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 8: Slicing the pie: the search for an equitable recorded music economy

Aram Sinnreich

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


Business models for recorded music have diversified and changed radically in the first decades of the twenty-first century, and industry stakeholders including artists, composers, labels, publishers, broadcasters and distributors are all scrambling to grow – or at least to maintain – their ‘slices of the pie.’ In this chapter, I present a nonpartisan analysis of past, current and proposed methods of dividing revenues in the US marketplace, with the aim to clarify exactly what’s at stake, and for whom, and to correct and counteract some of the more vitriolic and less accurate rhetoric that has governed the public debate of these issues thus far. I also provide a side-by-side comparison of the economic rewards for creators, as well as the cultural rewards and economic costs for consumers, of music distributed via various channels.

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