Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Links between music piracy and live music

An under-researched phenomenon, how live music ties in with music piracy is the focus of this post.

Gayer and Shy (2006) argue that demand for live performances is reduced when piracy is prevented. Given the recent boom of interest in live music, and with the main source of income for artists generally being through live music (Connolly and Krueger, 2006), such an arguement would suggest that it is in the interests of musicians to give their music away for free.

However, not only do some genres not lend themselves particularly well to a live setting, but it isn't a viable alternative to profiting from recorded music. It is also environmentally unsustainable. Plus, recorded music sells live music. As an experience good, music must be heard and enjoyed before a fan will consider making a ticket purchase. Recorded music must first exist, and recording a good quality album is not free.

Mortimer, Nosko and Sorensen (2010) note the decline in album sales is greater for large artists than for small artists, where it is believed that part of the decline in profit from traditional sources may be counterbalanced by increased demand for complementary goods (consider Pearl Jams recent PJ20 series*). When you consider the concept of an artists stage in the game as also mediating how best to distribute music (as discussed in a previous blog post) and what you end up with is a complicated relationship between recorded and live music, but a relationship nonetheless.

And one which should be explored in more detail in future research.

Twitter feed now live @musicpiracyblog

Connolly, M. and Krueger, A.B. (2006). Chapter 20 Rockonomics: The Economics of Popular Music. Handbook on the Economics of Art and Culture, 1, 667‐719. 

Gayer, A. and Shy, O. (2006). Publishers, artists, and copyright enforcement. Information Economics and Policy, 18, 374-384.

Mortimer, J.H. Nosko, C. and Sorensen, A. (2010). Supply Responses to Digital Distribution: Recorded Music and Live Performances [working paper].#

* For lovingly in depth reviews of the PJ20 series, see the links below.

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