Summit 2015, Austin TX
Monday & Tuesday, March 23-24, 2015

Session 6: Tuesday 9:00 IPO Room
Moderator: Kim L. Wangler

Philip Rothschild
Director, Associate Professor, Entertainment Management Program
Missouri State University

Authors Influencing Others to Follow: An Analysis of a Social Media Platform Through the Framework of Persuasion Theory

Technology has not only transformed the music sector of the entertainment industry, but it has also transformed the book publishing sector. Just as musicians have opportunities to go direct to the market with their music, an author has an opportunity to reach and engage an audience directly like never before.

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate through an exploratory case study, how authors can use scientifically proven persuasion techniques to influence visitors to reply to their online requests. These requests often originate from the author’s social media platform, and come in the form of asking the visitor to like a social profile, comment on a blog, provide a review, share a link, join the tribe, or buy a book, among others.

After a brief summary of the publishing sector, I will define what a social media platform is using a Social Media Framework refined by social media expert Michael Hyatt (2012). This will be followed by a review of persuasion research and Cialdini’s six principles of social influence (2008). Finally, I will examine some of the elements of a successful social media platform and draw conclusions on how these features may influence a response to one of many requests.

Richard Strasser
Associate Professor
Northeastern University

The Taylor Swift Effect: Digital Distribution and the Future of Free Music

Digital music distribution has surpassed physical distribution in key markets across the global music industry. Within the online music industry there exists two delivery methods (streaming and downloading) with four business models (free, ad-funded, pay-per-use and subscription-based). The effect of digital distribution has been the reduction of barriers associated with the dissemination of music between creators, content generators, and consumers. For these three constituents issues have arisen in the application of specific models that meet each group’s needs. For example, consumers prefer formats that provide flexibility that match the type of experiences they want from music. In the free or ad-funded model, consumers want superior quality without any access barriers (e.g., registration processes, consuming advertisement or revealing personal data). For artists the outcomes of a digital market develop over time. Artists in an early career stage prefer minimizing distribution hurdles so they can reach as many potential consumers in a highly competitive market. The free model fosters the spread of music by lowering the price and eliminating sharing restrictions. For established artists and labels, free or ad-funded distribution is a less attractive model than revenue generation methods. Download-to-ownership models, such as iTunes, generate the highest immediate revenue streams and account for the biggest share of digital distribution revenues, thereby making them highly attractive to this group as a distribution model.

With increasing financial pressures during the economic recession numerous labels, musicians and songwriters began to question free and ad-funded streaming as a relevant business model. Major record labels -- Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group -- now want music streaming services to curtail free-trial periods, sell more ads on their services, and provide consumer information for data mining purposes. The move away from free streaming came to a head in 2014 when pop star Taylor Swift withheld her album, "1989," from Spotify, and pulled her entire catalog from the service shortly afterward. Her label sought to make her music only available to Spotify's paying subscribers, but Spotify insisted that she, like all artists on the service, make songs available to both its paying and free users.

This paper analyzes the future of these distribution models, not only as a means of revenue generation but as a promotional tool that facilitates music circulation. It explores the effects of an exclusive pay-per-use model on the health of the recording industry and the consumption of music. The paper also discusses and evaluates the effectiveness of these models in light of the proposed elimination of net neutrality.