Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Throughout the 20th century the music industry evolved from an entity primarily concerned with the generation of revenue from publishing to one dominated by the sales of recorded music in the format of vinyl records, a variety of pre-recorded tapes, and ultimately compact discs. At the turn of the century, however, this business model was disrupted with the introduction of digital media and the file sharing and distribution of the internet. As a result, live music is now the dominant segment of the industry. In the 20th century live concerts were used as a way to generate records sales whereas in the 21st century exposing artists’ music via sales and streaming is a means to get attendees to the artists’ concerts. By comparing the former business model focused on sales with the current model where performance is at the center, this thesis explores the impact that these changes have on the industry, the artists, and the music listening public and where the industry appears to be heading in the coming decades.