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European Journal of Marketing

Markets, music and all that jazz


Krzysztof Kubacki, Robin Croft,
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Markets, music
Markets, music and all that jazz and all that jazz
Krzysztof Kubacki
Keele Management School, Keele University, Keele, UK, and
Robin Croft
Business School, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK 805
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Received January 2009


Abstract Revised July 2009
Accepted March 2010
Purpose – In recent years there has been a welcome growth of interest in learning how artists
understand, engage with and respond to aspects of business practice such as marketing. In the case of
music it has been suggested that artists are by no means universally motivated by commercial
success, and in many cases find the practices of mass marketing repellent. However, there is general
agreement that the study of attitudes of artists is still in its infancy, not just in terms of identifying the
research agenda, but just as pressingly in identifying a range of appropriate methodological tools for
understanding the phenomenon. This paper aims to address these issues.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper describes a study where the focus was narrowed to a
single genre ( jazz), a single country (Poland) and a single artistic level (acts which have been
successful both commercially and artistically). In total three biographical interviews were completed,
involving four jazz musicians.
Findings – The research found many points of convergence with earlier studies, in particular the
primacy of the artistic ideal over commercial imperatives. The evidence of this study, though, suggests
that jazz musicians can engage with markets through a variety of different methods, which are heavily
influenced by their desired and actual artistic identities.
Originality/value – This study sought to make a contribution to a growing area of research into
musicians’ identities outside the USA.
Keywords Music, Marketing, Attitudes, Poland
Paper type Research paper

Introduction
This paper aims to add to the growing body of knowledge on the attitudes of artists to
the commercial dimensions of their work. In this we explore the money-art dichotomy
(Holbrook, 2005), as well as the tensions between notions of artistic integrity and
popular success. This relatively new focus (within the arts marketing field at least) on
producers rather than products has been attracting a steadily growing number of
researchers since around the middle of the 1990s: there was an implicit recognition at
this time that in order to have a meaningful debate about the value of marketing in the
arts it was incumbent on arts marketing practitioners to gain an insight into the
thinking of the people that are often simultaneously the product, producer and brand.
This refocusing was triggered by wholesale changes in arts patronage and by
declining levels of public funding available to artists, forcing many of them into more
explicit relationships with the market. We argue, though, that understanding the
motivations of artists is not merely an ethical imperative (they are the integral element
of arts marketing), but is also crucial to the process of formulating business approaches
to the arts that accommodate the very distinctive profile of the “artist as entrepreneur”. European Journal of Marketing
Vol. 45 No. 5, 2011
However, in order to avoid viewing artists as entrepreneurs without questioning the pp. 805-821
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
nature of their artistic work, we concentrate our investigation on the interplay between 0309-0566
the artistic and the market identities of artists. DOI 10.1108/03090561111120046
EJM Our focus is on musicians, specifically performers and composers in jazz. Here we are
able to draw on earlier studies (e.g. MacDonald et al., 2002). Many of these have
45,5 concentrated on US artists (see, for example, Becker, 1997; Bradshaw and Holbrook,
2007; Groce, 1989). However, when it comes to Europe there is a welcome recent
emergence of exploratory studies: for example covering Britain (Dennis and Macaulay,
2006; MacDonald and Wilson, 2005), France (Madiot, 1996) and Poland (Kubacki and
806 Croft, 2006). While these works have contributed to our understanding of musicians’
views and opinions regarding marketing, the salient point is that the research agenda is
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still being formulated, where the core themes are being evaluated and a portfolio of
potentially useful methodologies identified. With the growing number of studies on both
sides of the Atlantic, we feel justified in narrowing our study down to a consideration of
the social construction by jazz musicians of their identities, and the ways these are
mediated by the power relations in the unregulated and changeable market conditions in
which they work. The musicians’ identities are multiple and fluid, adapted to social
conditions encountered in everyday life (Wetherell and Maybin, 1996), and inseparable
from the art work (Kerrigan and Freeman, 2007). Our working assumption is that
“musical identities are particularly important for those who practise music in all its
forms” (Wilson and MacDonald, 2005), and that one’s musical propensities invariably
impact on an individual’s social identity (Hargreaves et al., 2002). Therefore, those
socially constructed selves need to be studied through musicians’ experiences
contextualised by their artistic work and local circumstances (Giddens, 1991; Kerrigan
and Freeman, 2007). It has been established in the literature that self-identity is a good
indicator of one’s propensity to engage in various regular behaviours (Smith et al., 2008).
As a consequence, in their everyday working lives musicians are presented with
numerous opportunities to perform and express their identities. Recording the views and
opinions of musicians may help us better to understand their relationship with the
commercial dimensions of their work, suggesting at the same time future research areas
and stimulating further inquiries into the emerging field of arts marketing.
In this study we have chosen a focus that is markedly narrower than that of
previous research: methodologically we are guided by Giddens’s (1991) understanding
of identities as biographical narratives constructed through choices influenced by an
interplay of micro and macro aspects of artistic life – for example a musician’s sense of
self and the music market – while in geographical terms we have limited ourselves to
artists originating from and performing in Poland, exclusively in the jazz genre.
Contextualising musicians’ identities by bringing to the fore the role of social practice
in their everyday life, we acknowledge that “the values of the society often determine
what kind of people become musicians, what types of musicians are recognised and
what social position is given to musicians” (Kaemmer, 1993). The circumstances of
Central and Eastern Europe, with their associated cultural insecurities, create a unique
situation in the arts where “the [artistic] identity [. . .] is in a flux of ‘negotiations’ with
the past and belonging to a new Europe”, making those artistic identities inseparable
from the context within which they emerge and are studied (Kosmala, 2007). In making
our choices we were also guided by earlier experiences (Kubacki and Croft, 2006) where
we found (counter-intuitively) that there were few apparent differences in attitudes
between Polish musicians and their counterparts in Britain. We also felt, separately,
that our findings might have been skewed by having interviewed musicians across too
broad a range of genres and levels of professionalism. In this study, therefore, we chose
to engage closely with four artists who had achieved a significant artistic and
commercial impact in the jazz genre in Poland.
Although jazz in Poland has a long and rich tradition dating back to the 1930s, when Markets, music
the jazz scene in Warsaw was as vibrant as that in Berlin and Paris, its development in
the second half of the twentieth century was severely constrained by the cultural policies
and all that jazz
of the Communist regime (Szachowski, 2006). Only after 1955, with new avant garde
festivals such as the Warsaw Jazz Jamboree, it could be said that the “development of an
authentic jazz movement in Poland” had begun (Szachowski, 2006). Despite such a long
tradition, there is still a paucity of research into jazz in Poland, which only very recently 807
attracted some attention from researchers. Our earlier study (Kubacki and Croft, 2004)
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found that since 1990, perhaps because of the sudden emergence of a free music market
characterized by aggressive marketing activities, Polish musicians invariably shared
much of the same worldview as their British counterparts. Focusing on musicians’
attitudes and opinions, we divided our respondents into two opposing groups. The first,
“Artists”, understood music not as a source of remuneration or employment, but as a
way of life; their artistic activities were fuelled only by their internal, emotional needs.
The commercial side of their work and its marketability was invariably ignored and they
distanced themselves from music understood as a business. The second type of
musician, termed “Promoters”, was characterised by a more open attitude towards
business. For them, being a musician meant something more than merely playing an
instrument or composing. They perceived their involvement as a kind of mission, in
which they were responsible for evangelising good-quality music (although some
admitted with regret today music had become a commodity).
More recent studies (Kubacki and Croft, 2006) aimed further to profile the attitudes
of classical and jazz musicians from Poland and Britain to what can be described as
“music business”. Despite significant cultural, social and economic differences between
both groups illustrated in the conceptual phase of our work (Kubacki and Croft, 2006),
we discovered that all of our respondents shared the same attitudes and prejudices.
Although limited by our sample size and structure, we were only able to identify what
we described as insignificant differences between the respondents. We speculated that
despite many obstacles, Polish musicians were more inclined than their British
counterparts to consider themselves as professional musicians for life, and rarely
sought other jobs outside the music industry. As a result of their lack of labour
flexibility they more frequently reported situations where they felt they had to
compromise their artistic integrity in return for financial rewards. The present study
explores further the identities of musicians by investigating the interplay and
influences between their artistic ideologies (artistic identities) and relationship with the
economic environment (market identities), in an attempt to gain a more comprehensive
understanding of how musicians’ worldview affects their relationship to the market.
While artistic identities are mostly concerned with how individuals or groups define
themselves as artists, exploration of their market identities focuses on how those
artistic identities are negotiated within the market structures in an attempt to achieve a
desired balance between commercial and artistic.

Methodology
As the bulk of prior research into musicians’ attitudes and beliefs relies on qualitative
research methods (see, for example, Dennis and Macaulay, 2006; Groce, 1989;
MacDonald and Wilson, 2005), it was felt appropriate to choose methods that are able
to provide high level of depth, facilitating the probing of particular areas of answers.
Taking into account the research aim, biographical interviews were chosen for their
EJM “natural basis in human conversation” (Hannabuss, 1996). As the interviews were by
and large driven by the respondents, they created an opportunity to collect first-person
45,5 descriptions of the artists’ experiences (Pollio et al., 1997).
Our study used three distinct case studies, as a “benefit of in-depth exposure to an
individual case is the grounding of an enquiry in a level of detail which may facilitate
richer conceptualisation of the area” (O’Reilly, 2005). In total three biographical
808 interviews were completed, involving four Polish male jazz musicians. One interview
was conducted with two members of a trio as a prearranged interview became a dyad
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when the second group member spontaneously joined the interview conducted during
the hours between a rehearsal and a concert. The researcher decided to continue with
the interview hoping to observe how group dynamics may influence artists’ identities
and the process of negotiating them within a band as opposed to being an individual
musician. Put into context, an artist’s life consist of performances: musical
interventions on stage, non-musical off-stage (e.g. interviews), and those outside the
art world, being part of everyday life (Gray, 2003). For us, therefore, the respondents’
identities become reflexive projects (Giddens, 1991), performed discursively by the
artists during the interviews and creating new opportunities to investigate the selves
far beyond factual aspects of their behaviour, imposed by pure biographical research.
Furthermore, drawing on Conquergood’s (1991) approach, each and every biographical
fact presented during the social act of the interview became a performance,
contextualised by the “historical process” (circumstances in Poland; Kubacki and Croft,
2006) and the “contingency and ideology” (artistic identity; Kubacki and Croft, 2004).
While Butler (1990) believes there is no prediscursive identity, others argue that
performative utterances may describe the reality as well as transform it (Hall, 2000).
Using contacts made from working in the music industry, the researchers were able
to access musicians who had international careers lasting for decades, and who had
achieved significant levels of commercial success. After a series of initial interviews
with over 20 musicians, attempting to add depth to categories identified in earlier
research (Kubacki and Croft, 2004), the respondents in this research were selected for
further data collection as they appeared to show prima facie evidence of behaviours,
attitudes and opinions significantly different from those identified in earlier research
(Kubacki and Croft, 2004). As the respondents were all successful professional jazz
artists, the influence of their socio-economic backgrounds was minimised, allowing the
researchers to focus solely on an exploration of artistic and market identities.
All of the subjects were self-employed entrepreneurs. Due to their popularity and
the sensitive character of some comments, all of the respondents opted to remain
anonymous. Each subject was asked to outline their career narratives in relation to the
research interest set out by the interviewer. Each of the discussions lasted at least two
hours, each interviewee having been approached individually after a performance or
by telephone. According to the accepted approach (Adler and Adler, 2002; Warren,
2002), after a brief explanation of the research, each respondent was asked to choose a
convenient time and location for the interview. The interviewer’s contribution to the
discussion was in most situations only designed to facilitate the narration (Langness
and Frank, 1991). In order to minimise problems of selective memory (Wren, 1991), to
ensure comparability of the data collected and to capture musicians’ descriptions of
experiences relevant to the research aims, the interview technique consisted of 20
open-ended questions. These pre-specified questions concerned respondents’
childhood, upbringing, education and professional work: they evolved with the
dialogue and their aim was not to guide the respondents, to determine the course of the
dialogue or verify hypothetical hypotheses, but to “evoke descriptions [. . .] [of] specific Markets, music
experiences described in a full and detailed manner” (Pollio et al., 1997). In the social
constructionist tradition, we present the literature after the data in the form of a
and all that jazz
discussion where the data is interrogated in the light of evidence that had emerged in
previous studies in an attempt to build theory (Wetherell and Maybin, 1996).

Findings 809
This section introduces the three individual narratives and focuses on issues that
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appeared to be important in constructing the market identities of our informants –


those parts of their identities that lie at the interface between their artistic and
entrepreneurial work. For each case study thematic categories have been used to
foreground the main features of the perceived identities. The investigative character of
the research (with its aim of understanding the phenomenon in its social context)
suggested an inductive approach to analysis, where research starts with observations,
and having defined the problem looks for relationships between data.

Case study 1: Musicpreneur


The first artist is a jazz guitarist with more than 15 years’ experience as a professional
musician, whose attitudes and opinions differ significantly from those identified in
earlier research (Kubacki and Croft, 2004, 2006). Despite his main interests in playing
and composing jazz, he has worked as session musician with many artists across
various musical genres. He has performed at many Polish and international music
festivals and regularly plays gigs in Europe; throughout his career he also been
involved educating up-and-coming young jazz musicians at a number of music
workshops and by teaching in private schools. He has received critical acclaim and
several awards for his work. However, he has no formal education in either music or
business. The next three sections introduce the main elements of his market identity.
Self-taught musician and entrepreneur. It is important to point out that he finds it
very easy to talk about his artistic work as well as his experience as an entrepreneur in
the music industry. Being a self-taught musician helped him understand education as
an ongoing process of development rather than something formalised. He admits that
he knows how to prepare a good product and is very strategic about that – his
approach resembling that of a professional marketer formulating an appropriate
marketing mix for a particular target market. For him it is all about creating good
music and taking it to the type of individual that is going to appreciate it. He
summarised his business philosophy saying:
You are looking for people who would spend money on your record [. . .] you should do it first,
invest in it, if you don’t believe in it, what makes you think others should? [. . .] I always work
in the same way – I prepare the final product, which I then sell.
He is very critical of artistic defeatism, such as expressed frequently by the “Artists”
category identified in earlier research (Kubacki and Croft, 2004). In his view, that
attitude is typical of musicians despite the fact that many of them never even try to
approach record companies, they do not believe they can succeed but prefer instead to
fall back on negative attitudes:
Sometimes just preparing a good product and sending it to a record label is enough, but many
musicians don’t try because they don’t believe they can do anything. I used to be like that, but
I’ve tried a few times and it worked.
EJM Like many other musicians, he never wanted to be involved in things other than
playing and composing music, but instead observes what others are able to achieve
45,5 through organisation and promotion, constantly trying to learn from them. He is
confident that he now knows more about the music business than an average musician:
I have to do it, like most musicians, so I’m trying to learn about it as much as I can so I’m able
to do it better and more efficiently.
810
Rational and practical. This rational approach to continuous development and intuitive
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understanding of marketing translates into his very down-to-earth approach to career.


He is aware that being a musician relying on performing live means very irregular,
unstable income and lack of security. Therefore he created something what he calls a
“safety net” – other jobs such as teaching or writing for the press which give him
steady income if something does not work. Although earlier research highlighted
Polish musicians’ lack of labour flexibility (Kubacki and Croft, 2006), this example
evidences the contrary. For him, finding work on the periphery of the music business
helped to develop different non-musical skills, but also let him become financially
independent, create the music that he wants to play, and develop a final product that
can be later sold. In his view, artists need to be versatile, as changing market
conditions often require them to be teachers, journalists or marketers. His flexibility
allows him to make long-term plans and be well organised with his career. As a result
he never needs to worry about taking risks in music “because if something doesn’t
work [he has] [. . .] money from elsewhere”. Therefore, in contrast to problems
identified in earlier research, he feels that he does not need to “compromise [. . .] [his]
artistic integrity in return for financial rewards” (Kubacki and Croft, 2006).
Careful brand manager. This rational side of his personality and long-term
approach to his career make him very carefully consider different opportunities and
how they may affect him as an artist – “I think my name is a brand, I want it to be
recognised [. . .] I’m trying to promote my name as a symbol of something artistically
very good”. He openly admits that when he needs to decide whether or not to get
involved in a new project he always first analyses them and checks if they fit with
what is his musical image, career, if they are interesting, artistically. However, if the
project is purely commercial, there are two criteria: how much they pay and the
timescale of the job. He is aware that whatever he does affects his reputation, but he
always makes sure that everything he does is associated with him, because he believes
in the quality of his work, and as a result “people call [him] with better offers because
they know [him]”.
As this respondent has learnt everything by doing and maintains that the key to his
success is simply being organised, the ability to give things a structure appears to be a
very important feature of his commercial persona, defining his perception of himself
and all his work. For him, his market identity is his brand, and musical identity is an
element of it that needs to be managed. However, it is more than this: through his
narrative he constructs himself as a rare breed – the successful artist. But in order to
ensure that this was not misinterpreted as compromising his artistic integrity, he
talked of working with innovative and creative but disorganised artists, often focusing
on how he was able to use his knowledge and experience to systematise them. As he
puts it: “I don’t like when people waste time, can’t concentrate on things we are
working on”. He perceives himself in opposition to “many struggling, but talented
artists”. Significantly, his identification of the artist who he doesn’t want to be appears
to be equally important to the artist he aspires to be.
Case study 2: Artistic integrity promoters Markets, music
The second interview was conducted with two members of a trio that has been
working together for over 15 years. All of the group members have degrees in music
and all that jazz
and have known each other since university. Their music cuts across traditional
musical genres and draws on elements of Balkan and Jewish folklore, jazz and world
music, creating its own distinctive style. The trio has performed all over the world at
many festivals and recorded several albums. 811
Independent. In their view, their independence, not only artistic but above all
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organisational, is the most important feature of their career. The trio members gave up
their careers in orchestras and musical education, and despite many difficulties,
struggling financially in the initial years, they had unanimously decided that it was
much better to “devote everything to one band rather than play in ten different
groups”. The approach paid off as after five years they had discovered financial and
artistic independence. They realise that they have been independent for so long that
now they would not be able to accept anyone telling them where, when and what to
play as they have their own distinct modus operandi. The band is their lifestyle choice,
rather than merely representing their preferred employment.
They openly admit that they rely on professionals to promote their work as because of
the busy artistic life they would not be able to prepare promotional materials: “We don’t
have time for that.” Typically for most musicians, and similarly to “Promoters” (Kubacki
and Croft, 2004), they prefer to focus on their music and to draw on the help of professional
marketers for promotion: “People who are down-to-earth, honest, who we can have normal
conversation with about life, kids [. . .] we hate when people start cheating, that’s the end of
our work.” Despite their claim to commercial openness and reliance on intermediaries, their
high expectation towards people they work with significantly limits their commercial
ability and potential to expand into new markets. They expect people they work with to be
more than just professional, to be not only efficient managers, but above all people who
understand them, their problems. This trust is so important in their business relationships
that the group does not have any contracts with record labels or their agents:
We have always been scared of signing any papers [. . .] it’s all based on trust [. . .] there have
been some people approaching us and trying to convince us that because we are musicians we
don’t even realise we have contracts, they didn’t believe we just rely on trust.
They present their unwillingness to enter into any formal contractual obligations as an
attempt to create commercial relationships based only on mutual trust and verbal
agreements. However, it may also be as a more general artistic ambivalence about
contractual arrangements – perhaps bordering on naivety or wishful thinking.
Spontaneous. That disbelief in contracts is additionally fuelled by the spontaneous
character of their work. They want their work to surprise them every day; not knowing
what comes next inspires and motivates them – they openly admit that they go on tour
or to studio only if they feel they have some good ideas. Therefore they hardly ever
plan things as they believe that the business context changes every day, making it
hard to make plans. From their first rehearsal as a group they rejected any attempts to
plan their careers and although it was difficult at the beginning, now, having such a
strong position on the music market, opportunities usually come to them. They do not
believe that “managing” their work and career would help them in any way, as “there
are things in music we can’t predict [. . .] sometimes things just don’t sell”. Driven by
their non-linear and often intuitive artistic work, they find it difficult to engage in the
forward thinking that underlies traditional strategic planning-based business models.
EJM Idealists. The group’s organisation is deeply rooted in their belief in artistic
independence. As artists, they perceive themselves as purists who never compromise
45,5 their art. When directly asked about their music their immediate response was: “We
don’t compromise now, we protect our music.” At an earlier stage in their career, playing
in pubs and restaurants, they were often forced to adapt their music to what customers,
and especially tourists, wanted to listen to. But being internally driven and wanting to be
812 independent they decided at some point to “give up all that playing in pubs” because
they “wanted to be free and play what [they] want to play instead of playing what those
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people wanted [them] to play”. They were motivated by the belief that they should only
play the music that they felt they could perform well, they did not want to pretend they
could play something else only for money. The authenticity of performance is their
ultimate goal and the key feature of their market identity, only “honest” music can
satisfy their artistic needs. Their strong product-orientation is rooted in their artistic
confidence: “There is no way anyone could tell us our material isn’t good enough and
then we would change it, no way as long as we believe in our music.”
Like the “Promoters” identified in earlier research (Kubacki and Croft, 2004),
musicians in this case study prioritise their artistic identity, but recognising the
importance of their market identity they also feel responsible for taking their art to
people and groups who are not explicitly defined by the market (managers, marketers): it
is these sectors who understand the trio’s music and gain their trust. It might be seen as
an attempt to separate the artistic selves from the market selves. That lack of trust seems
to define their relationship between their artistic and market identities. The trio’s
international work is based on close relationships with music promoters and booking
agents in different countries, but as they admit, they decide what to do, where and when.

Case study 3: Nonconformist artist


The final artist is one of the leading vocalists in Poland, who performs his original
compositions as well as more traditional repertoire. Throughout his career, stretching
over 25 years, he developed his unique style of singing that makes him recognisable
internationally. He has recorded and performed with many leading jazz musicians all
over the world. Educated in visual arts, he is much more known for his musical work,
which has won him many industry awards. He is actively pursuing many artistic
forms of expression, from graphic design, through theatre, to jazz improvisation.
Pure creator. His art is his way of life, his multidisciplinary work is an expression of
his ambitions to be like Renaissance artists – but harsh everyday reality of life in
Poland, a country where “quality of life and support available to artists don’t allow
[artists] to pursue many different disciplines”, forces him to focus on the most profitable
of his arts – music. He therefore feels he is not able to fulfil his artistic ambitions and
aspirations; it would only be possible in countries with well-developed arts patronage
and encouraging social conditions. Romantically idealised artistic poverty and bygone
forms of arts patronage make him believe that multidisciplinary work like his was
possible in the past. He feels that the only way to artistic realisation is through the arts
patronage as we know it from the Renaissance, “with court or church supporting arts
[. . .] that model of arts patronage is the only chance for self-realisation for artists”.
Despite having a strong position in the music industry and being able to choose only
the most artistically and commercially suitable offers, he is very critical of the current
situation in the music business and does not believe that there is a group of professional
managers that would be able to help him with his career, as they are only attracted to
music that is more popular than jazz: “Record labels in Poland use jazz artists only to
refresh their image from time to time or when there is something that guarantees Markets, music
commercial success. Normally, they would not be even interested in talking to jazz
artists.” He believes that Polish jazz artists’ albums are available from mainstream
and all that jazz
retailers only if an artist takes them there, which in most cases is unpleasant and
humiliating. He, as an artist, would not be ashamed of doing that, but as he argues, when
an artist wants to sell his work too much, his position is weakened: “They [retailers] don’t
respect him and try to show that they have the upper hand.” As much as it may be a sign 813
of underdeveloped infrastructure, with a limited number of distribution opportunities for
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non-mainstream music, this artist’s words highlight another aspect of the imbalance in
relationships between artists and the market. Further, his words show his resentment
towards contemporary music market structures in favour of more direct artist-patron
relationship. While he idealised this in terms of a Renaissance view, his perception was
one which focused on the spiritual and cultural dimensions: there was no sense that this
was the Church as the economic and political behemoth described by medieval and
Renaissance historians (a point we return to later).
Independent. Similarly to the previous group, this artist highlighted the fact that his
work has always been focused on making him independent, both artistically and
financially, from the music market in Poland. He has developed his own musical
language in order to move away from mainstream jazz, which created for him new
opportunities for work with American artists. This work, though not always
financially rewarding, allowed him to learn from and work with leading jazz artists. As
a result of his attempts to escape the whole music market in Poland, where it is difficult
to make money in jazz, he achieved a significant degree of self-sufficiency. In his case,
artistic independence and uniqueness opened the door to economic independence.
However, with his musical career he developed a need to fulfil only artistic
ambitions and reject any other offers from the market. He declared he would be
artistically satisfied only if he could “from the beginning till the end play with [his] own
band, play only [his] music, [his] compositions, and be able to reject any external
offers”. Yet, lack of arts patronage in Poland means that only a few artists can afford
that, “work on their dreams” as he puts it. In the case of this artist, the Catholic Church
has become the solution to the arts patronage problem. Thanks to the Church’s
support, most of his records, the majority of which have an underlying religious theme,
are being sold through independent music distributors and after concerts. His
religion-inspired music has remained distinct from the mainstream music market and
has validated his understanding of the artist-patron relationship. As all of this artist’s
work is going toward independence, he declared that he is waiting for the moment
“when [he] won’t need to do anything and will be just receiving phone calls and
invitations to play”. What is most interesting is that he perceives his involvement with
the Church as liberating him from the music market as it fits much more closely (as we
have noted) with his religious worldview. In the same way – his work on the
international stage helps him to escape the Polish music market and establish himself
as an independent artist. His market identity remains autonomous as the market
circumstances he creates for himself suit his artistic identity.
The last musician’s artistic philosophy is very similar to that expressed by “Artists”
(Kubacki and Croft, 2004), and adds a new dimension to what was described earlier as
the “holy world” of art, resembling the Renaissance form of the artist-market
relationship, with the artists occupying the role of the intellectual elite. The need for
self-realisation appears to be the driving force behind his perception of himself as an
artist as well as producer, and the contemporary market structures are barriers that
EJM need to be overcome, as they bring oppression and limit the freedom of artistic
expression. His identity is his project, in which he attempts to escape the market
45,5 through developing his own musical language (artistic identity), alternative market
structures (the Church, international career) and his perception of the independence of
self (Renaissance artist).

814 Discussion
Since the seminal work of Howard Becker (1997) exploring jazz musicians as a “deviant
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group”, various empirical studies have investigated different aspects of the life and work
of musicians in the context of the money-art dichotomy (Holbrook, 2005). For example,
Groce (1989) interviewed two groups of local level artists: musicians writing their own
music perceived themselves primarily as artists whose creative work was more
important than its financial rewards, and looked down on more commercially driven
musicians. They, as many other artists, valued their artistic reputation much higher than
selling their work (see, for example, Fillis, 2003). The second group of Groce’s musicians,
artists playing covers, were inclined to see musical performance as “an economic
enterprise”, and themselves as “audience-oriented technicians”, who were forced to
perform other people’s music in order to move up on a career ladder and become more
commercially successful. Therefore in Groce’s research, as was seen in the earlier work of
Mullen (1987), artists’ relationship with a market (called their “audience orientation”, but
which can also be seen in terms of customer orientation) can be described as the defining
variable. In contrary to Becker’s (1997) earlier findings, those groups of musicians did not
see audiences in a negative way. Groce also observed that those musicians composing
their music developed something he called “dual identities” – as creative artists to
satisfy their internal needs, and as entertainers to make a living. This money-art
dichotomy has been dominating the discussions within the arts consumption/production
literature (Bradshaw et al., 2009; Holbrook, 2005). This research explored further this
dualism of artists’ identities by investigating the interplay between their artistic
ideologies (artistic identities) and relationship with commerce (market identities). Our
respondents had managed a difficult transition from a state-supported system to a
largely private-sector industry: they had reached an accommodation with the new
economic and cultural realities and yet felt no sense of personal artistic betrayal, indeed
the importance of their musical integrity emerged time and again in their narratives. The
issues of control, power and independence emerged as some of the defining elements of
the relationship between musicians and the market. Through constantly evolving their
market identities, those artists tried to protect what was the most important to them –
their artistic identities and self-respect as creators – modifying the existing market
norms in the way that would reflect their individual experiences. “Musicpreneur” used
his entrepreneurial skills to take charge of his market identity and tailor his artistic
identity to the market akin to a professional marketer employing the basic principles of
segmentation; our “Artistic Integrity Promoters” used their market position carefully to
select market intermediaries that would reinforce their desired identity; and the
“Nonconformist Artist” retreated to the “art for art’s sake” rhetoric thanks to the
patronage of the Church. This latter point, though, has to be interpreted as the subject’s
idiosyncratic view of the medieval period and the Renaissance: the alternative
corporate-political state as described by cultural historians such as Ford (1988), where
artistic patronage policy was formulated in ways that closely resembled those of
multinational corporations (Tuckman, 1978) did not feature in the thinking of
“Nonconformist Artist”. Nevertheless, each of the three approaches identified in this Markets, music
study represents a different way of dealing with the money-art dichotomy by negotiating
the relationship between artistic and market identities.
and all that jazz
Juniu et al.’s (1996) analysis of the views of professional and amateur musicians
echoed some of Groce’s findings, and revealed that while amateur musicians perceived
both rehearsals and performances as leisure, professional musicians viewed them as
work, and were “motivated primarily by the pay-off”. Nevertheless, for the musicians 815
in their study, while rehearsal had characteristics of an unpleasant experience,
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contrasting with performance as being characterised as an enjoyable activity, they


both shared elements of pleasure. Our respondents, perhaps due to the degree of
success they had achieved nationally and internationally, expressed no such dilemma,
instead articulating how music was – literally – a way of life. All activities were part
of the practice and artistic identity formation which remained protected from their
relationship with the market. Our respondents nurtured their artistic identities by
defining their relationship with the music market in terms of oppositions influenced by
the money-art dichotomy (Holbrook, 2005): “Musicpreneur” perceived himself in
opposition to struggling artists, a market player and identity-engineer with absolute
trust in the market structures, consciously using his artistic identity in managing his
market identity; “Artistic Integrity Promoters” saw themselves primarily as artists
rather than professional marketers, restricted by their inability to trust the market and
its structures, separating their artistic identity (controlled by them) from market
identities (managed by others but controlled by them); and “Nonconformist Artist”
constructed himself as an escapist defying the market because it could not help artists
fulfil their artistic needs, developing his artistic identity to deny his market identity.
Supporting the view that some of the marked apparent differences in attitudes
amongst artists may be attributable to differential levels of commercial success are the
findings of Schroeder (2005) covering his research into successful and famous visual
artists (for example Thomas Kinkade and Andy Warhol). Schroeder portrays them as
brand managers oriented around selling their art, “actively engaged in developing,
nurturing, and promoting themselves as recognizable ‘products’” in the business of art.
In his opinion, marketers can still learn from artists how to “use consumer culture
themes and images”, “create [. . .] distinctive products, segment [. . .] the market”,
extend brands or “control [. . .] distribution and foster [. . .] exclusivity” (Schroeder,
2005). However, arguments for studying jazz’s “great men” were rejected by Hollerbach
(2004), who in his study of local jazz musicians accused researchers focused exclusively
on jazz stars of reductionism and misrepresentation of the jazz world:
[. . .] they ignore – and therefore dismiss – the many musicians who labour in relative
obscurity on jazz scenes worldwide and thus maintain the music’s viability through a
multidimensional act of commitment no less intense than that of those documented, “real”
jazz musicians of jazz historiography.
However, addressing the circularity of this argument (that obscure jazz musicians
while not consciously emulating the “greats” have to draw on these to make sense of
their own artistic identities) is outside the scope of this paper. The narratives presented
in this paper show that “musicians as brand managers” (our “Musicpreneur”) is one
form of market engagement, not necessarily more successful than others.
While in many professions one’s private and professional lives remain separated
(Nippert-Eng, 1996), in the arts this kind of distinction remains unthinkable and
counterproductive: for artists art is life and life is art. However, this sort of finding is not
EJM reflected in the research by MacDonald and Wilson (2005), who, investigating musical
identities of jazz musicians, reported that their respondents often played “unfulfilling
45,5 gigs” for money only because that was a “part of being a musician”. In another recent
study, the experience of musicians performing live music in bars, cafes and corporate
entertainment was investigated by Bradshaw et al. (2005), who divided their respondents
into two groups: musicians who “succeed in gaining the attention of the audience”, and
816 those who did not. The latter group perceived their gigs as rehearsals and an opportunity
to earn money. Similar concerns were also expressed by jazz musicians interviewed by
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MacDonald and Wilson (2005), who “felt that the circumstances of many jazz gigs also
imposed constraints”, and argued that musicians performing live music in pubs should
accept that the “audience was there to drink”. While little evidence of similar attitudes
emerged from our data, it may be that sampling differences account for the results.
MacDonald and Wilson (2005) may also be reflecting differences in the cultural
environment in Britain: it would be interesting to replicate their study in Scandinavia, for
example, where the jazz genre is not only held in higher (almost reverential) artistic
regard, but is also commercially on a stronger footing.

Conclusions and further research


Our earlier research with Polish musicians suggested a clear binary divide between
musicians (“Artists” versus “Promoters”, Kubacki and Croft, 2004), while suggesting
that “between these two positions there is likely to be common ground [. . .] [but]
further research is needed to explore this” (Kubacki and Croft, 2004). This research
attempted to identify that ground, and to offer a more comprehensive view of the
artist-market relationship going beyond the earlier typology clinched by the money-art
dichotomy (Holbrook, 2005), by exploring artistic and market identities of musicians.
In this present study musicians were chosen as they appeared to show prima facie
evidence of behaviours, attitudes and opinions significantly different from those earlier
described. However, two of the presented examples loosely conform to the two types
identified by earlier research (Kubacki and Croft, 2004) – hence they have been labelled
“Artistic Integrity Promoters” and “Nonconformist Artists”. While the first highlight
artists’ responsibility for promotion of their work through appropriate people, the
others take artistic integrity to its extreme by rejecting any form of collaboration with
the market other than through patronage of the Catholic Church. Here there are
similarities with an artist described by O’Reilly (2005), both examples having formal
artistic education, being idealists, and both expressing a very strong need for artistic
and commercial independence. However, they also clearly lack willingness to engage
actively with marketing of their art. The process of formalised learning about the arts
and acquisition of not only musical skills, but also soaking in the occupational culture
and rhetoric displayed by their teachers, may inevitably have contributed to their
identity formation. On the other hand, the only self-taught person amongst studied
artists demonstrated a comparatively rational and practical approach to his work,
focusing not only on his product, but also developing entrepreneurial skills helping
him engage in the marketing process. It may intuitively suggest a link between formal
artistic education and musicians’ market identity, though this needs to be further
explored in future research. Therefore, for more entrepreneurial attitudes to be adopted
by musicians they need to be better incorporated into their everyday practices, as only
in this way they can develop the necessary skills and knowledge. That creates an
opportunity for musical education to involve some elements of entrepreneurial
practice. This said, it has to be noted that while there is a growing body of both Markets, music
curriculum and scholarship in the area of entrepreneurial marketing, the clear
distinctions between arts marketing and (for example) product marketing are tending
and all that jazz
only to be picked up by scholars piecemeal.
While in all three cases described in this paper music emerged as the key element
contributing to self-identity, defining the selves and shaping artists’ relations with the
market, the entrepreneurial personality traits of musicians were treated as market 817
underdevelopment (“Nonconformist Artist”), peripheral necessity (“Artistic Integrity
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Promoters”) or unique selling proposition (“Musicpreneur”). Each of the acts’


individual way of participating in the market was linked with, and often based on, their
everyday artistic practices and meanings constructed around them. Those artistic
practices created the core of artistic identities, which in turn were used as anchors for
developing stories of the selves providing market identities and creating space for the
negotiation of them. More importantly, perhaps, we found that with the notable
exception of the one instance of Church patronage in our data, there was almost
nothing in the narratives of our Polish musicians that would have come as a surprise to
musicians from more mature market economies.
Our research sought to make a contribution to growing area of research into
musicians’ identities outside the USA, and to a large extent has demonstrated that the
process of creation of an individual musician’s identity is every bit as complex as the
relationship between musicians and their audiences. Just as we still understand very
little about the way artists engage with the commercial side of their creative practice,
we are beginning to see the whole spectrum of the attitudes, beliefs, narratives and
experiences which shape and define their market identities. This process is even more
difficult in developing economies, such as Poland, where the contribution of creative
industries to cultural well-being and economic development is frequently marginalised
by local governments, and remains largely unexplored by marketing scholars. The
evidence of this study, though, suggests that jazz musicians can engage with markets
through a variety of different methods, which are heavily influenced by their desired
and actual artistic identities: they are able to create at the same time market identities
that fill in the common ground between “Artists” and “Promoters” (Kubacki and Croft,
2004), confirming that the dualistic categorisation of musicians may have been a
problematic, if not unattainable, oversimplification. At the same time, it further
problematises the money-art dichotomy (Holbrook, 2005), revealing its shortcomings
as an approach to understanding artists’ relationship with the market. While those
dualisms remain influential in shaping musicians’ perceptions and attitudes, the
complexity of their market identities is another example pointing to what Bradshaw
et al. (2009) identified as an opportunity to re-frame the role of the money-art dichotomy
within the arts, with the artists actively engaged in the process.
This said, much work still remains to be done in order to identify key factors that
contribute to the identities of musicians. One of the main challenges facing researchers
is the fact that while each artistic self is different, they bring us unlimited variety of
stories used by artists to construct their market identities. While biographical
interviewing proved to be very effective in exploring the experiences behind those
ready-made stories, they did not allow us to explore them at a more abstract,
theoretical level. Further work should explore how these ready-made narratives
(artistic identities) contribute to the ways of experiencing the market and
communicating with the market (market identities) (Bain, 2005).
EJM In this paper our explicit choice of the jazz genre meant that there was common
ground in the narratives presented; as we hoped this enabled us to draw some tentative
45,5 generalisations despite the comparatively small sample size. However, our subjects
were unusual, not just because they were commercially successful and yet still
retaining a strong degree of artistic control over their work, but also because they were
able to do this in a genre which even on a global stage has failed to rediscover the mass
818 cultural and commercial appeal of the 1959 jazz classics “Take Five” and “Kind of
Blue”. To what extent would similar work with musicians in mainstream markets
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replicate our findings? Further research could usefully examine the attitudes of
successful soloists in classical music and opera. Similarly, having made some useful
observations on methodology, it would be worthwhile replicating the work with
successful artists in musical forms which, like jazz, are on the commercial margins,
such as chamber music. Alternatively there is scope for examining attitudes in the
fields that our research brushed against, such as the ethnic forms that are beginning to
reach wider audiences under the marketing banner of “world music”.
Drawing back from the narrow music focus of this paper, though, what has been
learned which is of value to arts marketing as a whole? In their influential edited work
on the subject, Kerrigan et al. (2004) noted how existing texts “offered limited
applications of traditional or generic frameworks and seem to contribute little in the
way of new insights”. Although one effect of that work was to stimulate interest in the
whole field, in the short term there was an apparent fragmentation of effort as authors
explored particular genres and discovered that not only was arts marketing distinct
from the mainstream equivalent, but that music, film, opera and other forms were
different again. Our findings from the jazz scene are a good example of this trend, while
at the same time giving pointers towards a convergence of themes that was evident in
embryonic form in the 2004 collection. Our focus on artist rather than the arts has been
taken up elsewhere and applied to other genres (e.g. Holbrook, 2007, applied to film).
This paper is merely one glimpse from a larger body of work on the role of the artist in
arts marketing, that started emerging in the same post-2004 period. One striking element
is the ways in which the narratives, while retaining common elements, have shifted in
response (we surmise) to some fundamental economic and cultural shifts: firstly the
collapse of public and private-sector sponsorship of the arts (exacerbated since 2007 by
the global banking crisis); secondly to the growth of the digital economy in terms of
enabling truly global marketplaces while at the same time undermining the conventional
business models of the recording industry; and thirdly to the putative cultural
counter-reaction, where smaller indigenous communities are rediscovering their identities
through traditional musical forms, language, theatre, film and the visual arts. Artists and
their audiences, to borrow a metaphor, are engaged in a perpetual dance where tempo,
rhythm and melody are constantly shifting, and where one partner leads and then the
other. Meanwhile, social scientists and industry professionals alike are stood about on the
edge of the dance floor, listening and vainly attempting to understand what they see.

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About the authors


Krzysztof Kubacki is a Lecturer in Marketing at Keele Management School, Keele University.
Although his main research interests lie in the relationship between marketing and music, he
carries out research projects on a variety of marketing issues in Poland and Central Europe,
including the hospitality industry and the relationship between national brand and national
culture. He has written papers in Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Brand
Management, Cultural Trends and International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector
Marketing. Krzysztof Kubacki is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:
k.kubacki@mngt.keele.ac.uk
Robin Croft is a Reader in Marketing at the University of Bedfordshire. He has written more
than 50 articles on themes as varied as pyramid selling and word-of-mouth. He is a keen amateur
musician and has worked closely with one of the UK’s leading jazz festivals on audience
development, as well as serving on the editorial board of Journal of Arts Marketing. Robin
previously worked at the University of Glamorgan and at Lincoln School of Management, having
come into academic life in the early 1990s after a career in industry. He holds degrees from the
universities of Oxford and Salford.

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