The future of the independent Egyptian music in the digital era
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This thesis is investigating the impact of the digital era with its technological advanced components and revolutionized information platforms on shaping the future of the independent Egyptian music. The author investigated this impact through conducting fifteen semi structured qualitative interviews between the 15th of December 2012 to 25th of January 2013 with the relevant Independent Egyptian Music stakeholders who gave the researcher a better insight of what is the optimal business model(s) that can flourish a new music production value chain and opening new opportunities that will leads them to a productive and continuous creative process with a sustainable income within the digital era applications, and within the Egyptian technological, economic and political context. To achieve this insight, the author raised the following research major questions: 1) What are the context and the current situation of the Egyptian music industry - with more emphasis on the Independent music? With the following four sub areas: What are the difficulties and challenges that are facing the independent Egyptian music? What are the main revenue sources for the Independent Egyptian Music? How do independent musicians observe the intellectual property within the Egyptian contexts? What is the music genre that can lead to a breakthrough in the local and world music market? 2) How has the Independent Egyptian Music adapted to the new technological development, especially with the new flourishing digital markets and online music platforms? With the following sub area: What kinds of projects, which are based on new technologies, do the independent Egyptian music need and how they can be part of developing it? The author will precede this investigation through dividing the thesis to four chapters. First, the author will start with a brief background information on the history of the Egyptian music - industry with more emphasis on the independent music. Second, the author will review and discuss three relevant theories: the nature of technology by W. Brian Arthur, the innovation dilemma by Clayton Christensen, and the long tail theory by Chris Anderson. Third, the author will discuss and analyze the interviews within the research methodological approach. Fourth, the author will try to combine both the semi structured interviews analysis with the internship at the Norwegian record label KKV to develop a report from both experiences that can lead to a suggested business model to Independent Egyptian Musicas a major thesis recommendation. Through investigating the research questions and based on the research theoretical framework, the author concluded that the Egyptian independent music stakeholders are aware of the benefits of the new technologies; specially at production and promotion levels, but they also emphasized the financial remuneration challenges that is facing them; specially changing the reality of their weak online sales as a result of lacking to an effective online distribution and promotion models. Another conclusion that is based on W. Brian Arthur perspective towards the nature of technology, that technology has a specific nature and to be flourishing in Egypt, this requires suitable domain and economies, thus, referring to our subject, technology is not determinant in developing Independent Egyptian Music (IEM) future as a result of the lack of the required conditions, but what the new technologies did (specially the internet applications) is disrupting the major music network (Clayton Christensen Innovators dilemma) and pulled out the IEM from underground to on - ground, specifically after the Egyptian uprising at 25th of January (Chris Anderson, long Tail theory). Finally, such as other niche music, the IEM can be found at the long tail of Chris Anderson but it needs to be bumped, aggregated and promoted. Part of assisting in that, the author suggests a business model which is named DARNA – digital Arabic repertoire network and aggregator, which is aiming to aggregate the Arabic and independent Egyptian music digital sales, in addition to managing the first network for independent Arabic music including Egypt. This business model was developed in cooperation with the supervisors and after receiving the appropriate feedback from the IEM stakeholders through the interviews and the rich experiences that the author gained in the three months internship at KKV with the close cooperation from phonofile.
Master's thesis in music management - University of Agder 2013