|Title:||Copyright and Business Models in UK Music Publishing|
|Citation:||Towse, Ruth. "Copyright and Business Models in UK Music Publishing."|
|Link(s):||Open Access,Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Type:||Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
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|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||Yes|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
The paper argues that the paradigmatic shift from the sale of printed music to exploiting and managing musical rights that took place in music publishing during the early years of the 20th century was due to the changing market rather than to changes in copyright law. On the one hand, copyright law was ineffectual in controlling piracy throughout the 19th century and on the other hand, performing rights were ignored by music publishers for over 70 years; these points suggest that copyright was not the main reason behind the success of the industry. Rather than leading entrepreneurially (the current view of dynamism in the creative industries), publishers ‘followed the money’ and adapted their business models only when new streams of income from new forms of exploitation through sound recording, broadcasting and film became available as a result of exogenous technical progress. Publishers were locked-in to sales revenue as their business model, though when switching to the new business model of rights management took place, the costs seem not to have been greatly significant.
The paper takes an historical approach to the development of music publishing viewed through the lens of present day issues. The research has resonance for the transition from sales to licensing digital works that is taking place in the creative industries today and puts into perspective the relative significance of market forces and copyright law in the process.
Main Results of the Study
The huge outlay on IT investment needed to keep track of digital use suggests that largeenterprises will benefit from network and scale economies; large scale enterprises also arebetter able to pool risk and finance potential loss in superstar markets like those of musicpublishing. Without intervention in the market by competition law, increasing concentrationseems to be the future of the creative industries and copyright appears to assist the process byenabling acquisitions and mergers to take place.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Changes in copyright law in the last 100 years have taken place because of changes in technologies that affected the demand side of the market not the supply side.* The history of copyright in music and of music publishing shows that just having rights is not enough: it requires the appropriate business models to exploit them, which music publishers chose not to do in the case of the performing right for over 70 years.* Businesses that adapt to exogenous conditions survive and may do so without endogenous technical progress. In that process copyright law inevitably lags not leads.
Coverage of Study