'Working towards a sustainable and healthy music ecosystem'

Koos Zwaan, new professor Innovation in the Music Industry

Lector-Koos Zwaan

Koos Zwaan wants to contribute to a sustainable and healthy music ecosystem. He had been doing that for years as associate professor Innovation in the Music Industry, and since November 7 he is expanding his span as a professor. Still with two motivations: the will to innovate and the love of music. "You have to be a bit of a music freak. That's what researchers in this field have in common." 

Music and innovation came together early on for Koos. For instance, while studying Communication Studies, he researched the social significance of the innovative download platform Napster. Later, for his PhD, Koos did research into the factors that determine the success of starting musicians, only to discover that a professional network, in particular, is decisive. 

In addition to collaborating with international partners, I want to continue to focus on local, small-scale research projects. 

Lab lead International Music Industry Lab
In 2011, Koos joined Inholland University of Applied Sciences, where he first worked as an associate professor with Joke Hermes as part of her Research Group Media, Culture & Citizenship (now: Inclusion and the Creative Industries). "Here I was able to lay the foundation for my current Research Group. I was also a lecturer in several programmes within the Faculty of Creative Business and became lab lead of the International Music Industry Lab, where we work with students and professionals from the field to address issues in the music ecosystem." 

International character 
Koos has long been active in the industry and, as associate professor, has a broad network. "I notice that my new title gives just a little more status which opens doors faster," he says. Also abroad, which is not unimportant, because the music industry is very international. "In addition to working with international partners, I also want to continue to focus on local, small-scale research projects." 

We focus on technological, creative and social innovation in the music industry. 


Technological, creative and social innovation 
As far as Koos is concerned, the entire width of the music industry falls within the scope. But for the wide concept of innovation, he does bring a specific focus. "With the Research Group, we focus on technological, creative and social innovation. What do we mean by that? By technological innovation, you can think of the influence of platforms like Spotify and TikTok, for example, or the rise of generative AI. These are developments from outside the music industry that will change business models but may also require changes in copyright law." 

AI as a new tool 
"Creative innovation can be closely related to technological developments," Koos continues. "Initially with new technological developments you see resistance and fear, but also parties that actually see opportunities and experiment with them. For example, musicians adjust the length of their songs and intros to fit the logic of Spotify. Or they make different composition choices to be picked up on the short videos on TikTok. AI can be used as a new tool to create fantastic new music. And with the use of extended reality, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, you can enhance the music experience." 

In my role as lab lead, research and education come together nicely. 

Sustainable and healthy 
Finally, very topical are the issues surrounding social innovation, a theme that cuts both ways. On the one hand, there is the power of music to raise social issues, connect people in them and encourage change. On the other hand, the industry itself needs to work on numerous issues, such as working conditions in the industry, inclusion and climate impact. "By researching social innovation, I want to make my contribution to a sustainable and healthy music ecosystem. This directly touches the profiling themes of our university: the resilient society and sustainable living environment." 

Research and innovation agenda 
In April, the Research Group launched a research and innovation agenda for the Dutch pop music sector formulating the most urgent themes. Illustrative of Koos' working method is that the agenda was drawn up bottom-up and in close cooperation with the field. "All research projects we do with the professional field. In addition, I seek cooperation within Inholland: with Research Groups of the Faculty of Creative Business, but also of other faculties."  

Actively involved students 
Of course, Koos also seeks links to education. "In my role as lab lead, research and education come together nicely. The International Music Industry Lab involves students from Creative Business, Leasure & Events Management, Business Innovation and Communication, and other programmes. The initiative lies with the students themselves: within certain frameworks, they draw up their research goals to work on in co-creation with the professional field. This is how they learn multidisciplinary work, research and experimentation." 

Comments (0)
Thank you for your message. It will be posted after approval.