Published online by Cambridge University Press: 30 August 2019
The chapter historicises the economics of music in the current age of technological automation – from the invention of intellectual property to the implementation of lock-down technologies at the turn of the twenty-first century. The first section sketches the basic characteristics of music’s technological, legal and political economies. By the late twentieth century, the precarious markets for music – enclosed within large-scale cycles of boom and bust in the nineteenth century – had morphed into a relatively stable set of intersecting industrial networks, including print, radio and phonograph. The second section sketches a transition period for the music industry in the context of distributed digital networks that emerged after the Cold War, producing a disjuncture between practice and policy. The third section traces the dialectics of intellectual property regimes pertaining to digital rights management, arguing that a covert allomorphism of the law effectively disabled both technical and legal functionalities pertaining to music.