Journal of Cultural Economics

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 327–346 | Cite as

“Selling less of more?” The impact of digitization on record companies

  • Marc Bourreau
  • Michel Gensollen
  • François Moreau
  • Patrick Waelbroeck
Original Article


In this paper, we use data from a survey of 151 French record companies to test the “long-tail” hypothesis at the level of the firm. More specifically, we test whether, following the “selling less of more” principle coined by Anderson (2006), record companies that have adapted to digitization (at various levels: artists’ scouting, distribution, and promotion) release more new albums without having higher overall sales. We construct a production function in which the output is produced from conventional inputs of labor and capital, as well as inputs that are more specific to the recorded music industry. We consider two types of output: a commercial output (albums sales) and a creative output (number of new albums released). We show that labels that have adapted to digitization are more efficient in respect of creative output, but that there is no effect of adaptation to digitization on the commercial output, which is consistent with the predictions of the long-tail hypothesis.


Recorded music industry Digitization Long tail Innovation 

JEL classification

Z11 O33 L2 D2 



We thank two anonymous referees for valuable remarks and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc Bourreau
    • 1
  • Michel Gensollen
    • 1
  • François Moreau
    • 2
  • Patrick Waelbroeck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and Social SciencesTelecom ParisTechParisFrance
  2. 2.ICI, Université de Bretagne OccidentaleBrestFrance

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