A Creative Industry in Transition: The Rise of Digitally Driven Independent Music Production


  • Brian J. Hracs

    research fellow
    1. Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Sweden
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Brian J. Hracs is a research fellow in the Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Sweden. His e-mail address is: brian.hracs@kultgeog.uu.se. Funding for the research came from SSHRC Major Research Collaborative Initiatives grant 412–2005-1001. The author would like to thank Deborah Leslie, Meric Gertler, Dominic Power, Barney Warf and anonymous referees for helpful comments, Joe Minichini for research assistance and Michelle Hopgood for graphic design assistance.


This paper nuances our understanding of the ongoing transition within the North American music industry. It extends the existing analysis of the so-called “MP3 Crisis” by exploring the ways in which digital technologies have challenged the entrenched power of the major record labels. In particular, new insights are offered based on interviews with music industry executives who have been active in shaping the industry's response to illegal file sharing. The paper also uses interview data from musicians to investigate the implications of restructuring at the macroscale on creative talent at the microscale. As such, it documents the structures and spatial dynamics of digitally driven independent music production in Canada for the first time.