Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Jun 29th 2009 at 9:22am UTC

Art, Music, and Modern Management

There’s no shortage of debate on this one. But a new report (pointer via Tyler Cowen) by the intriguing combination of Harvard professor of Technology and Operations Management Robert D. Austin and Lee Devinand, a theatre dramaturg, shows there’s really no conflict:

[W]e examine the apparent conflict between artistic and commercial objectives within creative companies … We surface some assumptions that underlie such debates, compare them with findings from our research on creative industries, and identify three “fallacies” that sometimes enter into discussions of art in relation to money. This, in turn, leads us to propose a framework that can support more productive discussion and to describe a direction for management research that might help integrate art and business practices. We conclude that despite an inclination to take offense that often attends the close juxtaposition of art and commerce … the interests of art, artists, and business can be best served if more commerce enters into the world of art, not less.

Check out the other fascinating work on art, music, and management this team is doing.

3 Responses to “Art, Music, and Modern Management”

  1. Michael Wells Says:

    An endless debate.

    I think of the Portland State University Dance Series, which brought numerous national companies to town at low ticket prices. My wife is a dance fan, so we were season subscribers. When PSU decided it couldn’t afford a dance department, the Dance Series, which had been hidden in the department budget, closed down. A friend who ran a very successful lecture series considered taking it over and looked at the books and business model. The Series mission statement said “we will pay our performers as much as possible and keep ticket prices affordable”. My friend said “Their mission is ‘We will go broke’”. The Dance Series intention was to make tickets affordable to and low income people — but as a regular attender, I could see that actually they were subsidizing the middle and upper middle class.

    After they folded a new nonprofit, White Bird, formed to bring dance to town. They charge realistic prices but have programs to bring people from social service agencies, low income high schools, homeless programs to performances. They also have student and senior discounts. They have much larger audiences than PSU did, and many more low income people actually attend the performances.

    Extra credit: Without looking it up, what is a dramaturge?

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  3. deborah Says:

    I’d like to hear about similar research that looks specifically at the visual arts. Do the findings still hold when it comes to creative output where it is not so easy to sell tickets? I realise that the discussion would lead to reavaluating the place that visual production holds in society, but in terms of technology and visual production where could this lead? For instance, how compativle are artistic and commerical objectives when it comes to painting and printmaking?