Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Running a record label when records don't sell anymore: empirical evidence from Poland

  • Patryk Galuszka (a1) and Katarzyna M. Wyrzykowska (a2)

From an economic point of view, the business of record labels until recently boiled down to managing a portfolio of artists, with successful stars bringing the label enough money to recoup investments in market flops. The decline in record sales has called this model into question and forced labels to look for new sources of revenue. Employing qualitative data gathered in Poland, this paper demonstrates how labels react to adverse market conditions and what determines these reactions. The paper shows that these reactions include the monetisation of the relationship that a label has with artists through signing 360° deals, the commercial exploitation of artists’ brand names, and concentration on niche markets, either foreign or format-based (e.g. the market for vinyl). The paper concludes that record labels, regardless of which approach they choose to deal with the adverse market conditions, still think in terms of managing a portfolio of artists. What is more, there is no universal strategy which can be applied by every label to deal with declining record sales.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Garofalo 1999. ‘From music publishing to MP3: music and industry in the twentieth century’, American Music, 17/3, pp. 318–54

D. Hesmondhalgh 1999. ‘Indie: the institutional politics and aesthetics of a popular music genre’, Cultural Studies, 13/1, pp. 3461

M. Huygens , F. Van Den Bosch , H.W. Volberda , and C. Baden-Fuller 2001. ‘Co-evolution of firm capabilities and industry competition: investigating the music industry, 1877–1997’, Organization Studies, 22/6, pp. 9711011

A. Leyshon 2014. Reformatted: Code, Networks, and the Transformation of the Music Industry (Oxford, Oxford University Press)

A. Leyshon , P. Webb , S. French , N. Thrift , and L. Crewe 2005. ‘On the reproduction of the musical economy after the Internet’, Media, Culture & Society, 27/2, pp. 177209

L. Marshall 2013c. ‘The 360 deal and the “new” music industry’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16/1, pp. 7799

R. Moore 2007. ‘Friends don't let friends listen to corporate rock’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36/4, pp. 438–74

K. Negus 1995. ‘Where the mystical meets the market: creativity and commerce in the production of popular music’, Sociological Review, 43/2, pp. 316–41

K. Negus 1999. Music Genres and Corporate Cultures (London and New York, Routledge)

I.L. Pitt 2010. Economic Analysis of Music Copyright: Income, Media and Performances (New York, Springer)

J. Rogers 2014. ‘Canary down the mine: music and copyright at the digital coalface’, Socialism and Democracy, 28/1, pp. 3450

R. Strachan 2007. Micro-independent record labels in the UK. Discourse, DIY cultural production and the music industry. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10/2, pp. 245–65

J. Stratton 1983. ‘What is “popular music”?’, Sociological Review, 31/2, pp. 293309

M. Styvén 2007. ‘The intangibility of music in the internet age’, Popular Music and Society, 30/1, pp. 5374

R. Towse 2003. ‘Copyright and cultural policy for the creative industries’, in Economics, Law and Intellectual Property: Seeking Strategies for Research and Teaching in a Developing Field, ed. O. Granstrand (Dordrecht, Springer), pp. 419–38

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Popular Music
  • ISSN: 0261-1430
  • EISSN: 1474-0095
  • URL: /core/journals/popular-music
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 38
Total number of PDF views: 151 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 474 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th July 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.