Nick Maturo

McGill University

Department of Art History and Communication Studies
Program: MA
Start: 2013
End: 2015

Title: Precarious Labour, Neoliberal Ideology, and the Online Music Distribution Platform

My research focuses on online music distribution platforms, specifically Soundcloud, so as to explore their effect on the labour conditions of independent musicians. I hypothesize that these platforms are representative of the shift towards Post-Fordist labour practices in capitalist economies, in which employment is increasingly precarious and individualized. While online distribution is lauded for empowering independent artists, it also promotes widespread neoliberal attitudes that privilege individualism and self-reliance over institutional support structures and solidarity movements. My project will therefore consist of a theoretical analysis supplemented by interviews with working independent musicians who regularly engage with these platforms so as to ascertain to what degree these artists’ musical production and emotional states have changed in accordance with a shift to digital distribution. Once completed, the results of this project should clarify the potential forms of exploitation that threaten digitally engaged musicians so as to enrich their understanding of these online platforms, as well as demonstrate to what degree these conditions are symptomatic of work under neoliberal capitalism in general.

Previous Awards
Faculty of Fine Arts Development Fund Scholarship (Concordia, 2007) Graduate Excellence Award (McGill, 2013) Media@McGill Beaverbrook Graduate Award (McGill, 2013) Jean de Grandpré Prize (McGill, 2014)