What industry conditions led to the revolution in an audio distribution described above? Which stakeholders stand to beneﬁt most (or least) from this revolution?
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Innovation is the use of more advanced ideas or methods to meet new requirements and articulate societal needs. Innovation allows for daily activities to be efficiently and more easily undertaken. This value addition acts as a catalyst to growth in major sectors of the economy. This is clearly depicted in the case based on the digital music distribution revolution.
In relation to the case study, we can argue that the development of the algorithm led to the revolution in audio distribution. This codec provided for the compression of music into a tenth of its original size without compromising quality. The compressed file was later dubbed into MP3. Later on, with the help of software programs, it became possible to convert tracks from disks to MP3 files. This advancement provided a basis through which music could be manipulated as files could be stored on a hard disk and shared all over the internet. There was a crop up of decoders and encoders to capitalize on this trend. Though the founders of these techniques benefited, upcoming artists gained a larger platform to market their work. It was also beneficial since they escaped the huge capital needed to register with recording labels. Fans were also seen as beneficiaries since they had easier access to music of their choice. On the other hand, artists faced the challenge of ‘music pirates’ as music could be accessed online, thus, illegal trade. When companies like Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft came together, they provided a broad base that offered free encoders. This made it easier for piracy levels to rise. The development of Napster helped to curb these crimes as users were trading on copyrighted materials.
Why did the music stores created by the record labels fail to attract many subscribers? What, if anything, should the record labels have done differently?
It is clearly shown from the study that record labels did not attract many subscribers. A good example is the Recording Industry Association of America whose intention of curtailing online sharing was more towards protecting its business model, rather than its artists. This association challenged the growing illegal trade of music which was likely to cause loss of finances for members. Additionally, record labels sold albums at inflated prices thus limited its clientele compared to online sellers making them less popular. Record labels were an expensive strategy for marketing and promoting artists as they required a large amount of capital, not to mention the difficulty of getting deals and if available the deals were unattractive. This mainly challenged artists joining the industry. These labels were termed as rigid and outdated and resisted to embrace new technology. Prioritizing the rights of artists, charging suitable prices for albums or individual songs, adopting new technology as well as providing a platform for upcoming artists could have worked to the advantage of the record labels. Also, record labels should operate on openness to avoid providing room for critics. This relationship could enhance their popularity with the members of the public.
What will determine how long the success of the iPod and iTunes endures? Should Apple allow its iPods to play non-iTunes songs? Should Apple allow iTunes songs to play on non-iPod MP3 players?
From the case study, the success of the iPod and iTunes will continue to endure if the Apple Company maintains its attractive image to the recording industry and its users. The company should also carry out its ‘FairPlay’ DRM scheme which protects against illegal sharing. This helped to reduce users from mass-distributing songs as well as ease the minds of record company executives. The success of iPods and iTunes is also assured as a result of the provided music audios in two file formats namely Advanced Audio Coding and modified MP3s. The DRM ensured that files could not be emailed or distributed and were hidden in the iPod subdirectory structure where files were hidden, thus, making them not prone to copying from one iPod to another. The company should maintain its attractive prices as well as its licensing agreement with five major labels to offer a one-stop customer base. Since Apple enjoyed a large market and had a high negotiating power, it is reasonable to allow its iPods to play non-iTunes songs as a way of creating a large customer base. On the same note, it should not allow iTunes songs to play on non iPods mp3s since it advocates for fewer DRM restrictions from record labels. Apple’s huge catalog leverage entices users to buy music through its iTunes music store.
Why would musicians sign away their copyright privileges to their songs through Creative Commons?
From the case study, musicians were willing to sign away their copyright privileges through creative commons as this made their work available at varying levels of openness. Creative Commons is licensed; hence, it allows only copyright members to its membership. Creative Commons gives artists the chance to create the awareness that downloading their music is allowed, and is not against the law. Creative commons provides a room for songs uploaded primarily by independent artists to incorporate podcasts and make them available for download. The opportunity of gaining exposure and increasing fan base entices the artists to take the chance of allowing access to their property. This also allows for increased revenue to be earned from a wider fan base.
How is podcasting likely to impact the appropriability or’ recorded music, radio broadcasting, or other types of audio transmissions?
The case study illustrates the effects of podcasting on radio broadcasts, music records as well as other audio broadcasts. This was clearly shown in June 2005 when iTunes started to use podcasts in iTunes software and music store. By March 2009, households’ listening to podcasts had increased by 9%, thus, content providers made podcasting a preference for conducting their activities. In a period of fewer than two months, assured NPRs podcasts with only 17 shows generated five million downloads. From 2005 -2009 podcasting directory had increased to 640 titles. As time went on podcasting continued being more popular with the public and media. On this note, we can say that podcasts have positively impacted the use of MP3 players. There is also a clear prediction that person will continue embracing it in their daily activities.
To conclude, this case study gives us a wide scope on why we should embrace innovation and be avenues of dynamism. Technology is thus regarded as the major factor of the revolution of music distribution in modern society.