The ethics of musicians

Jette Kjeldgaard Jacobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The music industry struggles in the face of digital piracy and the loss of revenues threatens jobs and further investment in music. Although piracy is causing massive harm to the music industry, it seems that even people within the creative industries pirate. In the light of this it would be interesting to see how the musicians, who are themselves so affected by piracy, personally relate to this act. This study is concerned with how professional musicians discriminate between acquiring music legally or illegally. The considerations of these professional musicians were investigated through the use of an ethical decision making model. The model incorporates both the importance of norms and values as well as the various consequences which may be derived from the choice. In analyzing the empirical material it is clear that both of these guiding elements affect the decision making. The norms and values that affect the musicians are derived from different levels and vary in their influence. The consequences considered also vary in terms of their severity and their influence is also highly situational. In the end I conclude that the professional musicians are affected by norms, which do not condone the illegal alternative. However these norms represent a moral grey area, in which there are no consequences of a violation, hence the norms are not a deciding factor in themselves. The consequences are the most influential determining factors in the decision making process and the consequences of the illegal alternative are the most desirable ones. I also found that the musicians are affected by their profession in terms of both professional respect and an emotional attachment. These considerations, as well as various levels of proximity, are effective although situational factors which induce the professional musicians to choose the legal alternative.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages97