The 7th Vienna Music Business Research Days in retrospective

vmbrd-logoThe 7th Vienna Music Business Research Days on “Self-Management in the Digital Music Business” are already history. International music business researchers and business professionals gathered at the University of Music and Performing Arts to discuss the challenges and chances of the digital music economy.

In the Young Scholars’ Workshop graduate and PhD students from Canada, Germany, Norway, Poland, Spain and Russia presented their theses in a closed workshop in group of highly regarded music business/industry researchers. Lorenz Grünewald of the University of Applied Sciences for Media, Communication and Management Berlin was awarded for his paper “The (In)significance of the Brand: Brands & Music Culture”. The paper will be published in the International Journal of Music Business Research (IJMBR).

The conference track day on September 28 brought together music business academics from Australia, Austria, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Spain, who presented recent research results on the music business/industry.

The third conference day was again held in cooperation with the Waves Music Festival & Conference and was devoted to the topic of “Self-Management in Digital Music Business”.




img_0639_1In the evening of Sep. 27th, Angela Myles-Beeching, the author on the bestseller “Beyond Talent”, presented the key facts of her book in a fascinating speech at the Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies (IKM) of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.









On the second conference day, music business researchers from 10 countries presented their recent findings. All presenting conference participants in alphabetical order:


De Sancha Navarro Jésus Manuel, Luis Palma Martos and Maria-Dolores Oliver-Alfonso, University of Seville, Economic and financial viability plan for the entrepreneurship of a lyric theatre low-cost company: The case of Zarzuela in Spain (abstract)

Heredia Carroza Jesús and Luis Palma Martos, University of Seville and Luis F. Aguado, Javeriana University, Colombia, Creative substance and Copyright. The case of Flamenco in Spain (abstract)

Luck, Geoff, University of Jyväskylä, The Psychology of Streaming (presentation)

Montoro-Pons Juan and Manuel Cuadrado Garcia, University of Valencia, Music genres in the consumption and use of recorded music (abstract)

Nasta Luigi and Luca Pirolo, LUISS University and Patrik Wikström, Queensland University of Technology, Old dogs and interns: An empirical analysis of the link between team diversity and performance in sound recording projects (abstract)

Pedersen Rasmus Rex, Rhythmic Music Conservatory, Copenhagen, Organizational and Economic Consequences of the Music Streaming Economy (abstract)

Sonnabend Hendrik, University of Hagen, Fairness constraints on profit-seeking: Evidence from the German club concert industry (presentation)

Srakar Andrej, Institute for Economic Research Ljubljana and Marilena Vecco, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Blue Notes: Slovenian jazz festivals and their contribution to the economic and social resilience of the host cities (presentation & full paper)

Winter Carsten and Alexander Schories, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Professionalization strategies for music on a global scale and in the perceptions of stakeholders at the Hanover University of Music, Drama, and Media (abstract)

Wlömert Nils, Vienna University of Economics and Business and Dominik Papies, University of Tübingen, On-demand Streaming Services and Music Industry Revenues – Insights from Spotify’s Market Entry (presentation)



img_0727_1The Vice President for External Affairs of University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Dr. Christian Meyer opened the third conference day on “Self-Management in the Digital Music Business” by welcoming our international guests and the local audience. International experts and academics discussed the challenges and chances for musicians in the new digital ecosystem.








IMG_0738_1.jpgMartin Lücke, professor at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Berlin analysed in his morning talk best-practice models of career centres at music universities. Therefore, he highlighted a tremendous gap of the number of graduates from German music universities and disposable jobs in German orchestras. Lücke, thus, concluded, that a traditional career as an solist and orchestra musician is an exemption, forcing music universities to broaden the educational programs by including also entrepreneurship and management courses. He highlights, that just a few German universities operate specific career centres for their advanced students. Martin Lücke also explained that there is a difference between career and job. Thus, career centres should not just train for a future job, but for a life-long career in the music field. Therefore, he cites Schilling (1997) that career development is “… the process by which one develops and refines self- and career-identity, work maturity and the ability to plan.” Career development process have to target three questions: (1) who am I?, (2) where am I going? and (3) how do I get there? Career centres, therefore, have to teach the process of skill identification and transferability of skills to multiple environments (and jobs); create opportunities through collaborative agreements with employers or service organizations through which individuals can explore jobs/occupations and test their skills, and encourage individuals to learn and then practice the skills they identify as important to the future. Martin Lücke then presented three best-practice models of career centres at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hamburg, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Berklee College of Music.

Videostream and presentation slides





In the following panel discussion, Martin Lücke moderated a panel on “Career Centers at Music Universities – Best Practices” with Gretchen Amussen (Director for External Affairs and International Relations at the Paris Conservatoire), Angela Myles Beeching (Manhattan School of Music and author of the book “Beyond Talent“) and Stefan Simon (Head of the Career Center at the Music University Detmold).

In the introductory round, Stefan Simon explained why the University of Detmold’s career center is unique: “What makes us good is that we don’t focus on permanent jobs but on knowledge for freelance musicians.” Music University Detmold does not just offer career centres courses for their students, but also supplemental events such as a relaxed café, where alumni discuss their career developments with students.

Gretchen Amussen, pointed out that there is no best-practice model of career centres, since music universities differ and have to deal with different challenges in the European countries. She also explained that some of the universities that do not have explicit career centres, offer specific courses for career development and entrepreneurship within their curricula.

From an U.S. perspective, Angela Myles Beeching argued that career centres have to fit the need of cultural institutions and students. They have to build bridges between faculty and the realities of career development. She also pledged to broaden the definition of success. Success should not just be measured by the number of won competitions and the number of appearances on stage, but by more stable careers that satisfy musicians as well.



IMG_0818_1.jpgThe discussion on career centres leads to Johannes Ripken’s presentation of his model of Organic Artist Development. Several factors impact on artist development in the digital age: the sales crisis of the record industry and thus lower investments into artist development by the major record labels, a negative image of the music industry among the consumers and a need for artist standing out from the masses. To meet the current challenges for artist development, Johannes Ripken developed a model of organic artist development that starts at the artist’s needs and precondition, instead of imposing an artificial marketing concept, what Ripken calls synthetic artist development. Organic artist development starts by analysing the artist’s basics – music skills, personality and business skills. These skills constitute the artist’s concept as a starting point for the artist’s “business plan”. An artist development framework is then derived from the artist’s concept, comprising of (1) musical artist development, (2) artist brand management, (3) artist development marketing and (4) business partner development. Musical artist development comprises of style development, the development of the artist’s originality and her/his uniqueness, supporting the artist’s creativity and developing the artist’s live performance skills. In artist brand management the artist’s identity is defined and the artist is positioned in the market in order to create an artist’s image. The business partner development helps to create a business network to select those partners relevant for the artist’s career. The aim is a joint artist development with the selected business partners. Marketing artist development covers all channels to communicate the artist’s image to public. Old media such as radio & TV and print media should also be included in a marking plan as well as digital media, events and DJ promotion. The aim is to create a multi-channel marketing plan in order to spread the “word” in the best possible way and extend.

Videostream and presentation slides




After the lunch break, highly regarded music producer Steve Power (Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Kylie Minogue, Enrique Iglesias and Andrea Bocelli) highlighted his personal career to explain how self-management has changed over the years. However, he still follows a guiding principal: “Good steps in my career came from stepping through a door when it was opening. Sometimes doing just something is better than doing nothing.” His personal career that resulted 40 million records sold, is a history of unforeseen opportunities and unexpected career turns. He accidentally stumbled in the music producer profession and met the right people at the right time. In the analogue era there was no need to think about self-management and self-marketing. Things just happened. However, in the digital age, the challenges have grown and it has become a must to distinguish from others. Today, you need a concept, a plan and it is a danger to leave the career on change. However, also today you need a high quantum of luck and a good network of musical and business partners.





Steve Power then also joined the panel discussion on “Self-Management in the Digital Music Business” with Roxanne de Bastion (a London-based musician), Keith Harris (manager of Stevie Wonder) and Johannes Ripken (music consultant), conducted by the Austria music producer and Vice-president of the Austrian Composers’ Society, Harald Hanisch. In his opening statement Keith Harris confirmed Steve Power’s experience that back in the days you stumbled from one thing to another. However, today artist management is much more complex. “Today, if you put new music out, online reactions can be so vicious that I am afraid that it endangers an artists.” Singer/songwriter Roxanne de Bastion had a less sceptical view on the current music business. She pointed at the opportunities the digital music business provides. You can book your tours by yourself. You can use online marketing tools and you can communicate directly to the fans. “Today you can make the music that you enjoy and connect it with people on the Internet.” Steve Power admired how young musicians develop their skills today, “but it is more and more becoming a full-time job to manage your career.” Johannes Ripken identified this as problem, since artists need time to develop their creativity, but are now occupied by business stuff such as book-keeping. Therefore, they have to build a team to support them in business-related tasks. Roxanne de Bastion argued that the artist nowadays is in the centre of a team and self-management is more about coordinating the team than doing all by yourself. Keith Harris underlined Roxanne’s argument: “The fundamental job of a musician is communication. Get something out that people can identify with. That has not changed.”

The discussion ended with a view into the future development of the music business. Roxanne de Bastion advocated for more transparency in the music business and to bring the rights holders in the centre of their data. Keith Harris wished to see more local markets with local artists that can sustain themselves and Steve Power was afraid of that a winner of a lottery gets to be the next x-factor star for two weeks – but he added: “I don’t think it is gonna happen.”





After the panel discussion Carsten Winter and Peter Tschmuck announced the winner of the best paper presented in the Young Scholars’ Workshop. Lorenz Grünewald of the University of Applied Sciences for Media, Communication and Management Berlin was awarded for his paper “The (In)significance of the Brand: Brands & Music Culture”. The winner’s paper is considered to be published in the International Journal of Music Business Research.


All photos by Magdaléna Tschmuck



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October 2016



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