Success in Music – Self-Commitment or Claim of the Market?

Is music successful when it is appreciated by as many people as possible? Or when it conveys a certain standpoint? How is success measured in different genres (number of listeners, awards, competitions, charts)? Should music be brought to a specific audience or should an audience be picked up where it is? No matter what genre or intention – the presence on stage has become just as important as in the digital world.

Date: November 11th, 2013

Address: Arnold Schönberg Center, Schwarzenbergplatz 6, Entrance Zaunergasse 1–3, 1030 Vienna

Conference language: English (with German translation)

Conference fee: 12 Euro / Students: 8 Euro



9.30 – 10.00 a.m.
About the interplay between politics, economics and the arts
Dieter Haselbach (Sociologist, Consultant of ICG Deutschland, Berlin)

10.00 – 10.30 a.m.
Benchmarks for music information centers
Scerstine Puddu (Consultancy Unicon, Austria)

10.30 – 10.45 a.m. Coffee break

10.45 – 11.15 a.m.
How to measure success in music?
Franz Kasper Krönig (Sociologist and Musicologist, University Cologne)

11.15 – 12.30 a.m.
Success in different musical genres, evaluation through media, awards, competitions
Round table with Bill Drummond (Artist, United Kingdom), Franz Kasper Krönig, David Keenan (Journalist, The Wire, United Kingdom), Bèr Deuss (Albersen verhuur bv/Deuss Music, The Netherlands); Moderation: Andreas Felber

12.30 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.: Lunch break

2.00 – 3.15 p.m.
Web services as agents for success
Karim Fanous (Music Ally, United Kingdom)

3.15 – 3.45 p.m.
Success in different genres and in the media
David Keenan (Music Journalist and Musician, United Kingdom)

3.45 – 4.00 p.m.: Coffee break

4.00 – 5.30 p.m.
What does success mean in the field of arts? Is the aim to please a broad audience or to convey a special message?
Round table with Gerald Bast (Rector of the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria), Roland Innerhofer (Literary Academic, University of Vienna), Heinrich von Kalnein (Saxophonist, University for Music and Performing Arts Graz); Moderation: Dorothee Frank

Schedule for download


Dieter Haselbach: About the interplay between politics, economics and the arts

Art production and art consumption take place in markets. Several ways exist in the economy of the arts to conceptualise the entanglement of state into these markets. The presentation uses example from music. We shall observe the state as it constructs merit goods in music. Merit goods have wider  effects than just increasing supply, they deeply shape the music market. A more complex picture can be drawn by analysing the value chain of music production. Here is becomes obvious that state plays an even more complex role in the music business than just by offering merit goods. Namely, it is education, infrastructure, jobs, but also stiff competition. In a third perspective, I want to explore what public money does, and can do, in job markets in the arts. At the occasion of the conference it might be worth taking the risk of going from description to prescription and share some speculations on what cultural policy in the field of modern music could, or even should, look like.

Prof. Dr. Dieter Haselbach (Berlin) is sociologist. For more than twenty years, he has been working as consultant specialising in the arts and in the creative economy, currently as managing partner in the Integrated Consulting Group Germany (ICG) and as director of the Zentrum für Kulturforschung (Centre for Cultural Research) in Bonn. He has experi-ence as an entrepreneurial consultant, in coaching, and in research.

Since 1990, he has taught social sciences in Canada, England, Austria and Germany, and he currently holds the position as ‘apl.’ prof. of sociology at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. His recent publications include the book “Der Kulturinfarkt” (“cultural heart attack”, with Pius Knüsel, Armin Klein and Stephan Opitz), several inquiries on the cultural economy, research on demography and cultural policy, books and articles in sociology and economy, numerous articles on cultural economy.

Franz Kasper Krönig: How to measure success in music?

While one hardly expects to obtain straight answers to this question from any perspective, this expectation might be particularly low when music sociology is addressed. However, music sociology from a systems theoretical provenance can deliver answers to this question, at least when it is phrased a little bit more differentiatedly: Who measures who’s success for which purpose with which methods (and which reliability)?
Success functions as a powerful so called structural coupling between the art system and the economic system. Starting from the (albeit counter-intuitive) assumptions that economy cannot steer or even influence music directly and that music equally cannot control its connection to economy, it becomes clear that both systems need to develop mechanism for reciprocal observation and for the stabilization of reciprocal expectations.
When we differentiate success as the (impossible) observation of the intransparent art system by economy from success as the reflection of this economic observation of the art system by the art system, major ambiguities and conceptual difficulties disappear. Then we can take a closer look at the various (paradoxical) forms in which economy tries to determine (future) success on the one hand as opposed to forms in which music tries to develop self-descriptions and communicative structures that increase the probability of being observed as successful by economy on the other hand. This triggers an evolutionary process in which new forms (e.g. “being viral” in the social media) are tried out as indicators for success and struggle with relatively old forms (e.g. prizes) for relevance. Of special interest seems to be the polarity between relatively “hard” facts like success with the public in concerts and speculative new indicators that are risky in the good and the bad entrepreneurial sense.

Dr. Franz Kasper Krönig, Deputy Professor at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne/Germany for Sociology and Didactics of Education.
Studies of Musicology, Philosophy und Linguistics at the University of Cologne (M.A.); PhD in Sociology (Dr. phil). Academic Teaching at the University of Cologne (Media Studies), the University of Flensburg (Sociology of Education), the University of Music and Dance Cologne (Didactics of Music), the Universities of Applied Sciences Cologne and Dortmund (Cultural Education). Non-formal teaching at the Pop-Academy Cologne (Songwriting) and the Offene Jazz Haus Schule Cologne (Bands).

Project Leader and Head of professional education at the Offene Jazz Haus Schule: Conception, organisation and direction of sociocultural and artistic projects at all types of schools and in public, inclusive and cultural youth work. Professional Singer/Songwriter with six CD-releases under the Name of Franz Kasper (Day-Glo Records/ Rough Trade). Ten years of experience in non-academic teaching of Bands (children and adolescents). Conceptional development, supervision and professional education in the field of pedagogics and didactics of cultural work with children groups. Numerous didactic and academic publications.

David Keenan: Success in different genres and in the media

Based in Glasgow, Scotland, David Keenan has written for The Wire since 1995 where he debuted with a piece on Richard Youngs. Since then he has contributed countless reviews and many major think pieces, including breaking the New Weird America story as well as birthing Hypnagogic Pop. He has written major career defining portraits of long-term passions like Derek Bailey and Peter Brotzmann and has been described in the Wire letters page – where he regularly features – as “the Otto Muehl of Noise”. His first cover story was 1997’s Nurse With Wound feature, a piece that led directly to his first book, England’s Hidden Reverse, a study of Nurse With Wound, Coil and Current 93 and associated culture which is due to be re-published in expanded form in 2014. He has also written for NME, Melody Maker, The Sunday Herald, Uncut, Mojo, Opprobrium and Ugly Things and regularly talks and lectures about underground music and left-field art across the world.

As a musician his activities have taken in everything from supporting Oasis and having a song dedicated to him by Sophie Ellis-Bextor through jamming saxophone with Sonny Simmons, Alan Silva and Sabu Toyozumi, fronting Cleveland underground legends The Styrenes and holding down the drum stool as part of Jandek’s regular touring band. He also writes fiction and poetry and his debut novel, The Comfort Of Women, is due from Strange Attractor in autumn 2014. While he is a co-owner of the underground record store/mail order/web site Volcanic Tongue, he maintains no internet presence whatsoever.

For his Vienna lecture David will be presenting a talk entitled No Success Like Failure where he will interrogate the terms we use to gauge artistic success and failure, using the example of the legendarily hermetic musician Jandek as a template and jumping-off point, plotting a career that has involved no interviews or interaction with the press, no record label deals outside of his own privately-issued albums, no information beside cryptic photographs of himself on his releases and no conventional technical ability whatsoever and yet which has produced one of the most important and most ‘succesful’ bodies of music and art of the 20th century and beyond. He will offer up potential models for artistic success and survival in the face of the retreat of the mainstream from supporting anything challenging or personal and the concomitant narrowing of options for artist who attempt to survive on their art, suggesting that musicians and artists must anticipate and initiate the future context for the reception of their own art while refusing pre-established routes and strategies.

Karim Fanous – Head of Research, Music Ally

The lecture will be an introduction to direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales and marketing using cutting edge digital tools and platforms. Karim will highlight trends and provide an overview of key social platforms and tools ranging from Topspin Media, SoundCloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to analytics platforms including Next Big Sound and Musicmetric, transactional tools like Gumroad and Chirpify and Crowdfunding platforms like Pledgemusic and Kickstarter. Use cases will be provided to demonstrate how the tools are used, with a focus on contemporary classical music where possible. The lecture will end with a series of best practice case studies followed by questions from attendees if desired.

Karim Fanous is Head of Research at Music Ally. At Music Ally we love music, and we love tech. We believe that these worlds should not be battling each other and so our mission for the past ten years has remained the same: to explore ways that the two worlds can work profitably together. We don’t believe the old industry will ever return – and that’s not a bad thing. We want to help reshape the music business so that it’s fit for purpose in the digital age, representing the new breed of empowered artists and managers, helping build sustainable careers in a fairer system. We also work with savvy labels and new digital music platforms which together will be changing the way we connect with the music we love.

Our clients are across the music and technology sectors, and include all of the major labels, music publishers and collecting societies, music platforms like Spotify and Deezer, and the tech giants like Google and Microsoft. We provide information on the new music business. We also enable companies to understand the landscape through training in various forms of digital marketing. We provide bespoke research, and also help companies spot opportunities through specialist consulting. We work with global events and also put together our own focused networking events.

Organizer: mica – music austria in cooperation with the International Association of Music Information Centres (IAMIC) and the Arnold Schönberg Center

The discussion and lecture series mica focus is supported by the Department of Science and Research Funding of the MA7 Vienna.