Same tune, different words: The creative destruction of the music industry


  • Jim Rogers Dublin City University
  • Sergio Sparviero Universität Salzburg



music industry, digitalisation, alternative economic theories, evolutionary economics


In this paper, we experiment and adopt ‘new’ economic approaches to interrogate some of the fundamental changes and continuities in the music industry ‘system’ that have been produced as a result of digitalisation. In this experiment, we also include established techniques of media industries’ analysis like a value-chain analysis (e.g. Küng, Picard and Towse 2008) and the distinction between audience and users markets, following the seminal work by Picard (1989). However, not only we consider the music industry as composed by three segments: (1) the digitalisation of content production in the music industry stage; (2) the distribution and marketing stage; (3) the delivery and exhibition stage, but we also attempt to provide a map of the increasing variety of activities in each segment. Moreover, we embrace a service activity perspective and pay particular attention to changing relationships between these activities. Our account of the main changes to the music industry relies on evidence derived from the findings of a recent empirical research study of the music industry in Ireland, and in the conclusions we discuss the significance of the effects of unauthorised downloads of music and provide arguments on how the industry could deal with this issue.




How to Cite

Rogers, J., & Sparviero, S. (2011). Same tune, different words: The creative destruction of the music industry. Observatorio (OBS*), 5(4).