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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module seeks to critically interrogate the relationship between music industry institutions, technologies and users/audiences. Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, the module will provide students with a critical framework for understanding music culture as an economic activity, and how technological innovation relates to changing routines and practices in the domains of music production and consumption. In essence, the module considers the contemporary music industries as the outcome of an ongoing series of conflicts/struggles between forces encompassing the technological, organizational, industrial, social and institutional (primarily legal and policy) domains.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of key theoretical debates and concepts connected to the core sub-sectors of industrial activity that constitute the music business.
2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of music as an economic activity
3. Develop an awareness of the distinctive or unique features and characteristics of music as facet of the broader cultural and media industries; and show a critical understanding of the current state-of-play across creative and cultural industries with respect to the role of music and the involvement of music industry institutions and personnel.
4. Develop a critical understanding of the contemporary relationship between music producers and consumers in an evolving digital environment.
5. Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of music as an intellectual property industry.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Independent Study70No Description
Assignment Completion33No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

The evolution of the music industries
The module will examine and explain the evolution of the music industries (recording, publishing, live) from the early twentieth century to present.

The political and economic context shaping contemporary music industries
The module will illustrate how changes and continuities in the music industries connect to, and are explained by developments in the broader political and economic contexts over time.

The music industries, technology and audience practices
The module will examine and explain how changes and continuities in the music industries connect to technological innovations; and in particular, illustrate how a rapidly evolving digital environment has been met with significant internal restructuring on the part of major music companies. In this context, the module will interrogate evolving roles and practices of established music companies, and their relationships with and modes of distribution to their users/audiences.

21st century reconfigurations
The module will consider the implications arising from recent developments in the global music industries at institutional and organizational level for practitioners, independent music production companies, and audiences for popular music alike.

Music and copyright
The module will also focus on the evolving form and nature of copyright (and other forms of intellectual property), and how IPRs sit at the heart of recent developments not only in the domain of music, but in broader media and cultural industries per se. This is fundamental to understanding and analyzing the ‘value chain’ in music.

The contemporary DIY scene
The module will also examine the realm of professional DIY music making in the contemporary era, assessing the outcome of such processes against the promise and potential offered by digital innovations.

Reconceptualising the music industries
In doing all of the above, the module will unpack the concept of the music industries, to understand how the domain functions as a complex network of core (i.e. recording, publishing, live) and ancillary spheres of activity.

Guest lectures
The module will also draw upon the input and contributions from current music industry professionals and key informants via guest lectures.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Nowak, R. & A. Whelan: 2016, Networked Music Cultures: Contemporary Approaches, Emerging Issues., Palgrave, London,
  • Rogers, J.: 2013, The Death and Life of the Music Industry In The Digital Age, Bloomsbury, New York,
  • Tschmuck, P.: 2013, Creativity and Innovation in the Music Industry (revised edition), Springer, Berlin,
  • Wikström, P.: 2020, The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud (Third Edition), Polity Press, Cambridge,
  • Wikström, P. and B. DeFillippi: 2016, Business Innovation and Disruption in the Music Industry, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes