Date of Award



Edward Cahill

Second Advisor

Amy Aronson


The advent of internet media distribution has profoundly changed the way most people consume music and experience artists. Outlets such as Myspace, YouTube, Twitter, and peer-to-peer downloading networks have made music and artists more accessible than ever before. These changes have come largely at the expense of the traditional music industry model of distribution. My thesis proposes that these new media have radically redefined what it means to be a developing artist. Specifically, these media empower artists with the ability to circumvent music industry oversight while providing them with tools of self-promotion to autonomously construct a fan-base. My thesis will also analyze how the internet has further recharacterized the term “artist development” by opening up a global interconnectivity, or global communities of listeners, as opposed to solely regional interconnectivity, or regional communities of listeners. The limited signal reach of a market’s FM radio station, or the recording contracts bands sign with major labels which often limit the distribution of their music to particular regions, exemplify regional interconnectivity. In contrast, global interconnectivity, which is facilitated by the internet, provides myriad ways of gaining access to music and artists that would not have been available under the old industry model and further contributes to the development of artists and their fan-bases. I will address the issue by analyzing interviews I have conducted with musicians regarding these new media. I will also consult various articles from Rolling Stone and Spin magazines which detail the rise of artists who use these media, as well as books and treatises detailing other historical definitions of artistic development which will serve as points of juxtaposition to the current definitions artistic development. One of the implications of this project is a contextualization of the current definitions of artistic development with historical definitions that have also evolved from paradigm shifts in the music industry.