An audience in the studio – the effect of the Artistshare fan-funding platform on creation, performance, recording and production

Mark Thorley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Before the era of recorded music, the performer and their audience had a direct connection principally because they sat in the same room. The audience could show appreciation with various measures of enthusiasm, be non-committal or even ignore a performance. The performer could also respond to the audience immediately with their performance, or at a later date in developing new works to satisfy the audience. The invention of the Phonograph altered this relationship completely by breaking the link of time and space. Eisenberg (2005:129-30) notes the profound effect of the Phonograph, stating ‘the audience is not there…[is] the flip side of the fact that, for the listener, the performer is not there’. The concept of what Eisenberg calls ‘music as a commodity’ has therefore meant isolation of the performer from their audience.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal on the Art of Record Production
    Issue numberTechnology, Time and Place
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012

    Bibliographical note

    This article is freely available to view online by the publisher Association for the Study of the Art of Record Production (ASARP). It can be viewed at Author's note:Significance -
    New technological platforms are allowing musicians to forego the traditional record company model and instead, get their audience or fans to fund their projects. This shift in operation is changing the relationship between musicians and their audience in such a way not seen since the invention of the Phonograph. This emerging way of working offers distinct advantages (control, ownership etc.) but its adoption throws up many issues , most notably the question of how the change will impact upon their work. As this is such a new field, very little research has been done on the subject. There is related research such as that on the change in music consumption (Kusek and Leonard 2005), legal aspects of digital music distribution (Sparrow 2006), and ‘how to’ books such as Ashurst’s ‘Stuff the Music Business (2006).However whilst useful, they give no consideration as to how the recording or performing artist should gain either working capital or cultural capital from their audience. For this reason, the work is highly significant to the academic and business communities.
    This paper as well as being published in the Journal for the Art of Record Production (issue #7 ‘Technology, Time and Space) was also presented at the Art of Record Production Conference in San Francisco in December 2011. It has been put forward to be included in the International Association of Recorded Music (IASPM) 17th Biennial Conference at the Universidad de Oviedo (Spain) in June 2013. Rigour -
    As the paper aims to examine how creation, performance, recording and production are effected by one of the new platforms (Artistshare), the views of musicians and artists using it are crucial. For this reason, the paper utilises a qualitative methodology to discover the effect on those artists sampled. As such, it offers a real, up to the minute view of the effects only uncovered through primary research. It also puts the findings in the context of established work on music consumption, music production, audience theory (Uses and Gratifications Theory, Active Audience Theory etc.).
    Originality -
    Though the concepts of fan-funding or crowd-sourcing have gained extensive interest, this is the first published work to examine the effect of the fan-funding model on the creative work of a group of musicians or recording artists.


    • Crowd-funding
    • Crowd-sourcing
    • Music
    • recording


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