Celebrated by the press as the democratization of art production, belittled by the established music industry as amateurism, hailed by artists as long awaited independence and neglected by the academic community; Artist-Entrepreneurship warrants a critical in-depth examination.
The media celebrates individual examples where musicians become famous without ever signing a record deal. The bedroom is the recording studio, iTunes the record store and MySpace and Facebook the promotion tools – a record label, what for?
And then of course, there was Radiohead …
But after the initial enthusiasm, the music industry bashing and the 'everybody-is-an-artist-party', it is time to ask for a more objective picture.
What about the other 99.9% of Non-Radioheads? Can Artist-Entrepreneurship provide a sustainable business model for new artists?
Traditionally, record labels act as gatekeepers for the artists and audience by providing a minimum level of quality and supply regulation - but what happens if they disappear? Will sub-rate music flood the market? Who will bear the costs of searching for good music?
Should music schools rather teach blogging, podcasting and virtual friend management than songwriting and production skills?
Is Artist-Entrepreneurship Schumpeter’s creative destruction followed by a paradise for artists and a flourishing of consumer creativity?
Is Artist-Entrepreneurship the countermovement to Adorno’s critique of the mass media and the loss of individuality?
Or is Artist-Entrepreneurship just a herd of monkeys, playing around with cracked audio production software, where according to Andrew Keen - no new Mozart will ever emerge?
Of course those statements are provocative and exaggerated, but somewhere in between these extremes Artist-Entrepreneurship will find its rightful place. It is time to bring the debate back onto a rational level using reliable facts.
My research project will carry out an in-depth examination of this new phenomenon. Based on a large international survey, the project aims to shed light on pressing questions about artist-entrepreneurship in the digital music industry.
Please stay tuned, connect, collaborate, involve or just consume - I am happy to make this an interactive ongoing work-in-progress.
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