This article outlines shifts in the music industry over the last decade or so and their impact on artists’ revenue.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Entrepreneurship, business management, marketing, strategy, finance

Key Questions to Explore:

  •  How has technology changed the way we do business?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

This lesson explores the impact of technology on the music industry.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Ask students if they buy music in a traditional store, if they buy digital music or if they stream music. Discuss the differences between each.
  2. Using a T chart, have students compare buying music to streaming music from their perspective.
  3. Pair students up and have them do the same T chart but from the artists’ perspective.
  4. Combine pairs and have students complete the same T chart from the recording company’s perspective.
  5. Discuss the three difference perspectives as a class.
  6. Distribute the article for reading.
  7. Ask students why sales from music sales are not sufficient for an artist. Brainstorm ways artists can increase their revenue.
  8. Discuss the impact technology has had on the industry as a whole.

Consolidation of learning:

  • Ask students to develop a T chart comparing and contrasting subscription streaming services to free on demand services for music from a consumer, artist and company perspective.


Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the impact of technology on all aspects of the industry.

Confirming Activity:

  • It has been almost 20 years since the music industry has had significant growth in revenue. Have students do a timeline demonstrating why this has occurred. Have them project to the future what they think could transpire.