Copyright and Economic Viability: Evidence from the Music Industry

30 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020 Last revised: 14 May 2020

See all articles by Kristelia Garcia

Kristelia Garcia

University of Colorado Law School

James Hicks

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy

Justin McCrary

Columbia University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 30, 2020

Abstract

How long should the copyright term last? Copyright provides a long term of legal excludability, ostensibly to encourage the production of new creative works. The extent to which this term aligns with the economic incentives of creators has been subject to vigorous theoretical debate. Using a novel longitudinal dataset of music sales and streaming, we assess the economic viability of content in a major content industry: commercial music. We find that the typical work has an extremely short sales “half life”—on the order of months, rather than years or decades. We also find suggestive evidence that new forms of distribution (such as subscription streaming services) are extending the commercial viability of music, relative to traditional sales media.

Keywords: copyright, intellectual property, empirical legal studies, law and economics

Suggested Citation

Garcia, Kristelia and Hicks, James and McCrary, Justin, Copyright and Economic Viability: Evidence from the Music Industry (January 30, 2020). U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3528564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3528564

Kristelia Garcia

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80304
United States

James Hicks (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200

Justin McCrary

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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