Kate Bush Receives Her CBE

As a huge Kate Bush fan, it delights me to report that yesterday she was officially appointed as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to music”. The appointment was announced this past December in the 2013 New Year Honours List, but the actual ceremony was yesterday.

Kate Bush receives her CBE from Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. (photo credit:

Kate Bush receives her CBE from Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle. (photo credit:

Here is her message on her website about the honour, along with a picture of her medal.

Congratulations, Kate!!!

All About Work’s First Birthday

(credit: own photo)

(credit: own photo)

Today marks the first birthday of All About Work. In one year, it’s received over 10,000 hits, and working on it has been a lot of fun for me.

The five posts that received the most hits during the year are: (more…)

Making a Living as an Independent Musician: An Interview with Shane Wiebe

I often talk about the music industry when I teach population ecology theory, because the music industry is an almost perfect example of that theory in action. A large group of organizations – the major record companies and retailers – used to set the norm for how things were done, and controlled the allocation of essential resources (money, talent, production and distribution channels) so as to maintain their dominant position. But those organizations felt so secure in their dominance that they chose to ignore new entrants – independent musicians and record companies – that used other resources (the Internet, online sales, new distribution formats, easy-to-use music production software) to establish themselves. And what happened? The organizational field shifted and redefined itself, and the traditional organizations couldn’t adapt quickly enough to survive – as demonstrated by such recent events as the 91-year-old British record store chain HMV struggling with massive financial debt.

I wanted to write a blog entry about how the music industry has radically evolved, even within the past few years. But rather than looking at these developments from outside, I thought it would be more interesting to hear the perspective of an artist who has experienced some of these changes first-hand. (more…)

The Real(?) Thing, Part I: Katy Perry: Part of Me 

The dynamic between perception and reality – both at the organizational and the individual level – is a big theme in the study of organizations.  In an organization, factual realities often don’t really matter. What drives people’s and organizations’ actions, and what shapes people’s understanding and experience of an organization, is their perception of how things are or how they should be, not what things really are.

I recently saw two movies that, in very different ways, deal with that same issue of perception versus reality. (more…)

Shock of the New: Kate Bush vs. Her Fans?

British singer Kate Bush has had a singular, if not unique, musical career. Her first album came out in 1978, and her most recent album was released last year to excellent reviews. Her career has spanned radical transformations in technology, in the record industry, and in how artists interact with the public. But, as a long-time fan, I’m curious whether the reaction to her participation in the London Olympics closing ceremony marks the point where she might finally have to change her business model.


Crowdsourcing for Bands: Now How Much Would You Pay?

The Georgia Straight, a local weekly alternative paper, recently ran an opinion piece by Michael Mann about bands that use crowdsourcing to raise money to subsidize tours or records. The title might give you a clue as to its perspective: “Boo hoo, broke bands, quit asking for charity“. The story generated 425 comments, most of them extremely negative – not too surprising when the article contained statements like this: (more…)

“The Word” Is Closing: Bad News for Good Writing

Despite all the labour relations events over the past week, the news that made the biggest impact on me was the announcement by the British music magazine The Word that it would be ceasing publication with its August issue.

I’ve bought and read music magazines for as long as I can remember – and among my biggest thrills as a writer was having letters to the editor published in the New Musical Express and in Creem.  So I believe that I have the reader experience to say that The Word, over its nine years of existence, was consistently one of the smartest and best written music magazines ever. And when I say “smart”, I don’t mean snarky – I mean intelligent, well-informed, thoughtful and passionate. (more…)