London music scene behind Brighton & Manchester

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

When it comes to live music one would assume that England’s capital is the home to the best music scene. Surely the size of the city and diversity of culture means it would beat others in the UK? Well according to a new report that isn’t the case.

Despite London having larger venues such as Wembley research reveals Brighton has over three times as many venues per person as London. The capital is in danger of crowding out smaller acts, with Brighton, Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge all offering over twice as many music venues per person than London, according to research by live music discovery app Timbre.

Although London boasts iconic venues such the O2, the research suggests that London’s music scene is proportionally much smaller than many other UK cities.

With smaller acts lacking the fan-base to play London’s larger venues, Brighton provides the best chance for fledgling music acts looking to make it with almost three times as many concert venues per person than London. Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge all have twice as many per person. The top towns all share prominent student populations.

Although London offers thousands of venues, its population of 7 million would need twice the number of venues for the capital to compete with Oxford and Cambridge.

Overall, London came 19th in Timbre’s research and was surprisingly beaten by towns such as Reading, Bristol, Southampton, Sheffield and Exeter.

A spokesperson for Timbre commented: “It seems the outgoing student populations of Brighton, Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge have bolstered these towns’ provision of live music venues. Although London has many incredible venues, the competition to play them is very fierce. A wider selection of intimate venues may be required to ensure the capital’s music scene retains its vibrancy.

“The situation may not be helped by the number of pubs closing down each month. These small venues are the lifeblood of the live music scene in the UK.”

Maybe London isn’t calling after all.

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