The Cultural Capital Project: Radical Monetization of the Music Industry


  • Brian Fauteux University of Wisconsin-Madison Member: IASPM-US and IASPM-Canada
  • Ian Dahlman McGill University
  • Andrew deWaard University of California, Los Angeles



digital music industry, cultural capital, intellectual property, copyright, stewardship


The fundamental flaw of previous attempts to monetize digital music has been the industry’s insistence on treating music solely as a commodity. The digital revolution demands music be shared culture, and successful monetization will require music be treated as such. This article outlines the ideas behind Cultural Capital, a collaborative research project that explores the theoretical trajectories, legal ramifications and technical components involved in creating a non-profit patronage system uniting musicians and fans. Cultural Capital operates on three fronts: first, a social network of user-generated listening and sharing habits; second, opt-in tracking software that harvests the musical consumption of users, then facilitates equitable compensation to creators; third, a legal intervention aiming to provide a legitimate space for the digital consumption of music. Incorporating the multitude of individuals who propel the cultural industries, this essay argues for establishing a ‘radical monetization’ of the music industry based on connectivity and sharing.

Author Biographies

Brian Fauteux, University of Wisconsin-Madison Member: IASPM-US and IASPM-Canada

Brian Fauteux is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, researching radio, music, and sound. He recently completed his doctorate in Communication Studies at Concordia University.

Ian Dahlman, McGill University

Ian Dahlman is a B.C.L/LL.B student at the Faculty of Law, McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He holds a Master of Arts in Communication and Culture from the joint programme at York University and Ryerson University. His thesis work, "'A Big, Beautiful Mess': Collectivity, Capitalism, Arts & Crafts and Broken Social Scene," explored collective approaches to creating and selling music through an ethnographic study of the Toronto-based band Broken Social Scene and their record label Arts & Crafts. He currently works in the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill.

Andrew deWaard, University of California, Los Angeles

Andrew deWaard is a PhD student and Chancellor’s Fellowship recipient at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Cinema and Media Studies program. He has just completed the co-authored manuscript entitled The Cinema of Steven Soderbergh: indie sex, corporate lies and digital videotape for Columbia University Press. His most recent publications concern Spike Lee and cinematic authorship, Radiohead and the digital music industry, and melodrama and the ‘hood film.


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