Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Linda Cool




music industry, social networking, bands, changes, fans


This thesis explores the ways that the Internet’s social networking sites have affected the music industry and aspiring artists. In the past ten years there has been an upsurge in the use and importance of social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. This revolution in social connection has yielded drastic changes in the ways both labels and musicians share and search for music. I had internships with Universal Music Group and Smithsonian Folkways in their online marketing department and was able to study first hand the way record labels utilize social networking sites to benefit their artists. I researched two bands from New York City to understand how unknown artists employ the same social networking sites. By collecting information from both aspects of the music industry, I could make a well-informed theory of the effect of these digital social networking sites. The outcome of my research has shown that the Internet has both harmed and helped labels and artists. The Internet puts all labels and artists on the same level, as all utilize the same sites. While the Internet allows anyone to share their music with the rest of the online community, it is much harder for bands to stand out. Thus, a greater emphasis on statistics and fan numbers has become a faster indicator to labels if a band will be a good investment, rather than a judgment about the quality of music. It is an unfortunate notion that the value of music has less importance than the number of fans today. This may speak for a great cultural change in the way people process and receive information today through the Internet.