The music industry, as with most other media forms, is in the middle of a period of enormous transformation. Digital technologies have empowered producers and consumers of music – traditional ways of making and distributing music are under threat as musicians and their audiences embrace new opportunities, many of which bypass the incumbent middlemen. Whilst it is clear that the music industry is thriving, the traditional recording industry, dominated by a handful of multinational corporations is struggling to stay relevant.
The changes are so dramatic that the term “Music 2.0” has become commonly used to delineate old and new business models and approaches. But the demise of the traditional music industry is overstating things – the reality is that (whilst their profits may be diminishing) they still dominate a multi-billion dollar marketplace and exercise unprecedented control over the star-making process. And, of course, they have the resources to be able to reinvent themselves.
The actual future of music is a complex and contested one. This book aims to unpack that complexity, map the changes and explain the causes and motivations surrounding an industry undergoing change. It explores the world of popular music from three distinct perspectives. Firstly, it examines the new opportunities available to consumers of music – interrogating how the lines between production and consumption are blurring, creating fans who do much more than just listen to music. Secondly, it draws on interviews with a diverse range of musicians explaining their place in the brave new world and trying to articulate their newly defined roles. Finally, it examines the industry itself, and unpack the responses to current challenges from new and old players alike.
I would not hesitate in recommending this title to my students...covers important ground in accessible ways; the exposition is always lucid and well-supported with references to appropriate literature. There is much to learn from an engagement with the work.
Published: Oct 20, 2014
|Introduction||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|The Technology of Music||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|Rise of the Machine||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|Digital Music||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|The New Intermediaries||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|Star Wars||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|What about Me?||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|Shaking the Foundations||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
|It’s the Music, Stupid||Steve Collins, Sherman Young|
Books purporting to construct an accurate reading of the future often have short shelf lives. This one should last longer than most. Beyond 2.0: The Future of Music constructs a nuanced perspective on its clearly stated topic, rooted in an awareness of the legal, technological, social and industrial contexts in which music must find an audience and earn its keep in the twenty-first century. The book details the technological history of communications media and music from before the invention of playback and recording, through the era of “recorded artefacts” with its unquestioned dominance by the major labels, to the digital era of instantaneous global do-it-yourself (DIY) distribution. The book’s longevity will come from this broad and detailed historical perspective and how it deals with factors such as human creativity and technological change in terms of “the shaping of possibility” (7) for music. It does not proscribe a specific future, but frames the primary limiting and enabling factors while discussing likely paths forward, allowing room for human creativity and agency.
Journal of World Popular Music
I would not hesitate in recommending this title to my students: Beyond 2.0: The Future of Music covers important ground in accessible ways; the exposition is always lucid and well-supported with references to appropriate literature. There is much to learn from an engagement with the work.
The book is a valuable contribution that works as a systematic, in-depth, historically informed, multiperspective analysis of the music industries as network in the digital era.