Fall 2023

Selling Music

Listed in: Music, as MUSI-441


Amy M. Coddington (Section 01)


The music industry is in a state of constant evolution, responding to technological advances, cultural revolutions, and musical innovations. How have musicians and record companies navigated these changes throughout the last century? This seminar examines analyzes the myriad of ways music is sold to the public, focusing on music’s role as a commodity which monetizes musical expressivity.

We will start the semester by examining the structure of the music industry, interviewing musicians about their current circumstances to shed light on how the music industry is organized. We will also explore how artists situate themselves in a musical ecosystem quickly evolving thanks to technological innovations and new venues for listener engagement such as TikTok, Patreon, and Soundcloud. Then, we will expand to a more historical perspective, focusing on the ways that the music industry has profited from selling racialized sounds. Through analyzing advertisements and speaking with industry professionals, we will better understand the racial politics of how music is sold to the public as well as how music is used to sell other products while simultaneously selling itself. Students will engage in a semester-long research project focusing on an artist or company of their choice; reading assignments alongside primary source research will help provide context and content for the research project. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.

Limited to 15 students. Professor Coddington. Fall semester.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to music majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: n/a

MUSI 441 - LEC

Section 01
W 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM ARMU 102
F 2:00 PM - 3:20 PM ARMU 102


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023