Alco-pop? The Use of Popular Music in Glasgow Pubs

Published: January 2009

In recent years popular music studies has witnessed a turn towards concentrating on music at a local level (Cloonan) and its use in what DeNora calls everyday life. In a separate, but overlapping, development there has been a growing interest in the night-time economy. At an academic level this has included some interest in the role popular music plays in that economy (e.g. Bennett; Bjrnberg and Stockfelt) and at the UK governmental level it has included responses to “binge drinking” (Home Affairs Select Committee; Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit; Scottish Executive) and to licensing.1 But there has been less attention paid to the role that music plays within a key part of that economy—pubs. In this article we examine the use of music in city centre pubs in Glasgow, Scotland. We include the role of music in attracting customers to pubs, the different types of clientele attracted, the relationship between music and alcohol sales, and the ways in which music can act as both a trigger for disorder and a means of preventing it. We develop a typology of uses of music and explore the implications for popular music studies.

Authors / Editors

Research Themes

Violence, Drugs and Alcohol