Looking back at the successful IMBRD conference in Rotterdam

November 7th, 2021

POPLIVE organised the 12th International Music Business Research Days on November 3-5, 2021 in Rotterdam. This post provides an overview of the contents of the conference. The link to the online video’s of keynotes and industry panels can be found here. We would like to thank all participants for making this conference a great success.

The conference was kicked-off by Peter Tschmuck, director of the IMBRA and organiser of the previous 11 editions of this conference. He looked back at the birth and development of the Music Business Research Days, based on the questions why, how and what for? He emphasised the increasing importance of music business research in general and of (academic) music networks in specific. He also addressed some important issues for music business research in the future, such as diversity and inclusion.

In the first round of parallel sessions, the panel supporting and understanding the music industries addressed research on the development of the music industries in Hungary, Latvia, Scotland and the German cities Berlin, Hamburg and Hannover. In another panel, David Hesmondhalgh and the other authors of the Intellectual Property Office report reflected on the extraordinary developments that have made musicians’ earnings an issue of major public interest and controversy in recent times. A third parallel session contained contributions concerning the important issue of copyright and rights management in music. The afternoon sessions addressed the issues of streaming platforms, music research during the pandemic and urban, underground and nightlife scenes in several cities all over the world.

The first conference day was closed by Jennifer C. Lena, Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Columbia University NY, with her inspiring keynote on music genres. From a sociological perspective she criticised the general use of music genres, proposed an alternative for measuring music taste and concluded that music genre isn’t dead but that we need to rely on more valid measures to find it.

panel on music communities
panel on the resilience of the music industries

The final day of the conference started with parallel sessions on digital platforms and the resilience of the music industries. In the last round of paper presentations issues such as artist careers, music education, music festivals and the impact of COVID-19 on the industry were addressed.

The closing afternoon of the conference consisted of the industry program, powered by ClickNL (the Dutch creative industries consortium). In the first industry panel both experts from academia and industry discussed the role and importance of music communities, specifically in times of a pandemic. The panel was followed by Brian Hracs‘ (Associate Professor at the University of Southampton) keynote on value creation and curation in times of music streaming platforms. After Peter Tschmuck announced Ben Bishop from University of Westminster as the winner of the 2021 Young Scholars Award, the second industry panel discussed the resilience of the music industry in the light of issues such as COVID-19, Brexit, increasing headliner fees and competition for scarce labor.

Peter Tschmuck announces Ben Bishop as the winner of the Young Scholars Award

The organisation would like to thank all participants, panel hosts, young scholar coaches, professional panelists, suppliers and of course our partners: IMBRA, ClickNL, NWO, VNPF, Mojo, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and Erasmus University Rotterdam. For more information about the International Music Business Research Association, click here.

The video’s of the keynotes and industry panels are now publicly available here.


We hope to see you next year at the 13th Music Business Research Days in Vienna, October 2022!

The POPLIVE-team,

Erik Hitters, Pauwke Berkers, Arno van der Hoeven, Rick Everts and Martijn Mulder

the organising POPLIVE team
the organising POPLIVE team