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Call for papers: The Business of Music Symposium 2023, March 22-23

September 13, 2022

Submit your proposal

The Mississippi State University Libraries will hold the inaugural Business of Music Symposium on Wednesday and Thursday, March 22-23, 2023 as part of the 17th Annual Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime and Jazz Festival.

The free, multidisciplinary Symposium encourages and supports research and scholarship on topics supported by the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. "Business of Music" Collection. The focus of the Templeton Collection is the business of music during the Ragtime era (1890-1930), but session proposals may concern any era. Dr. Eric Weisbard, Professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama, will give the keynote on "Constructing a Music Business: Notes from a Tenured Pop Critic."

The first day of the Symposium is virtual; the second day is reserved for in-person presentations. All presenters may choose to have their presentations recorded, and second-day presenters may choose to have their presentations streamed to facilitate participation by a remote audience.

Submissions are now open for proposals for individual presentations and panels that consider all aspects of the business of music through 1960. Presentations based on research conducted using the Templeton Collections are encouraged, although use of the collections is not a requirement for acceptance.

Possible topics include:

  • Careers of individual singers, composers, or people otherwise involved in creating music
  • Role and impact of individual publishing houses
  • Art and design themes of sheet music and record sleeve covers
  • Approaches to teaching with sheet music
  • Intersections of art, design, and commerce: musical instruments and machines as home décor
  • Music and advances in recording and playback technology

Please submit an abstract (with title) of no more than 300 words and a brief professional bio by January 30, 2023. Pre-selected panels of 3-4 presenters are welcome; individual presentations will be assembled into panels by the program committee. Individual papers should be no longer than 20 minutes and complete panels should not exceed 60 minutes. Please also indicate if you are able to present virtually, in person, or both and if you would like your presentation to be recorded and/or streamed. We welcome proposals from scholars at all stages of their professional and academic careers.

Chip and Connie Templeton Research Scholarship

MSU Libraries is also pleased to announce the inaugural Chip and Connie Templeton Scholarship, which is $500 to be applied towards the costs of presenting at the Symposium. To apply, please complete the scholarship entry form and include your name, affiliation, proposed session title, and a brief summary (not more than 500 words) on how the funds would positively affect your participation in the symposium. Scholarship application deadline is January 30, 2023. While the use of the Templeton Collection is not a requirement of the award, preference is given to scholars who use the collection in their research.

About the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. "Business of Music" Collection

The Templeton Collection includes approximately 20,000 pieces of sheet music, over 200 instruments, 2,000 cylinders and 14,000 flat discs. Learn more about the collection and view digitized items at

About the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime and Jazz Festival

The Charles Templeton, Sr. Ragtime and Jazz Festival is sponsored by the MSU Libraries and the Charles Templeton Sr. Music Museum as a means of enhancing research in the area of ragtime music, increasing awareness of the Templeton collection housed in the MSU Libraries, and introducing people to the sounds of Ragtime being performed by world-renowned ragtime musicians. The Festival includes a blend of major concerts, mini-concerts, seminars and tours of the Music Museum. Seminars are held in Mitchell Memorial Library and major concerts are held at the Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall on MSU's Starkville campus. For more information about the Festival, visit