5th Vienna Music Business Research Days in Retrospective

Logo VMBRD 2014The 5th Vienna Music Business Research Days were devoted to the question “How to Monetize Music in the Digital Age”? Academics and business professionals  answered this questions from different perspectives. The VMBR-Days 2014 were held in cooperation with the Waves Vienna Music Festival & Conference and attracted an even larger international audience than in the years before. On Oct 3rd, a conference track day complemented the invited conference day on Oct 2nd for the first time. Academics from Austria, Australia, Brasil, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom presented recent findings of a wide range of music business research topics.

The Young Scholars’ Workshop gathered for the fourth time students and mentors/discussants from more than 10 countries to discuss the findings a papers derived from master and PhD theses (see also the webpage of the Young Scholars’ Workshop 2014).

For a detailed coverage of the whole conference– including most of the papers and presentation slides as well as the audio streams of all talks and discussions of Oct 2nd – please click here.

How to Monetize Music in the Digital Age, October 2, 2014

Emilien Moyon, Director of the Global Entertainment and Music Business Program at Berklee College of Music, Valencia/Spain, whose PhD-thesis was awarded best thesis in France in 2012, opened the invited conference day with a talk on  “Business Model Innovation. The Case of the Record Industry”. He highlighted that especially the major record companies changed their strategies in the course of the digitization process. In the early 2000s, they tried to optimize their business models by restructuring and downsizing the internal organization. This results mainly in lay-offs of personnel. Then the record companies started to create value in alterative activity systems by partnering with electronics manufacturers and introducing bundled offers with telecommunication companies. The majors, however, also redefined the scope of their activities by selling pressing plants and physical distribution channels. In a last step, the record majors reinvented themselves as entertainment companies covering all aspects of the music industry’s value-added chain from record producing to live-music promoting and artist management (360-degree contracts). Emilien Moyon concluded that the majors’ music business model is now  totally different from that practised 15 years ago. However, it still questionable if the new business model is profitable and sustainable.

Click here for the audio file of the presentation and discussion with the audience 

and here for the video stream

Click here for the presentation slides.

Paul ResnikoffPaul Resnikoff, founder and editor-in-chief of the Digital Music News/Los Angeles, focused his talk on the music streaming services’ business models. In his provocative presentation “Streaming: A Financial Failure”, Resnikoff put forward the hypothesis that music streaming is not a sustainable business model yet. He argued that despite of the explosion of the number of active users music streaming is financially unstable and unsustainable because it

  • is not financially viable for artists
  • is not a viable, sustainable business model overall
  • is driven by mega-acquisition and Wall Street interests
  • offers only a short-term financial solution for major rights owners
  • has a speculative path towards long-term scalability

Resnikoff presented empirical data to back his arguments by pointing not only at micro payments to artists, but also to the low percentage of paid vs. free (ad-supported) users,  the high, variable, and unpredictable cost of goods (content licenses), the low per-stream advertising rates, the preponderance of attractive, free options, the reluctant participation from top artists and the elevated churn ratio.

Click here for the audio file of the presentation and discussion with the audience

and here for the video stream

Click here for the presentation slides.

Peter Jenner & Dennis CollopyIn the following, music manager Peter Jenner and Dennis Collopy of the University of Hertfordshire/UK discussed the “The Future of Monetizing Music” in order to introduce “The Kristiansand Roundtable Initiative 2025 for the Music Business”. Both discussants agreed that the core of the future music is a globally functioning licensing system. Thus, Peter Jenner pleaded for a new and easy licensing model that channels money especially to the artists.  Dennis Collopy assisted by pointing at the importance of collective rights management and the need for national collecting societies. Therefore, the local production of music should by fostered instead of supporting international superstars which is the business of the record majors.  The discussion let to the conclusion that there is a need for a manifesto aiming to achieve a balanced and fair new music industry by 2025. The manifesto includes:

  • simplifying the licensing system
  • reducing friction to increase efficiency and to reduce costs
  • rewarding creators equitably
  • rewarding end users
  • enabling properly regulated collective licensing to provide certainty in market for both users and creators

Click here for the audio files of the presentation and discussion with the audience 

and here for the video stream

Click here for the presentation slides.

Kristin ThomsonAfter the lunch break, Kristin Thomson of the Future of Artist Coalition, highlighted  the “Musicians’ Earnings from Digital Platforms”. The presentation was based on the findings of the Artist Revenue Project, which Kristin is co-organizing. She showed a very detailed overview of 42 different possible revenue streams for artists. The digitization process resulted in additional income sources for creators (composers and songwriters) as well as recorded artists. In the following, Thomson focused on the recorded music income for musicians that makes on average  just 6 percent of the the revenue pie. She also showed that 66 percent of the US musicians included in the survey reported no income from sound recordings in the past 12 months. From the rest of 22 percent benefited mainly from CD sales and digital music sales (ie. from iTunes and Amazon). Just 35 percent earned an income from interactive streaming services and further 13 percent were paid digital performance royalties. However, it strongly depends on music genre and musical occupation if digital music revenue is important or not. Whereas a member of a chamber music group mainly earns her/his money from live performances, an indie pop singer/songwriter also benefits from digital music sources such a music downloading and streaming. In all cases presented by Kristin Thomson music streaming is nevertheless a negligible income source that might grow in the future years, but cannot compensate for revenue losses of physical music sales.

Click here for the audio files of the presentation and discussion with the audience 

and here for the video stream

Click here for the presentation slides.

Elke Schüßler of Free University Berlin then highlighted in a joint paper with Leonard Dobusch the “Regulatory uncertainty and business model innovation” by analysing the discource on music in music industry events in Germany. They showed that regulatory uncertainty, mainly in the field of copyright, has an impact on business models in the music industry and leaves room for innovation. Music industry events are the discoursive spaces in which “regulatory conversations” take place. Therefore, Schüßler & Dobusch analysed how different actors in a transforming industry addressed regulatory uncertainty in music industry events in Germany, such as the Reeperbahn Festival, c/o Pop and Popkomm. Thus, the reseachers identified three types of claims: (1) the conservative music as a commodity model; (2) the reformist music as a service and promotional model; and (3) music as a public good model. Whereas representatives of the music industry bodies as well as music business professional tended more towards to the commodity model, Internet and open source activists clearly supported the service and public goods perspective. The analysis also highlights a cycle in claims. When the German legislative proposed new copyright legislation the number and intensity of claims for the commodity model as well as for music as public good increased. These findings also supports the authors’ conclusion that actors from both sides used music industry events not for “regulatory conversations”, but for “propaganda” to lobby for their specific interests.

Click here for the audio files of the presentation and discussion with the audience 

and here for the video stream

Click here for the presentation slides.

Panel discussion - Drücke, Resnikoff, Chen, Marot, Harris

All photos by Magdaléna Tschmuck

In the final panel discussion Keith Harris (PPL and manager of Stevie Wonder, UK),  Marc Marot (Crown Talent & Media Group, UK), Andy Chen (CEO of ASPIRO, parent company of WiMP Music, TIDAL Hifi and RADAR Music News, Norway) and Florian Drücke (Managing Director of Bundesverband Musikindustrie – IFPI Germany) discussed the conference topic “How to Monetize Music in the Digital Age”. After assigning different music instruments to the panelists, moderator Paul Resnikoff (digitalmusicnews.com, Los Angeles) tried to find out who benefits from the current developments in the music business. The panlists agreed that apart from the superstars, musicians have a hard time to afford a living from their music related income. Aspiro/WiMP CEO Andy Chen clarified that 75 Cents were paid to the rights holders. Thus, the share for the artists depends on the contracts with the record companies. Thus, Resnikoff wanted to know if the Do-it-Yourself approach of Radiohead could be a blueprint for other musician too. Although almost all discussants did not believe in a pure DIY approach, they agreed that all newcomers currently start their careers as DIY-artists that need support intermediaries if the want to break on a larger scale. In this respect, Aspiro/WiMP CEO, Andy Chen, explained that the majors were opposed a DIY platform on WiMP, since they felt threatened by such a platform. Keith Harris than proposed a more advanced music database as key for channelling money to the artists. For artists it has become more and more important to build a solid fanbase that can be monetized in contracting with other – traditional and non-traditional – partners. Data are more import in the digital age than anything else.  And Stevie Wonder manager, Keith Harris, concluded at the end of the panel discussion: “If you go to a record company today as an artist: Don’t bring a demo, bring an audience!”

Click here for the audio files of the panel discussion 

and here for the video stream

Young Scholars’ Best Paper Award 2014

Esther BishopJordana Viotto da CruzAfter the panel discussion the best paper of the Young Scholars’ Workshop was awarded to Jordana Viotto da Cruz of University 13 Paris for “Crowdfunding Contributors in Cultural Projects: Evidences on Motivations, Incentives and the ‘Star System'” and to Esther Bishop of Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen for “How Do Music Vocations Relate to the Curricula of German Music Conservatories?”. Both papers are considered for publication in the International Journal of Music Business Research.

Conference Track Day, October 3, 2014

On the third conference days, music business researchers from all around the world presented their recent findings. All active conference participants in alphabetical order:

Aguilar Ananay, University of Cambridge/UK: The production of music: explorations in law, creativity and technology (abstract & presentation slides)

Álvarez-Monzoncillo José Maria & Juan Calvi, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos Madrid/Spain: Music consumption in Spain: from analogical to digital (abstract)

Flath Beate: Life is live. Experiencing music in the digital age

Gey Ronny, Frank Schumacher, Stephan Klingner & Bettina Schasse de Araujo, University of Leipzig/Germany: Buried by administration: How the music industry loses its creativity. An empirical study of the music industry in Germany (abstract & full paper)

Handke Christian, Bodo Balazs & Joan-Josep Vallbé, Erasmus University Rotterdam & University of Amsterdam, IViR/The Netherlands: The value of online licenses for recorded music

Hitters Erik, Erasmus University Rotterdam/The Netherlands: The state of independents. Diversity in music production and distribution in the Netherlands

Jauk Werner, University of Graz/Austria: On reaching the “feeling and form” of sound/music – on reaching the “value” of music. Sound Sculpting: Focusing on validity retrieving embodied brand knowledge

López Sintas Jordi, Ercilia García Álvarez & Sheila Sánchez Bergara, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & Universitat Rovira i Virgili/Spain: The social construction of music markets: copyright and technology in the digital age (abstract & full paper)

Lugović Sergej & Nives Mikelić Preradović, Polytechnic of Zagreb & University of Zagreb/Croatia: Music Identification Software as a tool for precise monitoring of real music use in public spaces and fair distribution of music rights income (abstract & full paper)

Morrow Guy, Denis Crowdy, Diane Hughes, Sarah Keith & Mark Evans, Macquarie University, Sydney/Australia: Is a band a startup? Cultural entrepreneurship and continuous innovation in the new music industries (abstract)

Nordgård Daniel, Researcher at Agderforskning and University of Agder/Norway: Analyzing Norway’s experience from adopting on-­demand streaming: Exceptions or rules to a future economy?

Peres da Silva Glaucia, University Duisburg-Essen/Germany: Opening the preference box: Sociological contributions to understand the economic dynamics of music (abstract)

Wikström Patrik, Queensland University of Technology Brisbane/Australia: Local music repertoire and the digitization of the international music industry: An empirical analysis, 1999 – 2013 (abstract)

Media coverage of the 5th Vienna Music Business Research Days 2014

Salzburger Nachrichten, September 29, 2014: “Ein Hit allein füllt nicht die Taschen

Futurezone, September 30, 2014: Die Zukunft des Musikgeschäfts

Heise Online, October 1, 2014: “Wiener Tage der Musikwirtschaftsforschung: Moneten, Musik und das Internet”

Digitalmusicnews, October 2, 2014: A Detailed Explanation on Why Streaming Has Failed …

Futurezone, October 3, 2014: Musikwirtschaft: “Musik-Streaming funktioniert finanziell nicht”

Digitalmusicnews, October 7, 2014: Spotify Is Now Profitable …

Ö1 – Austrian Broadcasting, October 20, 2014: Kulturflatrate auf Probe

Musikmarkt, 22. Oktober 2014: Vienna Music Business Research Days 2014: Mehr Programm, mehr Besucher


1 Response to “5th Vienna Music Business Research Days in Retrospective”

  1. October 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Vielen Dank für die spannende Konferenz und den hervorragenden Young Scholar Workshop!
    Ich habe während der Konferenz live gebloggt. Die Artikel sind hier auf meinem Blog nachzulesen: http://philip-stade.de/tag/vmbrd/

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October 2014



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