The Second “Vienna Music Business Research Days” in Retrospective

The second “Vienna Music Business Research Days”, which were held at the University of Music and Performings Arts Vienna from June 8-10, 2011, were devoted to “New Music Distribution Models”. Therefore, the economic potentials, which are involved in the new music distribution models, were highlighted. In addition, the impact of music downloading, music streaming and cloud-based music models on musicians and music consumers was also discussed.

Beyond the speeches and panel discussion with music industry experts, a young scholars’ workshop was organized the first time. PhD and master students presented the results of their research on “Innovations in Music Business” and discussed them with advanced academics in this field.

In the following summary of the second “Vienna Music Business Research Days” most of the speeches and discussion of June 8-9 can be downloaded in audio format, in printed version and as presentations.


Opening discussion: “Is Streaming the Answer …?” on June 8, 2011

The conference was opened by a panel discussion (in German) with Steffen Wicker (founder and CEO of the German music streaming service simfy.de), Alexander Hirscherhauser (president of the Austrian Association of Independent Labels, Music Publishers and Producers – VTMÖ) and Peter Tschmuck (professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna) on the question “Is Streaming the Answer …?” Naturally, Steffen Wicker answered in the affirmative, whereas Alexander Hirschenhauser  questioned whether music streaming leads to a fair distribution of revenues. Due to micro cent payments to labels and musicians he doubted if business models of  label and other rights holders can be based on revenue streams from streaming platforms. Steffen Wicker confirmed Hirschenhauser’s pessimistic view, but outlined that is has been usual for decades that only a small proportion of industry actors could affort a living from music production and distribution. In simfy’s case it can be observed that only 20 to 25 percent of the songs in the database are streamed. However, the great majority of 75 percent of the songs has not been streamed yet. At the end, however, the question, if streaming could be answer for many problems in the music business has to remain unanswered.

For download: Opening discussion – part 1discussion with the floorfinal round


New Music Distribution Models on June 9, 2011

The second conference day was opened by Patrik Wikström from Jönköping International Business School with „A Typology of Music Distribution Models“.  He outlined the changing music consumption behavior of the last two decaded, which led to new music distribution models. Experience and access to music replaced materiality and ownership. Experiences, however, are no longer sold as products but as services. But if music services offer the same extensive catalogue, price would be the only factor to compete. However, it is nearly impossible to compete with freemium models, which are more or less the standard of music distribution nowadays. Therefore, musical content has to be contextualized. Music services must allow the users to organize their music, to discover new music, to share music and to communicate about music. The ultimative way to put music content in a new context is to allow music users to play with music. The passive music consumer, therefore, emerges as active music prosumer, who wants to be involved even in the music production. Some innovative musicians such as the female artist Imogen Heap engage their fans in the creative process. Imogen Heap has for instance invited her fans to remix her music in order to release the remixes as an album. She even encouraged her fans to contribute to her official biography. Acording to Patrik Wikström, this example indicates that music distribution is moving gradually from “ownership” and “access” closer to “context” and “play”.

For download: Conference paper „A Typology of Music Distribution Models“


In the next session, Will Page from PRS-for-Music explained the impact of new distribution models on collecting societies, which struggle with a new consumption behavior. Although the main revenue still comes from the physical product, digital sales and have become extremly important. In the U.K., which lost its number 1 position in Europe to Germany, the conversion rate from the physical to digital sales is higher than in other important European markets.  In Britain,  US$ 5,68 are spent on digital music per capita in 2010, whereas the per capita digital music sales were US$ 2,16 in Germany and  US$ 2,09 in Austria. If we compare the situation in Europe with the U.S. or some of the Asian markets, there is still potential for growth in the digital segment. However, the music’s “wallet share” (consumer expenditure for recorded and live music as share of total consumer expenditure) has decreased in the U.K. since 2000 – except for 2008 and 2009, when live music market grew depite the recession of the world economy. Will Page highlights that there is no simply explaination for this trend. One have to consider piracy, but also substitution effects between recorded and live music as well as with other entertainment products. An important factor is also inflation. Whereas the general price level has increased and, thus, has driven total consumer expenditure,  CD prices have fallen in the same period, which reduces the music “wallet share” too. To conclude with a citation form Page’s “Wallet Share” (p. 5) paper: ” We need to further investigate the historical impact of these macroeconomic factors upon the music industry – particulary with that industry broadly defined – so as to better understand the complex links between live and recorded music markets, retail and broadcast channels, as well as the overall production and consumption of music.”

 For download: Conference papers “Adding up the UK Music Industry for 2009” and “Wallet Share”

An interview with Will Page (in German) can be read in futurezone.


After the lunch break, Dagfinn Bach, who was involved in the development of the first MP3-player and later founded the music identification firm Bach Technology in Bergen/Norway, tried to assess the impact of music distribution from an ecological perspective. He compared the energy balance of music downloading and music streaming and concluded that a download once made on a playing device is much more energy efficient than sending a data stream around the world by streaming. If we take in consideration that the server farms for music data storage need a vast amount of electricity for cooling, streaming is much more harmful from an ecological perspective than downloading. At the end of the day, download will succeed over streaming for this reason. In the following, Dagfinn Bach, also presented the different products of music indentification, which are marketed under the Music DNA trademark. Highly important, therefore, will be the new MPEG7-data compression standard, which will allow consumers not only to listen to their preferred music, but also to read the song texts and to retrieve the latest news on concert dates of the music acts.

An interview with Dagfinn Bach (in German) can be read in futurezone.

Live-stream of the presentation and following discussion


In the following panel discussion, which was moderated by the German music journalist Manfred Tari, Dagfinn Bach (Bach Technology, Norwegen) David Bahanovich (University of Hertfordshire, U.K.), Will Page (PRS-for-Music, U.K.) and Steffen Wicker (simfy.de, Deutschland) highlighted the question “How to Make a Profit with Music Distribution?”




The second conference day was closed with the presentation (in German) of the white paper „Neue Töne der Musikwirtschaft“ for the music focus-call by the Viennese creative industries’ funding body departure. After a short introduction by departure CEO Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, the main author of the white paper, Peter Tschmuck, explained the structure and main contents of the white paper, which should motivate innovative projects for the Vienna music sector. At the end of the presentation, Sabine Hofmann, head of the funding department of departure, informed on the funding procedures and on application details.


PowerPoint presentation of the white paper and the white paper for download 

Live-stream of the white paper presentation  



Young Scholars’ Workshop zu „Innovations in Music Business“ am 10. Juni 2011

In the Young Scholars’ Workshop on “Innovations in Music Business” young academics from Austria, Brasil, Germany, Norway and U.K. presented their research results on several music business/industry topics.

Panel 1: Chair: Dennis Collopy, University of Hertfordshire, U.K.

Victor Gangl, Danube University Krems, Austria: New Strategies and Instruments of Artist and Repertoire Policy in Response to Collapsing Sales in the Music Industry

Pinie Wang, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria: The Music Industry as Subsystem of Media

Panel 2: Chair: Carsten Winter, University of Music, Drama and Media Hanover, Germany

Glaucia Peres da Silva, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany: The Formation of the ‘World Music’ Market.

Marius Carboni, University of Hertfordshire, U.K.: Changes in the Way Classical Music Has Marketed Itself Over the Last 20 Years

Panel 3: Chair: Patrik Wikström, Jönköping International Business School, Sweden

Alexander Roth und Christopher Buschow, University of Music, Drama and Media Hanover, Germany: The Relation of Digital Native’s Fandom and their Willingness to Pay for Music Records: A Post-Free-Riding Perspective

Daniel Nordgård, University of Agder, Norway: Understanding the Digital Revolution’s Impact on the Music Industry: The Evolution of the Live Music Sector



© all fotos by Magdaléna Tschmuck  

Media response

Musikwoche, March 8, 2011: “Wiener Tagung widmet sich der Musikwirtschaftsforschung”

MICA-News, May 27, 2011: “Im Zentrum der Wertschöpfung – Peter Tschmuck im mica-Interview”

Die Presse, June 5, 2011: “Peter Tschmuck – Das Business und die Forschung”

Futurezone, June 6, 2011: “Neue Modelle des Musikvertriebs”

Futurezone, June 13, 2011. “Einen Song um die Welt schicken, ist verrückt – Interview mit Dagfinn Bach”

Kulturmanagement.net, June 16, 2011: “Konferenzbericht: Zweite Vienna Music Business Research Days”

Ö1 Digital.Leben, June 21, 2011: “Streaming – Plattensammlung auf Abruf”

Futurezone, Juni 27, 2011: “Cloud Musik: ‘Apple hat die besten Chancen’ – Interview mit Will Page”

WDR3, September 2, 2011: “Die Zukunft des Bizz” 



Summary of the first Vienna Music Business Research Days, June 9-10, 2010


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June 2011




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