School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Adam Behr

Lecturer in Contemporary and Popular Music


Adam Behr teaches and researches in the interdisciplinary field of Popular Music Studies, with an emphasis on the intersections between the creative industries, cultural policy, music and politics. He is also interested in the sociology and history of popular music and their relationship to the politics of popular culture.

Following a PhD on the social dynamics of rock bands at the University of Stirling, he has researched and published  on the popular music of the mid-twentieth to twenty first centuries, cultural policy, music and politics, and the music industries.

Prior to joining Newcastle University, he taught widely across Popular Music Studies and Media Studies at Stirling University, the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and City University (London).

He is a co-director of the Live Music Exchange - a knowledge exchange body that builds bridges between academics, industry and policymakers. In addition to academic writing, he writes extensively for the web, as an editor and contributor to the Live Music Exchange site, for The Conversation and elsewhere.


  • International Association for the Study of Popular Music
  • Royal Musical Association
  • Political Studies Association
  • City of Edinburgh Council 'Music is Audible' working group
  • Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Culture
  • Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Music

Administrative Roles:

  • Undergraduate Admissions Tutor
  • Music Impact Champion 


Adam Behr's research lies broadly within the interdisciplinary field of Popular Music Studies. Key areas of interest include:

  • The music industries
  • Cultural policy
  • The intersection of music and politics
  • The sociology and history of popular music

Current work includes:

  • 'The UK Live Music Census': An AHRC funded exercise to gather data about live music across the UK. The words first national live music census.
  • 'Facilitating Music Tourism for the Creative Economy': An investigation of the beneficiaries of music tourism designed to inform policymakers about the concerns of music and tourism-related business. Funded by the AHRC and National Productivity Investment Fund
  • An examination of the musical components of UK General Election Campaigns.

Previous work includes:

  • The Edinburgh Live Music Census
  • From Pub to Stadium: The ecology of public and commercial investment in British live music venues. (Part of the AHRC's Cultural Value Project)
  • The cultural value of live music: A Case Study of Enthusiast, State-funded, and Commercial Events at the Queen's Hall (Part of the AHRC's Cultural Value Project).
  • Scotland On Tour: Strategies for Promoting the Scottish Music Industry Within and Outwith Scotland. (AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship)
  • An investigation and typology of Edinburgh's open mic nights.
  • The social dynamics of rock bands

Current PhD supervisions:

  • Chris Whiting: Theorising songwriting, industry and autoethnography
  • Emil Thompson: Rural grassroots music collectives, social renewal and cultural policy.
  • Stephanie Naisbett: The role of narrative in the work of Kate Bush



  • Introduction to Popular Music Studies (module leader)
  • Issues in Popular Music Culture (contributor- module inactive 2018/19 academic year)
  • Popular Music and Media (contributor)
  • The Folk Revival (contributor)
  • Music, Politics and Policy (module leader)


  • Popular Music Policy: Case Studies and Context
  • Advanced Popular Music Studies (MMUS elective - inactive 2018/19 academic year)