Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Prof. Dave Clark

Second Advisor

Dr. Louie Hehman


This paper is a survey of modern American copyright law and an analysis of its effectiveness in the digital age through the use of grounded theory research practices, including a review of precedent and history of copyright law and interviews of jazz musicians that have varied levels of experience in different positions throughout the industry. Since music has become a commodity, it has needed to be protected by the law to ensure that musicians are paid fairly for the consumption of their work. Before the modern era, musicians made their living predominantly from record, tape, and CD sales, making concert tickets and licensed merchandise much cheaper. Now, though, is the time of streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and Soundcloud, which allow users to listen to all music on their platform for free with ads, or uninterrupted at the price of a subscription fee. It is a great opportunity for listeners to hear their favorite artists and songs whenever is most convenient for them. However, these services offer very little compensation to the artists whose art they have on their platform, many times less than a penny for every time their song is played.