Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sibin Wu

Second Advisor

Jorge Gonzalez

Third Advisor

Pishung Li


The culture creation industries are undergoing a period of accelerated digitization, globalization, and democratization. The 21st century music industry is bustling with lowered barriers to entry, increased knowledge sharing, and direct to consumer models which have resulted in a gold rush of entrepreneurial opportunities for musicians and increased competition to music firms and superstars. The music industry has been subject to innovative disruption providing valuable insight on the nuances of this paradigm shift for music entrepreneurs and scholars alike. Specifically, I explore competency factors in artist’s journey from musicians to entrepreneurs with successful self-managed careers. Employing Lazear’s Theory of Balanced Skills, I develop a survey instrument and 2x2 framework to discern between high and low levels of entrepreneurial business competencies and high or low levels of artistic competencies including creativity and musical competencies. I conclude by testing survey data from Prolific analyzing the relationships between business competencies, music, creative competencies, financial and non-financial performance, and the moderating role of digital adoption as measured by a questionnaire deployed to 232 active musicians between April and May of 2023. Results identify significant competencies across the 3 domains studied as well as positive and negative moderation by digital acceptance on the relationship between competencies and performance.


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