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The nature, cause and trajectory of emerging business models in the digital music sector: opportunities for specialised musicians

Daniel, A 2010, The nature, cause and trajectory of emerging business models in the digital music sector: opportunities for specialised musicians, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The nature, cause and trajectory of emerging business models in the digital music sector: opportunities for specialised musicians
Author(s) Daniel, A
Year 2010
Abstract This study explores how digitisation is changing the music sector, specifically:
1. How the music market is evolving and whether current changes are structural, cyclical or indicate a sustained demise;
2. How the major labels might respond to these changes and placing changes in the music industry in context. Disruptions that have taken place previously in the music sector and the response of the dominant market incumbents reveal themes for change and defence of market control, or competitive strategies;
3. The inclination and ability of musicians to perform business activities; and
4. Emerging business models in the music industry.

Despite reports proclaiming the ‘death’ of the music industry, a market review found that demand for music continues and thrives, despite its dispersion across multiple channels. With that encouragement, the changes arising from digital innovations need to be placed in context because they are destabilising the dominant music businesses (major labels). A historical scan of disruptions in the music sector, and the response of the dominant market incumbents revealed themes for change and defence of market control, or competitive strategies. It highlighted there will always be dominant entities in the music sector while there is a mass market for ‘mainstream’ music, because a mass market requires mass market operators, whose influence tends to dominate the market. The major labels are the current incumbents, however this may change. Their power within the sector is eroding as the market fragments, and other sector incumbents may emerge.

A literature review highlighted that musicians may not maximise their financial and experiential potential in the traditional mainstream music business system, which involves signing to a major label. For this reason the study was refined towards musicians who deliver specialist, niche music. Such musicians may attain mass-market status, however their music tends to be of a specialised style as opposed to mainstream music released by the major labels. In the current environment emerging digital services and products have been identified that may be used by specialised musicians who are not signed to major labels. By using a selection of emerging digital tools, they may enjoy sustainable careers outside of the major label system. Musicians who self-manage were identified, but this study concluded they prefer to use advisors (for example, legal, accounting and management support).

In conclusion this study finds that:
1. The market for music exists, albeit it is undergoing structural change;
2. Emerging products and services may enable musicians to sustain careers outside of the major label system; but
3. Musicians are not inclined towards self-management.
These findings indicate emerging new business models for specialised musicians.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Graduate School of Business and Law
Keyword(s) digital music
business models
musicians
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Created: Tue, 16 Nov 2010, 16:56:11 EST