Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Economics

Advisor

Smith, Ronn

Reader

Terrell, Katie

Abstract

To listen to music just a few hundred years ago would require hundreds of miles of travel, tons of wood and metal and ivory and copper strings, construction of a stage and audience platforms, human capital to perform the music of course, and lots of money. All of these variables would combine to produce an auditory experience of approximately 45 minutes total. Today, a single musician can produce the sound of dozens with just a laptop, and it can be consumed relatively cheaply with the click of a button. Digital services such as iTunes or Spotify give listeners access to enough music to last 140,000 years in an intangible format. As incredible as this metamorphosis is, it does beg the question: is all change a good thing? With music being one of the central pillars of culture, alterations to the music industry often have acute social effects and are manifested in day‐to-­day life. Music radio, per se, made music the standard audio choice in car rides. The Walkman radio radicalized the portability of music and the design of headphones. Napster had over 20 million users within 9 months of launching, which Steve Jobs usurped with the generation-­‐altering introduction of iTunes in 2001. Now, his once impenetrable fortress of music access is being threatened by taste-­prediction capable, on demand streaming services, such as Spotify. Americans listen to an average of 4 hours of music per day and it is an arms race of who gets the profit from that daily consumption. Although consumers reap the benefits of this competition, it is putting the longevity of the industry in a precarious situation. Alarmingly, the revenue of the music industry has been in nearly constant decline since 2006, perhaps due to these rapid changes in methods of music consumption. The goal of this paper is to zoom in on the most recent appendage of the digital music revolution: streaming services.

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