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Unger, Benedikt (2007)
Languages: German
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: HG. Non-print materials., protocols, formats, techniques. [IF. Information transfer], HI. Electronic Media.
The music industry has experienced a major slump in sales of physical sound storage media such as the compact disc. Contrary to this, revenues gained in the online music sector doubled in 2006. In this growing industry digital standard formats and standard workflows in the electronic music distribution process could help companies to lower their costs and work more efficiently. This thesis provides a rough overview of the digital music distribution industry with a special focus on the business-to-business relationship between music aggregators and music download platforms. It aims to clarify whether standards regarding workflow, music data and music metadata exist. First, a review of literature is undertaken in order to gain knowledge about the social construction theory and actor network theory as well as facts and figures about the current digital music industry. Then five qualitative interviews are conducted with expert representatives of music aggregators and online music distributors. The interviews aim at identifying constraining closure mechanisms and uncovering details about the actors´ attitudes towards standardisation of workflows and data. The main outcome of the thesis is that there is a need for standardisation of music metadata, data processing and sales reporting procedures. The findings suggest that the most powerful actors in the music business, represented by the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), need to agree on international standards for the issues mentioned above. The findings also provide a list of starting points for further research and discussion about improvements in the digital music sector.
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