1 (2016): 5-23.
  • Webster, Emma. ‘“Roll Up and Shine”: The role of promoters at arena shows’. In Edgar, R. et al (eds). The Arena Concert: Music, Mediation and Mass Entertainment. London: Bloomsbury, 2015: 99-110.
  • Webster, Emma. ‘Review of “Send in the Clones: A Cultural Study of the Tribute Band”, by Georgina Gregory’, Popular Music 33, no. 2 (2014): 347-8.
  • Frith, Simon, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, and Emma Webster. The History of Live Music in Britain 1950-1967: From the Dance Hall to the 100 Club. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2013.
  • Webster, Emma. ‘“One more tune!” The encore ritual in live music events’. Popular Music and Society 35, no. 1 (2012): 93-111.
  • Brennan, Matt and Emma Webster. ‘Why concert promoters matter’. Scottish Music Review 2, no. 1 (2011): 1-25.
  • Frith, Simon, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, and Emma Webster. Analysing live music in the UK: Findings one year into a three‐year research project. IASPM@Journal 1, no. 1 (2010): 1-29.
  • Webster, Emma. ‘Review of “Ethnography in the Performing Arts: A Student Guide”, by Simone Krüger’, Popular Music 28, no. 3 (2009): 455-457.
  • Webster, Emma. ‘“Problems, Disputes, Questions”: Review of IASPM UK & Ireland Conference, 12–14 September 2008, Glasgow’. Popular Music 28, no.1 (2009): 105-108.

Submitted

  • Webster, Emma and George McKay. ‘The impact of jazz festivals’. Jazz Research Journal, in review (expected publication date 2016/2017).

In Preparation

  • Frith, Simon, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, and Emma Webster. The History of Live Music in Britain 1985-2008: From Live Aid to Live Nation. Abingdon: Routledge, in preparation (expected publication date 2017/2018).
  • Webster, Emma and George McKay. The History of the London Jazz Festival. Publisher TBC, in preparation (expected publication date 2017).
  • Frith, Simon, Matt Brennan, Martin Cloonan, and Emma Webster. The History of Live Music in Britain 1968-1984: From Hyde Park to the Hacienda. Abingdon: Routledge, in preparation (expected publication date 2016/2017).
  • Webster, Emma and George McKay. The Impact of British Music Festivals [report], in preparation (expected publication date April 2016).

Research Dissemination

  • March 2016 Connected Communities ECR Conference, UEA, Norwich: Presented a paper on the impact of festivals project
  • February 2016 MARS Conference, Seinajoki, Finland: Keynote speech on live music venues in the UK
  • September 2015 IASPM UK-Ireland Postgraduate Conference: Keynote speech on popular music futures: ‘Live music research and the Live Music Exchange’
  • August 2015 Kendal Calling: Part of a panel on ‘Festival Britannia’ with Prof George McKay.
  • October 2014 Festival Congress, Cardiff. Presented the six-year report of the Association of Independent Festivals.
  • June 2014 Festivals Symposium, University of Salford. Presented a paper on the promoter’s role at an arena concert (Stereophonics).
  • April 2014 Arts Research seminar, Oxford Brookes University. Presented a seminar on live music research.
  • April 2014 Popular Music Research Unit Seminar, Oxford Brookes University. Presented a seminar on what makes for memorable gigs.
  • September 2013 Social Media: The Fourth International Transforming Audiences Conference, University of Westminster. Presented a panel on the Off Axis Network with Dr Adam Behr.
  • May 2013 Live Music Exchange, London. Presented a paper on ‘The academy and live music businesses: Research’, with Adam Behr.
  • Nov 2012 Live Music Exchange, Cardiff. Organised a one-day knowledge exchange conference in Leeds, in collaboration with the University of Glamorgan. Fronted ‘In conversation with…’ Fiona Stewart (Director, Green Man Festival).
  • May 2012 Live Music Exchange, Leeds. Organised a two-day knowledge exchange conference in Leeds, in collaboration with Leeds Metropolitan University. Contributed to closing plenary.
  • Oct 2011 University of Edinburgh Music Department Colloquia. Presented a paper on ‘Encore rituals: An initial exploration’.
  • Oct 2011 Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh Popular Music afternoon seminar. Presented a paper on live music project findings alongside Simon Frith, Martin Cloonan, and Matt Brennan.
  • Jul 2011 International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) International Conference, Grahamstown, South Africa. Presented a paper on ‘Bells and Whistles: Live Music in the UK and the Impact of Digital Technology’.
  • Jun 2011 IASPM-Canada Conference, Montreal. Presented a paper on ‘Promoting Live Music: Collaboration and Competition at a Local, National, and International Level’ as part of a panel on The Ecology of Live Music, alongside Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan.
  • Apr 2011 The Business of Live Music Conference, Edinburgh. Presented a report on the Live Music Project, alongside Simon Frith, Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan.
  • Feb 2011 Sound Thought Conference, Glasgow. Presented a paper on ‘The changing structures with the live music industries in the UK and the impact on the local live music ecology’.
  • Nov 2010 Festival Awards Conference, London. Presented the UK Festival Awards 2010 Report to a number of UK festival industry personnel at an industry conference.
  • Oct 2010 Seminar at the University of Liverpool on The Promotion of Live Music in the UK: An Historical, Cultural and Institutional Analysis. Presented a paper on ‘Success and failure for live music promoters’ alongside Simon Frith, Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan.
  • Nov 2009 Sound Thought Conference, Glasgow. Presented a paper on ‘Encore rituals: An initial exploration’.
  • Jul 2009 IASPM International Conference, Liverpool. Presented a panel on ‘Analysing Live Music in the UK: Findings One Year into a Three‐Year Research Project’ alongside Martin Cloonan and Matt Brennan.
  • May 2009 Seminar at PRS for Music HQ, London, on The Promotion of Live Music in the UK: an Historical, Cultural and Institutional Analysis. Presented a paper on ‘The live music experience: what do audiences want at a live music event?’ to a number of UK live music personnel including Harvey Goldsmith and Melvin Benn.
  • Nov 2008 Sound Thought Conference, Glasgow. Presented a paper on ‘An Introduction to Promoters’.
  • Sep 2008 IASPM-UK Conference, Glasgow. Presented a panel on ‘Researching Live Music in the UK: Some Initial Thoughts’ alongside Matt Brennan.
Govind Chandran

CONTACT

School of Arts

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP

emmawebster@brookes.ac.uk