'The tools come with baggage': Digital capitalism and 'artist-centric' discourse of music entrepreneurship

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses the post-1999 rise of ‘artist-centric’ labels, publishers, and artist services platforms that seek to differentiate themselves from industry incumbents, most notably the major labels, by offering more even royalty splits than traditional label deals and by allowing creators to retain the master rights. In doing so, these companies brand themselves as ‘fair trade’ or ‘artist-centric’. The first section offers a short history of technological disruptions before discussing the public controversy surrounding streaming payments and the difficulties of determining what a ‘fair’ industry would look like. The second section traces the rise of ‘fair trade’ and ‘artist-centric’ discourses that animates much of the current entrepreneurship in the recorded music industry. The third section discusses how the fairness rhetoric of new music start-ups intersects with and perhaps exacerbates the dynamics and contradictions of digital capitalism. The conclusion identifies areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntellect Handbook of Global Music Industries
EditorsChris Anderton, Sergio Pisfil
PublisherIntellect Books
Publication statusSubmitted - 23 Oct 2023

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