FT 011-B Economics of the Popular Music Industry
Christie Byun, Department of Economics
Music entertains us, influences us, and shapes our lives. From the message to the medium to the physical experience of listening to a live performance, music has charms to soothe the savage breast.
Rock and roll used to be a way for people to stick it to the Man. Is that still possible in today’s highly corporatized and profit maximizing world? Are musicians engaged in monopolistic competition? Is it worth it to go to music festivals? Does Ticketmaster facilitate easy and convenient ticket sales, or is it a corporate entity with excessive market power, charging exorbitant fees? From the Sony Walkman to its modern day equivalent the iPod, how have physical media and technology affected the way musicians create their work and how we experience it?
This class will study the popular music industry from an economics perspective. We will use economic theory to analyze how music is made, performed, and sold, study the management and industrial organization side of the music industry, and see how music media and technology, and musical venues shape and influence musical form and expression. We’ll also look at the evolution of popular music from a historical, social, political, and multicultural context.
Musical genres to be studied may include (but are not limited to) rock and roll, hip hop, punk, soul, R&B, grunge, blues, alternative, progressive, garage, metal, and industrial. We will also view a variety of music related films and documentaries.
The class will take an overnight trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio during Fall Break, Oct. 13-14, 2011. The class will also attend one or two evening musical performances at local venues in West Lafayette or Bloomington, TBD.w