With only established professional musicians being in the spotlight while many others are striving for equal professional music success, creative entrepreneurship’s precariousness can be underestimated. Ambitious musicians often assume that mastering their skills is sufficient to create professional opportunities and a stable command over their music career. However, music industry practices demonstrate that various additional non-musical factors are essential for success, making most performing artists struggle to attain or sustain career success as professional musicians. As fluid “hands-on” labour is a widely spread ideology that blurs music industry rules, chances for a steady livelihood decrease. In the Netherlands, this is especially true for metal music as non-mainstream community music. This paper investigates how (Dutch) professional metal musicians navigate their careers between intrinsic artistic expression and pressure-inducing entrepreneurialism in a field where creative entrepreneurship has become the norm. Qualitative data from ten in-depth interviews with Dutch metal musicians was used to find that (a) musicking forms intrapersonal social bonds and encourages self-actualisation, (b) occupational instability threatens mental health and confidence in one’s self and music, (c) music industry practices facilitate music production for a few musicians and exploit the majority, (d) metal fans equally motivate musicians’ career enthusiasm and disqualify musicians’ musical endeavours through convenient consumerism. In this sense, the paper argues that creative entrepreneurialism has become an essential aspect of viable metal music careers, withstanding negative consequences for many musicians in regards to 1) precariousness and 2) (mental) health outcomes.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Schaap, Julian
Master Arts, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Heraghi, Safa. (2021, July 21). Under Pressure? Creative entrepreneurialism and its impact on Dutch metal musicians. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/61080