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An economic analysis of online streaming. How the music industry can generate revenues from cloud computing

  • Thomes, Tim Paul

This paper investigates the upcoming business model of online streaming services allowing music consumers either to subscribe to a service which provides free-of-charge access to streaming music and which is funded by advertising, or to pay a monthly flat fee in order to get ad-free access to the content of the service accompanied with additional benefits. By imposing a two-sided market model on the one hand combined with a direct transaction between the streaming service and its flat-rate subscribers on the other hand, the investigation shows that it can be highly profitable to launch a business which is free-of-charge for subscribers if advertising imposes a weak nuisance to music consumers. If this is the case, and by imposing an endogenously determined level of advertising which is provided by homogeneous advertisers, we find that a monopolistic streaming service increases the price for its flat-rate subscribers in order to stimulate free-of-charge demand and to capture higher revenues from advertisers. An extension of the model by illegal file-sharing shows that an increase in copyright enforcement shifts rents from music consumers to the monopolist.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 11-039.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11039
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  1. Gayer, Amit & Shy, Oz, 2003. "Internet and peer-to-peer distributions in markets for digital products," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 197-203, November.
  2. Liebowitz, Stan J, 2006. "File Sharing: Creative Destruction or Just Plain Destruction?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 1-28, April.
  3. BELLEFLAMME, Paul & PEITZ, Martin, 2010. "Digital piracy : theory," CORE Discussion Papers 2010060, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Rochet, Jean-Charles & Tirole, Jean, 2003. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," IDEI Working Papers 152, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Alan B. Krueger, 2005. "The Economics of Real Superstars: The Market for Rock Concerts in the Material World," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
  6. Bhattacharjee, Sudip & Gopal, Ram D & Lertwachara, Kaveepan & Marsden, James R, 2006. "Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 91-114, April.
  7. Ben Shiller & Joel Waldfogel, 2009. "Music for a Song: An Empirical Look at Uniform Song Pricing and its Alternatives," NBER Working Papers 15390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Peitz, Martin & Valletti, Tommaso, 2004. "Content and Advertising in the Media: Pay-TV versus Free-To-Air," CEPR Discussion Papers 4771, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. ANDERSON, Simon P. & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J., 2005. "The media and advertising : a tale of two-sided markets," CORE Discussion Papers 2005088, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Choi, Jay Pil, 2006. "Broadcast competition and advertising with free entry: Subscription vs. free-to-air," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 181-196, June.
  11. Regner, Tobias & Barria, Javier A., 2009. "Do consumers pay voluntarily? The case of online music," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 395-406, August.
  12. Simon P. Anderson & Stephen Coate, 2005. "Market Provision of Broadcasting: A Welfare Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 947-972.
  13. Duchene, Anne & Waelbroeck, Patrick, 2006. "The legal and technological battle in the music industry: Information-push versus information-pull technologies," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 565-580, December.
  14. Novos, Ian E & Waldman, Michael, 1984. "The Effects of Increased Copyright Protection: An Analytic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 236-46, April.
  15. 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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