The Elusive Symbiosis: The Impact of Radio on the Record Industry

26 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2008  

Stan J. Liebowitz

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management - Department of Finance & Managerial Economics

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Abstract

Unlike television broadcasters, who must negotiate with the copyright owners before they can broadcast movies, radio broadcasters need not negotiate with the copyright holders for the sound recordings broadcast on radio. In the United States radio broadcasters have no obligations whatsoever to the copyright owners of the sound recordings (although they do have obligations to the copyright holders of the music contained in the sound recording). The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that radio broadcasters have argued, and it is generally accepted, that radio play benefits record sales and thus there is no need for radio broadcasters to purchase the rights to broadcast the sound recording. This impact of radio play on record sales is commonly referred to as a "symbiotic" relationship between these two industries. Yet there appears to be no systematic examination of this relationship. In this paper I present evidence indicating that radio play does not benefit overall record sales. There are obvious implications for copyright. I also examine, by way of comparison, television's negative impact on the movie industry.

Keywords: Radio, Record Industry

Suggested Citation

Liebowitz, Stan J., The Elusive Symbiosis: The Impact of Radio on the Record Industry. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 93-118, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1146196

Stan J. Liebowitz (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management - Department of Finance & Managerial Economics ( email )

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