Date of Award

Winter 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Liberal Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Michael Albrecht


Theodor Adorno is an influential figure in cultural studies, philosophy, and musicology. However, a re-examination of Adorno's framework in the context of contemporary media studies is necessary because audio production and distribution technologies have changed dramatically since Adorno's time of writing. In this thesis, I apply Adorno's critical framework to the electronic artist Owl City. In doing so, I enhance Adorno's model of analysis in order to allow for both regressive and progressive interpretations of contemporary music culture. I argue that social media facilitate a more efficacious culture industry, and that digital media facilitate a progressive form of escaping from the culture industry's oppression.