The effects of digitization on the music industry – From the viewpoint of music creators and independent record labels in Sweden (2016)
The bachelor thesis in media technology was written at the department of technology and society at Malmö University. The thesis can be accessed and downloaded on the web site MUEP.
The emergence and continuously growing popularity of on-demand streaming music services has changed the music landscape rapidly and new services are entering the market at a high pace. Prior studies show that digitization has affected the way media is created, published, distributed and consumed. The literature review revealed a knowledge gap regarding the effects on music professionals and provided an opportunity to explore how artists and independent record labels perceive the aspects of digitization. The study followed an exploratory sequential mixed-methods approach and consisted of two phases, an initial study including three qualitative interviews, and a quantitative follow-up study, in which working theories that had resulted from the initial study were tested through an online survey (n=81). The results indicate that many independent record labels have changed and adapted their business models and turned into so called 360° music companies. The results further show that digitization developments have to some degree affected the way music is created and produced, with a tendency towards a more individualistic and digital process, and that it has become easier for artists to publish their music; their incomes have however not improved and for many artists the working climate has become harder. The results show that the emergence of on-demand streaming services has disrupted the music industry, instead of having a democratic impact, the power that record labels used to have appears to have shifted to streaming services. Both artists and independent record labels perceive the achievement of fair payments and successful promotion to be the main future challenges. It is indicated that regulations and laws that prevent exploitation are necessary in order to ensure the music industry to be sustainable in the future.