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Selling Digital Music: Business Models for Public Goods

Author

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  • Jens Leth Hougaard

    (Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Mich Tvede

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

This paper considers the market for digital music. We claim that the combination of the MP3 format and peer-to-peer networks has made music non-excludable and this feature is essential for the understanding of the economics of the music market. We study optimal business models for selling non-excludable goods and show that despite promising theoretical results, adding just a slight uncertainty about the number of customers has significant negative implications for profitability. Indeed, as the average number of customers tends to infinity the average payment per customer converges to zero. Therefore, the music industry should concentrate on alternative ways of creating profit such as selling access to listeners, concerts, merchandise, ringtones etc.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Leth Hougaard & Mich Tvede, 2009. "Selling Digital Music: Business Models for Public Goods," Discussion Papers 09-19, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0919
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Takeyama, Lisa N, 1994. "The Welfare Implications of Unauthorized Reproduction of Intellectual Property in the Presence of Demand Network Externalities," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 155-166, June.
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    5. Sudip Bhattacharjee & Ram D. Gopal & Kaveepan Lertwachara & James R. Marsden & Rahul Telang, 2007. "The Effect of Digital Sharing Technologies on Music Markets: A Survival Analysis of Albums on Ranking Charts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(9), pages 1359-1374, September.
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    11. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    digital music; experience good; public good; music industry; piracy;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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