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Digital Technology And The Allocation Of Ownership In The Music Industry

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  • Tobias Regner
  • Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka

Abstract

This paper analyses the innovation process of music goods from an organisational point of view and the effects of digital technology on the allocation of property rights. We apply the property rights theory framework introduced by Grossman-Hart-Moore (GHM) to the music industry and study the contractual relationship between artists who create music and labels who promote and distribute it. In the spirit of GHM, different types of ownership structures are analysed. The result confirms the current allocation of property rights as it suggests that music labels, whose role in the production process is indispensable due to their promotion and distribution knowledge, should own the copyright. However as digital technology advances further, alternative ways to promote and distribute music develop - labels become less indispensable. We find scenarios where the incumbent ownership structure ceases to be optimal. Moreover, we discuss new organisational structures of the music industry. We introduce a mentor, an alternative intermediary to the label and analyse its effect on the optimal allocation of ownership. Our main result is that label ownership becomes less likely.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Royal Economic Society in its series Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 with number 54.

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Date of creation: 17 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2004:54

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  1. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. David de Meza & Ben Lockwood, 2003. "Appropriability, Investment Incentives and the Property Rights Theory of the Firm," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 03/068, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
  4. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
  6. Richard E. Caves, 2003. "Contracts Between Art and Commerce," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(2), pages 73-83, Spring.
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