Date of Award
Dr. Patrick Houlihan
Dr. Chris Brune
Dr. Matt Douglass
Music is a unique economic good with several interesting characteristics: as an art form, its value is immensely subjective and changes with the culture; it is most widely consumed via online streaming platforms but still embedded onto physical formats and sold through retailers; and the United States music business had to pivot through substantial economic disruption at the turn of the century with the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing. Given the digital world in which we live, this thesis explains why people still purchase music on physical formats. This is accomplished by discussing revenue data from the past few years, the economic issues with digital streaming, the value of a “stream,” the negative effects of technology on our ability to control our attention, how consumers can influence their own value perceptions, and the practical advantages of physical media. When the goal is convenient, cheap, and passive entertainment, the digital world is always a click away. When music fans crave authentic, intentional engagement with art and its creators, physical media offers a more valuable product and superior experience.
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Youmans, Sam, "Grasping the Intangible: The Perseverance of Physical Music Media in a Digital World" (2022). Honors Theses. 836.