Liveology – Practices and Ideologies of Live Music in Finland

About Liveology

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.


The head of the project, Dr. Heikki Uimonen, is a professor of popular music research at the University of Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy. He will actively take part in all sub-projects, including chairing the follow-up meetings of the group and maintaining international scholarly contacts. Of special interest to him are the changes in the ideology and music culture of the ELMU (Live Music Association) movement, including the use of media. Uimonen has published extensively on music and media in domestic and international peer-reviewed journals. He wasawarded a book of the year prize for his book focusing on the music cultures of radio stations, and how the American-style radio format replaced the local practice of radio stations basing their broadcasting ideology on musical and cultural diversity.

Dr. Maija Kontukoski (nee Lahti) defended her doctoral dissertation on commercial radio at the University of Tampere in March of 2012. She received her PhD in ethnomusicology from the Department of Music Anthropology at the University of Tampere in 2012. Kontukoski works at the University of Tampere as a senior planner in an EU-funded project enhancing international research projects, and at the University of Turku as a project manager in an EU-funded multidisciplinary research and innovation project called KUMURU (The Joint Setting for Culture, Music, and Food). In addition to her dissertation, she has published several articles on the Finnish music industry (Kurkela & Lahti 2006; Lahti 2007; Kontukoski 2010; 2012).

Dr. Ari Poutiainen has specialized in jazz, popular music, and improvisation. More recently, his focus has been on creativity, innovation, and music education. He has published several peer- reviewed, scholarly articles in top international journals. His and Risto Kukkonen's (eds.) book on the "jazziskelmä" ("Finnish jazz-pop hit song") era of 1956–1963 has been acknowledged as a deep and detailed but easily accessible academic work on a significant period of early Finnish popular music history (Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive, 2011).

Dr. Mikko Vanhasalo completed his PhD dissertation in 2009 at the University of Tampere, with the title "Humppaa! Uudelleentulkinta ja kiteytyminen Dallapén ja Humppa-Veikkojen sovituksissa" ("Humppaa! Reinterpretation and Crystallization in the Arrangements of Dallapé and Humppa-Veikot", Vanhasalo 2009). He combined music analysis and style history in his dissertation, focusing on the case of humppa music as an aesthetic recycling process. In addition, he has written articles on the history of Finnish popular music (Vanhasalo 2007; 2013). From 2010 onwards Vanhasalo has worked as a lecturer at the Sibelius Academy, at the University of Tampere, and in the Master's Degree Programme for Folk and Popular Music in Seinäjoki.

M. Mus Mervi Luonila is currently studying for her PhD in Arts Management (University of the Arts Helsinki, Sibelius Academy). Luonila's research interests are focused on the management of festivals, and especially on network management in the festival context. During the research funding period 2012–2013 she has produced the works ‘The Role of Festivals and Events in the Regional Development of Cities – Cases of Two Finnish Cities' (article in review) and ‘Orchestrating institutionalized cultural-production (eco)systems: Cases of opera and music festival' (paper presented at 22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference, Reykjavik). She was nominated as ‘One of the three best doctoral students of the conference' at the AIMAC -12th International Conference on Arts and Cultural Management, 2013, in Bogota, Colombia. Additionally, Luonila has worked as a project researcher at the Turku School of Economics, at the University of Turku, Pori Unit.


Dr. Heikki Uimonen

+358 50 345 1900