My PhD thesis ‘Artist-Entrepreneurship In The Digital Music Industry’

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For decades, the record deal has been the main goal for artists aspiring to enter the recording industry. In the wake of the digital revolution, entry barriers into the recorded music market decreased and this has enabled artists to produce, distribute and promote music on a large scale without the help of record labels. Celebrated by the press as the democratisation of art production, belittled by the established recording industry as amateurism, hailed by artists as long-awaited independence, and neglected by the academic community, artist-entrepreneurship warrants a critical in-depth examination.

This thesis explores the emergence, practices and implications of artist-entrepreneurship in the digital recording industry with the help of a new data set derived from an online questionnaire of 368 music artists in Australia. Artist-entrepreneurship provides a promising alternative to the traditional model based on selling copyrights to record labels. On the other hand, new challenges for artists are arising, new market intermediaries are entering the scene, and new business models for marketing music are being created.

Table of contents

1 Introduction

1.1 Rationale
1.1.1 Identification of a literature gap
1.1.2 Relevance
1.2 Scope
1.3 Structure and methodology
1.4 Data collection
1.4.1 Questionnaire design
1.4.2 Research population
1.4.3 Sampling
1.4.4 Additional data sources

2 Defining artist-entrepreneurship
2.1 The recording industry
2.2 Artist-entrepreneurship
2.2.1 Entrepreneurship
2.2.2 Definition of artist-entrepreneurship

3 The drivers of artist-entrepreneurship
3.1 Artist labour markets
3.2 Copyrights
3.2.1 Short History of Copyrights
3.2.2 The effects of piracy on music sales
3.2.3 The effects of piracy on the supply of music
3.2.4 Piracy and artist-entrepreneurship
3.2.5 Conclusion
3.3 The Superstar phenomenon
3.4 Characteristics of creative jobs
3.5 Non-monetary income
3.6 Expanding demand for creative workers
3.6.1 Micro-outsourcing
3.6.2 Reverse auctions
3.6.3 Music competitions
3.7 Conclusion

4 The impact of the digital revolution on entry barriers into the market for sound recordings
4.1 Music Production
4.1.1 Songwriting
4.1.2 Recording, mixing and mastering
4.1.3 Conclusion
4.2 Music Distribution
4.2.1 Physical distribution
4.2.2 Digital distribution
4.2.3 Conclusion
4.3 Music Promotion
4.3.1 Traditional promotion channels
4.3.2 Music promotion in the digital era
4.3.3 Conclusion

5 To sign or not to sign?
5.1 Reasons to sign with a record label
5.2 Reasons not to sign with a record label
5.3 Conclusion

6 The scope of artist-entrepreneurship
6.1 Number of artist-entrepreneur
6.2 Musical output of artist-entrepreneurs
6.3 Music income of artist-entrepreneurs
6.4 Music sales volume of artist-entrepreneurship
6.5 Conclusion

7 Business practices of artist-entrepreneurs
7.1 Pricing strategies
7.2 Make-or-buy strategies
7.3 Investment strategies
7.4 Conclusion

8 Artist-entrepreneurship and piracy
8.1 Attitudes towards piracy
8.2 Attitudes towards anti-piracy measures
8.3 Conclusion

9 Implications
9.1 Summary of the findings so far
9.2 Implications for the field of research and future research propositions
9.3 Implications for music as a cultural expression
9.3.1 Will the music change?
9.3.2 Implications for market intermediaries
9.4 Final thoughts

A: Online questionnaire
B: Sample descriptives
C: Content analysis of Question 17


Dr. Phil

Academic turned artist. PhD in media & communications with a focus on cultural economics. Composer, producer, sound engineer (SAE), DJ. @pinzandpelz, @liifeofficial, @medklangmusik, @skizzofranick