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Beats and tweets: Social media in the careers of independent musicians

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1973-1993
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jun 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 26 Apr 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jun 2017
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2018


While mainstream accounts of the impact of internet technologies on the music industry have emphasised the crisis of the major-dominated mainstream recording industry, a more optimistic discourse has also been promoted, emphasising the opportunities that the Internet creates for independent musicians. These same new technologies, it is argued, enable artists to reach new global audiences and engage with them in ways that can facilitate more stable, financially self-sustaining independent careers. Little research has been conducted, however, on the effect of new Internet technologies on the careers and practices of independent musicians. This article, part of a pilot project on the working experiences of independent musicians, examines how musicians signed to small labels in the South-west of England use social media in their careers and discusses their understanding of its benefits and disadvantages. It concludes that social media use is an essential tool in the arsenal of an independent musician, and does provide advantages for them, but significant disadvantages have also emerged and thus the benefits of social media for independent musicians have likely been overstated.

    Research areas

  • Disintermediation, music 2.0, music industry, popular music, social media

    Structured keywords

  • Cultural Work
  • Digital Futures

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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Sage at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 178 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC


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