You can now download an Adobe PDF version of the PowerPoint slides here.
The refereed paper has been published in the Proceedings of the Communications Policy Research Forum 2008 (pp. 155-175 or PDF file pp. 179-199). You can also download a local copy of the paper here.
The paper’s case study examines why Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails released their new albums as digital downloads. I suggest a major reason why, and one that was overlooked by Web 2.0 pundits, is that each artist was in the ‘label shopping phase’ of a new contract and defected after negotiation problems with their major labels. This fits a pattern in mergers and acquisitions: the major labels lost artists due to integration problems in a merger or acquisition. Terra Firma Capital Partners has since partially confirmed this hypothesis: the private equity firm endures more post-acquisition integration problems with EMI and is fighting against government regulation of Great Britain’s financial services sector.
The paper’s data appendices contrast the artists’ strategies with signficant events and innovations in music industry contracts, conglomerate mergers and deal structures. Somehow I missed U2‘s March 2008 deal with Live Nation: I found out about it in an October 2008 announcement. Guns n’ Roses also finally released Chinese Democracy (MySpace audio stream): a new album that has taken 15 years, a rumoured US$14 million budget and 14 recording studios in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and London. I may write a paper on it . . .