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A change is gonna come : the future of copyright and the artist/record label relationship in the Music Industry



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The purpose of my research is to examine the music industry from both the perspective of a musician and a lawyer, and draw real conclusions regarding where the music industry is heading in the 21st century. Digital technologies are overhauling the way in which musicians, record labels, and other industry professionals make a living, and my goal is to decipher what these changes mean in the long term. In light of this transformation, my research investigates whether musicians still need record labels in the digital era, and what role copyright law will continue to have in this new model. The method of research for my thesis was slightly atypical. While I utilized any textbook and scholarly journal that was available on the topic, much of my most valuable research came in the form of personal interviews with some of the biggest players in the music industry, as well as various articles and studies found online. My thesis argues that the roles played by artists and record labels have completely changed in the last five years, and the parties that will find success on either side of the bargaining table will be those most appreciative of and adaptive to this change. Directly related to this is the changing face of copyright in the music industry. My thesis argues that while copyright used to provide massive value from a single source in the short term, it now generates smaller amounts of value from an infinite array of sources, in the long term. The significance of this finding cannot be understated, for both artists and their investors. In this way, my research aims to be equally significant and accessible to musicians, industry professionals, and academics.



copyright, music, record labels, downloading, p2p, digital music, law



Master of Laws (LL.M.)


College of Law


College of Law


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