“We are the Music-Makers and we are the Dreamers of Dreams…” – Arthur O’Shaughnessy

Music is everywhere. It is an international form of entertainment. People bond over it, people use it as therapy, people dance to it, it has an extraordinary impact on everyone and allows us to connect in a way that cannot be explained. In some cases, Music is the voice of the people, a medium by which people can express political and environmental views (Example: Midnight Oil). Sometimes it can influence change within society. Due to the Internet and other technologies, music has expanded to the point where there is an abundance of tunes everywhere. Artists who create music can be discovered by almost anyone, anywhere in the world.

In this research proposal, my focus will be centred on one primary question directed at the wonderful art that is music:
‘In this day and age, how is the demand for music so big in an industry that is struggling to keep up?’

In order to answer this question I will have to break it down into smaller questions:
How do “music-makers” make money?

Traditionally, musicians would get payed for performing and entertaining crowds. As time went on, musicians made money by selling vinyls, then tapes and CD’s, and now electronic copies (purchased via iTunes). However, with the technological revelations over the past three decades such as the power of the Internet, music was to take a different turn. The Internet has both a positive and negative effect on the music industry. Not only did it enable music to be spread worldwide and reach remotes parts of the planet, it also enabled people to illegally download music. So what was once a money-making phenomenon, was now making a lot less. Those who were still purchasing music were either technologically impaired or loyal customers to the artists and producers. This has ample positive affects on the people, they got all their music for free and they got to see more live music, because this act of downloading music forced musicians to play more live shows in order to make money.

Yet, in recent years, there has been a crackdown on people downloading music illegally and as a result they have turned back to the Internet with stores such as iTunes and Google music. However, new sights and programs have emerged such as Spotify. Spotify enable people to stream music live and listen to it online for free. Spotify does have paid version: Spotify premium means that you pay a fee every month so that your account can be advertisement free and that you can listen to music offline as well as online. This leads into two more questions:
-How do people source their music? / How do people listen to music (through which medium)?
– Is streaming music beneficial for the music industry?

I feel like I have established a solid research topic. If anything it is too broad. In order conduct research on this topic, I will use twitter stats, online articles and I will conduct a survey, asking people how they are exposed to music? How they listen to it? Where they source it from…whether it be Spotify, iTunes, if they still buy CD’s/Vinyls? Or if they still listen to the good old radio?

With these answers I should be able to draw a firm conclusion to what direction music is headed towards in the near future. I predict that more musicians will tour, which is a win-win for them and the people, as the people get to see them live more and it allows musicians to keep a regular income as well as more exposure.

Another question I was considering asking on the survey as a final question is:
Do you think music will ever reach a point where it will no longer be new? Is there only so much music out there?

The reason I ask this question is because there has been so many incidents of copyright regarding music, examples:


The Weekend

From an intellectual/mathematical perspective, is there only a certain number of musical combinations that can occur? Will this number ever be reached?
I will look into this question via articles rather than surveying university students who probably have other things on their mind (beer)…

Therefore, will the high demand for music ever be met by the musicians and producers alike? As I have discussed, in order to research this topic, I will conduct surveys among University students to find out how they source their music and through what medium they listen to it. I will use multiple journal articles to see if their data holds any similarities to the answer of the students. Moreover, I will use articles about the relationship between maths and music to find out whether there are only a certain number of musical combinations that can be achieved. If this is true, what will happen to the world of music?


One Reply to ““We are the Music-Makers and we are the Dreamers of Dreams…” – Arthur O’Shaughnessy”

  1. This is a great research concept as it is an increasing issue throughout our creative industries that could use investigation. My advice would be to channel your research and target very specific areas, as a broad research on the music industry in general may lead to a research lacking depth. The research of streaming services value to the industry would be relevant as it is the current trend, which appears to be leaving consumers happy but artists out of pocket. Check out this data set for comparing various streaming services, it may be valuable to your understanding of our current music trends. http://www.cnet.com/au/news/australian-music-streaming-services-compared/


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