New Challenges Faced By The Music Industry.

2725 words - 11 pages

New Challenges faced by the Music Industry

David Brine

The music industry faces new challenges, both technological and legal, and must learn to embrace, or work with these, while protecting their rights as producers. The new phenomenon of the MPEG Layer 3 encoding (MP3) and the peer-to-peer networks present a challenge to the traditional recording and distribution methods. Before now, there has never been a large-scale piracy network such as exists on the internet now, nor was there such a wide-scale distribution method.

This essay will examine two options that are available on the internet, and compare them. Peer-to-peer networking is one of the major legal stumbling stones in the current environment, and legally it is the focus of the recording industry as a whole, and individual artists. It now reaches beyond the music industry as it once did, but this industry is its major opponent. Another option is a subscription-based "user pays" service, which was championed by private businesses initially, but has since been taken up as a viable option by several recording industry groups.

As a case study for this research project, the company MP3.com seemed to be appropriate. As an example of a subscriber-pays website, MP3.com was one of the first such websites, and despite a spate of lawsuits and threats, it has made use of industry agreements and contacts to become one of the leading internet innovators.

In comparing these two models of sharing music via the internet, they are similar to two creative theories. The peer-to-peer network structure is an example of a network society as outlined by Manuel Castells, and the subscriber model, or Music Service Provider (MSP) model, is comparable with Charles Landry's creative milieu.

A Global Business Opportunity

The internet presents businesses worldwide with a huge opportunity to market to consumers across the world. Literally millions of users access the internet every day, and a central, vocal message on WebPages can be seen by thousands of people every day on high traffic sites. It has been shown that banner advertising isn't effective as a revenue raiser, however people can't help but notice the companies being advertised.

Moving an 'offline' business onto the internet requires a great deal of planning, and may require adaptation of their business model to make it workable. Point of sale businesses such as retailers can be easily transposed through an online shopping cart, selling everything from books, to CDs, to home delivered pizzas. To make a business truly 'online' they must sell products or services that can be delivered directly from the company to the consumer's home computer.

In the case of recording artists, and the governing industry as a whole, this may require rethinking the way they publish and produce music. They need to examine how they can fulfil the needs and desires of their market audience, and how these may be catered to through an online business, while maintaining a...

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