Week 1: Music Industry or Music Industries

There is not one simple answer to the define “music industry”. Willamson and Cloonan (2007) argued that by using the word “music industry” as a single term, it diminishes the true meaning of cultural industries which involve the making, distributing and selling of music. In an extent, music industry indicates a singular industry, mostly is associated with recording industry, however in reality, there are more complexity and diversity in the music industry: the big agent music organisations, small/independent music companies, media journals and reports, music policies, and music academic work (Willamson and Cloonan, 2007).

However, how can we accumulate the number of people who work in the music industry (or music industries)? The most common misconception is that only the people who are employed in music organisations, either doing live performance, recording, composing and/or song-writing are contributing to the music labour (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011). There are many other ways to express music, as it is a form of social communication in modern societies, with clear components of performance, ritual and self-expression, whether it is material or non-material (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011). A music journalist can write a review about a song, an experience at a live show, and his work shows a way to conduct a music-related form of writing. A music school teacher can teach his students how to pronounce an octave and it is also of form of musical knowledge distribution.

The media also plays an essential part of distributing music information to general public (Williamson and Cloonan, 2007). Any music magazines, blogs, even video blogs are considered to be delivering some music materials into the public views. Music Youtubers are getting paid to do covers of popular songs online, to review several albums and events, to create music videos for songs etc. Not only the public, in the academic field, a lot of researchers are contributing to the music industries by writing their analysis of music theories and issues. In general, the definition of music industry has always caused misconceptions and the best way to look at it is to consider the music industry not as a single industry, rather than as a “series of industries ordered by a single right regime” (Frith, 2000)


Frith, S (2000) Music Industry Research: Where now? Where next? Notes from Britain, Popular Music, 19/3, pp. 387-393

Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. (2011) Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries, Routledge, New York.

WIliamson, J. and Cloonan, M. (2007) Rethingking the music industry, Popular Music, 26/2, Cambridge University Press, pp. 305-322


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