12th International Music Business Research Days organized by POPLIVE

March 12th, 2021

On 3, 4, and 5 November the 12th International Music Business Research Days will take place. This conference is organized by the POPLIVE research team and supported by IMBRA, the International Music Business Research Association. It is hosted by ERMeCC, the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture in cooperation with Creating010. This is the call for papers:

Staging popular music: sustainable music ecologies for artists, industries and cities

Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 3-4-5 November 2021

This conference focuses on the intersection between key transformations in the popular music industries. Music represents and generates value on various levels from the individual to the global, and in many different spheres from the cultural and social to the economic and political. Popular music is staged through multiple platforms, actors, businesses, intermediaries and policies. The current COVID-19-crisis both challenges the music industries and acts as a catalyst of new digital innovations. This is a vital moment to (re)consider the future directions of the music industries. While the music industries are characterized by continuous change and transformation, significant disruptions have always impacted its resilience. Such disruptions can be external shocks, including the current crisis, new technologies, political change or aesthetic-cultural innovations. From an ecological perspective, all transformations force the industry to reshape and rethink itself. This will likely result in both positive as negative consequences. We need to critically reflect on what the immediate and long-term future of music ecologies entails, who benefits and who suffers from such disruptions.

Focusing on a select number of interrelated themes, this conference aims to bring together scholars and professionals from various countries and disciplines. Participants bring their own perspective to the stage in an international exchange of ideas and current research insights about the contemporary music industries.

The Music Business Research Days offer an interdisciplinary forum at the intersection of economic, artistic, cultural, social, legal, technological and further developments which contribute to the creation/production, dissemination/ distribution and reception/consumption of music. This interdisciplinary nature calls for methodological multiplicity and is open to scholars from all scientific areas. We invite submission of papers on – but not strictly limited to – the themes and example questions below:


    • Values: how are processes of value creation changing?
    • Festivals: how to find a balance between rising headliner fees and fair pay for emerging acts?
    • Platforms: are platforms the new gatekeepers?
    • Sustainability: how to organize eco-friendly concerts, how to distribute wealth more equally?
    • Risks: how to operate in an unpredictable market?
    • Monetization: is livestreaming a business model?


    • Careers: is there a financially sustainable career in music?
    • Education: how to prepare music students for a future in music?
    • Revenues: is the superstar economy intensifying?
    • Management: is self-management a viable option for artists?
    • Performances: what are new online and offline formats for concerts?
    • Entrepreneurship: are musicians reluctant entrepreneurs?


    • Playlists: how do playlists influence taste?
    • Platforms: what are gatekeeping practices of digital platforms?
    • Social media: do they help musicians to build their careers independently?


    • Fans: how are relationships between artists and fans changing?
    • Consumption: how does consuming recorded music relate to consuming live music?
    • Inclusion: how can live music reach more diverse audiences?
    • Technology: how do audiences experience live shows offline vs online?


    • Governance: how to sustain a local music sector in times of crisis?
    • Resilience: how to build strong live music ecologies?
    • Equity: how to make sure that the live music industry works for all involved participants?
    • Supply: how to sustain a healthy supply of grassroots music venues?

Please send your abstract no later than May 31, 2021 via

Abstracts can be 500-750 words and need 3-5 keywords (any references are included in the word count) and must include:

    • Objectives of the research and research question
    • Brief description of the disciplinary/theoretical context/background
    • Data and methods
    • Main or expected conclusions / contribution

Abstracts will be subject to a peer review process by an international jury, and authors will be notified of acceptance by July 1, 2021.

The best papers of this conference will be considered for publication in a special issue of the International Journal of Music Business Research (IJMBR). In case you want to be eligible for this special issue, full papers should be sent before October 1, 2021. They should not exceed 7,000 words (including abstracts, figures, tables, references and appendices) and follow the author guidelines of the International Journal of Music Business Research (IJMBR).  A first selection will be made after the conference by the editors, after which a double-blind peer review process is in place for these submissions.

The conference is organized by the POPLIVE research team and supported by IMBRA, the International Music Business Research Association. It is hosted by ERMeCC, the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture in cooperation with Creating010. For more information, please contact:





    • 31 May: Abstract submission deadline
    • 1 July: Notification of acceptance
    • 3-4-5 November: Conference

For PhD students and MA students we will organize a workshop on Wednesday 3 November 2021, in which they present their paper and get in-depth feedback/advice on their work by senior researchers. If you apply for this workshop, your paper will be considered for this workshop instead of the regular sessions. Please indicate in the registration form whether you are interested in participating in the Young Scholars Workshop. Submission deadlines and criteria are the same as for regular papers.

We are hopeful that this will be a live conference and aim for physical co-presence. However, well, who knows. As the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 may make physical attendance difficult for some, the conference will offer the opportunity to present papers in special virtual sessions.

Jennifer Lena (Columbia University) – Jennifer C. Lena is an Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Teachers College, Columbia University and has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology. She is co-editor of the journal Poetics, and co-editor (with Frederick Wherry) of a book series, Culture and Economic Life, published by Stanford University Press. She is the author of three books: Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music (Princeton University Press, 2012); Entitled: Discriminating Tastes and the Expansion of the Arts (Princeton University Press, 2019); and Measuring Culture (Columbia University Press, 2020).

Brian Hracs (University of Southampton) – Dr. Brian J. Hracs is an Associate Professor in Human Geography. He is interested in the iterative relationship between markets, technology and space. His work has been published – amongst others – in Environment and Planning A, Geoforum and Regional Studies. With colleagues, he is working on an edited volume The production and consumption of music in the digital age (Routledge).