Mayor creates first map of London’s music spaces

07 June 2018
  • Map gives full spectrum of music performance, recording and rehearsal spaces in London, highlighting the areas of opportunity and growth


  • Boroughs, developers, and the music industry can now see where more rehearsal spaces or performance venues are most needed


  • New research shows that after years of decline, the number of grassroots music venues in the capital has remained stable for nearly two years


  • Data will play a vital role in supporting existing and new music venues 


New figures released by the Mayor of London today have revealed that after a decade of decline, the number of grassroots music venues in the city is no longer falling, and their numbers have stabilised following a number of measures to champion and protect these crucial venues.


The Mayor of London has now created the first-ever map of the full range of music facilities across the city. By taking into account music venues, recording studios and rehearsal spaces, the new map will be used to help protect and nurture the music scene and the facilities it needs across the capital.


Boroughs, developers and music operators will now be able to see the areas where musical activity is most concentrated, or where more facilities of a particular type – from music performance and rehearsal spaces to recording and production spaces - are needed. The research has so far found more than 1000 venues hosting a regular schedule of music, this includes 94 grassroots music venues, 38 musical theatres and over 500 pubs and bars. It also mapped 75 recording studios, 83 rehearsal spaces contributing to London’s music scene.


London is the home of the UK music industry which  contributes £4.4 billion to the UK economy and sustains 142,000 jobs. The music industry plays a vital role in London’s position as a global cultural capital[1], and this new and far-reaching approach represents a fantastic new opportunity for musicians all over London and beyond.


In January 2017 the Mayor shared a progress report on London’s grassroots music venues, and the figure of 94 grassroots venues has remained stable. Previously London had lost almost half of its night clubs and a third of its grassroots music venues since 20072, a quarter of its pubs since 20013 and a staggering 58 per cent of its LGBT+ venues since 20064.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London has a great musical heritage but it’s not something we can take for granted. If we don’t support our grassroots venues and fail to support facilities for emerging talent, then we’re putting the city’s position as the music capital of the world at risk. It is fantastic that the number of grassroots music venues has stabilised. However, it is still crucial that we support new venues in opening and ensure we support access to rehearsal and recording studios – these spaces are vital in finding the next Adele, Dua Lipa or Stormzy.


“I want all Boroughs, the music industry and communities to make the most of this extensive new research. This way we can support the music scene in every part of our city to flourish, nurture new talent from all backgrounds, and continue to keep London’s music scene on the map.”


As many venues in London have more than one purpose – from stadium concerts to music in churches – the Mayor’s map of London music spaces captures the wide variety of locations that contribute to London’s music industry.


The Mayor is calling on Londoners and all those in the industry to use the map and feed into the research to ensure local venues, rehearsal spaces or small recording studios are also captured – the map is available here


This map is the first of its kind on this scale, and is a core strand of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan which sets out to identify what is needed in order to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital. The Cultural Infrastructure Plan takes into account a wide range of cultural assets, from dance studios to theatres and artists’ workspace.


Boroughs across London are being encouraged to use the new data and comprehensive map in order to better protect existing venues and to create the right environment for new venues to flourish. Following the appointment of the first ever Night Czar, Amy Lame, the Mayor also pledge to introduce an Agent of Change principle to help communities and night-life venues, coexist peacefully.


Many venues where people go to see the latest bands or theatre shows are located in central areas such as Camden, Westminster, Islington and Hackney, but rehearsal or recording spaces are much more likely to be based in outer London areas. London’s emerging musicians therefore face high costs to transport their equipment between rehearsal spaces, venues and recording studios.

Although many outer boroughs are working on new music infrastructure, several now appear to have no or very little local opportunity for new and emerging talent at all. The historic model of outer music venues growing talent, then feeding talent towards the centre has largely disappeared.


Justine Simons, OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, said: “The new research and map really goes to show that music is in every corner of our city – from a live-mic night at your local pub, to the Rolling Stones at the London Stadium. Our wide grassroots music venues and studios are at the heart of our success as a global capital of culture – these are the places where emerging artists can hone their talent, where great producers are able to cut their teeth, and where a community can get together and build connections.


“However, this new map also gives us much needed information on the spread, location and variation in London’s music spaces. In order for music to continue to flourish I want to encourage all Londoners to use this map and research and let us know about the spaces you use, so we can create the fullest picture possible of London’s vibrant music scene.


Auro Foxcroft, Village Underground, said: “Music is an ecosystem, and this initial research underlines the Mayor’s ongoing support in keeping it vibrant and healthy for everyone. There is an interconnectivity between music venues, rehearsal spaces and recording studios, which in turn inter-depend on labels, publishing, digital, education and so on. It’s vital that these physical spaces are protected and that we continue to push for an environment in which they can sustain themselves and the whole ecosystem that they support.”


Councillor Darren Rodwell, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, said: "We welcome the launch of the music findings of the Mayor's cultural infrastructure plan. Barking & Dagenham is committed to culture, from the redevelopment of our town centre to the future film production centre in Dagenham. We also recognise the stresses that this map demonstrates and that London and Londoners need more space to create, express themselves and support music. We will use these findings to continue to stress and support more cultural infrastructure in Barking & Dagenham."


Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust, said: “We are delighted to see that for the second year running, steps taken by the Mayor in response to the Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan have prevented further erosion of London’s essential grassroots venues network. The situation remains volatile and fragile, with much work still to do. Working together across government, the cultural sector and the music industry, we believe we can ensure this vital part of London’s cultural provision will survive and grow.”

Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

  2. From London’s Grassroots Music Venue Rescue Plan:
  4. From LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London: Night Venues, 2006-present (UCL Urban Laboratory):


The new data paints a picture of the current state of music performance, rehearsal and production spaces in the city, and the Mayor has committed to publishing an annual update.

Data was collected through:  

  • Sector trade bodies, including UK Music, Music Venues Trust, BASCA, MPG, AIM, MMF, MPA, The MU
  • Industry directories and listings including The White Book, Miloco Studios, Rehearsal Space Finder, Resident Advisor and Time Out.
  • The research also included SIC-based queries of Companies House and private databases including MINT and FAME.
  • Live music audiences were consulted to identify locations viewed as locally important to the music offer. 


The Mayor published a progress report in January 2017 which mapped out grassroots music venues in the capital:


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