Exclusion through the Digital Music Movement


Artist unknown

Though not directly touched on in this chapter, I cannot help but think about how this move towards digital technologies in the music world adds another layer of exclusion across the globe. In summing up this chapter, Eric Harvey indicates that “gaining a foothold in digital music culture is far from dire for aspiring participants,”[1] but entering the digital music culture certainly makes it easier to be seen or noticed! Digital technology has been rightly praised as a way for artists who otherwise would not have been noticed to break into the music scene, but this opportunity still does not exist for many people.  In the U.S., the government is still working on how to deploy broadband to everyone. People who live in remote areas or simply just cannot afford Internet access are also people who do not have access to record labels to become successful artists. No one can say that there is a lack of talent in this group of people; they simply lack the resources to make their talents known to the public, pushing them further and further behind.

If such conditions exist in the U.S., imagine how many talented artist the world is missing out on from across the globe! It is becoming imperative to have digital operations even for artists who are backed by record labels. Imagine people from countries where they once could make money and be seen simply by releasing hardcopy albums; now they cannot compete with people who are able to master various forms of digital advertising and distribution.

What the FCC has coined “The Digital Divide” stretches far beyond the idea that some people do not have access to information. This divide leads to a slippery slope of effects as more and more things in society become digitized. With this divide, diversity cannot be reached to its fullest extent. Certain people will always dominate, and certain countries will certainly dominate the musical front around the globe.

–Sade Oshinubi


[1] Eric Harvey, Same as the Old Boss? Changes, Continuities, and Careers, in the Digital Music Era, in Managing Media Work  237, 246 (Deuze, 2011).

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