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Exploring digitised, networked milieu: the Cardiff independent music sector in the age of immaterial product

Coates, Joanne 2012. Exploring digitised, networked milieu: the Cardiff independent music sector in the age of immaterial product. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The rise to prominence of digitised networks and platforms of wireless communication brings with it an increased focus on immaterial labour and production and the transformative effect that it has on economic, political and social relations, both within and across online and offline spheres. The creative industries of the UK are a particularly important sector in this respect, particularly the music industry, whose trajectory from pre-digital to digital modes of consumption and production has been swift and all-encompassing. This study sought to go beyond the traditional mainstream debates over the possibilities and the pitfalls of digitisation (i.e. online piracy and the vilification of those who engage in such practices), and understand both the economic and social bases of change as they were perceived by independent promoters, musicians and audiences within Cardiff’s indie music milieu. This research adopted a multi-method qualitative interpretivist approach comprising semi-structured interviews with musicians and promoters, ethnographic interviews with audiences and participant observation at live music events. It uncovered not only the evolving attitudes to ‘piracy’ within independent operations, but also the manner in which sharing of music and the associated promotion and communication which operates within the Cardiff milieu transforms not only the circulation and sharing of the music itself, but facilitates new forms of social relations across online and offline spaces. The de-commodification of music in its physical form, and its subsequent re-commodification across online and offline modes has resulted in dramatic shifts for the way music is promoted. This also raises important issues of ‘prosumption’ and the extent to which this is present, the changing economic and social value of music, authenticity and music in the digital age and the evolving position of physical forms of recorded music. Singular economic issues, such as piracy, cannot be addressed in isolation from the multitude of other implications arising from digitisation. A much wider understanding of these issues and their impact on musical enterprises, mainstream and independent, is required in order to address the full extent of changes afoot for both business and social interaction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2023 14:09

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