LiveMi: reimaging Milan. Popular music policies and urban regeneration
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The paper will try to discuss the pilot study conducted at the beginning of my PhD research project about live music in Milan; the paper brings together some of the issues outlined in the research report commissioned by the consultant- organizer of the initiative under study, LiveMi. LiveMi (which stands for live music in Milan) was a publicly funded initiative hosting live acts of emerging artists in the subway stations of the city centre. The paper will examine how emerging music was used by the city council as a strategic tool to promote an attractive image of the city both externally and internally. This project has been launched with the idea of promoting Milan as the “Italian music city” – including emerging music. Besides, by organizing the initiative the city council tried to answer to the decline of the city centre as a site of cultural entertainment by making its subway stations more sociable and lively places. The role of this initiative will be discussed and compared to similar initiatives taking place at the international level, aimed at promoting music production and consumption. Using LiveMi as a case study, the research addressed to the following questions: what are the different perceptions and representations of “Milan as a music city” held by the various subjects involved – such as councilors, consultant and musicians? Which image of the city does LiveMi aim to promote and why? What role does LiveMi play in fostering emerging music in the city and in regenerating the metro stations? In order to address these questions, the paper will start by reviewing the literature about music-related policy-making strategies, pointing out emphasizing the relevance of the local context generating them and at the same time including policies and regulations not directly formulated for the music sector but still having an impact on it. It will follow an analysis of music situation in Milan to understand how Milan can be differently regarded as a music city. And finally, the relevance of LiveMi, as a policy mechanism aimed to rebrand the city, and to foster emerging music will be discussed.
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