Saunders, Lewis amd Thornhill: Research Methods for Business Students, 5th edition, Additional Case Studies
Case 4a Marketing music products alongside emerging digital music channels Esmée had been working in the music industry as a marketing director for a small and successful independent record label for over fifteen years before deciding to study at university. She had witnessed many changes in the music industry over her career, the most significant of which was the transition from selling cassettes, vinyl records and CDs at retail to selling digital music online. She had observed that the music industry had not taken much notice of the potential for marketing and distributing digital music online until Shawn Fanning developed his peer-to-peer (P2P) file trading application, Napster, in 1999. While the music industry focused on shutting the service down, Napster became even more popular with music fans and consumers who were interested in discovering and sharing new music and creating custom compilations or playlists without having to buy entire albums. Early on, Esmée had decided that she needed to understand why Napster was so popular and consumers so enthusiastic about sharing music online. She decided to download the Napster application and was surprised to find older songs that were no longer available at retail, previously unreleased recordings, alternative studio versions and bootleg recordings made at live concerts. While searching for and downloading music, Esmée also began to interact with communities focused around their file trading activities. While the music industry viewed Napster and other P2P file trading applications with deep suspicion and focused on the issues of piracy and loss of royalties to shut them down, her interactions with P2P file traders provided her with significant insights into how the consumer’s relationship to music was changing. P2P file trading applications and other digital music technologies represented new...
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