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8th Vienna Music Business Research Days. Review

While the headline theme „blockchain“ occupied the central position of this year’s VMBRDays, a very lively discussion around several topics significant for today’s music business developed.

Before kicking off the official conference Ph.D. and master students had the opportunity to discuss their work with acclaimed mentors form the field of music business research at the Young Scholars Research Workshop (Co-organized by the GMM). The presentations covered topics from the branding of classical music, collaborative online song production or the influence of copyrights on the creative process. This years workshop was also very international with contributions on the adoption of streaming services in South Africa and collective rights management organizations in Barbados.

The first conference day, traditionally open for recent research contributions, gathered a variety of perspectives towards the music business. Sessions focused on e.g. music entrepreneurship, artist management, music festivals or music preferences. Regularly these talks aimed for a critical view on business practices and for strategies musicians might apply in order to strengthen their position, particularly without a major label background.

Day two was reserved for invited talks concerned with new gatekeeping processes, mental health in music business, and of course the blockchain technology. Generally the talks showed a great interest in understanding the artists’ issues and concerns – music business research on micro-level, one could say. Not neglecting the developments in the big music industry, they tried to figure out how streaming already and blockchain eventually will affect the business. However, probably more often than usually “making a living with music” and alternative models to do so were addressed.

The informative and skeptical days in Vienna, looking at issues at the edge of the plate, with great food, perfect hosts, and lots of interesting discussions, ended with the announcement of Benjamin Schiemer and Elke Schüßler as winners of the Best Paper Award of the Young Scholars Workshop with their work on „Virtual Songwriting: Fostering Creative Processes through “Challenge” and “Collaboration”“. Congratulations!