Music Aggregators and Intermediation of the Digital Music Market
This article demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, the advent of the Internet has not made intermediaries in the music market obsolete. Individual artists and independent record labels who want to sell their music in digital music stores must deliver their records via third-party companies called music aggregators. Drawing on the concepts of new institutional economics, the article demonstrates that the emergence of music aggregators is a market response to the high level of transaction costs and bargaining asymmetry associated with selling digital music online. The conclusion suggests that the major music conglomerates may seek ownership links with music aggregators, leading to the emergence of vertically integrated companies, which may have profound consequences for cultural markets.