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 3: Crisis and creative destruction: new modes of appropriation in the twenty-first century music industry

Jim Rogers and Paschal Preston

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


This chapter examines some of the fundamental ways that the music industry has reconfigured its core activities and internal structures in the context of a changing (and challenging) technological environment. After assessing the background to the growth experienced by the record industry in the 1990s, we proceed to summarize and critique accounts of ‘crisis’ that characterized much twenty-first century commentary on the sector. Understanding how the music industry has responded to the decline of its traditional ‘cashcow’ (record sales) involves examining developments across the breadth of music industry sectors. Here, drawing upon a recent empirical-level study in the Irish context, we unpack the increasing shift to the licensing of music services and brands across a multitude of platforms and outlets. With labels reconceiving themselves as music ‘partners’, multi-rights deals have become standard across the industry whereby they acquire the legal rights to exploit a vast range of revenue opportunities deriving from the recording artist. Such arrangements represent acute structural and organizational change that ultimately bolsters and maintains well-established networks of power within the music industry. We also argue that the ramifications arising from such developments are significant for the social function of music per se.

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