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Video Killed the Radio Star? Online Music Videos and Digital Music Sales

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  • Tobias Kretschmer
  • Christian Peukert

Abstract

Sampling poses an interesting problem in markets with experience goods. Free samples reveal product quality and help consumers to make informed purchase decisions (promotional effect). However, sampling may also induce consumers to substitute purchases with free consumption (displacement effect). We study this trade-o_ in the market for digital music where consumers can sample the quality of songs by watching free music videos online. Identification comes from a natural experiment in Germany, where virtually all videos that contain music are blocked on a popular video platform due to a legal dispute with representatives of the rights-holders. We show that promotional and displacement effects cancel out in the sales performance of individual songs, whereas online music videos trigger sales of albums.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1265.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1265

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Sampling; displacement; promotion; natural experiment;

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  1. David Dranove & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2010. "Quality Disclosure and Certification: Theory and Practice," NBER Working Papers 15644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J, 1981. "The Informational Role of Warranties and Private Disclosure about Product Quality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 461-83, December.
  3. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Catherine Tucker & Juanjuan Zhang, 2011. "How Does Popularity Information Affect Choices? A Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(5), pages 828-842, May.
  5. Ken Hendricks & Alan Sorensen, 2009. "Information and the Skewness of Music Sales," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 324-369, 04.
  6. Peitz, Martin & Waelbroeck, Patrick, 2006. "Why the music industry may gain from free downloading -- The role of sampling," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 907-913, September.
  7. Franklin Allen, 1984. "Reputation and Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 311-327, Autumn.
  8. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Duncan Simester, 2011. "Goodbye Pareto Principle, Hello Long Tail: The Effect of Search Costs on the Concentration of Product Sales," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(8), pages 1373-1386, August.
  9. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  10. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
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