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Title: Test for echo : competition law and the music industries from a business model perspective
Author: Kanellopoulou, Evgenia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 5016
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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The thesis asks whether there is a role for competition law and policy in the music industries. It is argued that there is a need for updated competition policy in order to safeguard both end consumer welfare and the competitive process in these markets, characterised by fast-paced developments and business model innovation. Indeed, the past two decades saw the music industries undergo seismic changes, as even the term 'music industries' was not in use as such before the advent of the internet era and the decline in sales of recordings in physical format. Soon it became obvious that the traditional music industry's end consumers had chosen to migrate to alternative methods of consumption, complementing and substituting between several products for music, such as the digital format, the live concert ticket, and the overall 'music experience'. End consumers chose to completely by-pass the product on offer, meaning the recording of popular music in physical format, as provided top-down by a few multinational record companies, which the thesis identifies as an oligonomy. As alternative business models emerged in the music industries, the members of the oligonomy became followers of end consumer demand, remaining stuck in their notion that the end consumer remains the passive, mass market. Addressing this era as an era of market failure helps to identify the role of the end consumer within the business model of the music industry and to understand emerging trends and patterns in the music industries. Indeed, technological and copyright developments in the late nineteenth century enabled the hardware industries to morph into the recorded music industry, operating under the same business model of copyright exploitation. It follows that the market deriving from this business model is a market prone to monopolisation, resulting in a homogeneous product, designed and delivered top-down to the mass market. The resulting product was not only foreclosed by the few members of the oligonomy, but the operating business model made it impossible for the competition authorities to justify concerns. When the technology allowed for it, the creeping market failure came to the limelight and the end consumer started by-passing the oligonomy to gain access to the foreclosed content, generating consumer demand-driven business models. This translated into business model innovation. To illustrate, the thesis investigates the trial-and-error relationship between the competition authorities of the US, the EU, the UK and the old business model, addressing the failure to appreciate the bottleneck around the creative output that was being created, and the need to safeguard consumer welfare. To compare, the thesis also examines cases in the new business model era, observing the stance of competition authorities towards consumer demand generated business models. The thesis concludes with the affirmation of the need to design welfare enhancing competition policy, which places the end consumer in the forefront. To achieve this, the thesis proposes the consultation of the relevant business model literature.
Supervisor: Andreangeli, Arianna ; Kheria, Smita Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: competition law ; business models ; music industry ; copyright ; consumer