Emily Mulder

Temples of Sound: How new media and the digital revolution have changed the structure of “cult” in the music industry

As new media models overtake the traditional, the speed, reach and constant metamorphosis of content has revolutionized the creative industries, particularly the music industry. The purpose of this research is to explore what these new variables mean to the modern day incarnation of an age-old phenomenon: the cult following.

Cult audiences, fringe culture, and the blurring of lines between niche and mainstream artist identities are all things that have changed alongside the digital revolution. Does the hyper-compartmentalization of social media and methods by which people now obtain music mean that every audience can now be classified as ‘cult?’

The aim of the research is to develop the notion that cultic characteristics now exist within the contexts of genre, content, audiences and participant behavior, as well as in the business practices that are setting new benchmarks in what constitutes success in the music industry.