IIPC Debate #94
Thu Dec 7, 12-14, Janus Hall (Kaivokatu 12, Turku)
Dr John Williamson (University of Glasgow)
New Routes? Studying artist careers in music industries’ research
This talk will make some connections between Williamson’s current research on music on Scottish television and previous work on the global music industries.
It will argue that detailed and critical biographical studies of individual artists’ careers can provide an important counterpoint to studies of either the music industries generally or institutions and organisations within them. To illustrate this, the talk will draw on the careers of two musical stars of Scottish and British television in the late twentieth century – Kenneth McKellar and Lulu. It will argue that their work on television is not only revealing from the perspective of building a musical career in 1950s and 1960s, but that it also adds considerably to what we know about the machinations of the music industries at the time. In doing so, it will focus on the under studied role of agents, managers and television/ theatre producers in the shaping these careers. More widely, it will claim that refocusing on music industries’ studies on the artists is essential to understanding both historical and contemporary events with them.
Dr John Williamson has been Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow in Popular Music Studies in the School of Culture and Creative Arts since September 2016. Prior to that, he spent four years as researcher on an AHRC funded project looking at the history of the British Musicians’ Union. This ended with a book, Players’ Work Time (co-written with Martin Cloonan) a conference in Glasgow in 2016 and an exhibition which has been shown in Glasgow, London and Manchester. (see www.muhistory.com). He completed his PhD at Queen Margaret University in 2010 on Intellectual Property, Rent Seeking and Entrepreneurship in the Music Industries. He has also worked as a journalist (mainly for The Herald newspaper) and as a manager of a number of Glasgow based bands, most notably bis and Belle and Sebastian.