The political economy of streaming

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter considers current and future economies of music production, distribution and consumption, intersecting the question concerning technology - big data storage, distributed network technology, programmable artificial intelligence - with the question concerning contemporary markets - the merchandising of desire, taste and sensibility within a surveillant attention economy, and its concomitant labour ethics. The first section tracks changes in the music industry within the digitally networked environment in the first decade of the twenty-first century. A practice of P2P sharing and free downloading shifted toward a full-scale surveillance economy hitched to licensed music, raising questions concerning data privacy, data security, management of user data, and procedures for third-party requests for data and metadata. By investigating the economic, social, technical and legal dimensions of this shifting terrain, the chapter suggests that the impact on cultural labour practices in the digital age bear uncanny resemblance to a pre-technological one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Music in Digital Culture
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781316676639
ISBN (Print)9781107161788
StatePublished - Aug 30 2019


  • Attention economy
  • Blockchain
  • Digital music
  • Immaterial labour
  • Micropayments
  • Music industry
  • Political economy
  • Privacy policies
  • Streaming
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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