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Researchers get in tune with a pioneering digital music project

An abstract image of digital musicDr Allègre Hadida, Dr Shima Barakat and Becky Schutt, from Cambridge Judge Business School, have partnered with The Sage Gateshead, Fusion Research & Analytics, Videojuicer and Aframe to research a pioneering digital music project to reach wider audiences in the North East of England, working with regional venues and orchestras across the UK.

The project is part of the Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture, supported by Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and NESTA. The fund aims at encouraging arts and cultural institutions to work with digital technology to extend and expand their audience reach and engagement and enhance their commercial capacities. It will involve streaming concerts by Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, as well as Manchester Camerata and London-based Aurora from February through to May 2012.

The concerts will be streamed to a network of North East venues – Alnwick Playhouse, Northumberland, The Maltings Theatre and Cinema, Berwick- upon-Tweed and Gala Theatre, Durham, with a ticket price of just £5. They will also be available to view live on the project and orchestra websites during and for a limited period after the event.

The research will be assessing how this ‘experiment’ will enable cultural institutions to expand their audience engagement, as well as exploring the feasibility of a new business model for the sector involving a strong, strategic network of orchestras, musicians, venues, cinemas and digital media companies.

Becky Schutt, Fellow in Arts and Culture at Cambridge Judge Business School, commented:

In addition to working with the team to think about the potential monetisation of this network – and in order to assess the potential business case – we will be conducting audience research at the live venue, the streamed venue, the encore venue (which is aired at the cinema two days after the event), and the online-computer-streaming audience at home. We’ll also be surveying members of the orchestras to understand if and how the experience affected their performance.”

This study also complements Dr Hadida’s research on the redefinition of the value chain in the digital economy and on the development of digital platforms for music, theatre and opera live entertainment venues and Dr Barakat’s work on scoping the complexities in the commercialisation process and models of taking a new ‘product’ to market. It also underlines Cambridge Judge Business School’s commitment to creative leadership research and teaching. In particular, the Cultural, Arts & Media Management concentration on the MBA programme asks students to assess ‘live’, cutting-edge case studies in the creative sector, such as NT Live, Digital Theatre, Sky Arts, Tate, Aldeburgh Music and CultureLabel.