Copyright Protection, Technological Change, and the Quality of New Products: Evidence from Recorded Music since Napster
AbstractRecent technological changes may have altered the balance between technology and copyright law for digital products. While file-sharing has reduced revenue, other technological changes have reduced the costs of bringing creative works to market. As a result, we don’t know whether the effective copyright protection currently available provides adequate incentives to bring forth a steady stream of valuable new products. This paper assesses the quality of new recorded music since Napster, using three independent approaches. The first is an index of the quantity of high-quality music based on critics’ retrospective lists. The second and third approaches rely directly on music sales and airplay data, respectively, using of the idea that if one vintage’s music is better than another’s, its superior quality should generate higher sales or greater airplay through time, after accounting for depreciation. The three resulting indices of vintage quality for the past half-century are both consistent with each other and with other historical accounts of recorded music quality. There is no evidence of a reduction in the quality of music released since Napster, and the two usage-based indices suggest an increase since 1999. Hence, researchers and policymakers thinking about the strength of copyright protection should supplement their attention to producer surplus with concern for consumer surplus as well.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17503.
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Joel Waldfogel, 2012. "Copyright Protection, Technological Change, and the Quality of New Products: Evidence from Recorded Music since Napster," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 715 - 740.
Note: IO LE
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Joel Waldfogel, 2012. "Copyright Protection, Technological Change, and the Quality of New Products: Evidence from Recorded Music since Napster," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 715 - 740.
- K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
- L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-10-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CIS-2011-10-22 (Confederation of Independent States)
- NEP-COM-2011-10-22 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-CUL-2011-10-22 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-INO-2011-10-22 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2011-10-22 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-LAW-2011-10-22 (Law & Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mortimer, Julie Holland & Nosko, Chris & Sorensen, Alan, 2012.
"Supply responses to digital distribution: Recorded music and live performances,"
Information Economics and Policy,
Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 3-14.
- Julie Holland Mortimer & Chris Nosko & Alan Sorensen, 2010. "Supply Responses to Digital Distribution: Recorded Music and Live Performances," NBER Working Papers 16507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Tyler Cowen, 2000. "Creative industries: contracts between art and commerce, by Caves, R.E. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2000, ix + 454 pp., $45.00 (cloth)," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 208-209.
- Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008.
"Against Intellectual Monopoly,"
122247000000002371, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Rob, Rafael & Waldfogel, Joel, 2006.
"Piracy on the High C's: Music Downloading, Sales Displacement, and Social Welfare in a Sample of College Students,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 29-62, April.
- Rafael Rob & Joel Waldfogel, 2004. "Piracy on the High C's: Music Downloading, Sales Displacement, and Social Welfare in a Sample of College Students," NBER Working Papers 10874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Connolly, Marie & Krueger, Alan B., 2006.
"Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music,"
Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture,
- Marie Connolly & Alan Krueger, 2005. "Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music," Working Papers 878, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Marie Connolly & Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music," NBER Working Papers 11282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joel Waldfogel, 2011. "Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie? The Supply of New Recorded Music Since Napster," NBER Working Papers 16882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Brett Danaher & Samita Dhanasobhon & Michael D. Smith & Rahul Telang, 2014.
"Understanding Media Markets in the Digital Age: Economics and Methodology,"
in: Economics of Digitization
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brett Danaher & Samita Dhanasobhon & Michael D. Smith & Rahul Telang, 2013. "Understanding Media Markets in the Digital Age: Economics and Methodology," NBER Working Papers 19634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bronwyn Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2014. "The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 375-423, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.