Thesis Title [working title]: Technology transitions in the music industry: the dematerialisation of music consumption
First Supervisor: Dr Andrew Flynn
Second Supervisor: Dr Richard Cowell
Start Date: October 2012
Completion Date: October 2015
Funding Source: The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 Studentship
- MSc (Distinction), Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University (2012)
- MSc (Distinction), Sustainability Planning and Environmental Policy, Cardiff University (2011)
Areas of Interest
- The music industry
- Technology transition
- Resource use
- Multi-level perspective on technology transitions
The music industry has always been a technologically transient business. From the first wax cylinders to the mini-disk one thing had always been constant. Music had to be in a physical form. This changed with the popularisation of the MP3 sound carrier. Music is no longer linked to just a physical product and is in essence dematerialising. However, the extent to which this dematerialisation is occurring and therefore any resource reduction benefits is unknown. My research looks at this in particular in an attempt to understand what the resource implications are of such technology transitions. I make use of two different analytical tools. The multi-level perspective on transitions as a framework to analyse the shift from the CD as the dominant sound carrier in the 1990s to the diverse and complex ways that we consume music in 2014. The other, a quantitative tool which measures the material demands of the way we consume music so that comparisons can be made between the various sound carriers.
Aims and research questions:
- How did dematerialisation transitions come about?
- Were transitions controlled or managed?
- How did networks of actors and social groups facilitate transitions?
- What did impact did wider changes in technical and material elements have?
- Is there sustained growth in supporting hardware and to what degree has technology convergence mitigated this growth?
- Is there any evidence for a reduction in resources?
- Is the transitions from CD to MP3s and streaming environmentally beneficial?
- Does my methodology enhance that found in the multi-level perspective literature?