Social capital is defined by the OECD as ‘the norms and social relations embedded in the social structures of societies that enable people to co-ordinate action to achieve desired goals’ (Grootaert, 1998). Both qualitative and quantitative instruments used to measure social capital generally cluster their enquiry into the operationalisation of individuals’ trust, happiness, inter-personal networks and civic engagement (Dudwick, Kuehnast, Jones, & Woolcock, 2006; Grootaert & Basterlaer, 2002; R. Putnam, 2002).

Improved social capital was the most frequently identified benefit associated with live music by both producers and consumers participating in this research. Consumers identified feeling more connected, happy and engaged while producers spoke of the role venues played in facilitating community.

The relationship between social capital and commercial success is well established in literature, and contemporary music scenes thrive on social, economic and “subcultural capital” (Thornton, 1996) sustained and maintained by social networks of like-minded enthusiasts, musicians and music industry professionals (Gibson & Homan, 2004).