An Embryonic Journey of Musical Entrepreneurship with “The Captain,” Jorma Kaukonen, and His Co-Pilot, Vanessa

  •  J. Michael Geringer    
  •  Jeffrey Anderson    


The music business is a case study in how macro-environmental factors can radically transform an industry. Developments such as digital production and distribution, coupled with social media, crowdfunding, and changing consumer preferences, have dramatically transformed the business model for the recorded music industry in recent years and spurred the development of entrepreneurial business models to enable musicians to survive in their changing environment. As a solo artist and founding member of the musical groups Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Jorma (“The Captain”) Kaukonen has recorded albums for major labels such as RCA, Sony, and Columbia, as well as independent labels such as Relix and Red House Records. In this interview, Jorma and his wife and business manager, Vanessa Kaukonen, discuss their experiences as musical entrepreneurs in the digital age, including their founding of the unique Fur Peace Ranch guitar camp in the hills of Appalachia. The entrepreneurial business undertakings of the Kaukonens highlight the potential for entrepreneurial musicians to develop innovative and sustainable business models for surviving in this new world of music.

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