The State of Music: Cultural, Political and Economic Transformations in the Music Industry

David Arditi

Advisor: Paul Smith, PhD, Cultural Studies Program

Committee Members: Timothy Gibson, Char Miller

May 03, 2012, 11:00 AM to 08:00 AM


The music industry has experienced significant changes in the production, distribution, and consumption of music with the introduction of the Internet and digital technologies over the last two decades. This dissertation demonstrates that the major record labels actively changed how they produce music with new technologies to remain dominant within the broader music industry. I demonstrate that the availability of digital distribution transformed music production by compelling the recording industry to create digital music that they could profit off of in new ways. My project argues that digital production and distribution systems have enhanced, rather than undermined, the commercial position of these firms, which counters claims made by the recording industry, reflected in “piracy panic narratives,” that they are experiencing a financial crisis.