• Nikita Malevanny
Part of the Munich Studies on Innovation and Competition book series (MSIC, volume 12)


The music industry and music landscape have been in a state of constant change over the recent decades. Technological innovations, in the form of the “digital revolution”, acted as a catalyst for this change, as this happened frequently throughout the relatively short history of the recorded music industry. The rise of the internet and especially the advent of illegal file sharing in 1999 coincided with a sharp decline in overall sales of recorded music. Several years later, the very same technology helped the recorded music industry to return back onto the growth track through legal online music distribution (OMD). In 2017, the global recording industry derived a significantly greater proportion of revenues from OMD (54%) than from physical format sales (30%), with OMD continuing to become the dominant way of distributing music. Within OMD, structural changes have occurred as well, with streaming demonstrating rapid growth, while downloading sales have declined. All of these developments have been accompanied by heated debates, the focus of which has meanwhile shifted from illegal file sharing and “digital piracy” towards the sustainability of the streaming model. While the issue of per-stream rates seems to be a concern for some commentators in the music community, others argue that the general sustainability of the streaming model and its ability to generate revenue is no different from that of other OMD models, with the first insights from the economic research tending to confirm this notion. Almost forgotten in these heated discussions is another important structural change that occurred in the music landscape over the recent decades—the “democratization” of the production, promotion and distribution of music, again as a result of the “digital revolution”. This correlated with the growing appearance of music with less ex ante promise, typically produced by small-scale organizations such as independent labels or self-releasing artists, among the products generating commercial success.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikita Malevanny
    • 1
  1. 1.MunichGermany

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