I’m Toby Bennett.* I live in London, where I research, write and teach on things related to music, cultural production and the creative economy.
My research focuses on cultural economies, particularly work, organisation, policy and knowledge, at different scales: individuals, firms, cities and transnational flows. I’m currently writing a book on employee experiences of digital transition in UK major record labels. I’ve been interested in ‘non-creative’ work and coordination in this context; professionalisation, through aspects like training and qualifications, commercial and policy research and new expressions of expertise; and how internal critiques emerge within the industry e.g. of gender inequalities. This was based on doctoral work at KCL, after which I spent a few years researching urban cultural development strategies in Southampton, relating these to local social history and to the ‘Music City’ as emerging policy object.
I’m currently Research Fellow at the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London. I work on the CICERONE project (EU Horizon 2020), which seeks to capture creative economy flows and production networks across the European continent (and beyond). The City team are particularly following the book and journal publishing subsector, alongside the transnational regulatory environment for cultural industries. Since 2019, I’ve also been a Visiting Lecturer at University of Westminster, contributing to the MA Music Business Management provision; and a Teaching Fellow in Creative Industries at the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary, University of London. I am part of the editorial board for the Journal of Cultural Economy.
Prior to embarking on an academic career, I wore various guises: first pretending to be a musician (pianist, bassist, drummer, gamelan-er, producer, DJ, promoter); before working in and around music businesses (such as, for five years, Universal Music Group). I have since advised, commented or written reports on various aspects of the music economy for a number of cultural consultancies, trade bodies and journalists, and continue to pursue collaborations with the creative sector.
* N.B. I am neither Tony Bennett – the velvet-voiced crooner or, yet more confusingly, the cultural sociologist – nor Toby Bennett, the clog-dancing academic at Roehampton.