Digital Revolution and Its Discontents: Thai “Underground Metal” Scene and Their Love-Hate Relationship with New Technologies

  • Athip Jittarerk


In this chapter, I propose that the impact of digital revolution is much more complicated than what “piracy studies” suggest that it would result in the great fall of the CD sales and the marked increase in live shows’ attendance that would compensate the loss from the decrease in CD sales making the overall effect economically good for the music business as a whole. Here, I present a case from a sector that also received enormous impact from this revolution, namely, “Thai underground metal scene” using the materials from my ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Bangkok from 2007 to 2011. I will show in the chapter that, in the process of digital revolution, total CD sales in Thai underground metal scene decreased, but the total show attendances did not increase at all. Digital revolution makes music production, in terms of recording being produced and shows being organized, increased unstoppably when consumption was relatively constant. Therefore, the assumption that there is a budget shift from recording to show is invalid. The greater complication was that the evaluation of the overall condition after the digital revolution from different factions of the scene differed and continues to do. The “for-profit” part of the scene thought this was disastrous as the scene was constantly flooded with “unqualified” bands that are even paying to play in the show, and they argued that the scene should be reformed so that good bands get good shows and get paid. On the contrary, the “not-for-profit” part of the scene thought about it more positively that the scene was then very healthy and not making money is totally acceptable as a part of the condition of being “underground.” In summary, digital revolution works differently in different scenes and the results of the revolution are judged differently even among the musicians in the same scene, depending on the value they give to musical production.


Social Network Site Underground Metal Digital Right Management Ticket Price Music Industry 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pathum ThaniThailand

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