David M. Arditi

Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Texas at Arlington

About David

Arditi’s research focuses on the intersection of culture and technology, with an emphasis on the music industry. Overarching themes in Arditi’s writings include labor exploitation, digital networks and streaming. Arditi just completed a manuscript on the role of record contracts in musicians’ lives. Arditi is currently working on a book about streaming culture (music, movies, television, video games, etc.). Arditi serves as the editor of the peer-reviewed journal Fast Capitalism, and founded a digital music archive entitled MusicDetour.


In the News

"How Record Contracts Exploit Musicians and How We Can Fix It," David M. Arditi, Opinion, The Tennessean, November 24, 2020.
"Billboard Plays Catch-Up to YouTube's Dominance," David M. Arditi, The Tennessean, March 9, 2020.
David M. Arditi's research on preserving local music culture discussed by "UTA Professor Works to Preserve Local Music," NBCDFW, October 27, 2019.
Guest to discuss demise of iTunes on Knowledge@Wharton, David M. Arditi, June 7, 2019.
David M. Arditi quoted on end of iTunes and rise of streaming by Daniel Arkin, "Apple is Nixing iTunes. The Fans — And the Haters — Bid Farewell" NBC News, June 3, 2019.
David M. Arditi's research on archiving of North Texas music discussed by Eric Grubbs, "A UTA Professor is Archiving the Dallas Music Scene," Central Track, May 21, 2019.
David M. Arditi's research on efforts to increase interest in local music discussed by Maxwell Hilliard, "Music Detour Employs Big Data to Promote Unsigned Bands," The Shorthorn, November 22, 2017.
"Out of Tune," David M. Arditi, UTA Inquiry, Fall 2015.


"Getting Signed Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society" (Palgrave, 2020).

Explores how ideology motivates aspiring musicians to sign even unfavorable contracts and obscures the reality of record contracts.

"iTake-Over the Recording Industry in the Streaming Era, 2nd Edition" (Roman and Littlefield, 2020).

Sheds light on the way large corporations appropriate new technology to maintain their market dominance in a capitalist system. Suggests an otherwise broader opposite perspective on the issue that digital music has diminished the power of major record labels.

"The Voice: Non-Disclosure Agreements and the Hidden Political Economy of Reality TV" Popular Communication 18, no. 2 (2020): 138-151.

Explores the way The Voice and other reality TV shows use non-disclosure agreements to hide labor practices. Finds that non-disclosure agreements allow producers to avoid paying contestants at the same time the show’s coaches earn millions per season.

"Music Everywhere: Setting a Digital Music Trap" Critical Sociology 45, no. 5 (2019): 617-630.

Notes with digitization and mobile technologies in tow, the consumption of music exploded. Finds music is now literally everywhere—but none of it is actually free. Argues that the digital music trap is an outgrowth of digital capitalism that commodifies our everyday existence.

The Dialectic of Digital Culture (edited with Jennifer Miller) (Lexington Books, 2019).

Explores ways the digital realm challenges and reproduces power. Provides innovative case studies of various phenomenon including #metoo, Etsy, mommy blogs, music streaming, sustainability, and net neutrality to reveal the reproduction of neoliberal cultural logics.

"Digital Subscriptions: The Unending Consumption of Music in the Digital Era" Popular Music and Society 41, no. 3 (2018): 302-318.

Finds the recording industry is changing from a business model dependent on the sale of commodities to a model based on subscriptions and streaming. Terms this model unending consumption because it traps music listeners in a cycle where they must continually subscribe to have access to music.

"iTunes: Breaking Barriers and Building Walls" Popular Music and Society 37, no. 4 (2014): 408-424.

Notes with the development of online music distribution, a number of authors argued that independent musicians could compete on equal ground with major record labels. Explores the effects that online distribution has had on distributing music to consumers. Argues that, through the development of iTunes, the major record labels have maintained the same advantages that they held through physical media distribution networks.

"iTake-Over: The Recording Industry in the Digital Era" (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014).

Sheds light on the way large corporations appropriate new technologies related to recording and distribution of audio material to maintain their market dominance in a capitalist system. Challenges the dominant discourse over digital music distribution, which has largely adopted the position that the recording industry has a legitimate claim to profitability at the detriment of a shared culture.