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 10: More music is better music

Pelle Snickars

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


This chapter discusses the ways in which musical databases at streaming services are – or can potentially be – undermined either in computational form or via ingenious human actions. The main reason for purchasing manipulated promotion in the form of fake followers, likes or listeners are, for example, related to streaming services’ swelling back catalogue – of unheard music. One fifth of Spotify’s catalogue of 20 million songs haven’t once been listened to by anyone. Through different aggregators, content at streaming services and platforms are, thus, semi-open to contradictory forms of automated music, bot logics, fake listeners, various proxy deceits, piracy and even hacks. The chapter discusses how streaming services can become insubordinate if various forms of music automatization increase. The archival mode of online media, in short, runs the risk, or (depending on the perspective) has a techno-inherent ability to undermine classical notions of databases/archives/collections as trusted and secured repositories of material and/or cultural content.

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