The Big Lockdown Music Survey: Project Overview

We want to locate music creators, showcase their work, and share their stories

Funded with Arts Council England National Lottery Project funding, The Big Lockdown Music Survey is a snapshot in recorded music of a once-in-a-generation experience shared by the nation.

The Big Lockdown Music Survey will tell the story of the first national lockdown introduced in England on 23 March 2020 from the perspective of music creators, through recorded music and sound, data and testimony. We are interested in representing the broadest range of musical styles and in showcasing music creatives from the broadest range of backgrounds. The survey will be an account of exceptional personal circumstances, of emotions engendered by enforced isolation (or enforced community), but also of creativity, technical innovation, personal resilience, and originality.

By making music that was created all over England during this period accessible, we will together examine questions such as: How do you make music together, remotely?  How has your music-making been facilitated by new technologies? How has the experience of the pandemic influenced the content and form of your work? How has the pandemic changed you as a creator?

We will develop additional elements to share knowledge and expertise on home recording techniques, aimed at those who may have recently begun recording their own music for the first time or are studying music technology at school or college but have limited access to equipment.

Applicants whose work is selected will be remunerated according to an MU-approved fee scale.


  •  Applications open 8 November 2021: you are invited to submit your recordings, and to complete an online form, designed in partnership with RNCM PRiSM (The Royal Northern College of Music’s Centre for Performance & Research in Science & Music).
  • NMC’s Gateway Partners in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, London, Cambridge, and Deal will assemble listening panels to select and curate recordings from their area into engaging listening experiences.
  • In making selections, panels will take account of NMC’s Artistic Mission and EDI objectives so that 50% of the recordings selected are by women and include recordings submitted by applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Composers and performers whose recordings are selected will receive a contract and fee

NMC Lockdown Listening Pages, Map of England and Directory

  •  NMC will share collected music via a free-to-access platform on our website, going live in March 2022.
  • This webpage will be interactive; entries will be searchable via a range of associations: theme, mood, locality, associated ensembles, and instrumentation, as well as displayed on a specially designed map of England to enable users  to explore submissions geographically
  • NMC will also host a searchable lockdown artist database, derived from the collected data submissions.
  • NMC will develop and host ‘How to record at home …' resources, inspired by and building on the technical innovation shown by music creators during lockdown

    Find out more about what we do with your data here