Currently, the music industry is experiencing a transition, which may affect its landscape
in the future. During any change, the old players coexist for some time with the new entrants
until stability is achieved in the market (Mulligan 15). Both the incumbents and the new
insurgents always believe that they are on the right side of history, and they have control of the
new changes in the sector. The music industry transformation is characterized by competition
among the new and old full stack and single stack. The full-stack insurgents have a sustainable
competitive advantage over their competition for the long term.
The full-stack insurgents' approach
The full-stack insurgents have the necessary resources to sustain their competition in the
industry. They include companies such as Downtown, Kobalt, Reservoir Media, Round Hill, and
BMG, among others (Mulligan 14). These companies have diverse corporate portfolios, which
will enable them to attract more investors in the future. They are also applying new commercial
practices and data as their core in their operations. Product development is one of the best
techniques for increasing revenue in a business (Bruiyan 746). Although other full-stack
incumbents such as Universal Music Group and Sony Music Group have assets, they may not
compete effectively with the full-stack insurgents because of the ability of the latter to invest
their resources more optimally in comparison with the former. Therefore, the full-stack
insurgents have a strong asset-base to enable them to increase their market shares in the music
industry, particularly in the long term.
The insurgents are able to close the gap in the market by combining both music recording
and publishing. Traditionally, artists used separate companies to record and publish their songs
(Mulligan 143). The new full-stack companies such as BMG and Kobalt are able to address this
problem by ensuring that both activities are occurring under one roof. For example, the Sony
Music Group has recently unified its music publishing divisions and ex-japan recorder to
consolidate its processes. As a result, artists are able to clear their music more quickly due to
enhanced flow in the supply chain.
These emerging full-stack companies are also able to create agile businesses using their
assets. They are expanding into recording business to utilize opportunities associated with the
streaming era. Companies like Downtown and Reservoir Media are able to leverage the inflow of
capital to fund diversification in the publishing catalogues. Downtown is only one decade old in
the market, and it is ambitious to continue expanding its business (Mulligan 14). Recently, it has
also acquired AVL division, which is a critical company in the independent artist space. The
acquisition of the fastest-growing recording companies is likely to increase the revenue of
Downtown in that division in the future. Consequently, they are able to offer stiff competition to
the incumbents, which are still using traditional business methods.
The full-stack insurgents are also acting as the change agent in the music industry. They
are introducing new techniques, systems, and structures, which are making the sector more
efficient to the artists and consumers of music products. For example, Kobalt has succeeded in
putting songwriters at the center stage with a high level of fast reporting and transparency, which
incumbents companies have never portrayed in the past(Mulligan 11). It has also been able to
build a digital platform to enable it to control the income of its songwriters. Creativity and
innovation can enable a business to gain a competitive edge in the market (Sukhov 183). As a
result, it is able to pay them faster and in a transparent way. The abilities of the insurgent
companies to act as agents of change in the industry will enable them to sustain their profitability
in the future.
Finally, the insurgents have been able to adapt to acquisitions to compete effectively with
the incumbents in the market. Mergers and acquisitions are effective strategies to enable
companies to increase their market shares (Collan and Kinnunen 111). For example, the
Ole/Anthem Company has spent about $ 520 million to acquire catalogues and companies such
as Jingle Punks, AVSR, and 5 Alarm Music, among others. Kobalt acquired AWAL and PRO
AMRA among other companies to diversify its product lines (Mulligan 11). Downtown has also
acquired the AVL and Songtrust in the last few years. These acquisitions have played a crucial
role not only in increasing the asset base of the new full-stack insurgents, but also to enable them
to diversify their operations. They have acquired music firms in their strategic line of activities to
increase their profitability and market shares in the long run.
The full-stack insurgents have a sustainable competitive advantage over their competition for the
long term due to the strategies they are applying in the market. Companies such as Downtown,
Kobalt, Reservoir Media, Round Hill, and BMG have the necessary asset-base to compete with
other players in the music industry. They have acted as agents of change and closed the current
gap in the market. They have also diversified their production lines through acquiring other
strategic firms in the recent past. Therefore, the full-stack insurgents have the necessary
resources, strategies, and ambition to sustain their competition against the incumbents and other
players in the music industry.
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Collan, Mikael and Kinnunen, Jani. "A Procedure for the Rapid Pre-acquisition Screening of
Target Companies Using the Pay-off Method for Real Option Valuation". Journal of Real
Options and Strategy, vol 4, no.1, 2011, pp. 117–141.
Mulligan, Mark. Music Publishing: A Full-Stack Revolution. London: Midia Research, 2019.
Sukhov, Alexandre. "The role of perceived comprehension in idea evaluation". Creativity and
Innovation Management, vol 27, no.2, 2018, pp.183–195.