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date: 02 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how the music creators group Fair Trade Music International (FTMI) applies the ethos and methods of Fair Trade in attempts to reform how, and how much, music creators are paid for digital music sales. The term “Fair Trade” has since the 1980s become synonymous with “ethical consumerism,” a set of ideals and practices that seek to mitigate the deleterious effects of “unethical” capitalism. Yet the overall effects of “ethical consumerism” itself are debatable: on the one hand, it often improves the material conditions of producers, especially in the “global south.” On the other hand, it does so within—and therefore reinforces—the existing political-economic structures that produce what it seeks to mitigate. How does this paradox manifest in the context of digital music sales?

Keywords: fair trade music, ethnomusicology, ethical consumption, digital music, consumerism

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