In the late 1990s the obscure practice of 'ripping' tracks from CDs through the use of compression programmes was transformed from the illegal hobby of a few thousand computer specialists to a practice available to millions of people worldwide through the development of peer-to-peer computer networks. This continues to have important implications for the viability of the musical economy. At the same time, the production of music has become more accessible and the role of key gatekeepers in the industry--such as record companies and recording studios-- has been undermined, whilst the increased accessibility of music at reduced cost via the Internet has revalorised live performance, and now generates revenues higher than recorded music. The early 21st century has provided an extraordinary case study of an industry in flux, and one that throws light on the relationship between culture and economy, between passion and calculation. This book provides a theoretically grounded account of the implications of digital technology on the musical economy, and develops the concept of the musical network to understand the transformation of this economy over space and through time.
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