Systemic Disruption of the Music Industry by Independent Artists: Chance the Rapper and the Power of Social Capital


In the rapidly evolving landscape of the music industry, the struggle for financial success and cultural relevance is amplified for African American artists. Utilizing a systems approach, this case presents an in-depth case study of Chance the Rapper to explore the complex interplay between economic, cultural, and social factors that govern the industry. Drawing from interdisciplinary perspectives, including economics, sociology, and cultural studies, the study reveals mechanisms through which the industry perpetuates economic inequality, racial disparity, and consumerism. Focused on the intersectionality of these issues, we discuss how the industry manipulates cultural capital and strategically controls narratives. The case serves as a catalyst for further scholarly investigation and calls for a reevaluation of how we perceive success and wealth in the modern music industry. Student learners have a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how the music industry was created as a system and appreciate the groundbreaking ways independent artists are disrupting it.

This case was prepared for inclusion in Sage Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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