Music as Labour : Inequalities and Activism in the Past and Present book cover
1st Edition

Music as Labour
Inequalities and Activism in the Past and Present

ISBN 9780367713614
Published May 23, 2022 by Routledge
238 Pages

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Book Description

This book brings together research at the intersection of music, cultural industries, management, antiracist politics and gender studies to analyse music as labour, in particular highlighting social inequalities and activism.

Providing insights into labour processes and practices, the authors investigate the changing role of manifold actors, institutions and technologies and the corresponding shifts in the valuation and evaluation of music achievements that have shaped the relationship between music, labour, the economy and politics. With research into a variety of geographic regions, chapters shed light on the various ways by which musicians’ work is performed, constructed and managed at different times and show that musicians’ working practices have been marked by precarity, insecurity and short-term contracts long before capitalism invited everybody to ‘be creative’. In doing so, they specifically examine the dynamics in music professions and educational institutions, as well as gatekeepers and mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion.

With a specific emphasis on inequalities in the music industries, this book will be essential reading for scholars seeking to understand the collective actions and initiatives that foster participation, inclusion, diversity and fair pay amongst musicians and other workers.

The Open Access version of this book, available at, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivatives 4.0 license.

Table of Contents

1 Ironworks as Venues of Music Production: The Ostrava/Vítkovice Case from the 1890s to the 1910s

Fritz Trümpi

2 From Bohemia to the Balkans: Towards a Socioeconomic History of Itinerant Women Musicians, 1860–1889

Nuppu Koivisto

3 The MGM Lion’s Ominous Roar: (New) Technologies and the Disappearing Profession of Silent Movie Theatre Musicians in Croatia of the Late 1920s

Mojca Piškor

4 ‘Work that Body’: Disco, Counterculture and the Promise of the Transformation of Work

Tim Lawrence

5 Hope, Labour and Privilege in American New Music

John R. Pippen

6 A Lockdown Recording Project: Jazz Musicians and Metaphors for a Working Life.

Michael L. Jones

7 Emotional and relational labour in music from a feminist perspective

Emília Barna

8 Afghan Pop in Europe. Migration, Affect, and Musical Labour

Marko Kölbl 

9 ‘It’s a Kind of Macho Culture’: Changes and Continuities in Young Female Musicians’ Talk about Inequalities

Christina Scharff

10 Women Working in the Music Business: An Alumni Study

Sally Anne Gross

11 Musicians of the World Unite! The Initial Years of the International Federation of Musicians

Martin Cloonan

12 Towards More Inclusion in the Music Industry

Sophie Hennekam

13 Moving Beyond @operaisracist: Exploring Black Activism as a Pathway to Antiracism and Creative Justice in Opera

Antonio C. Cuyler


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Dagmar Abfalter is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Management and Gender Studies at mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria.

Rosa Reitsamer is Professor of Music Sociology in the Department of Music Sociology at mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria.