Afraid of Technology?: Major label response to advancements in digital technology
Issue: Vol 3 No. 2 (2008)
Journal: Popular Music History
Subject Areas: Popular Music
Advancements in media technologies have had a profound impact on the production and distribution of recorded music. Digital audio editing technology such as Pro-tools and Audicy have allowed for cheaper and faster production of recorded music. The distribution of music has also been impacted by technological advancements (MP3’s and Peer-to-peer networks) which allow for faster and cheaper distribution of recorded material via the Internet. While these technologies were seen as an avenue to revolutionize the production and distribution of recorded music, recording industry stalwarts (consolidated major labels) were less then enthusiastic about the advancements. The major labels were concerned about the possible economic implications of the change on their business models.
This study examines the response of the consolidated major labels to the new technological improvements via the ‘Stages in Media Institution Responses to New Technologies,’ posited by Napoli (1998). The model notes that there are four distinct institutional responses to technological advancements: complacency, resistance, differentiation and diversification. The results of the paper highlight the response of the major labels as they moved through each stage of the model and the impact of their response on labels, artists and the consumers of popular music.
Author: Aaron Robert Furgason