Introduction to "Business innovation and disruption in the music industry"

Wikstrom, Patrik & DeFillippi, Robert (2016) Introduction to "Business innovation and disruption in the music industry". In Wikstrom, Patrik & DeFillippi, Robert (Eds.) Business Innovation and Disruption in the Music Industry. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

Similar to most other creative industries, the evolution of the music industry is heavily shaped by media technologies. This was equally true in 1999, when the global recorded music industry had experienced two decades of continuous growth largely driven by the rapid transition from vinyl records to Compact Discs. The transition encouraged avid music listeners to purchase much of their music collections all over again in order to listen to their favourite music with ‘digital sound’. As a consequence of this successful product innovation, recorded music sales (unit measure) more than doubled between the early 1980s and the end of the 1990s. It was with this backdrop that the first peer-to-peer file sharing service was developed and released to the mainstream music market in 1999 by the college student Shawn Fanning. The service was named Napster and it marks the beginning of an era that is now a classic example of how an innovation is able to disrupt an entire industry and make large swathes of existing industry competences obsolete. File sharing services such as Napster, followed by a range of similar services in its path, reduced physical unit sales in the music industry to levels that had not been seen since the 1970s. The severe impact of the internet on physical sales shocked many music industry executives who spent much of the 2000s vigorously trying to reverse the decline and make the disruptive technologies go away. At the end, they learned that their efforts were to no avail and the impact on the music industry proved to be transformative, irreversible and, to many music industry professionals, also devastating. Thousands of people lost their livelihood, large and small music companies have folded or been forced into mergers or acquisitions. But as always during periods of disruption, the past 15 years have also been very innovative, spurring a plethora of new music business models. These new business models have mainly emerged outside the music industry and the innovators have been often been required to be both persuasive and persistent in order to get acceptance from the risk-averse and cash-poor music industry establishment. Apple was one such change agent that in 2003 was the first company to open up a functioning and legal market for online music. iTunes Music Store was the first online retail outlet that was able to offer the music catalogues from all the major music companies; it used an entirely novel pricing model, and it allowed consumers to de-bundle the music album and only buy the songs that they actually liked. Songs had previously been bundled by physical necessity as discs or cassettes, but with iTunes Music Store, the institutionalized album bundle slowly started to fall apart. The consequences had an immediate impact on music retailing and within just a few years, many brick and mortar record stores were forced out of business in markets across the world. The transformation also had disruptive consequences beyond music retailing and redefined music companies’ organizational structures, work processes and routines, as well as professional roles. iTunes Music Store in one sense was a disruptive innovation, but it was at the same time relatively incremental, since the major labels’ positions and power structures remained largely unscathed. The rights holders still controlled their intellectual properties and the structures that guided the royalties paid per song that was sold were predictable, transparent and in line with established music industry practices.

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ID Code: 89179
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Music industry, Digital disruption, Business models
ISBN: 9781783478149
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Innovation and Technology Management (150307)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Digital Media Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Edward Elgar
Deposited On: 16 Oct 2015 03:47
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 00:06

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