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ERIC Number: ED525674
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 224
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1245-0201-4
iMusic: Living and Working as Musicians in Digital Capitalism
Sargent, Carey Lynn
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
In the midst of overall decline in the United States economy, information and communication industries continued to grow in 2008, accounting for 30% of the increase in the nation's GDP. Creative and copyright-based industries constitute a significant portion of this industry. The anomaly of growth in digital culture industries amidst overall decline has lead to the belief that a new form of digital capitalism--mediated, populist, and creative--will solve problems of economic development and maintain social diversity. Scholarly research has examined the union of creative industries with economic forces, but has yet to examine how digital technologies mediate this relationship. Through an ethnographic account of independent music production in two small American cities, I examine how digital capitalism shapes the life chances of cultural workers who use digital technologies to build their own networks of production and distribution. Among creative industries, interactive media has most radically reorganized the music industry, challenging the viability of it centralized distribution channels. Treating independent musicians working outside of this industry as my key informants, I ask 1) how is musical work resourced and rewarded and 2) which social forces organize access to musical representation? I build an inductive analysis of the networked organizational structure of independent music production. I theorize independent musicians as an emergent type of creative worker--one who is embedded in networks of other entrepreneurs that are organized by shared cultural meanings. To build such networks, these workers invest their own capital and are dependent upon local resources and ability to travel. In this way, I show that there are possibilities for a wide range of people to forge their own careers, yet these possibilities continue to be structured by class and geography. Through my account, I build an empirical foundation for understanding how creative production is organized, valued, and accessed in digital capitalism. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A