Inquiry Project Proposal

My final Inquiry Project will be centered on music and the way that social media has impacted the music industry in all aspects. I will introduce my topic by explaining how the music industry is founded on the tastes and trends of consumers, and will discuss how these are the aspects of popular culture that are most strongly influenced by social media. I will assert that social media has put increased pressure on record labels and independent artists by forcing them to be much more responsive to the desires of their customers than has ever been necessary in the past. I will begin by discussing the skeletal structure of the music industry and the ways in which it recruits artists, markets music, handles financial issues, and formulates a “game plan” overall. I will then discuss social media, and will provide support for my assertion that social media has been one of the largest factors of increasing the speed and breadth of communication in modern society, especially in relation to pop culture, fandom, and any trend. I will then tie these two topics together by providing [music] industry data on the amount of people reached by major-label marketing campaigns before the advent of social media then comparing this with primary sources from the internet that illustrate the massive effect of social media on music patrons the world over. I will assert how this is relevant to the music industry by discussing the increasing speed with which major record labels, managers, and independent artists must adapt to the trends and desires of their fans. This will be followed by a major concession stating that while social media has placed increased pressure on the industry, it has been a principle factor in paving the way for independent musicians to achieve as much success as musicians backed by a major record label. I will link many of my favorite musicians, both independent and “signed” to show the differences and similarities of how their careers are affected by social media. I will also link many of my favorite social media/music sites to illustrate the ease with which thousands, often millions, of people can be exposed to an artist. I will conclude my essay by discussing how social media may force labels and musicians to entertain the whims of their fans, much in the same way that politicians “must” listen to their constituents if they wish to be re-elected. However, I think that the broad opportunities afforded to independent artists as a result of social media are well worth the potential pitfalls of a fickle fan-base.



Byrne, David. How Music Works. Social Media and Music Case Study.

Brandtology is a business which analyzes social and cultural trends based on social media outlets in order to advise companies—or in this case, musicians and record labels—on how to best market their product and respond to/foresee changes in these trends. Social Media is Revolutionizing the Music Industry.

Brandwatch is an almost identical business which advises businesses based on social media trends. Both of these pages provide empirical evidence supporting the significant effect of Social Media on the music industry, as well as providing specific insight on how the industry is being affected.

A music posting/sharing site that operates much in the same way as Facebook, allowing users to like and share their favorite music, as well as post their own for the world to hear.

Similar to Soundcloud. Facilitates the posting and sharing of music in a social media style platform.

The website of the Recording Industry Association of America. “The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.” These are the guys that try to send you to prison for illegally downloading music. Some of the most comprehensive data on record about records-no pun intended.



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2 Responses to “Inquiry Project Proposal”

  1. egilmezd July 25, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    You’ve really got me hooked with your idea, being someone who is enormously interested in all aspects of music. I especially like the analogy between musicians and politicians fighting to be re-elected, it does seem, especially in some genres, that musicians are fighting to stay relevant even on a month to month basis just to keep their careers going!

  2. July 31, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    This is a great topic, I always saw a trend of people liking new music that has been popular in social media, and I’m sure their is a correlation too in the past couple of years. Especially with Twitter and Facebook, there has been a trend of popular songs among people. Celebrates and athletes also get paid to advertise commercials with their songs in it too, which increases the hype. It would be interesting to see the data of how social media really affects popular music trends

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