My research focuses on strategies of branding and marketing used by music professionals. Musicians have a long history of being successful entrepreneurs in a field that has been historically suspicious of, or even hostile to, commercialism. As early as 1850, music professionals used branding strategies to generate massive cultural interest in star performers (Samples, 2017). In the 1960s, folk artists such as Joan Baez and her label turned the trait of "anti-commercialism" into a successful marketing strategy, establishing an alternative music market that has persisted ever since (Samples, 2011). 

In addition to historical inquiry, I research 21st-century entrepreneurship strategies and apply them to the most pressing questions that music professionals face today. 


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Samples, Mark C. "The Humbug and the Nightingale: Jenny Lind, P. T. Barnum, and the Branding of a Star Singer for American Reception." Musical Quarterly, 2017. Read a summary

Samples, Mark C. "Timbre and Legal Likeness: The Case of Tom Waits." In The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre and Popular Music. Ed. Robert Fink, Zachary Wallmark, and Melinda LaTour (New York: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming 2018).

Theis, Sara, and Mark C. Samples. "Creating Value in the Performing Arts Industries: A Process for Arts Entrepreneurs" In Arts Entrepreneurship. Ed. Mark Munoz and Julienne Shields (Business Expert Press, 2018). 

Samples, Mark C. A Package Deal: Branding, Technology, and Marketing in Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries. PhD Dissertation, University of Oregon, 2011.