Chapter 5 : What Technology is disrupting the music industry — understanding the role of persuasive technology that drive’s XR music consumer habits.

Mark Ashmore
6 min readMar 22, 2022


In this chapter we will explore the role of technology and how this is being applied to persuade consumers to alter how they consume and experience music and how this affects the music industry.

We start In the mid 20th century and observe the role of ‘chart positions’ in the ‘Billboard 100’ in the USA and the UK ‘Top 40’ and how these were water cooler staples of 20th century music culture.

But with the advent of digital music consumer habits, this linear chart based cultural identifier was blown apart by the Napster generation into millions of fragmented subcultures.

Napster gave Apple the opportunity to persuade the music industry that they could stop piracy with a 79p download, which led to the birth of the internet age digital music revolution, giving us iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify etc, which would then lead us to the so called metaverse and free to play video game technology and immersive XR gigs in video games such as Fortnite and Roblox.

In this chapter we will explore how the consumer was persuaded to consume music in new ways and how XR technology increases the role of using computers to change what we think and do.

Defining Persuasion

Persuasive technology, using computers to change what we think and do (B.J Fogg 2003) is an important foundational text for understanding the age of XR music and social media.

Published in 2003, (B.J Fogg) Persuasive Technology lays out the foundations for understanding how to use computers to change human behaviour, and was written from the authors perspective, the authors viewpoint is that if you have the knowledge of ‘how to’ then you can spot it, stop it and perhaps use the knowledge of persuasive technology for the public good.

In 2022 we find ourselves a full decade within the age of social media, and half a decade since the wide spread use of the word ‘fake news’ as a rally cry for mis-information, a word loaded with Orwellian meta undertones of ‘double speak’ .

At times we find ourselves closer to Orwell's 1984 than we would realise — or do we ? what persuasive technology has been used to make your author here think that? This question won’t be answered in this chapter, but as the author, I wanted to make you detach briefly from my text, to think about the very nature of persuasion.

And so we begin to explore this chapter.

its important to note the difference between persuasion and coercion, terms that are sometimes confused. Coercion implies force; while it may change behaviours, it is not the same as persuasion, which implies voluntary change — in behaviour, attitude, or both (B.J Fogg 2003)

To focus this chapter, I am going to explore the following area’s and themes which will lead me to a summary and conclusion within this chapter, giving the reader the understanding to tackle Chapter 6.

Firstly I will explore the past, and how history has shown how technological disruption in the music industry and been perceived in the past, and explore how these technological milestones have used computers and digital technology to change the way we interact, consume and how our relationship with music and the artists that perform and create has changed with the digital revolution.

I will then explore via a case study, how Fortnite uses persuasive technology and the music industry to generate revenues from its walled digital play space and how this is influencing the way that competitor XR spaces are re-evaluating there approach to play spaces and music consumption and the reasons behind this shift.

This will lead me to a summary, where I can create a hypothesis for potentially how the future might look, and the milestones required to arrive there.

Part 1 — Understanding the past.

1 — The pre digital age… The charts — Gamification of the music industry — the role of physical products and how chart tables influence culture (Billboard 100 and UK Top40)

As we have explored in the previous chapter ?? — the music industry of the pre-internet age, was based around sales of a physical music recorded product, the physical live performance at a gig or festival, to sell tickets and merchandise, or creating a revenue stream from the influence an artists brand has in the market place — Michael Jackson and his tie in with Pepsi for example, Elvis, The Beatles and Madonna’s acting career’s for example.

from the 1950s through to the 2000s, Music industry revenues are created and are in the favour of the record industry, the music industry of the 20th century revolved around the production of replica factory based music records, CDs, tapes and related merchandise and to sell this physical goods this operation as we have seen runs alongside a glossy marketing department, who’s PR service is to create news stories and multi-million pound music videos which have to be bigger, bolder and more lavish than the music video that proceeds it on MTV, all competing in a chart based economy.

The music industry machine of the pre-internet age, required a considerable workforce, multi-million pound budgets, and a network of talented music managers to launch musicians as products into the mainstream, all vying for that No1 position on the Billboard 100 or UK Top 40.

So lets explore the role of the Charts and its role in the 20th century music industry and why this was the way to run the music industry for over 50 years.


Explore the role of MEDIA and how this was used to influence consumer choice in the age of the charts — what can we learn from this approach.

  • Marketing

The Role of MTV

Broadcast media and music — The role of MTV as a means of persuasive media — music videos and pay to play — not a level playing field — How Youtube came to disrupt MTV, which began to lead us to the social media age.

The Role of Napster

How Napster turned music into data, and how Apple realised they could solve a problem and own a space , the 79p download— how apple owned the music industry for a short time — which then spawned Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, Wave, Etc..

Part 2 — The present

1 — Music and the role of social graphs and algorithms in social media.

Look at Tik Tok, Fortnite, Instagram, Spotify explain how these work and fit into your critical thinking

2 — The Video game industry and the ‘free to play model’ — in game purchases, and the role of music concerts in the ‘so called’ metaverse.

3 — We attend a FORTNITE GIG — Netnography / case study

When discovering new music, social media platforms are the dominant force as cultural spaces for music fans to connect, share and discuss musical artists.

But listening, fandom and the relationship between audience and musician is changing.

Fans are no longer just passive consumers, they also wish to participant as a fan in this digital cultural space as a part of the creative process.

With YouTube and Spotify being the virtual equivalent of the record shop, gig space, radio station and fan enabled recording studio rolled into one, the audience’s relationship with an artist’s music has been altered by these new musical business gatekeepers.

Since 2019 video game technology, with games such as Fortnite and Roblox, have started to take the most popular streamers (Artists) from Spotify, and create time and place mass participation gigs inside their video game spaces.

Artists such as Travis Scott, have played in Fortnite and Lil Nas X has played in Roblox.

These virtual gigs, inside video game ‘metaverses’, have been attended by over 30 million fans from around the world, and shared and re-broadcast through social media.

All this taking place with a global Covid 19 pandemic raging across the world in 2020/2021 with traditional music venues in real reality (RR) closed.

Part 3 — Conclusion and Thoughts on the future of this area.



Mark Ashmore

Mark Ashmore is a Ph.D Researcher at LJMU and founder of Future Artists - He writes about Computer Science, the Arts and Entertainment - He is also Dyslexic