In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion of digital music technologies, independent artists from all genres of music have begun to adopt new distribution platforms, with their goal of changing the methods/means by which artists receive value both monetary and non-monetary. Hip-hop musicians in particular have leveraged these platforms to their advantage, with multiple sub-genres and new styles of music coming into popularity through the growth of these platforms. These platforms have also helped to battle the increasingly more monopolized and tightly controlled industry. Unfair contracts and revenue accumulation given by labels are some of the core issues attracting artists to the platforms. However, research on this specific topic is limited in academia, and albeit frequent discussion amongst music circles, the general public still lacks general knowledge of IDPs as services. Thus, the impact of these services on artists in the Rotterdam area about how they see their value is the source of the analysis. The labor value theory by Marx was applied to the topics of the analysis, with the UTAUT2 theory regarding the technological nature of IDPs being used. The monopolization of the industry was also explored in the literature used in the analysis. To explore this, ten in-depth interviews were conducted to receive answers about the overall state of the music industry, artists' usages of IDPs, and how artists received and perceived their acquired value. After a thematic analysis, a few key concepts on the views of artists on the impact of IDPs on the field of music. Artist solidarity on the part of artists was a key insight generated from the analysis. Artists have endured a creative class consciousness. Alongside this, material conditions have changed in the current age in the industry, shifting to where artists must unite when facing the issues of equal exchange within the system. In a similar vein, artists depicted a clear need for IDPs. This was based on the current paradigm of hip-hop, which tends to not favor artists but labels in its industrial and production practices. A move towards independent services, through artists creating music at home or through a small network, has led to the services' increase in usage and acceptance by music makers. Suggestions for future research include mapping the industry out to better understand the connections within the industry as a whole to better see the chains of value and ownership in the field.

dr. Alexandre Diallo
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Luke Mendonca. (2023, August). Can’t Knock the Hustle. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from