Room 1, Session 1 (9:30 – 11:00) [BACK TO PROGRAM]

What does creative (music) entrepreneurship mean in the 21st century? What new approaches to practice and forms of analysis are emerging, including considerations of social media and digital dissemination?

Each presenter’s video ‘paper’ can be viewed below – the video immediately below is the conference discussion

Princess Maha (BIMM)

Creative Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century: Evaluating New Approaches to Increase Work-Place Empowerment for Female Musicians

Plus a playlist to accompany the video:

And here’s a playlist to accompany it (first 5 videos, runtime 15 minutes)

The present study created visibility for a collective of female musicians, in their roles as technical creatives as supported by Arts Council England. Digital shorts that focused on instrument knowledge, collaboration and warm-ups techniques and were filmed ‘behind the scenes’ during studio recordings and shared on social media alongside a release schedule.

Study 1: The Spreitzer (1995,1996) Psychological Empowerment in the Work-Place scale was modified to assess the perceived-empowerment of women working as artists in the music industry. Baseline average scores were calculated from the survey data of punk and rock music fans who had not seen this footage (n=106). Mean scores were established for perceived empowerment (m = 3.46 of 5) and its four subscales; competence (m = 4.3), self-determination (m = 2.83), meaning (m = 4.23) and music industry impact (2.48).

Study 2: A second group of participants (n=20) who viewed the audio-visual works on social media also completed the adapted Spreitzer (1995, 1996) scale. Qualitative data was also analysed, where participants had viewed some or all of three technically orientated digital shorts, two related music videos and/or expressed attended the related tour (n=14).

Welch’s t-tests compared empowerment scale scores between the experimental condition (n=20) and baseline (n=106). Total perceived empowerment significantly differed between groups, t(32) = 2.584, p < .01 (1-tailed; p = .007). This was attributed to a highly significant difference between the groups perceptions’ of women’s competence t(40) = 2.979, p < .005 (1-tailed; p = .002), but not other subscales. These findings suggest that improving the visibility of female musicians in naturally occurring technical experiences may be a blueprint to, in part, negate systemic barriers to industry support, representation and other aspects of progression for women in music.

Brenda Combs (University of West London)

Mental Health Best Practice in the UK Music Industry: Investigating better Relationships Between Managers and Artists

While mental health awareness has become a key topic for nearly every industry it has yet to be a common area of research within the music industry, despite evidence that musicians face serious challenges regarding their mental health.[1] While mental health is often not discussed in the music industry, work-related stressors that negatively impact artists are increasing. Specifically, the music industry has undergone significant changes in terms of the demands on artists due to technological developments.[2] The recent technological changes that have the greatest impact on artists and the music industry relate to music creation and sharing.[3]

My current research focuses on artist managers, as the intermediary between the musician and the artist’s audience[4], and the artist-manager relationship. Building on previous studies relating to artists issues with mental health, I am collecting information regarding music managers’ knowledge related to the mental health status of the artists they manage. The research currently being undertaken seeks to create a baseline of artist managers in the U.K. regarding their knowledge of mental health resources for artists and how their knowledge and access to wellbeing resources may affect the artist’s mental health and artist manager relationship. A large percentage of music managers are newer entrepreneurs, and my current study has shown interesting correlations regarding time in the industry and the manager’s willingness to provide wellbeing resources to artists. Another interesting component of my study analyses the benefits of Human Resource Theory and how a smaller organization or entrepreneur might benefit by incorporating wellness into their organizational mindset.

I have conducted a series of interviews that highlight information on the current working conditions of artist managers in the U.K. with a focus on mental health. The interviews provide qualitative information on how these experiences affect their work and overall wellbeing. All participants, including artist managers and self-managing artists discussed the challenging working conditions of the music industry. The challenges relate to commissions, lack of label involvement, needing mental health support, and positive and negative effects of social media.

For the panel relating to creative entrepreneurship, I am proposing a document and presentation that will share my research and other studies, relating to the impacts of mental health on the artist and manager. The presentation will relate to creative entrepreneurship and impacts of social media and digital dissemination.

[1] Gross, S.A. and Musgrave, G. (2016) “Can Music Make You Sick? Music and Depression A study into the incidence of musicians’ mental health,” University of Westminster.

[2] Allen, P. (2022) Artist Management for the Music Business: Manage Your Career in music, manage the music careers of others. 5th edn. New York: Focal Press.

[3] Anderson, V. (2013) Research Methods in Human Resource Management. 3rd ed. England: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

[4] Watson, J. (2002). What is a Manager? [online] Association of Artist Managers.

Massimiliano Raffa (University of Milan)


This paper aims to understand how the expectations set by algorithmic media influence producers’ and songwriters’ creativity.

A qualitative analysis of 10 semi-structured interviews with mainstream professional producers, many of whom are under contract to major publishers, revealed that their perceived affordances of streaming platforms often influence how they operate. In other words, producers today seem to be questioning how to sonically, structurally and compositionally optimise their music to maximise its platform performance in an attempt to be playlisted or to ‘meet the taste of recommendation system algorithms’.

Three main themes emerge from the interviews: 1. Artists and clients are increasingly asking producers to deliver tracks that perform well on platforms and social media, and producers have developed specific, different strategies for adapting music recordings to the circulation, discovery and enjoyment made possible by algorithmic media environments; 2. Producers find that specific uses of DAWs and VSTs contribute to the standardisation of both production processes (based on assemblages) and taste (as audience appreciation would now be driven towards timbral and rhythmic rather than harmonic and melodic elements); 3. Clients (managers, record companies) demand ever tighter deadlines. They seem obsessed with platform performance, which would negatively affect the work of producers, who feel discouraged from deviating from the dominant canons and proposing innovative solutions. This evidence shows producers’ perceptions, but from a practical point of view, how can we study producers’ agency under these circumstances? Many methods can be used: walkthrough methodologies, micro-sociological methodologies, and practical musicology methodologies. I will discuss the pros and cons of some techniques that can be employed, such as screencasts analysis, participant observation of songwriting sessions, and the analysis of metadata from DAWs’ activity logs.