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Bob Wolf wrote:

> Does anyone know of work on networks in the music business?  It seems to be
> an inherently networked business (A&R to artists; artists to fan base; etc),
> but I don't recall having seen anything.  Is reliable data to hard to find?

Not specifically using network data, but reasoning from White's "markets
as networks"-perspective:
Anand, N. and Richard A. Peterson.  2000. "When Market Information
Constitutes Fields: Sensemaking of Markets in the Commercial Music
Industry." Organization Science, 11, 270-284.

As far as data is concerned: for sales data there's SoundScan
( The All Media Guide to Music
( has quite a bit of artistic info, for
instance their music maps show musical connections between artists. A
lot of it is fan-contributed though and since I don't know AMG's
fact-checking procedures I can't vouch for its 100% accuracy.

If I now switch hats from academic to 'my other life' as owner of a
small record label, I can attest to the networked nature of the music
business (at least in the dance/electronic segment, which I'm in). Email
is obviously a big networking catalyst, but backstage at festivals,
concerts and in clubs is where the business is done.

Especially in the more independent/underground segments of the music
industry the networking aspect is very prevalent because the majority of
industry people occupy multiple roles, e.g. record label owner, DJ and
artist is quite common, as is concert/club promotor, record store owner,
record label owner and distributor etc. So you have two artists
releasing a record on each other's label because they met in a club
where they both DJ-ed. Or you can have an artist give a concert
organized by the artist's record label owner at the club owned by
another artist on that same label, who will most likely be the warmup DJ
for that event. Or an artist gets signed to a record label because the
radio DJ he sent a promotional copy to, also happens to do A&R (it works
the other way too: there are radio DJs who on their shows play
significantly more music from the label they do A&R for). It's a
fascinating industry in many ways.


PS Scary pop industry network fact: the first albums of Britney Spears,
Backstreet Boys, 5ive and N-Sync were all produced by the same Swedish
producer (who later also worked with Celine Dion and Michael Bolton),
Max Martin. Six degrees anyone?
Otto Koppius
Dept. of Decision and Information Sciences (F1-31)
Rotterdam School of Management
Erasmus University Rotterdam
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
The Netherlands
T: +31(0)10.408.2250
F: +31(0)10.408.9010
E: [log in to unmask]

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