IASPM 2014: Glasgow is a Village: Social Enterprise in the Popular Music Scene


Glasgow is a Village: The Role of Social Enterprise in Propagating the City’s Popular Music Scene

Monorail records – an influential part of the scenes that Bob discusses in his paper

Robert Anderson

ABSTRACT: In 2004 US Time magazine named Glasgow as Europe’s capital of rock music and likened it to Detroit in its Motown heyday (Porter, 2004). In August 2008 the city was named UNESCO City of Music and the application dossier submitted in support of this title notes the importance of rock and pop for the city’s musical reputation. Given Glasgow’s recent accolades, and the number of critically and commercially successful rock/pop artists to emerge from the city over the last thirty years, there has been little research into the ways in which Glasgow has maintained such a vibrant and productive popular music scene.

This paper considers the role that social enterprise, as practised by a number of music collectives and individual entrepreneurs within the city over the last ten years, has played in propagating a creative culture amongst the city’s popular music-makers. Drawing on the notion of cultural production as essentially a social activity (Becker, 1982; Bourdieu, 1996), it specifically focuses on the ways in which these enterprises facilitate collaboration and networking between different scene participants. In so doing, the paper explores both the diversity of styles and the resultant opportunities for live performance that developed out of these collective activities, and how these outcomes strengthen the notion of a music scene.

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