This paper explores the working life of early-career musicians after technological innovations transformed the music industry. Based on in-depth interviews, a diary questionnaire study and post-questionnaire interviews with 17 early-career pop musicians aiming to build a career with their act in the Dutch industry, we investigate what day-to-day activities they perform and how they value these work activities. The analysis reveals that musicians perform a wide variety of non-creative work activities, including DIY and entrepreneurial tasks. Moreover, they spend over 40 percent of their time on creative tasks, and, remarkably, devote minimal time to social media. In addition, three accounts of value were identified which shape the way musicians perceive their work, as they understand their work in pop music as art, as a business or as a hobby, transcending the traditional art-commerce dichotomy. This way, the paper contributes to our understanding on the nature of work and how early-career workers perceive its value in the creative industries.

Creative labour, musicians, music industry, popular music, work activities, values
dx.doi.org/10.1080/17510694.2021.1899499, hdl.handle.net/1765/135396
Creative Industries Journal
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

Everts, R.A, Hitters, H.J.C.J, & Berkers, P.P.L. (2021). The working life of musicians. Creative Industries Journal. doi:10.1080/17510694.2021.1899499