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Hannan, MF 2003, 'A digital agenda for music', Music Forum, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 21-24.

The pdf of the published article reproduced in ePublications@SCU with the permission of MCA.


There are many issues facing musicians, the music industry, music education and music broadcasting as a result of the way music is now produced, distributed, promoted and consumed in the digital domain. This article outlines a number of these for consideration. The rights of musicians and other intellectual property holders are protected by the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Bill 1999, which covers the communication of works to the public by digital as well as more conventional means. Enforcing these rights is, however, difficult because of the way the internet and computers are being used by consumers of music and other products. The article begins with consideration of issues of music piracy, one of the most serious issues facing the economic viability of the music industry. It then considers the consumer rights that may arise from attempts to prevent piracy in a heavy-handed manner. Since the 1980s and the advent of digital music production, there has been a large impact on the way music has been produced. Do it yourself (DIY) record production facilitated by digital music systems has seen a decline in the work available for performing and recording musicians and a shift to the prominence of the composer/producer. This phenomenon is examined along with related issues such as the trend to create music by sampling already existing music. The evolution of the technology of music production and its impact on the industry is considered. One of the problems faced by music educators both in schools and universities is how to keep up with new technologies and how to fit more relevant subjects into the curriculum without letting go of treasured traditional approaches. A curriculum re-evaluation agenda is promoted in this arena. Finally from a consumer point of view, issues related to access to broadband and impending digital radio services are presented.

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