In the past two decades, computer technology has shifted the knowledge capital from the major music producers first to smaller independent producers and finally to the artists themselves. No longer does the culture require artists to be beholden to the larger music studios and distribution networks. Internal costs shifts in high quality CD recording has made it possible for individual musicians to record their own CDs and distribute them via the world wide web. This cost shifting has placed great strain on the “music industry” (major record labels). Large music producers have had to recognize the competition from smaller firms and individual artists. As a result, many contractual concessions have had to be made to artists which were unthinkable thirty years ago when major record producers monopolized music production and distribution. This paper will dissect these cost changes over the past half century and provide illustration of changing contracts and record deals. It will also examine the changing culture of musicians who no longer feel the urgent need to sign a contract under duress with onerous provisions deleterious to their interests. The cases of Jen Trynin, Michelle Shocked, and the Dixie Chicks will be examined. Their dealings and contracts with Warner Brothers, Mercury Records, and Sony will be examined.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/julia_camp/5/