Women Entrepreneurs in the Music Industry

By James Kimo Williams.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To bring an understanding of the need to develop entrepreneurship attributes in order to find success in the music industry and how to develop those attributes. Specifically, comparisons are made to gender-based attributes and challenges. Historically, the music business / industry has perpetuated the idea and continues the perception that participants (artists) should just do their art (exercise their talents) and they will be discovered and that all aspects of their success will be handled by people external from them and out of their control. The industry has gone through a major change with the advent of digital technology that now allows entrepreneur-driven individuals to take advantage of the digital tools and resources available to help them achieve their relative success. Women continue to struggle in this male-dominated industry and must develop a different set of entrepreneurial tools to take advantage of industry opportunities. Women are now able to compete in a nongender arena (the Internet) and must manage these digital tools to balance the challenges inherit in this perceived gender-bias industry. Through the use of the author’s personal experiences educating successful female students (grad and undergrad) and working as an entrepreneur in the music industry, this paper will help readers and seminar attendees lay a foundation for themselves and those they interact with to develop an entrepreneurial approach to their participation in the music business specific to women in the recording industry. This paper will assert that the music industry has moved to a more interactive environment in which women can better manage their art or business and not have to compromise their artistic aesthetic or cater to gender-driven attitudes to find success and that this, in turn, will contribute to the self-preservation of the artist-entrepreneur–arts manager.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Music Business, Arts and Entertainment, Music Industry, Women

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 9, pp.39-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.186MB).

James Kimo Williams

Professor, Arts Entertainment and Media Management, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

After serving in Vietnam in 1970, Kimo attended Berklee College of Music, receiving his BA in 1976. He taught at Berklee the following year and subsequently re-enlisted in the US Army obtaining the rank of Captain and then Bandmaster. In 1983, Kimo earned his MA in Management from Webster University in St Louis, Missouri. He resigned his military commission in 1987 to pursue music fulltime. In 1991, he released his first CD, “War Stories”, on his label, “Little Beck Music”. The CD received critical acclaim from news media, including “Downbeat” magazine, which gave the CD 4-1/2 stars. In 1999, the Lancaster Symphony recognized Kimo for his contributions to American music, selecting him as their Composer of Year, highlighting his “Symphony for the Sons of Nam”. He published his first book in 2005, titled, “Applied Music Theory for Managers”, and has presented papers and seminars/workshops on music business and arts management. In 1997, Kimo’s symphony, “Buffalo Soldiers” was commissioned by the West Point Military Academy. Kimo is a professor at Columbia College in Chicago and a Fulbright specialist providing curricula development in Hue, Vietnam. Kimo lives in Chicago with his wife and collaborator, composer/musician Carol Williams.


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