Tanja Orning med cello
Art and commerce
– Entrepreneurship is a tricky term because it has its roots in finance and business. For that reason we can’t just apply it uncritically to the world of arts. Some artists and musicians struggle with it because they make certain associations with the commercial aspects of entrepreneurship, Orning claims.
She is working on a postdoctoral project at CEMPE in which she investigates artistic entrepreneurship.
She points to the grey zone between autonomy – the art – on the one hand and commerce – business and economics – on the other.
– These two realms espouse very different values and are not always easy to reconcile.
– It’s still a new concept in the music profession. Artistic or musical entrepreneurship remains uncharted territory, therefore. Most research to date has been on economic issues because it’s easier to adopt things such as business plans and other commercial aspects of the music industry.
“You could argue that the music profession is entrepreneurial by its very nature. You already have the ability to initiate something, develop an idea and launch a project.” (Orning)
Art and commerce?
The term entrepreneurship originally incorporated the pleasure of creating something, of having a vision and getting stuck in. With her research, Orning wants to establish whether the term can also be extended to include an artistic aspect and whether it is an appropriate term to use in an artistic context.
– You could argue that the music profession is entrepreneurial by its very nature in that it involves rehearsing something that you then perform in a concert. There’s always this recurring cycle of preparing something before presenting it to the public. You already have the ability to initiate something, develop an idea and launch a project, Orning points out.
– One interesting point is that there are a lot of entrepreneurial aspects to being an artist, but the artists and musicians themselves are reluctant to adopt the term.
One common feature of the traditional artist and the traditional entrepreneur is that both are willing to take risks, both are creative, both seek opportunities and resources, and both are often personally involved in the projects they are working on. In that sense, entrepreneurship is an integral part of artistic practice.
Artistic autonomy and economic reality
In April the Norwegian Academy of Music will be hosting the first international conference on entrepreneurship in music. The conference is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo, CEMPE and BI Norwegian Business School.
The aim of the conference is to take the debate on entrepreneurship in music to a new level and to challenge the inherent conflict between artistic processes and commercial considerations that most students will encounter when they enter the profession.
The conference is taking place 27–28 April 2017. Registration deadline: 1 April.