Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Research Colloquium: Music production and consumption in the streaming age


Musical Production and Consumption in the Age of Streaming

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music

The speaker is David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds)

Chaired by Marian Jago

After a period of radical transformation and uncertainty, the production and consumption of music are beginning to assume a certain degree of stability. In particular, music streaming services have become central to the new eco-system of music in many countries. This colloquium discusses existing research on this emergent eco-system and the kinds of research questions that remain to be answered.

Features likely to be discussed include:

  • the rise of file-sharing and online digital music retail sites and most recently online music streaming services, and the decline of CDs and ‘high street’ record shops;
  • the increasing penetration of the IT industries into the realm of music, alongside the now shrinking oligopoly of corporate record companies and a struggling sector of independents;
  • new business models based on data collection and analysis (especially in the case of streaming services), subscriptions and subsidiary rights income, rather than direct sales to consumers;
  • responses by record companies based on strengthening intellectual property legislation and practice, and a continuing focus on ‘blockbusters’;
  • the increasing availability of technologies that enable amateurs and semi-professionals to make their products more widely available, at least in principle, and the consequent availability of a greater abundance of music;
  • greater competition from other leisure and cultural forms, arguably making music less significant as a cultural form than in previous years;
  • an increasing proportion of music consumption (in terms of time and money) is spent on older product—and the relationships of this to a musical culture of nostalgia and ‘retromania’;
  • personalisation and mobility: the increasing tendency for music to be consumed via personal and often mobile devices;
  • an increasing ‘ubiquity’ of music.

David HesmondhalghDavid Hesmondhalgh is Professor of Media, Music and Culture in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour (Palgrave, 2015, co-written with Oakley, Lee and Nisbett); Why Music Matters (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013); Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries (Routledge, 2011, co-written with Sarah Baker); and The Cultural Industries, now in its third edition (Sage, 2012), with a fourth edition due in 2019. He is also editor or co-editor of seven other books on media, music and culture, including Western Music and its Others (University of California Press, with Georgina Born, 2000) and Popular Music Studies (Hodder Arnold, with Keith Negus, 2002).

Personal webpage

Return to Colloquium Series overview

© Copyright Leeds 2018