Digital Media Manifesto
Use case no. 05: Music distribution
Purpose of this contribution is to consider the music distribution use case. The contribution is based on material contained in 03/07/24chiariglione01 and 03/07/29greenhall01.
This is a very simplified study, particularly as far as value chain players is concerned. It is hoped that other contributions will extend the analysis.
2. Description of the traditional use case
2.1 Traditional functions
The functions of traditional music distribution are
2.2 Traditional value chain players
The traditional value chain players are:
A typical allocation of the cost of a CD is
|Record label (incl. artists)||45%|
2.3 Technologies used in the traditional use case
Technologies employed in production and storage are quite sophisticated and today they are entirely digital.
Distribution technologies are Compact Cassette, Compact Disc and (smaller percentage) Minidisc. Other technologies play a marginal role.
2.4 Legislative framework of the traditional use case
Music used to be a largely unregulated field (with the possible exception of content censorship).
Most European countries grant consumers the right to make private copies. As a compensation for losses incurred by rights holders a levy is applied on blank recording media including, in some countries, recording equipment. In the United States the Audio Home Recording Act (AHRA) grants consumers the ability to make private copies of broadcast music. AHRA mandates that digital recording CE devices like DAT (IT devices are excluded) be equipped with a Serial Copy Management System (SCMS) allowing only one copy.
2.5 Business model of the traditional use case
The business model is similar to book publishing. Usually artists sign with a record label who promotes the artists, offers recording services, promotes and distributes the records through music shops. Independent promoters are radio and TV stations. Alternative channels are live concerts.
3. Description of the digital use case
Two models can be considered:
The first model tends to support a new channel to distribute music items from artists in the early phases. End users can acquire MP3 files of music items that they can use as freely as MP3 files created from their own CDs.
In the following only model 2. is further analysed.
3.1 Functions of the digital use case
The functions are
3.2 Value chain players in the digital use case
Value chain players are similar to the traditional case
Clearly the enabling part is no. 5 "Distribution technology provision"
3.3 Technologies used in the digital use case
3.4 Cost/benefits for value chain players
|Value chain players||Cost||Benefits|
|Support to artists rights|
|Marketing||New marketing forms enabled|
|Other promotions||For new promotion channels|
|Distribution technology provision||DRM providers|
|Distribution||Traditional retail must change||Web-based retail enabled|
|Consumption devices||New consumption devices needed|
|Consumption||May lose some traditional features||New features acquired|
3.5 Legislative framework of the digital use case
Currently no significant changes are under way.
3.6 Business model of the digital use case
Currently only the distribution portions of the value chain is affected, however, it is conceivable that other portios can be affected.
3.7 Difficulties of current deployments
Current deployment suffer from the fact that they rely on the PC as the means to acquire content. Usage within the PC is convenient but moving content to other devices is only possible for devices that support the same (DRM) technology.
Hurdles are largely those of
Mapping of established rights to the DM space
Rights such as "fair use"
Rights pertaining to required/allowed playback device(s)
Rights to privacy
Interoperable DRM technologies
DM access hurdles due to:
user identification/information requirements
having to configure devices to accept or use DM
End user device hurdles
separate devices, configurations or applications for the same type of content but from different service/distribution providers.
Lack of support for transportability of content.
Lack of support for the multi-device use of content.
5. Relations with other use cases