april 2007
16 p.

The recorded music industry – which can be defined as the entire social, regulatory, technological and economic system that connects original music with the consumers who wish to listen to it – is undergoing significant changes, generally described as the “digital revolution1”. Over the past two years it has become easier to copy the works produced, distributed and marketed by the industry, due to increasing digitisation of musical content, coupled with a very steep increase in the possibilities for digital distribution. These changes have not only had a significant influence on the reproducibility of the content; they have also had knock-on effects at each level of the industry, from the creative phase at the start, to distribution to consumers at the end. In response to these changes, it is possible to sketch out various hypothetical scenarios for the industry’s development over the medium term. These are largely based on interviews with industry professionals from several sectors: record labels, producers, recording studios, distributors and event organisers.
A brief reminder of the economic characteristics of content digitisation will help to clarify the five contrasting scenarios, which can be related to a number of emergent business models.