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  • Subject Name : Music

The Effect of Digital Sharing Technologies on Music Markets

Music industry has faced financially devastating consequences due to the shift in the use of music industry and the need to keep up with the changing times. Music is an art that forms the integral part of societies throughout the world and is considered as food for the soul. Bob Marley once said, “ One good thing about music, is that when it hits you, you feel no pain.” For Americans digital music has become the new soundtrack (DiMA, 2008). The digital age has altered the view of consumers and producers towards music. This paper discusses how Music Business has alterned with the emergence of new digital era and how the industry takes up the challenge while producing revenue to sustain.

The introduction of revolutionary means of listening to music on MP3 player brought about real growth in 1998. The MP3, iPods, etc made it easier to enjoy music, it took up way less space and the quality of the audio was still intact. The rise in technology resulted in pirated music and free sharing of music amongst peers which harmed the music industry (Valisno, 2009). To tackle such acts, online stores like iTunes were developed (Gopal, Lertwachara, Marsden & Telang, 2007). In 2008, 40 billion music files were said to be illegally shared (Valisno, 2009) which was financially devastating for the music industry. The Recording Industry Association of America states that total loss from street piracy along with online piracy amounts to a total of $12.5 billion worldwide. Due to such losses, new talents are not given an opportunity as record companies prefer to work with artists who are already working in the industry. The consumers value the artists more than the music itself, the sample music of such artists proves to be more beneficial. Consumers are more likely to sample first rather than purchasing the music directly ( Gopal and Bhattacarjee, 2006). The illegal sharing of music has led to formation of organizations which help in protecting the work of artists, producers and the whole team. Low music sample costs would actually drive the consumer into buying the music of the artists as well as ensuing artists. Researchers believe that the step that needs to be taken is to provide easy access for consumer to buy music online rather than downloading illegally ( Gopal and Bhattacharjee, 2006). Earlier the internet was considered as a tool to promote new artists and albums but now it is used for online advertising revenues, selling artist merchandise, providing tickets for concerts online. The pre-sale exclusive offers provide a huge revenue as now with emerging use of the internet, it is easy to get access of music before it is even out in stores. The goal is to reach out to as many potential customers as you can by using the present technologies (Shih Ray Ku, 2002). The new era is even helping the artists themselves in promoting their music and their albums which helps in reducing the ownership of copyright by labels (Halonen-Akatwijuka and Regner, 2004). Earlier, label companies used to promote the artist’s work and distribute them but now as the artists are becoming more and more tech savvy label companies are losing their source of income. There are certain ways by which a person can discover music online, 1st being a suggestion from a friend to listen to music that they think you might like. Second, when consumers find artist’s work through links and curated playlists. Third where one accidently discovers an artist while browsing the internet, and Fourth where music bloggers, critiques or people in general share the music they like by making a playlist according to the genres or promote their favourite artists on their page. All of these methods can help the artists to make revenue and use the internet to its full potential. Artists are now controlling their distribution, promotion and have become independent of the people who got a part in the profit generated from their work (Grove, 1999). Popular social media sites help in widening an artist’s community (Peters, 2008). The artists can promote themselves even without leaving their homes and their comfort zones creating a bigger fan base than ever. This helps even the new comers, the already famous artists can help new comers in promotion of their work (Halonen- Akatwijuka and Regner, 2004). Artists are able to sell their records both on-line and physically through stores. New apps like Spotify, Tidal help in streaming of music. It provides free use of music but with a paid membership. Streaming is the new source of income for the music industry. It provides steady and passive income which even protects the copyright of artists. Emergence of smartphones and other speaker devices have also led people into buying subscriptions from streaming sites (How the music industry has been revived by the digital age 2020). Artists not only generate revenue from selling their work online but also through selling their merchandise, through tutorials, through webinars, etc. Digitalization creates unlimited souces of income for artists and the music industry as a whole.

Reference for Music Business/Industry in Digital Age

Bhattacharjee, Sudip, Ram D. Gopal, Kaveepan Lertwachara, James R. Marsden, and Rahul Telang. “The Effect of Digital Sharing Technologies on Music Markets: A Survival Analysis on Albums on Ranking Charts.” Management Science 53.9 (2007): 1359-374. Print.

DiMA - Who We Are n.d., Digital Media Association, viewed 7 October 2020, <https://dima.org/?option=com_content&view=article&id=145%3Amodernizi>

 “For Students Doing Reports.” RIAA. Web. 19 Apr. 2010.

Gopal, Ram D., and Sudip Bhattacharjee. “Do Artists Benefit from Online Music Sharing.” The Journal of Business 79.3 (2006): 1503-530. Print

 Grove, A. (Jan. 1999) Digital Entertainment: Mixing It Up. Red Herring.

Halonen-Akatwijuka, Maija, and Tobias Regner. “The Music Industry in the Digital Age: Higher Quality and a Better Deal for Aspiring Musicians.” JSTOR. 5 Apr. 2004. Web. 8 Mar. 2010.

Ku, Raymond Shih Ray. “The Creative Destruction of Copyright: Napster and the New Economics of Digital Technology.” The University of Chicago Law Review 69.1 (2002): 263-70. Print.

Valisno, Jeffrey O. “Saving Filipino Music by Going Online.” LexisNexis. 13 Feb. 2009. Web. 8 Mar. 2010.

What’s The Download -- Information on Legal Music Downloads and Filesharing. Web. 21 Apr. 2010.

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