The Sound from Above and Below: Independent Artists in the Streaming Music Era

Presented by Dr. Brian Fauteux

Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Time: 7:00 – 8:00pm MST

Join on Zoom:

Stream on YouTube: streaming link coming soon!

Corporate streaming music services have brought forth few benefits for independent musicians. Meagre payouts, limited catalogues, and predictable algorithms combine to reward a shrinking number of bestselling popstars. Despite these issues, streaming services are often characterized by narratives of progress and superiority. This is an issue that has garnered attention from writers, journalists, and artists who have raised claims about the marginalization and inequality in the digital music industries. With this context in mind, this presentation will emphasize the perspectives of Canadian independent artists who are navigating the digital music industries and working to carve out a livelihood in the streaming music era. By considering the sound of the Canadian music industry from above (a macro-level political economy) and from below (the experiences of independent working musicians), this presentation will illustrate the precarious position of many musicians in the streaming era and provide a series of recommendations and ideas to foster a more equitable, community-based music culture.

Brian Fauteux is Assistant Professor of Popular Music and Media Studies at the University of Alberta. He studies music industries and music radio, often from the interrelated perspectives of cultural studies, history, and policy. His book, Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio, explores the history of Canadian campus radio, highlighting the factors that have shaped its close relationship with local music and culture. He is currently a co-investigator on a SSHRC-funded research project that investigates copyright, cultural labour, and monetization in the digital music industries.

For information on other upcoming events, please visit our Lecture Series page.