Rearchitecting the music business: Mitigating music piracy by cutting out the record companies

Robert L. Frost


Disintermediation - the process of removing superfluous agents in a transaction chain - has been a major promise of e-commerce. Disintermediation offers the benefits of lowering prices to consumers and a better information-feedback loop between producers and consumers. In this paper, I propose a systematic model of disintermediation in the recorded-music business. Were such a model successful and tied to digital distribution, prices to consumers would fall considerably, artist compensation would rise, online piracy would drop, and the information-feedback loops necessary for signaling consumer tastes back to artists would become far more efficient as information asymmetries were mitigated. Such a model would leverage recommender systems as a way to determine consumer choices beyond the use of simple sales figures.

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