Three transnational corporations (Universal, Sony, and Warner) control roughly 80% of the global recording and publishing industries and 86% of the North American market. The Cultural Capital Project is a three-pronged research project that responds to the problem of music industry consolidation by rethinking a digital music industry based on sustainability and fair pay for artists. We conduct political economic analysis of royalty rates and market concentration, we investigate creative labour in the digital age through interviews with Canadian independent musicians and industry stakeholders, and we examine stewardship potential by testing the application of creative commons principles to the music industry. We aim to imagine and advance new frameworks and models for advocating a sustainable livelihood for smaller Canadian music creators.

The Cultural Capital Project aims to re-envision the digital music industry based on connectivity, sharing, and sustainability:

  • crowd-sourced and curated library – music fans cultivate artist and personal pages, aggregating publicly available music, videos, photos, and other cultural data.

A universal library is the model, not branding and oligopoly capitalism.

  • equitable compensation to artists – opt-in tracking software that harvests the musical consumption of users suggests and facilitates fair and customizable compensation to creators through a micropayment subscription fee.

Patronage is the model, not commodification.

  • legal intervention – a legitimate space for the consumption and promotion of digital music in which users are treated as stewards of cultural goods rather than pirates.

Stewardship is the model, not archaic copyright laws.

We are a growing team of scholars and fans working towards the realization of the project. If you want to get involved, particularly if you have programming, design, animation, video, writing, or business experience, please contact us.

For more information:

  • about – a more detailed description of the project
  • people – our team
  • publications – our academic writing on the theoretical implications of the project
  • resources – our continually updated list of interesting music platforms and software, industry news websites, and relevant academic writing
  • updates – the latest news on the project


The Cultural Capital Project has or is receiving generous support from: