Business Innovation and Disruption in the Music Industry
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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.
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Chapter 7: The Chinese music industries: top down in the bottom-up age

Guy Morrow and Fangjun Li


The Chinese government has greatly influenced the process of innovation within China’s music industries through its censorship, on the one hand, and direct policy and investment, on the other. Therefore, in this chapter ‘top down’, in the case of China, refers to governmental policy, investment and censorship, rather than a hierarchical recording industry structure that is dominated by major labels. This form of top-down control contrasts starkly with the emergent ‘bottom-up’ paradigm that has arisen in a number of countries in the West because of the internet. The interests of ‘cultural soft power’ are the main drivers behind the government’s top-down investment in the creative industries and, when combined with a virtual copyright anarchy and the intense scrutiny of governmental censorship, China has developed a unique brand of music industries innovation.

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