Working Paper BETA #2016-47

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Title : Music industry intermediation in the digital era and the resilience of the majors’ oligopoly: The role of transactional capabilities

Author(s) : Rémy Guichardaz, Laurent Bach, Julien Penin

Abstract : The digital revolution has significantly impacted the traditional business model of the music industry by lowering barriers to market entry. This change is usually depicted as a comeback to “the old-time”: artists would have more control and more autonomy in the business thanks to a new range of web intermediaries that challenges the big incumbent firms, the so-called majors (Universal, Sony and Warner). This paper argues that such diagnostic is incomplete and does not take into account the recent changes that the majors have successfully implemented on their business model. Based on a case study of the French major’s filial of Sony Music Entertainment the paper shows how and why majors are still playing competitive intermediary functions thanks to the development of transactional capabilities.

Key-words : music industry; disintermediation; dynamic capabilities; transactional capabilities; business model; strategic renewal; change; innovation

JEL Classification : L82, L22, O33