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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