SiriusXM and the Value and Disposability of Music in the Digital Age
2012-2014: SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This project investigates the development of satellite radio broadcasting in North America and explores the ways that satellite radio broadcasting organizes programming. More specifically, it looks at the role and function of music in the policies surrounding the North American satellite radio service SiriusXM. Music’s value has been emphasized in order to entice and maintain subscriptions but claims of music’s “secondary” status (as well as disposability and ubiquity) has enabled it to serve as a strategic cultural product in key policy decisions that have helped to solidify SiriusXM’s financial standing. The construction of value through exclusive content, celebrity radio hosts, and subscription listening are also key aspects of this project. This program of research began in the Department of Communication Arts at The University of Wisconsin-Madison (2012 - 2014), supervised by Professor of Media and Cultural Studies Michele Hilmes.
The Cultural Capital Project: Digital Stewardship and Sustainable Monetization for Canadian Independent Musicians
in collaboration with brianne selman (university of winnipeg), dr. andrew dewaard (ucla), and ian dahlman
2018-2021: sshrc insight grant
2012: Art+Exchange planning grant, University of california institute for research in the arts
Three transnational corporations (Universal, Sony, and Warner) control roughly 80% of the global recording and publishing industries and 86% of the North American market. This three-pronged research project responds to the problem of music industry consolidation by rethinking a digital music industry based on sustainability and fair pay for artists. We will conduct a political economic analysis of royalty rates and market concentration. We will investigate creative labour in the digital age through interviews with Canadian independent musicians and industry stakeholders, and we will examine stewardship potential by testing the application of creative commons principles to the music industry. We expect our findings to imagine and advance new frameworks and models for advocating a sustainable livelihood for smaller Canadian music creators.
The EMI Music Canada Collection and the Canadian Music Industry
In collaboration with dr. richard sutherland (mount royal university) and dr. gregory taylor (university of calgary)
This study investigates the contributions of the Canadian subsidiary of UK-based EMI Music to Canada's musical culture and industry. EMI (and earlier, Capitol Records) was active in Canada from about 1950 until 2006. During this period, the company discovered, developed, and promoted many of Canada’s most important musical acts. This research is based upon the contents of the EMI Music Canada Archive collection - an archive recently acquired by the University of Calgary. The collection includes a variety of materials, such as master tapes, videos, and textual records including business correspondence. Taken as a whole they provide considerable details about EMI Canada’s operations. A key aim of this project is to develop the means to disseminate our research as a publicly accessible resource through the web, public talks, and physical museum exhibits, telling the stories this material contains in a way that makes them available to a wide audience.
Canadian Campus Radio and the Shaping of Sounds and Scenes
2009-2012: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship
This SSHRC-funded doctoral dissertation, supervised by Dr. Leslie Regan Shade and Dr. Charles Acland, focuses on Canadian campus radio broadcasting and local music-making. Specifically, I am researching three different campus stations in cities or towns of varying size and population, from a small town on the East Coast of Canada (Sackville, New Brunswick) to a medium-sized city in the middle of the country (Winnipeg, Manitoba), to a large metropolis on the West Coast (Vancouver, British Columbia). Following analysis of policy and archival documents, as well as interviews with radio station staff members, volunteers, and local musicians, I argue that a campus radio station does not simply respond to federal broadcasting regulation by ensuring programming differs from that available on commercial and public radio, although policy is critical in ensuring the operations and sustainability of the sector. Rather, stations are inherently connected to the individuals and various cultural institutions within their broadcast range, and these connections largely determine a station’s programming and operations. Moreover, campus radio stations are significant institutions that have resources and technology such as record collections and recording equipment that helps to educate and train cultural producers, whether radio hosts, musicians, DJs, singers, writers or producers. I also argue that campus radio practitioners, staff members and volunteers play an integral part in policy debates surrounding the sector and have been central in the sector’s development. This research is also the focus of my first book, Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio.