Entrepreneurial finance in the music industry: a behavioural perspective on decision making (PhD research)

Duration: 2019 - 2022 
Involved professor: Lex van Teeffelen 
Involved researcher: Roderick Udo 
Involved courses: Finance, Tax & Advice


Two influences lead to the start of a research project on financial decision making in the popular music sector: developments in the financial industries, particularly in small and medium enterprise (SME) financing, and a desire of creatives to focus on their creative process. Many forms of financing have developed or gained important post financial crisis and popular music artists, and many other entrepreneurs alike, have limited knowledge of financing options. The researcher combines a financial background with over a decade of experience as an artist manager and festival organiser in the popular music sector. The approach taken to the financing of popular music careers combines insights from music management and cultural economics literature with literature on SME financing and behavioural economics. The SME finance literature generally focuses on larger SMEs and their capital structure, whilst the current PhD project studies the smallest firms. This research also takes a behavioural perspective by studying the financial decision making behaviour instead of the resulting capital structure that is at the core of existing literature.


The purpose of the research project is to get an understanding of the financial decision making behaviour of popular music artists and their managers. This understanding can help popular music artists forcus on their creative process. It also leads to improved financial advice to popular music artists, by creating a basic guide to financing options for musicians and by increasing knowledge of managers. Scientifically it contributes to the understanding of financing patterns in micro firms, particularly popular music firms, as well as creating insights into behavioural bias in financing choices and attitude towards mixed method financing.

Benefits for education

Education in financial advice, for example the HU bachelor’s programme of Finance, Tax & Advice, benefits from increased understanding of decision making behaviour in SME financing. The research project also creates insights for finance students into the complicated nature of small labour intensive firms. Furthermore, it caters for the needs of institutions of higher music education that want to develop entrepreneurship education.  

Policy implications

In recent years making a living and being entrepreneurial in the creative industries gained a lot of media attention in Europe, particularly as a result of the Europe 2020 strategy. The European Union developed large scale policies to support cultural entrepreneurs. In the Netherlands the ‘Passie Gewaardeerd’ report put the topic on the political agenda. The creative industries are part of the Dutch government’s so-called ‘Top sector policy’. In this light, scientific results help to better aim policies at micro firms in general and cultural entrepreneurs in particular by having an understanding of their needs and behaviour.


The proposed research project accordingly has a mixed-method design. Because of the complexity of both entrepreneurial decision making and the network and career development of popular music artists, the approach taken is an ‘exploratory sequential mixed method’: a qualitative exploratory phase, followed by quantitative data collection. Starting qualitatively offers possibilities for exploring the inner experiences of participants and for qualitatively discovering relevant variables that can later be tested quantitatively. In the first phase of the research (early 2019) artists and their managers are interviewed in the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, in cooperation with Dr. Daniel Nordgård at University of Agder.


The PhD project is funded by HU University of Applied Sciences through a 4 year HU PhD budget (‘promotievoucher’ in Dutch).


The research is supervised by Prof. R. Thurik, emeritus professor of economics & entrepreneurship at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Dr. L. van Teeffelen, professor of finance and firm acquisitions at HU University of Applied Sciences. 

More information

All developments of this project are regularly published on the project page on Researchgate.

Financial-Economic Advice in Innovation

Financial-Economic Advice in Innovation

About the Research Group