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Peter L Ormosi and Franco Mariuzzo
''Independent vs major record labels: Do they have the same streaming power (law)?''
( 2022, Vol. 42 No.3 )
Major and independent record labels compete for listener attention on streaming platforms. Given the superior bargaining position of major labels, biases in music recommender systems to favour more popular content, often coupled with ownership in the platform, an obvious question arises: do major record labels compete on a level playing field with independent labels in music streaming? In search of evidence this note looks at the distributional properties of the number of times a song is streamed on Spotify in the UK. We investigate whether there is a difference between the process that generates streaming numbers for UK-based major label artists and UK independents. We provide evidence of a difference in the power-law exponents of these two groups, and argue, using the scale-invariant feature of power-law distributions, that this may be a result of the difference in the streaming growth process, caused by major record labels' disproportionate presence in Spotify-generated editorial or algorithmic playlists.
Keywords: music streaming, entry barriers, power-law
JEL: L8 - Industry Studies: Services: General
L4 - Antitrust Issues and Policies: General
Manuscript Received : Feb 01 2022 Manuscript Accepted : Sep 30 2022

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