Innovating networked journalism. What editors and publishers can learn from digital musicpreneurs

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In book: Journalism Report V. Innovation and Transition, Publisher: facultas, Editors: Andy Kaltenbrunner, Matthias Karmasin, Daniela Kraus, pp.147-161
Cite this publication
Organisation. Networked Journalism
Innovating Networked Journalism
What editors and publishers can learn from
digital musicpreneurs
Christopher Buschow, research associate, and Carsten Winter,
professor, Department of Journalism and Communication Research,
Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Germany
Since the dawn of the digital age journalism’s future appears more
open as well as more insecure. This is also true for a country such as
Germany with its historically very strong newspaper and magazine cul-
ture and with journalism being extensively funded by public broadcast-
ers. In Germany, digital journalism began more than twenty years ago,
on 25 October 1994, with the start of Spiegel Online. From this day on,
publishers and editors have experienced a digital as well as disruptive
transformation in terms of financing, producing and distributing journal-
ism. For them, we have developed the following agenda: Leading and
innovating openly co-organized networked journalism: What editors and
publishers can learn from digital musicpreneurs.
In Germany, the social and institutional consequences of this transfor-
mation led to the establishment of a special law for press publishers
to protect their services and current organization of the production
and distribution of journalism (Leistungsschutzrecht für Presseverlage;
Buschow 2012; Tworek and Buschow 2016). The federal government
granted these ancillary rights especially because publishers could plau-
sibly argue for journalism’s importance for an independent critical pub-
lic sphere.
Our agenda with the learnings from the music sector aims to support
editors and publishers in their work for a more independent and se-
cure future of journalism. It recommends the redefinition of journalism
management on the basis of a music management innovation: “the
generation and implementation of a management practice, process,
Christopher Buschow, Carsten Winter
Organisation. Networked Journalism
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Christopher Buschow, Carsten Winter
structure or technique that is new to the state of art and is intended
to further organizational goals” (cf. Birkinshaw, Hamel and Mol 2008,
829). The management innovation considered here institutionalized
co-organized openly networked supportallows a more agile, more
flexible, more efficient, often cheaper and generally more sustainable
and secure as well as independent value creation in the music industry.
Our recommendation is based on research on this management inno-
vation, on the results of several empirical projects on digital transfor-
mations and innovations in the media, music and publishing industry,
and in particular on our knowledge of the dynamic return of the music
industry in a much more subtle, more complex, openly networked form
since 2010.
We identified this management innovation, which gave the impetus
for the agenda and for our recommendations, in the last project of a
cycle of three projects (2010-2016) on the digital transformation of the
structures of the music industry. The first project researched the driv-
ers and shapers of the dynamic recovery of the Berlin music industry
in transition (2010–2011). One central result of the project was that dy-
namics of structural transformation and growth were driven by new ac-
tors, often “prosumers” as “culturalpreneurs” (cf. Winter 2012) or mu-
sicians as “artepreneurs” (Paulus and Winter 2014). The second project
analyzed expectations of all stakeholders of the Clustermanagement
Music Business of Mannheim & Region to help to lead digital industry
transformations (2013–2014). Starting with a focus on new networks,
network organizers and the organization of support in the first two proj-
ects, the third project investigated how institutionally networked actors
in the Berlin music industry organize support to develop their activities
and competitive advantages and how they are supported by the Berlin
Music Commission (BMC), by their networking activities and formats
as well as network organizations and other actors in the network (cf.
Winter and Paulus 2017).
In this research project, we discovered – in comparison to the first proj-
ect in Berlin and the second project in Mannheim – that actors belong-
ing to the Berlin music industry are interlinked with one another in a
completely new quality and quantity.
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Organisation. Networked Journalism
As ordinary support activities we would usually differentiate the fol-
infrastructure – which consists of activities such as control, public
relations, accounting, legal and in particular strategic activities,
technological development – e.g. hardware, software procedures
and technical – digital media knowledge needed in their transfor-
mation of inputs into outputs, and
human resources management – activities involved in recruiting, hir-
ing, training, developing, compensating and dismissing or laying off
personnel or procurement, the acquisition of new software, digital
network media, services or work efforts from an outside external
Active members of the Berlin music industry do not necessarily orga-
nize such support activities as is recommended in the textbook (cf.
Porter 1985). Less frequently than before the investigated actors have
resources within their company, ready when needed, or reach out to
well-known professional supporters (web designers, graphic designers,
attorneys, tax consultants, etc.). Instead, we found that they increasing-
ly interact in an institutionalized, co-organized manner with their BMC
network actors, who openly networked them with supporters, whom
they believe could help them best. For the actors in the digital-me-
dia network of the Berlin-based music industry, support in networking
has become the most important supporting activity (Winter and Paulus
2017): It has become increasingly relevant for the development of value
activities and competitive advantages in digital media.
The institutionalized, co-organized, openly networked support, made
possible by the Berlin Music Commission and by network organizers in
the city´s music industry, is more agile, flexible, effective, often more
favorable and sustainable as well as less risky in organizing support for
the development of value activities and competitive advantages (Win-
ter and Paulus 2017).
Currently, there are no comparable structures for openly networked
support in German journalism. Publishers and editors as well as found-
ers in journalism have so far failed to achieve profitability or to become
profitable in times of transition. A classic case of market failure (see
Karmasin and Winter 2000, 29): Although a whole range of actors have
tried to sustain journalism in the context of structural transformations,
they have so far not succeeded in creating new sustainable models of
(digital) journalism. In journalism, there are no comparable new net-
work formats and network organizers: Institutions that might link new
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Christopher Buschow, Carsten Winter
and old industry players and stimulate new digital-media value activities
as well as competitive advantages, such as the BMC, the Clusterman-
agement Music Business Mannheim & Region or the kre|H|tiv-music
unit in Hanover, are not (yet) observable.
Our empirical results suggest that this will change once the number of
new creatives in journalism increases, as it was the case in the music
industry where the number of new, especially urban music networks
rose after the number of potential digital musicpreneurs in a wide range
from prosumers to artepreneurs increased. In the music industry, their
importance is increasing simultaneously with their quantity (cf. Seufert,
Sattelberger and Schlegel 2015) as well as with the new potential of
network media such as Napster (1999), MySpace (2003), Facebook
(2004), Spotify, YouTube (both in 2006), SoundCloud (2007) and Kick-
starter (2009). They are new “post-industrial means of production” (Al-
exander 2015). Since 2015, “creatives” (whom we would call musicpre-
neurs) are recognized as a (new) music industry “subsector” (Seufert,
Sattelberger and Schlegel 2015), which includes 27,895 people contrib-
uting 15 % to the industry’s gross value added – 22,196 of whom are
self-employed and owners in the new digital industry (see below The
management innovation...).
To sustain their support in developing their own value activities and
value activities of others – in particular established music industry ac-
tors – as well as their competitive advantages, it is necessary to discov-
er the proper musicpreneurs in the increasingly fragmented and more
complex networked music industry. Also, their support achievement
has to be understood and evaluated and they have to be reached as
well. In the best case they can be directly embraced and invited by dig-
ital media. As revealed in a recent study on digitalization of the Berlin
music industry, this is increasingly achieved by all actors in the Berlin
music sector. They understand digitalization as a personal and profes-
sional challenge (Hermes, Knoflach and Winter 2016), because they are
engaged in personal and professional networks. They also use network
organizers and regularly visit networking events which are essential for
their activities.
Against the backdrop of the assumption that the digital future of the
media industry first appears in the music industry, where it started with
the introduction of the CD on the occasion of the IFA in Berlin in 1981
(and later with MP3, Napster,, Spotify, SoundCloud etc.), we
further assume that, similarly, the future of digital media management
– a management that is based on digital innovation – will first be found
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Organisation. Networked Journalism
in a more complex networked digital media music industry. We as-
sume that the institutionalized co-organized openly networked support
observed in Berlin’s music industry is a management innovation par ex-
cellence which might serve as an orientation for editors and publishers
when developing journalism. The following chapter will introduce this
management innovation in the context of the digitalization of structures
of the music industry. It shows how this management innovation is
based on digital innovations and digital-media transformed practices,
principles and processes as well as structures. Based on these find-
ings, the subsequent chapter formulates recommendations on how the
future of journalism can be developed especially by refining its manage-
ment, i.e. what editors and publishers do and could do in the light of
the currently prospering new digital-media networked music industry.
The management innovation institutionalized co-organized
openly networked support in the context of digital music
industry structure transformation
Institutionalized co-organized openly networked support allows the in-
terlinked actors of the Berlin music industry to structurally innovate their
management. Since the BMC in Berlin has institutionalized itself as an
innovative network-actor-constellation regarding new practices, princi-
ples, processes and structures (such as new network organizers, net-
work formats and network media), the actors expect themselves to be
able to organize support in a co-organized openly networked way that
is more agile, flexible, effective, often more favorable and sustainable.
Furthermore, this is less risky and helps to develop value activities and
competitive advantages.
These developments and competitive advantages are made possible
by faster, uncomplicated and – as a rule – socially and personally provid-
ed new networking opportunities of a better quality and quantity. This
innovation, the foundation of the BMC and the development and espe-
cially the institutionalization of co-organized openly networked support,
benefits from being based on the new practice of the digital-media
‘peer-to-peer production’ in which many Berlin actors and the found-
ers of the BMC were experienced. With the expansion of digital-media
peer-to-peer activities, the music industry entered into the second of
three waves of digitalization (regarding these waves cf. Hermes, Kno-
flach and Winter 2016, 6.). In each of these waves, new digital-media
structures of production, distribution, orientation and organization of
the perception and the use of digital forms of music were developed by
more and more different actors.
JR_V_Kern_150x215.indd 151 21.04.17 08:25
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