Getting Signed

Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society

Authors: Arditi, David

Free Preview
  • Explores how ideology motivates aspiring musicians to sign even unfavorable contracts and obscures the reality of record contracts
  • Demonstrates how conventional paths to success continue to dominate the popular imagination, even in the face of potentially democratizing digital technologies
  • Provides an ethnographic examination of US-based bands, band members, televisions shows like The Voice and American Idol, and contract showcases
see more benefits

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-44587-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts available
Softcover $29.99
price for USA in USD
About this book

Record contracts have been the goal of aspiring musicians, but are they still important in the era of SoundCloud? Musicians in the United States still seem to think so, flocking to auditions for The Voice and Idol brands or paying to perform at record label showcases in the hopes of landing a deal. The belief that signing a record contract will almost infallibly lead to some measure of success— the “ideology of getting signed,” as Arditi defines it—is alive and well.

Though streaming, social media, and viral content have turned the recording industry upside down in one sense, the record contract and its mythos still persist. Getting Signed provides a critical analysis of musicians’ contract aspirations as a cultural phenomenon that reproduces modes of power and economic exploitation, no matter how radical the route to contract. Working at the intersection of Marxist sociology, cultural sociology, critical theory, and media studies, Arditi unfolds how the ideology of getting signed penetrated an industry, created a mythos of guaranteed success, and persists in an era when power is being redefined in the light of digital technologies.  

About the authors

David Arditi is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington, USA, and author of iTake-Over: The Recording Industry in the Digital Era.

Reviews

“There is a vast gulf between making music for pleasure and making music for money. David Arditi’s Getting Signed intelligently and compellingly captures the difficulty, frustration, and hope felt by musicians as they attempt to enter the realm of the music industry and make money at music.”

—Timothy D. Taylor, Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

“Even in our digitized era of streaming media and DIY culture, the seductions of landing a record deal with a cash advance have never been stronger for musicians, singers, rockers, and rappers. But in Getting Signed, sociologist David Arditi shines his well-honed critical gaze on the venality of the pop music industry, showing how even a record contract struck in good faith can be a dream-killing Faustian bargain for most musical artists.”

—David Grazian, Associate Professor of Sociology and Communication and Faculty Director of Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania, USA

"In Getting Signed, Arditi deftly cuts through the fog of mythology, wishful thinking, and industry propaganda surrounding artist-label relations. As his exhaustive research shows, the recording industry is both fundamentally exploitative and still profoundly necessary, even as the technology, economics, and culture of the broader music industry continue to transform drastically in the wake of new, digital technologies. A must-read for aspiring musicians and scholars of the industry alike."

—Aram Sinnreich, author of The Essential Guide to Intellectual Property (2019)

Getting Signed is a timely and trenchant reconsideration of the economics of the recording industry, and how it relies on ideology to convince musicians not only that they have to play by its rules, but also that they desperately want to. You won’t think about the music business in the same way after reading it.”

—Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law, University of Kentucky, USA

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • Introduction

    Pages 1-27

    Arditi, David

  • Record Contracts: Ideology in Action

    Pages 31-56

    Arditi, David

  • Copyright Enclosure

    Pages 57-85

    Arditi, David

  • The Digital Turn: Music Business as Usual

    Pages 87-117

    Arditi, David

  • On Competition in Music

    Pages 119-148

    Arditi, David

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-44587-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts available
Softcover $29.99
price for USA in USD
Loading...

Recommended for you

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Getting Signed
Book Subtitle
Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-44587-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-44587-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-44586-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 256
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics