How The Spotify Streaming Model Affects The Modern American Musician




Gierhart, Hunter

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Throughout the digital era, issues concerning the fair compensation of creators have plagued various industries from film and academia to music. With the advent of music subscription services in a nascent 21st century, musicians, songwriters and their teams have raised this issue to new prominence. My thesis seeks to answer whether or not public policy needs to adjust in order to better compensate these musicians, and if this new model of consumption is truly treating them as unjustly as those in the industry like Taylor Swift suggest. By detailing prior recording industry models and analyzing American copyright law using utilitarianism and welfare economics, I argue that the streaming model is a continuation of prior industry practices and models, whereby money is largely siphoned off by groups and corporations, leaving creators with very little in comparison, but that the streaming model is good for musicians and consumers alike. Ultimately, the streaming model is a significant improvement upon the purchase model that dominated the industry in the 20th century.



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