Entrepreneurship in music – Between Artistic Autonomy and Economic Reality

First international conference on entrepreneurship in music, 27- 28 April 2017, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway

A collaboration between Department of Musicology (University of Oslo), Norwegian Business School, Norwegian Academy of Music including Centre of Excellence in Music Performance Education (CEMPE).

Call for papers/presentations


The music scene today has a greater diversity than ever before, with traditional boundaries between musical genres and professional roles constantly being challenged. Major political and economic changes in society have led to a working life with increased demands for flexibility and independent professional practices.

An entrepreneurial spirit is now permeating the educational field within the arts, and the discourse on the artist as entrepreneur is characterized by a tension between music as art and music with a commercial purpose.

Although there are contradictions between the traditional artist’s role and entrepreneurial role, there are some interesting similarities between them. Common features are that they both are willing to take risks, they are expansive, creative, looking for opportunities and resources, and are often passionate about what they do. From this perspective, entrepreneurship is embedded in artistic practices, the thinking is not new, but encompasses activities that collectively and historically have been called artistic practices.

However, we see a historical and aesthetic gap between the roles, supported by inherited, ingrained, and at times fundamental value systems, which are not so easily bridged by the entrepreneurial rhetoric.

With the emergence of the Work-concept (after 1800), the idea of the autonomous art and genius creator led to a division of labour (composer/performer) and the rise of institutions. The idea of art for art’s sake has reinforced the dichotomy between art as pure and art as commercial (not pure). This, despite the fact that artists always have had to survive in the market they are in.


Our aim is to develop the discussion on entrepreneurship in music to a new level, and challenge the embedded contradictions between artistic processes and goals and the more commercial considerations that most students will encounter in their professional life. We also hope that the conference will contribute to increased expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Issues addressed

The conference will present both constructive and critical perspectives on entrepreneurship in music. We welcome contributions that discuss either of (but not limited to) the following questions:

  • How is the discourse on entrepreneurship in art related to general tendencies in society?
  • How should music and art education approach the growing demands of entrepreneurial skills?
  • With a growing emphasis on entrepreneurial skills; what are the possibilities and challenges within the musical profession?
  • How can we develop a stronger integration between entrepreneurship and artistic thinking?

The conference is open not only to papers on entrepreneurship in music and music education, but also to entrepreneurship in other art forms and educations, as well as critical perspectives on all of the topics above.

Presentations and proposals details

  1. Individual presentations: 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of discussion
  2. Panel sessions: 45 minutes in total, including discussion

All proposals (abstracts) should fully and clearly describe the topic of the presentation and should include the following information:

  • Background
  • Research questions/topic
  • Aims
  • Significance

Please indicate whether or not the presentation will involve live performance.

Proposals of 300 words should be sent as a PDF or Word attachment to entrepreneurship2017@nmh.no and must include the following: title, author(s), affiliation(s) and email address for contact. When you submit your proposal you will be asked to identify:

  • Type of submission (i.e. individual presentation, panel session)
  • AV requirements
  • Special requests for space/equipment for performance during the paper/session

Selection of proposals

Proposals will be accepted on the basis of their relevance to the conference themes, their significance, originality, and rigour. Presentations incorporating live music‐making are welcome. Notification of acceptance will be made by 1st February 2017.


Keynote speakers will be announced.

Preliminary programme will be presented mid-February.

Submission deadline and registration

Proposal submission deadline: 1st January 2017

Registration will be announced mid-November.

Registration deadline: 1st April 2017