As researchers we fiercely value our independence, and have a reputation for producing intelligent, objective and diagnostic research findings and recommendations. We’ve worked with a range of research clients and partners, including sectoral organisations, such as the Musicians’ Union; funders such as the Musicians Benevolent Fund and PRS Foundation; public sector agencies, such as Arts Council England and the Learning and Skills Council and other creative sector organisations, such as the Centre for Young Musicians.
We combine heavyweight research acumen with up-to-the-minute practical experience
We approach research as practitioners as well as just commentators. Each member of the team combines proven heavyweight research acumen with up-to-the minute, practical experience of working as artists or creative producers, managers, marketers, fundraisers in a creative business. It’s a ‘toolkit’ which has led to us being commissioned by Arts Council England (ACE)and the PRS Foundation to research the impact of rock, pop and urban music industry training nationally, and by the Learning and Skills Council and ACE to scope out a regional business development programme for music businesses.
This ‘toolkit’ means that we know which questions to ask, and of whom; can dissect and sensitively interpret what we’re told, and translate our findings into meaningful recommendations, plans and solutions. It’s unique to the hub team, and sets us apart from other researchers, who often come with the theory alone. In short, we understand the landscape because we’re part of it.
Our methodologies are rigourous but lateral thinking, and our communication fit for purpose
We pride ourselves on our carefully thought through, fit-for-purpose research methodologies, and on our meticulous, lateral thinking approach. We’re highly skilled at producing and analysing qualitative and quantitative questionnaires, and our in-tune ears means we’re adept at facilitating focus groups and doing one-to-one interviews. We’re digitally savvy and regularly use technology to develop our research ‘communities’, disseminate our questions, or test our findings. We recently managed the UK’s biggest ever survey of musicians and music students – Musicians: Have Your Say – which reached a community of in excess of 70 000 professional musicans, and had a response rate of 5%.
But that’s only part of the story. We want our research to be useful to those working in the sector, and work closely with our clients to effectively communicate our findings to our peers in the sector. Sometimes we’ll produce a written report, like the one we produced recently for Yorkshire Forward and ACE about the business needs of music businesses in Yorkshire; other times we’ll produce a think tank event for them, an advocacy campaign, or maybe a podcast.
At the hub we believe that research is a means to an end, not an end in itself
Unlike some researchers, research is important to us because it is a means to an end, not just an end in itself. We work with clients, and on our own research projects, to turn our research findings and recommendations into practical solutions. We cooked up with BBC Talent the Fame Academy Bursary Scheme, after they asked us to research how they could best support the development of young musicians across the UK. More recently, we’ve been building on the results of research we managed on behalf of the Association of Festival Organisers, to develop the Get My Tickets ticketing and audience development resource and the Musicians Benevolent Fund’s newly announced Professional Development Scheme is a direct result of the research we carried out for them last year.