Business Innovation and Disruption in the Music Industry

Business Innovation and Disruption in the Music Industry

Edited by Patrik Wikström and Robert DeFillippi

Over the past fifteen years the music industry has experienced a disruptive process of digital transformation that has reshaped most aspects of the industry; in 2015 the contours of a “new music economy” have begun to emerge. The structure and mechanics of these evolutionary processes vary considerably between continents, and this book examines these processes within Europe, America and Asia. The contributors offer a range of theoretical perspectives, as well as empirical findings from the social sciences and business, as well as the media industries. They offer a holistic understanding of the forces shaping the new music economy, and shed some light on the impact of these forces on the ways in which music is created, aggregated and distributed, and on the economic and social consequences for industry producers and consumers.

Chapter 2: Back in black: rethinking core competencies of the recorded music industry

Holly Tessler

Subjects: business and management, knowledge management, organisational innovation, innovation and technology, knowledge management, organisational innovation


This chapter looks at key changes within the recorded music industry over the last 20 years. Looking specifically at the implications of (1) key legal rulings and (2) the nature of 360 degree deals, the chapter argues that the recorded music sector has been undergoing a transformational process, rethinking its core competencies and developing strategic partnerships throughout the music and creative industries, moving away from a model based almost exclusively on consumer sales and towards one based on a range of business-to-business partnerships across the creative industries. In this regard, the recorded music sector can be seen as adapting rather than collapsing in the face of industrial upheaval. It has shifted from an industry that sells records to an industry that sells cultural brands, or narratives, often via the medium of recorded music. Strategic alliances with firms within other sectors of the music industries and indeed from across all sectors of the creative industries have enabled record labels (or ‘music companies’) to extend the reach of music across multiple media and across multiple platforms in a way that is not only financially pragmatic but also culturally resonant within contemporary popular culture.

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