Ass1: Blog 3 – The rise of music streaming and its battle with royalties (Digital Music Consumption and Data)

From cassette tapes to CD’s, the methods of music consumption have advanced greatly throughout the years and resume to do so today. It is clear that music streaming is the future of music consumption. There are a countless number of companies that already offer their music streaming services in a variety of methods. From the consumer’s perspective, music streaming is a great, efficient way to listen to music. Subscribers can pay a small fee each month to have unlimited access to their favourite artists. However, the artists, producers, song writers and all other professionals involved in the song creation process all suffer from music streaming. Majority of artists on the applications get paid a demoralisingly low amount, if anything. For example, “Lady Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter, came out and stated that Gaga has never gotten paid for the millions of streams she has accumulated on Spotify.” (Evan Stein. 2016).

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 15.15.01.png(Amy X, Wang. 2016, The (predicted) rise of streaming music in the US).

Seeing as the industry is slowly moving from digital sales to online music streaming, it is crucial for companies such as Spotify and Deezer to make agreeable terms deals with artists where they can make enough money off the streams they accumulate. However, some would argue that the streaming services would love to negotiate better deals with the labels they work with, however unfortunately for them, the technology kingpins like Google, amazon and Apple will make that difficult. This is because they are happy to pay larger amounts to the labels for their services.

Ultimately, as you can see from the diagram below, there is a lot of money to be made within the live music sector of the industry, and that is something that the streaming companies will have to use to their advantage.

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 15.29.52.png(Sarah Perez, 2016. Nielsen: Music Streams Doubled In 2015, Digital Sales Continue To Fall).

Current streaming service Pandora is hoping to build a new on demand service that may compete with the giants Apple and Spotify. It hopes to persuade its current customers to pay $9.99 a month instead of the $3.99 they do now. In return, they are claiming to use their understanding of the music customers to sell a lot of concert tickets. Tidal, one of the newest additions to the streaming music industry has a similar idea. It was recently purchased by well established artist Jay Z, and has been organising exclusive concerts, with tickets often available only to its subscribers. Therefore, by linking the services of streaming music with live concerts, these companies hope to an extravagantly higher number of subscribers.



Amy X. Wang. (2016). Music streaming has a nearly undetectable fraud problem. Available: Last accessed 30/11/16.

Evan Stein. (2016). The Problems with Music Streaming. Available: Last accessed 30/11/16.

Sarah Perez. (2016). Spotify Apple Music YouTube vevo Nielsen Nielsen: Music Streams Doubled In 2015, Digital Sales Continue To Fall. Available: Last accessed 30/11/16.


Assignment 1, Blogs 3: City Music – Musicians of the times .

Technology led to record sales decline, however is the best for musicians of the times.  —— Terry Ellis


Currently, the digital music has posed a far-reaching threat to the record industries, that the music industry continue to try to profit the new business model, in order to break through the current record market is facing the dilemma. For Independent music by the digital music of the negative impact is small, through the digital music and the combination of the Internet, that will contribute to the independent musician music creation and publicity. Music as an element of modern life, the operation of the business mechanism to create a large number of music goods. However, in the evolution of science and technology to stimulate, its form and content also change. By the network and other new technologies, in recent years the rapid decline of the record market. According to the global music market research institutions IFPI(International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), Taiwan’s annual sales of pop music albums from nearly 50 million in 1997, fell to 6 million in 2007, the record market situation can be said consumption that all the way go down. ( Pien Tsung-Ying, 2009)
The other hand, for independent music industry since 2000 previously classified as an alternative / underground / independent artists, orchestra gradually come to Taiwan to occupy the Golden Melody Awards. Then, providing the emerging music creative performer stage music activities are also more and more such as Live house. (Jeng Kai Tung, 2005) In the past few years, the number of participants has grown explosively, with independent music as the main music festival  (Spring Scream, Formoz Festival, Hohaiyan Rock Festival). Relative to the pop music industry’s depression, while the independent music marketing grow steadily.


Founded in 1969, the British music record Chrysalis Records, founder Terry Ellis in the Singapore Music Industry Forum Music Matters recalled the history of his creation of Chrysalis Records, as a microcosm of the past 40 years of rock music history, so that participation in the era of musicians can empathy. Terry mentioned that he served as Led Zeppeline, Jeff Beck rock legendary brokers in the 1960s and 1970s, and the main job is to arrange campus tour and pub performances, the band rely on stage charm to conquer the masses, overnight became local word of mouth Celebrity. At that time, the musicians’ income is from the concert tickets, albums just “propaganda tool”, in order to let the radio to promote their performances, play their songs, had to enter the studio; and he in order to promote his own band, also had to create Chrysalias Record.



In the mid-eighties, record sales began to take off until the peak of the 1990s, the musician must find a way to get a contract, this way between the record company and the musician between the master and servant, musicians career almost all gamble in the record company’s development strategy, he believes that this is not a good of the ecology.


Terry Ellis, a 72-year-old who sees technology as a new wave of music and streaming music, Although the CD sales in decline, but the performance of ticket sales are growing, so the business model from selling CD need to change sell tickets of the show. On the record company is not a good news, but for performing arts is a good thing also with the new artist.



  • Jeng Kai Tung (2005) :  “Popular” or “Independent”? Rethinking and Exploring of Cultural Value, Music Industry and Cultural Policy    [Accessed 27 November 2016].
  • Pien Tsung-Ying (2009) : The New Business Model of the Independent Music Industry in the Digital Music Era:Taking the “City Music” Internet Digital Music Platform as Example  [Accessed 29 November 2016].
  •  Terry Ellis, Founder, Chrysalis Records (2015) :    [Accessed 28 November 2016].

Assignment 1: Blog 3 – Pop Culture In Politics: Clinton and Trump brand themselves with music in presidential campaigns (Music and Meaning)

Certainly, when music is played at a certain time or occasion it evokes different emotions, memories, and mood, always telling a story, creating history and meaning to different people over different eras. Popular music is a universal language understood by all “the art of thinking in sounds” Jules Combarieu cited in Frith (1998). Standardisation, of pop music, means it is no surprise that it is in the midst of the recent USA presidential elections, being used as a commodity within the culture industry for mass consumption predominantly to influence voters. “Music possesses a unique power to inspire, motivate and energize a camping” (ASCAP, n.d).

In this blog, I will discuss how Donald Trump and Hillary Clintons who in an endeavor to appeal to a wider audience/voters they would not otherwise reach, try and show their personality and identity institutionalised through sound, which taps into the voter’s emotions subliminally and passivity. However, Clinton and Trump are not the first to use popular music in campaigns, reflecting on Tony Blair’s song of choice, “Things can only get better” by D:Ream in his 1997 campaign in speaking and giving meaning to the nation.

According to the Guardian (2016), Trump’s selection of artists and genre bares no links between them. Throughout her campaign, Clinton embraced the notion of being the first female president hence as desperation set in she used mostly powerful female-led pop ballad bangers opposed to ‘serious’ music listening. (Longhurst, 1995) states this music is transforming and transcendental experience where nothing is ever the same with form and content and requires concentration, whereas the chosen pop music is the opposite of that as it sweeps individuals into passivity without using reason or engage in active listening, “the music does the listening for the listener Ardono (1941). Does his music have anything to do with their proposed policies?

Clinton’s campaign selection is based on what Ardono refers to as “sell out popular music” with pop artists who seem to have found ‘the hook’, and Gendron (1986) refers to it as resembling repetition & compulsion so characteristic of childhood behavior & that serious listening is not required as this is listening purely for entertainment.

Clinton’s choice of music gives meaning to the audience of varying ages 18 – 40s who can relate to the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Jenifer Lopez, and lady Gaga. Those above 50 could relate to Madonna Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen, these musicians according to Ardono do have their own variations but are nevertheless still standardised products. The pseudo-individualisation or uniqueness of these artists is only a surface effect, but it works. Standardization is considered not only as an expression of rigidity but also as a source of pleasure Gendron (1986). The music chosen by both candidates has repeated catchy chorus that does not require the voters to actively listen.

“In popular music, the mere recognition of the form virtually guarantees full understanding, in serious music one does not achieve full understanding, until one has struggled to concentrate. (Gendron, 1986, p.iv

Music has a way of connecting with listener’s feelings at a particular time, therefore the meaning of music affect emotions both mentally and body movement, and probably deceives when actually it is the music that is doing it for them through false consciousness of the soul as it were. ‘The hook’ (Wall 2013) in this case plays an import role to lodge the song into the listener’s mind. Musical meaning is created through blocks standardised pop music where content and form play an integral part that changes thoughts, feelings and able to sway people in ways they would not otherwise do in normal circumstances.

In these campaigns, music is used like a commodity as described by Adorno (1941) where he used the analogy of the way cereal is consumed. Trump does not seek permission from musicians as is the norm, culture industry standardising the music as objects for mass consumption during his campaign rallies. A particular favorite “You can’t always get that you want” was again played soon after his acceptance speech. “Music notation is, therefore, just one among several vehicles of communicating musical thoughts” (Shutz, 2008, p.83).


@MickJagger (2016)

It is fair to conclude judging by the way artists (Adele, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith Steve Tyler sending a cease-and-desist letter citing that it ‘gives a false impression’) (BBC, 2016), vehemently refuse for their music and voices to be used by Trump on the campaign trail. Musicians and songwriters are primarily responsible for creating meaning in music and adding value to it. Other musicians deliberately change the content/lyrics over during the campaigns. Musical knowledge is transmitted from those upon whom the prestige of authenticity and authority has been bestowed, Shutz (2008).



BBC (2016) Rolling stones tell trump to stop using their music. BBC Entertainment & Arts, 5 May. Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Frith, S. (1998) Performing rites: On the value of popular music. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Frith, S. and Goodwin, A. (1990) On record: Rock, pop, and the written world. London: Routledge, 1990 (2000 printing).

Jagger, M. (2011) Mick Jagger on Twitter. Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Jamieson, A. (2016) Pop for politics: How candidates brand themselves with music. The Guardian, 13 November. Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Longhurst, B. (1995) Popular music and society. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Political campaign (2015). Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Wall, T. (2013) Studying popular music culture. 2nd edn. London: SAGE Publications.



ABC News (2016) Donald Trump VICTORY SPEECH | full speech as president elect of the United States. YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].

BBC news (2016) Available at: [Accessed 23 November 2016].

Klinger, M. (2012) A summary of Adorno and Horkheimer’s quite interesting and staggeringly pretentious views on art. 24 November. Available at: [Accessed 24 November 2016].

Shuker, R. (2013) Understanding popular music culture. 4th edn. New York: Routledge.

Welsh, C. (2017) Mick Jagger responds to trump playing ’you can‘t always get what you want’ after victory speech. Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2016].

Assignment 1 Blog 3: Beats 1 Beat The Radio Star

Research undertaken by Music Week (2016) suggests that radio’s power to break songs is under increasing threat from streaming, with some of the biggest airplay hits of the year failing to crossover to the singles chart. Four of the years overall top ten airplay hits have failed to make the corresponding overall singles chart, whilst nineteen of the year’s streaming top twenty appear in the year-to-date equivalent.

Percival (2011) argues that the relationship between the radio and music industries as a symbiotic one, a relationship built upon the needs of both industries: the radio industry needs records to fill airtime and to attract audiences, whilst the music industry needs the pervasive exposure of airplay to sell singles and albums. Percival (2011) further suggests that music radio still has a profound influence on the sounds of popular music, however I would argue that the curation of music streamers such as Apple Music and Spotify are becoming more crucial and influential to the sound of popular music, especially with the creation and affirmation of Apple Music’s Beats 1 – an interactive on-demand hub that is layered with podcasts from curators (Zane Lowe, Julie Adenuga, Ebro Darden) to established artists (Dr. Dre, Corey Taylor, Fatboy Slim).

Greenwald (2015) argues that no matter how varied the music on Beats 1 can be, it’s ultimately a homogenised experience similar to that of traditional radio outputs, however I would argue that Beats 1 provides users with an unprecedented level of possibility and choice regarding what they listen to and when they listen to it, offering up vast libraries of on-demand content (Maasø, 2016). Whilst traditional radio outputs programme their music and use their presenters to act as tastemakers, attempting to legitimise their selections whilst Apple Music’s Beats 1 has built their presenters as cultural intermediaries – contextualised actors operating within a field of relations, in this case, popular music, whose authority is based upon their accumulation of cultural capital combined with their positions in the marketplace (Bourdieu, 1984; Morris, 2015) – who legitimise the sound of Beats 1, and ultimately of contemporary popular music trends, by having each individual presenter curate the soundtrack of each show so that each playlist is the taste-makers taste to a tee.

Furthermore, I would argue that music streaming is far more influential on the development of the sound of popular music than radio due to its ability to provide a totalising musical atmosphere, which ultimately satisfies any musical need at any moment (Morris and Powers (2015), which should be seen as more of a utility like water and electricity that consumers pay for monthly (Kusek and Leonhard, 2005) unlike radio which is ultimately free to listen to yet entirely homogenised and inflexible. However, when arguing for streaming against radio, one must not forget that away from the radio-like Beats 1, playlist recommendations remain as difficult to programme digitally as they are physically for radio, as the current technology cannot tell why a customer decided to choose to listen to a song, they can only make tautological correlations, thus comprehensive maps of musical genres cannot be created as they are continuously proliferating, evolving, and fusing with other genres (Burkart and McCourt, 2006; McCourt and Zuberi, 2016).

Whilst music radio is very much alive, I would argue that the continuing development of music streaming, and its adaptability to the users’ specific needs, whilst still acting as a progressive curator of popular music, is reaffirming itself as the dominant purveyor of popular music.


Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Routledge, Oxford.

Burkart, P. and McCourt, T. (2006). Digital music wars. 1st ed. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Greenwald, W. 2015, “Apple Music: Not Exactly Revolutionary”,, [Online].

Kusek, D. and Leonhard, G. (2005). The Future of Music: Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution. 1st ed. Berklee Press, Boston.

Maasø, A. (2016). Music Streaming, Festivals, and the Eventization of Music. Popular Music and Society, pp.1-22.

McCourt, T. and Zuberi, N. (2016). Music and Discovery. Popular Communication, 14(3), pp.123-126.

Morris, J. (2015). Curation by code: Infomediaries and the data mining of taste. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(4-5), pp.446-463.

Morris, J. and Powers, D. (2015). Control, curation and musical experience in streaming music services. Creative Industries Journal, 8(2), pp.106-122.

Percival, J. (2011). Music Radio and the Record Industry: Songs, Sounds, and Power. Popular Music and Society, 34(4), pp.455-473.

Sutherland, M. (2016). Will Streaming Kill Off the Radio Stars?. [online] Music Week. Available at: [Accessed 28 Nov. 2016].


Assignment 1 Blog 3 – What is ‘Indie’ music?

‘Indie’ as a musical term has become relatively ambiguous in meaning over recent years. Canonically, it originally meant independent, i.e. an artist or band who were not involved with any of the major labels. It has grown to essentially generic status however, with several generic signifiers being identified such as predominantly guitar-driven music (Bannister 2006). However, extra-musical generic signifiers are also important within this genre – Kruse identifies a ‘high cultural elitism’ and pursuit of uniqueness (2003) as indie signifiers.

It is interesting to consider the dual definitions of indie within music in relation to a recent artist whose identity is closely tied to the word – Chance the Rapper. The Chicago-native has seen a huge amount of success whilst repeatedly and publicly rejecting major label involvement, being hailed as a pioneer in several instances (Shamsian 2016; Austin 2016); it is clear to see how he is seen as an indie musician using the above criteria. It is intrinsically part of his identity – an underdog story where a young rapper from Chicago who got suspended from school has beaten the industry and risen to the top off the merit of his own talent.

The canon surrounding the term ‘indie’ within music is, however, problematic. The contemporary music industry is simply no longer defined by a ‘big 3’ companies. The insistence that without involvement from these three companies or their subsidiaries an artist is ‘indie’ is simply no longer true – it is part of a canon used (knowingly or otherwise) by journalists, artists and labels to help create an identity. To use Chance the Rapper as a case study, his activity outside of major label rejection would certainly indicate a non-indie identity, outside of the ‘indie canon’. His releases Surf and Coloring Book were released exclusively through Apple, one of the largest companies in the world (Statista 2015)) The nature of these distribution deals and their similarity with other artist’s deals have led people to question Chance’s authenticity (Friedman 2016). In addition his management team are very competent and connected – his booking agent Cara Lewis also represents industry heavyweights such as Kanye West, giving Chance opportunities to play higher profile shows during his rise (Quora 2016).

I would argue that the resources a major label would provide – connections, distribution, high profile shows – have been provided by major companies/entities of comparable nature (Apple and Cara Lewis), and that outside of the indie canon Chance is simply not an independent artist. This isn’t to sully his musical output – it is universally praised regardless of his indie authenticity – but it is important to be able to differentiate between the legitimate and the canonised.

Another important aspect of his identity is his hometown Chicago. Much of the narrative surrounding Chance focuses on his hometown, with many of his songs referring to the city (Bennett and B 2016). Interestingly, Chance goes against the academic consensus on musical heritage – he represents a wave of artists who take it upon themselves to proudly flout their hometowns, rather than relying on the cities to capitalise on their success (Fremaux and Fremaux 2013; Frost 2008). This is an interesting shift in the industry, with more artists and genres holding on to their roots within their music (Barron 2013) – this is epitomised in Chance’s Chicago festival Coloring Day, held in a creative quarter of Chicago with little industry backing (Gwee 2016) – he is managing the city’s management of their heritage in Chance and his scene.



Assignment1-Blog3 The monopoly of transnational recording corporations in Taiwan

The recorded music industry is essential to the music industries. With the internationalization of the recording industry, many record companies of European and America have been restructured, merged. However, the large transnational record companies with abundant capital still have influential power which not only have large market share, creative resources including singers, music producers, songwriter, etc., and attempt to monopolize recording industries in small or developing countries.

In 2010, the Big Four shared 76.8 per cent of the global market in physical and digital recorded music sales, with Universal Music Group having the greatest market share, followed by Sony Music, Warner, and EMI (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D., 2013). These transnational record companies have established their branches in Taiwan, have no doubt laid the foundation for the development of the music industry, but have also changed the ecosystem of Taiwan’s original record industry. For instance, the arrangement of foreign songs with Chinese language lyrics has appeared, and also gradually impact the form of music in Taiwan and become westernization. The major recording companies are not only horizontally integrated, which means they have expanded their businesses by merging with other record companies (Negus, 1999), they are also vertically integrated which means that they own many corporations specializing in other areas such as pressing plants and distribution companies in the music industries. This integrated business model makes them retain control over as many aspects of the production chains (Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. 2013).

Diing(1999) argues that to find out why Taiwan’s record industry has been internationally monopolized, it must trace back to the 1980s when the international economic and political power had imported into Taiwan. These power has led by United States of America, GATT- WTO and international record groups. The models of there intrusive procedure are described as following:

  1. International record companies actively collaborated with local record companies.
  2. By means of strong international trade and economic means launched by GATT-WTO, directly forced Taiwanese government rebuild the international intellectual property system according to their instructions and request to open the market.
  3. International record companies were allowed to set up branch offices in Taiwan, the implementation of localization policy, a large number of domestic record companies to absorb music talent and well-known artists, and further control of the country’s production of music culture. In the longer term, the localization strategy of the multinational records group is to make profits from the “Greater China Market” with enormous economic value. In other words, the purpose of localization is not to respond to local cultural development, but to the potential commercial interests.

When the transnational music record groups have become the core leader of the music market in Taiwan, it is meaningless to directly intervene in the monopoly of the multinational record companies and the infiltration of the music culture. Relatively speaking, I think our government should actively take some policies, discern what the problem are and promote local music culture as hard as possible, pay more attention to local popular music education, music activities and festivals, and actively support the local record company which creative diversity music products to compete with transnational company.


  • Anderton C., Martin J. and Andrew D. (2013).Understanding the music industries. London: SAGE.

Assignment 1; Blog 3: Up in smoke – the commercialisation of Punk

“Destruction is a vaguely interesting artistic concept, but it was always the most bullshit, easy-out aspect of punk. Personally, punk empowered me to create, not destroy.” – OBSERVER MUSIC (Tim Sommer • 03/25/16)


This week saw Joe Corre, son of punk fashion pioneers Malcolm Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood, set fire to the first of many pieces of highly-valued punk heritage artefacts (the rest is due to be burnt this coming weekend), claiming that it is the ‘ideas that are important, not the memorabilia’. According to Corre, “it’s time we threw it all on the fire and started again”.  This somewhat postmodernist and Foucauldian stance opposes the canonised histories and nostalgia that have evolved around Punk, which he feels defy the ethos of the movement and render it commercialised, and ultimately a nod to the McDonaldisation of society. He also claims that Punk is dead, with the exception of political activists Pussy Riot.

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